Autumn Trees

Would it be lying 
       to speak of autumn trees,
       specifically, the Plane,
Looming in plains so strange
       as resemble Mars
       or Enceladus,
When in fact we see
       in plain sight
       the Plane itself?

On Yellow

Despair of yellow if you wish —
The taint of 
   choleric bile,
   Midas’ daughter,
   snow pee,
   jaundiced eyes.
While Orpheus’ golden lyre 
      went to Hell and back,
   sunlight echoed on dayend clouds,
   towheads ran on Baltic sand,
   dandelions colored my hand.
Jacob’s stairs still ascend 
   — presumably to Heaven —
But who waters the geraniums?

Taste of Wild

Yes, it’s better than glass —
   a hard, cold
   divide from reality.
I can feel the breeze,
   rain falls and I am wet,
   squirrels fear my smell,
   jays rail at my presence.
But, there’s still this matter of
   nylon, a millimeter thick,
   a soft cage of unwanted
   domesticity.

Primitive Creature

Early morning fogs
   rose from the river.

He waded through an eddy of
   warmth swirling slowly 
between bank and goal,
a heavily wooded island, 
   cloud hidden,
Spanish mossed limbs 
   penetrating
   opal curtains.

He felt time evaporate
   a hundred million years
as he entered the past earth.
and knew the river damp smell 
   was once familiar
   to a dinosaur,
that nothing had changed,
that his particular world's
   sights and sounds 
   were truant.

Reaching shore, he had
   no idea how close he was
   to the nest of guarded eggs,
as she burst forth through fog,
   the Great Blue Heron, 
screaming in the 
   very rasp of God,
   a cry so terrible
that he became a 
   wee twitchy creature, 
   scurrying to evade
scaly winged masters
   of this new world. 

Lunar Eclipse

"I'm sorry about the Moon...", he said.
"Oh! What an interesting sentence!",
        she replied,
smiling with unexpected delight.
Love illuminated them
in the recovered lunar glow.

Demon Casters of Asilomar

The Demon-Casters of Asilomar,
   in the great lodge room,
   huddle before fire,

Ess-word mutterings float,
  "...sssalvation...,
   ...sssatan...,
   ...ssssin...",
   potent, frequent
   "...Jesssusss...".

Bowed backs as
   shields,
Stares as
   needles, knitting,
White thin lips as
   prophet, knowing,

But no
   blue eyes on the
   lurking heathens
   (who suck your soul),

No
   flirtation,
   temptation,
   touching the
      unwashed.

This is a joyless,
   serious pursuit,
Saving the world.

Red, Blue, Yellow

My friend, the under-employed artist, sold photos to the Sunday edition of the paper. Strictly freelance, not a regular job. “Shoot anything but put three kids in the middle, in red, blue and yellow.” The formula never failed. Every Sunday, $25. It paid the rent.

Gutter Fish

I worked nights in Brazil, photographing stars. Coming home one morning, I found the neighbor kids gathered around the curb. All year, a trickle of water ran beside it, starting from a neighbor’s farm and moving down through the prosperous community below, eventually draining into the Rio Potengi.

“What’s up?”, I asked.

“Fish!” they answered.

They were on their knees, giggling, hands in mud and water. I walked over, expecting floating toys of sticks and leaves, but saw little flashes of color. A child’s cupped hands held a small, brightly hued fish darting in a bit of water.

I knelt beside the rivulet and saw hundreds of tiny finned creatures slipping through fingers of little people delighted by their beauty.

I lived a few degrees from the Equator. These were tropical fish, the real thing. They weren’t in an aquarium in a doctor’s office.  They lived free in their home, my gutter.