TABLE OF CONTENTS #1 Since You Are Me After Listening to Tiokasin Ghosthorse…4 Long Gone Chicago, For Fred Hampton…5 (First appeared in The Rookery, 2021 For Greta…7 For Jacob… 8 The Courage We Need…9 Who Will Explain?…10 (First appeared in NYC Festival of Human Right Art Journal, 2019) Bullied, a History…11 Resurrection….12 (First appeared in Snapdragon Journal of Health, 2019) Definitions….13 Solitude….15 #2. We Drink Moonlight Buddha’s Rhetoric…17 Picasso and Einstein Walk into a Bar…18 Circumnavigation…19 (First appeared in Sky Island Journal, 2018) Tea Ceremony…21 The Dream of Driving….22 (First appeared in Spirit First, 2020 winner of second place prize) Why We Go to The Beach….23 Surrender…. 24 Composition…25 Unfold Yourself…26 #3 To Begin Anew is All She Knows Chihuly Glass #1….28 Chihuly Glass #2….29 Boyd Hill….30 Pushaw Lake…32 Lagoon.…33 #4 Tender Work Motherhood…39 Tinney Creek #1… 35 (First appeared in Plum Tavern Journal, 2019) Tinney Creek # 2….36 Weedon Island #1 Morning…40 Weedon Island #2 Shelter…41 What the Dog Says…42 A Field in Maine…..44 Nest…45 (First appeared in Salt Creek Journal, 2018) Ibis and Dragonfly..48 Advice from a Live Oak…49 (First appeared in Odet, 2020) The Great Extinction…51 Qarrtsiluni….52 I Am….53 Constellation…54 GPS Dirge…55 1. Since You are Me After Listening to Tiokasin Ghosthorse Name yourself the Lakota way see how streams reflecting sunlight run in your veins, stars shine on your brow. Go to the forest the Lakota way. hear roots whisper wordless under the the soft-handed canopy holding you as you sleep. Know this boulder the Lakota way and you will understand something solid Is not but glows and glitters with light like your bones like boulders, that by constant motion joined, speak your name. Long Gone Chicago for my Childhood Schoolmate Fred Hampton Hometown music sets the groove the sway joy drum saxophone shout in this Florida coffee shop where I sit writing. Seventies Chicago rhythm and blues play today as long ago I took the elevated train past projects in a gray line mountainous over the expressway the “El” clatters, shakes the tenement windows, screeches to a stop. From the eleventh floor, a five-year-old watches, this rushing world, wonder-eyed, wish-filled as the refrain “Stand by me…” floats out from his window this summer day of Chicago-heat-cemented hot air blown about by a single fan, “Darling, darling, stand stand by me…” the roar of the train deafens deafens love songs. I feel faith in his heart, not mine, but unshakeable. He watches his brother waiting sitting on the stoop at noon job denied one more time. On a Monday in my car, Marvin Gaye sings “Makes me wanna holler, throw up both my hands…” the news interrupts Fred age 21 shot dead shot dead while sound asleep. I feel faith between the notes, not mine, but from a distance, as I drive to the South Side weeping for my job at the welfare, warfare office. For Greta But you, too young to say impossible, You make it possible again and again… ~~lyrics from the song Rise Up by Roy Zimmerman, after the Parkland shootings Only the old believe in death fooled by their changing bodies, unchanging minds stiffened to hold back time. Looking back, back scrolling through memories eyes lose sight of what is ahead. I am old now but live with wonder at my place in: the purple center of red tulips, the sacred geometry of nautilus shells, all Fibonacci forms, endless as then am I on the full rounding of the moving earth rolling and returning rolling and returning. I stand aged on the edge of uncertainty, discovery, arms open mind open to every possibility. For Jacob I am lying in a hospital bed. Shot seven times in my back. My children watched. I am paralyzed now but the people in red hats have been taught, to blame me now for my shattered back. On the same streets, they protest. two lie dead shot by a boy who fears he’s not a man and killing makes him so. The long rifle his power, at last. How long has this been going on? The Vikings stole people, as slave holders do, for hundreds of years. The point being, fellow humans, our cruelty is nothing new this heredity of hate grows a stunted family tree all thorns and brittle branches. So what do you make of this? How do we continue to buy groceries swim in the pool drink coffee on the patio and pretend you are not me? Pretend again Imagine the justice you would seek rage that would burn revenge you could take yet won’t somehow because you are a man. Imagine the love you deserve since you are me. What kind of courage do we need?…We must accept reality in all its immensity…the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to meet the strangest, most awesome and most inexplicable of phenomena.~~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet The Courage We Need Is to stand alone on the dance floor. The courage we need is to stay steady see clearly through lies thick as blankets as the sleepers pretend wakefulness. The courage we need is to refuse the safety of the trance. The courage we need is to love with a broken heart, shed fears like leaves to bend, bow and continue. Who Will Explain? The brown-eyed children in the cages huddle under silver blankets that sparkle like Christmas tinsel. The children sleep on the cold cement floor do not understand the wire cages, their loneliness after the long, hot walk through the desert. Do they wonder, as children do, what they did wrong? Who will explain to them this land where people sleep on silk sheets stride, careless, across marble floors after cool rides in shiny new trucks through the desert, drunk on their comforts. Who can explain why these people never wonder what they did wrong? First appeared in the Festival of Human Right Art Journal, NYC, 2019 Bullied: A History She held the dog in her lap, soft-eyed, golden pit bull-spaniel mix. Of course, you know dogs, so you understand she was held also. He looked at them incredulous “This dog has never known cruelty,” he said, recalling how cruelty had rocked his crib. She understands, recalls the fear, the screams. He and she, strangers to safety, uncertain of its terrain, familiar only with threat, surprised to come upon this sacrosanct moment. Later He returned as bully. She returned as victim. Resurrection Nobody was ever drunk on Easter So it was one holiday not dread. My parents, instead of hiding their drinking in the garage took us to the woods to collect moss as the bed for Easter eggs we later would wrap in leaves, coffee grounds, strips of colored cloth, bound in burlap, tied with string, boiled, then unwrapped, earth-colored spheres like stones, like brown-gray shades of bark, streaks of orange, blue, red like the sun over the green-blue river, a cardinal’s feather. ln the woods, we lifted damp moss with care soft, muddy caked with moldy dead leaves that mulch life, carry a fertile scent of sweet loam the promise, of a resurrection understood by my drinking, dying parents resurrection guaranteed by the fallen tree the detritus of fur from creatures all turning, sinking into soil sprouting a cacophony of mushrooms then tender violets, at last, a bud on a branch. (First appeared in Snapdragon Health Journal, 2020) Definitions: Aeon (symbol all-encompassing insight) The Greeks have four words for love: 1. storge, family, that mirrors for us if we are lucky, 2. philautra, self-acceptance So with this in our hearts, clear-eyed, warm-hearted we discover 3. philea, friendship a love that comforts like good soup. 4. The deeper nourishment of course, is found in agape, The beloved community. Those of us, planted in rocky soil growth stunted, frozen reach for fire, thinking it is the sun. Our word for love is need the name for our illusions a fog that hides the shoreline. We navigate by blinding lies instead of stars. Tossed about, dizzied, bruised by storms we call passion, nearly drowned. We think we will be saved by grasping, clinging tighter still to the punctured.hull. Aeon knows love through Body, Spirit and Soul appears as the Star Goddess her companion, Hadith, a winged ball of fire, omniscience, their child is Horus, clear insight. Aeon rises above the waves, to tell us it is almost too late for seasick sailors, lost and weary, appears as an eagle cries out philea, agape philea, agape agape …love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.... and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance…Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything. ― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet Solitude Some say aloneness and its quietude is a nightmare of isolation, the very opposite of love. Some hide under crowd-cover run from themselves submerge in another. Yet, solitude might be cherished even more than a lover. What else nourishes your poems like rain on roses, grows your songs, flows your art? What else returns you to yourself, honors your silence, makes space for your tears, nests you in its bosom? What else leaves room for your questions is the dawn for your answers reminds you of the warp and weave connecting the universe? What invites you to meditation, guides you to your spirit, leads you to prayer? 2. We Drink Moonlight Buddha’s Rhetoric words disappear as exhaled breath and yet become flesh concrete hardwoods steel. Also, giraffes and beer bottles bombs guns Mozart wind chimes and muddy boots. words begun as snapping synapses birthed behind the eyes released sounds spinning into the world naked until armored with our meanings carried across mountains they start wars. built as beliefs by our ancestors are substantial as smoke. Picasso, Einstein and Buddha Walk into a Bar… Picasso takes a swig of whiskey and proclaims “There is blue in the horse!” Einstein agrees. Buddha nods. Yes, blue is in the horse. If you look beyond muscle and haunch, Buddha says, sipping his tea, you will see atoms that sparkle and shine. Einstein smiles and drinks his beer. Picasso says, they want me to draw the mouth on the face they say, where it belongs. They don’t want the eyes on the forehead, tell me to look at statues to understand the body. “As if we aren’t particles,” Picasso says “As if our cells are static,” Einstein sighs. “As if we are solid,” Buddha adds. At this their laughter grows uproarious. The customers look askance, shake their heads, concerned. They tell each other those three sound crazy, and look, one of them is wearing a sheet and no shoes! The other hasn’t combed his hair for days! The three are thrown out of the bar onto the street so arm-in-arm they stroll into the night sparkling. Circumnavigation Really there is no edge from which to fall. We are like ancient sailors still trembling at the horizon. Everything is a circle your eye, the earth. The path is not straight as you come round and return as we do as we all do to where we started which may look like A mandala constructed of your recollections in hues of every color collected in circular order the stories we spent our lives repeating looking for the conclusion but finding instead A Sufi dancing in a circle of light round of white skirt Whirling Spinning Precisely Like a planet and the sun illuminated circumferences all circadian rings of light that cross over over and around the globe. like the deep round sound of the drum, or the singing bowl struck awake its overtone resonating resounding like the echo floating in a canyon gliding up and down the rocky basin returning to its origin. Tell me then what you fear. Tell me, where is the beginning of this moment or the end of the ocean? (First appeared in Sky Island Journal, 2018) Tea Ceremony Every day is a good day when thoughts do not remain. ~~Zen saying Clouds, like memories, are weightless yet gathered, Grow heavy over the light of even a bright full moon. Clouds, Like the fog of old fears tumble and build one upon the other, dark, thick. Clouds, like steam that rises from Thich Nhat Hanh’s teacup float out the window, to return as rainthat quench the thirst of tea leaves. Thay teaches this:clouds appear in teacups,we drink moonlight, and can see clearly through fog. The Dream of Driving Inhaling I notice thoughts tailgate each other in my mind relentlessly. A car backfires a mindfulness bell of sorts to remind me I can take an exit pull out of traffic exhale but thoughts roar to life again overtake me like gangsters in Cadillacswho hold me hostage push me into yesterday drag me into tomorrow convince me they are realuntil a deep breath, like the foot on the pedal, guides me to the rest stop where I watch just watch thoughts like cars pass before my eyes and I know again how these flickering moments of quick bright peaceare real more real than the dream of driving. (First appeared in Spirit First, winner of second place 2020) Why We Go to the Beach With plans laid out like railroad tracks, linear as certainty, as cynicism, rusted by habitual distrust, I navigate by thought alone, obdurate with my belief in diaphanous assumptions. Then, though seldom, I stop go to the beach, let’s say, nowhere significant, you know, not the important places with the important people. at water’s edge, feet caressed by wavelets startle me into my body, mind quieted, senses alert resistance washed away by waves rising, Then falling Gentle as autumn leaves. Surprised, I float buoyed, like the minnows darting past. Sharing their trust, I am carried To uncertainty, A type of sanity, to poetry. Surrender is like grinding out the last cigarette under your boot heel this time for good this time for good. Leaving the key on the table. Shutting the door that door. Quietly Tightly. Surrender is a fist opening the grip loosening from the conviction of how it should have been. Tear-washed eyes are clear now mindful of the wider horizon. An angel or a buddha put its arm around your shoulders and you felt held and you are sure it was it was real. Composition It begins with a rhythm a beat, a pulse rises and falls after the downbeat of thunder when rain sounds like fingers snapping foot tapping on the roof until the swell of a deluge builds to a crescendo and ends with the slow brushstroke of a snare drum. The musician searches for a cadence and the tempo set by water. Unfold Yourself The mind is a small town where the news is old and the air stale with endlessly certainty. It’s where you live safe from possibilities undisturbed by questions constricted by your memories. In this narrow, airless place if you part a dusty curtain, lift the window, vistas open where solutions, like surprises like wildflowers spring up in spaciousness. Breathe. Stretch. Step out the door Unfold yourself like a picnic blanket on the grass. 3 To Begin Anew is all She Knows Chihuly Glass #1 A Chihully glass shell is formed, as are we all, from a sacred geometry etched precisely by water and fire. These secret equations might be understood by calculating eons blazing suns, salt water tossed rocks ground to sand turned solid and translucent curled and bent to correct angles surfaces divided into harmonious parts fragile as glass smooth as bone or a seashell or your spine. Chihuly Glass #2 This is the mystery of energy enough to ignite colored shards of glass into a fountain of blue and red yellow and orange into a fused stillness. The same mystery waits in the candle wick, the match the dry kindling. Against this cosmic background the lifespan of a particular plant or animal appears, not as drama complete in itself, but only as a brief interlude in a panorama of endless change. ~~Rachael Carson Boyd Hill Nature Perserve, St. Petersburg, Florida This land feasts on fire and flood where lightening strikes scrub pines flare like torches. Crackling pine needles play a fiery staccato. Snakes, squirrels, mice (who’ve learned from their elders) burrow in tunnels built by gopher tortoise. The truce between predator and prey will hold below the conflagration as mouse and snake listen together to the racing current of flames overhead. They wait for the certain drenching deluge to cool the charred tree trunks. Grasses turned to ash (a rich burnt compost) will nourish sandy soil needle thin stalks will push up through dank mud towards the steamy sun. Soon thickly green vines wind around vines. Branches cross one another, reach in every direction. After fire and rain Mockingbirds, thrush, kingfishers, hawks call out emphatic declarations while under darkened canopies of oaks frogs and turtles sleep. Upon the humid air floats A symphony of scents honeysuckle, magnolia, fiddlewood, rise in sweet crescendos In the thorny brush a rustling as mouse jumps from the grasp of snake white clouds, backlit by the sun grow into mountains portend the next fire the next flood and gopher tortoise casts a wary, wise eye skyward. Pushaw Lake, Maine It is late August. The bee flutters about a dandelion gains its footing and does its work. A man stands steady in a boat fishing on the quiet lake. The hammock, under two maples, sways in the breeze. I write these pictures to capture the last days of summer. This is a fool’s errand of course Like trying to anchor the clouds. But I persist because I am in love with this moment like a monk bent over his sand mandala adding pinpricks of of color in a corner of the whole. He practices impermanence the one lasting certainty. The long-lived log the swing of the ax solidity split. So I set these images one word at a time bent over the page with reverence for: The swimmer in the lake who does a slow crawl through the evergreen water the tall pines above her watching. The black ant who climbs over the boulder. A loon who rises with a haunting call and geese who talk a blue streak in passing. For now, just now I walk under the light of the moon down the path to the fire pit a full moon will soon empty itself become a sliver, a crescent new. Lagoon, Martha’s Vineyard Here on an empty stretch of saltwater lagoon this gray morning my bare feet scoured by gold-brown sandI walk mindful of the footprints of dogs and sharp shells, rocks, mud. I come to meditate which is simply just to stop to practice seeing. Damp translucent and neon-green strips of seaweed stretch along the shore line.The lagoon lies still under the smoky-pale sky its calm speaks of a welcome respite from visitors as if its heartbeat is steady againso I feel an intruderI will be quiet, walk slowlytake a seat on a weathered green bench. It is high tidea few days after a new moon(said to inspire new beginnings). A swan appears on the silver water,looks my way.The life-long mate nowhere to be seen. I whisper an invitation.I hope she will come to meteach me about her solitudebut, no, she is hereto be graceful and careful, to glide serenely alone . She bends her long neck like a ballerina darts her beak into the water to catch a minnow. She will navigate this lagoonfollowing the movement of the tides the moon and starlight. To begin anew is all she knows. Tinney Creek #1 Tinney Creek runs past under and despite the TJ Max CVS, Target . I live next to Tinny Creek, across from a mall along with the ducks, egrets, and crows and the occasional hawk. Tinney Creek travels back and forth from Tampa Bay rises and falls with the tide feeds Egrets, a families of Muscovy ducks and Mallards seeking tiny prawns, mud crabs, bugs. In the muddy bank grow feathery Java fern rounded Moneywort verdant, abundant as if this was still The Garden. despite the insults of a styrofoam cup, a plastic bag. Here between snaking highways, Dollar Stores gas stations condo buildings Taco Bells hawk has built a nest atop a pole advertising Beer and Low-Cost Cigarettes. The ducks, Ibis, Egret, crows and I claim the creek as haven. (First appeared in Plum Tavern Journal, 2019) Tinney Creek #2 Low tide at Tinney Creek brings a rare pink-and-white-feathered surprise. The Roseate Spoonbill sweeps its ladle-like beak through the shallow water ignoring the styrofoam cup floating past Urban detritus The Spoonbill lifts it’s Dr. Seuss face to me, then twitching its white and rosey feathers lowers its wide baseball-hat- bill into the water sweep, sweep side to side poke, poke with open paddle mouth for shrimps and insects. The Spoonbill is a “gregarious bird” according to the website “who spends time with other large wading birds,” It arrived with an egret now at its side, as the usual resident Muscovy ducks rest like plump buddhas on the grass. “I used to see many Roseate Spoonbills here once,” a neighbor says. My heart aches as regularly as it beats these days at the all too familiar words. There were many once. And yet The Roseate Spoonbill came to Tinney Creek. And at night, arriving home, my headlights sweep over the creek lighting up a sweet stretch of sleeping ducks peaceful despite ambulance sirens the roar of car engines. At dawn they will wake to waddle like drunks and raise their chicks though hawk will hunt them. The creek still alive and fertile feeds them all weathers the encroachments of condos and commerce And so My heart resumes its song. 4. Tender Work Motherhood A tree birthed me. I climbed into its arms Protected from Heat and harm. Hidden by leafy tendrils Birds and I sheltered While she nourished earth Swept the air clean. With age The skin on my limbs Resembles tree bark Years etched, Storms weathered. I recall childhood Her green canopy. In autumn Her fiery, falling leaves My joy. Weedon Island #1 Morning Here in the shade, beneath a tin roof on Weedon Island at a green wooden picnic table we sit and write towards sanity, feeling the soft feathers of a breeze. Above, the blue sky is cloudless this morning. Away from all things hectic, thoughts quieted, we are held by a hammock of silence but for rhythmic bird call Woot woot, pause, woot woot, pause. Among the live oaks Palmettos Scrub pines undergrowth thick and untamed fertile mulch fine housing for turtle, snake and mouse, Here Is reality: Tin roof bird tree sky silence. Weedon Island #2 Shelter My sandals slap Along the wood path, damp from last night’s rain. The peaked tin roof that covers the picnic tables must have drummed loudly last night. Snake and tortoise might have woken by the stormy orchestra its kettledrum percussion of thunder cooling into the notes like a timpani. Do the creatures fear the storms as do we sheltered by cash, cars, and houses? But fear knows it is not welcome where there is peace, not cash, car, house. What the Dog Says Words, as a dog I hear many and have learned people use words like leashes like masks like shields and sometimes clubs. I have no words, but all meanings are clear for me. His tension smells like hot tar. Her laugh sounds like a fire alarm. It is because I watch silently that I see like infants and others who still feel the earth as their bodies. Only people grown away from creation ignore senses remain unaware of each other. With words they name things what they are not (words are best for lying). They do not recognize the scent of fear in themselves or another. I know fear smells like car exhaust. I know love smells like sweet sweat. Fear and love. What else is there to know? I need no further schooling. I am aware how before he speaks, his shoulders rise and stiffen her eyes dart for a place to land. I understand, lower my head to the floor and sigh. They sit across from each other at what they call a table. I know it is the ocean dividing them. At last I bark, beseeching them explaining how painful, how lasting, is the wound from the powerful bite of words. A Field in Maine Work with what you are. If you are a fawn at dusk you will stand still as wood in a field of tall green grass at the edge of a forest your dark eyes wide open watching sparrows flit and fly home through lavender twilight. If you are a fawn, your soft brown ears upright will catch sounds of wind through the pines, like brooms sweeping the sky. If you are a field mouse you will scurry, slipping between a crowd of periwinkle-blue lupines and fawn hooves. If you are a human you will see fawn, pines, wildflowers, mouse know your breath as wind through the pines, and your heart as it beats in fawn and mouse, then and only then your tender work is done. Nest To practice seeing, I choose an empty nest fallen to the sidewalk built into a Tillandsia, the “air plant” that hangs from the branches of trees round, bowl-like A perfect scaffolding. The plants tentacles intertwine Round and round each other The cardinal needs only scoop out the center. For this, dear architect, did you use your clawing feet? Your beak? Both? The cleverness of your construction should not surprise me but I am human. I have so many questions. The answers are mapped in the mind of a small, smooth feathered head which pictured the design remembered shapes, sizes, textures arranged each element composed it all into a unified utility. How long, how difficult was the construction? Thin, sliver twigs needed to be bent, Bits of grape vine collected Then inserted into the Tillandsia, Threaded through the curls of grape vines The stitching secures dry, flaky particles of Live Oak seedpods. This builder knows how to balance beauty with practicality. I attempt to practice the same day by day. What was next indicated in your plans? Perhaps, you decided To lift dry, gray Spanish moss Lacy string by lacy string carried in your beak, flitting back and forth on labored wings Nest to branch branch to nest you knew that moss matted down, then mixed with dirt makes a sturdy stucco Was this an ancient knowledge inherited from Your dinosaur DNA? To the stucco, lodged as if glued is A one-by-one inch square of plastic netting from a bag of fruit. Architect, this raises more questions. How was the perfect size of plastic netting located, then chosen? Was this serendipity? Or was it a memory of a bright white, crisscrossed thing you spied from the air? This plastic web has little function. Did it thrill or amuse you? Who can say it didn’t? And why did you place this swatch of netting On only one side of your nest? Was this a statement? A signature? Who can say it wasn’t.? Or was it for fun? Do you like fun like I like fun? Who can say you don’t? Woven between the Spanish moss, Tillandsia fibers and the fragile twigs are three strips of cotton from an old cloth bandage. Was this only for comfort? Do you like the softness against your face? Like I like softness? Who can say you don’t? Six strips of silver tinsel from an old Christmas tree are inserted at the top of the nest. Are you making a case for beauty? Is this a sign of aesthetics in a life otherwise dominated by survival? Like mine? Who can say it isn’t? The tinsel is fragile, not material for construction but sparkles, sparkles! in the sun. Do you and I both delight in things that shine? Who dares to say you don’t? Like any clever architect You balance beauty with practicality. I attempt the same day by day. I never knew all this about you Your jokes, your artistry Until you stopped my mind one day and opened my eyes when I found your home. (First appeared in Salt Creek Journal, 2017) Ibis and Dragonfly My wings span my world known by me as the places where dragonflies dive in and out of lily pads and tall grasses, statling turtles from their sunny sleep. The dragonfly and I turn with the earth. We sense each transformation dawn to dusk hot to cold caterpillar to butterfly. Life and death dragonfly and I, know is contraction and expansion, the latent liberty in our winged bodies. The dragonfly, they say, is a totem creature of transformation as am I. Look! how my wide opaque white wing changes to mauve in the dimming light of dusk. The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way…As a man is, so he sees. ~~William Blake Advice From a Live Oak in Florida to the Owner of the Mercedes Floating Down the Street in Miami Listenyou there...step back from the edge of the precipice you’ve come uponwith no warningin your mind.Here now, at your winter home in Florida, you stand on the crumbling asphalt watch your Mercedes float by as if it was your yacht.Nearby, as if in a dream, you hear someone saying words like aquifer, global warming, unsustainableBut you don’t understand any language not spoken in banks. You shout your mantraFix it! Fix it!You shiver in the heat under the roof you constructed over the planet. ListenThis is how you got here:You looked at me through blinders and called me a tree. Then you named me:Live Oak.I became a fact you could dismiss or use as it suitedWhen you cut me and my sap ranyou did not recall the stickiness of your own blood. So, I knew that our reunion would have to wait until we had no choice. Like now. Before you were too busy. You dug mines, drained swamps, smothered the soil with cement slashed the forests and fieldsforced water where it did not want to flow. Now you are surprised.You order the seawalls to be rebuilt higher again and again,yet the waves roar at them and they succumb over and over.For comfort, you grab at your pockets for your rosary of coins. On the news you seeCoyotes leap over the walls of your mansion Panthers roam the yardBlack bears rummage through your trash swim at their leisure in your Olympic-sized pools. ou have homes hidden behind steel gates but the animals know these woods and marshes they have mapped the paths in their veinsfeel the contours of the land in their heartssee through the darkand know exactly what needs knowing upon the air. You reach into your vault of millions for your talisman of dollars and find a time bomb lodged in one corner. When this bomb is triggered by the last floods and the final fires even you will become brethren to the lowest insect, the stalk of grass. For the first time, you hear the alarms.Your senses open like a deer listening for the hunter’s next step. Listen, here was your next mistakeYou mowed when it was time to sow. Demolished what it was time to save. You understood how to ravage but not how to prune. Now is the time to listen. Listen to what speaks quietlyin both of us: Live… live… live... The Great Extinction Even if you aren’t a believer your feet have faith in the earth your lungs are believers in the air your thirst trusts in water. We are held, nourished with no effort of our own. What other love gives so freely? This is holiness crucified by those who once again know not what they do. qarrtsiluni ~~Inuit for “sitting together in the dark” While the blue northern ice melts into the sea We sit in the dark together alongside Polar bear. on the tundra’s newly blackened soil. The Inuit have seventy-four words for sea ice. We name what we see to navigate and so we are collecting new words for tears and ignorance. We gather in the dark seeking new ways to set the course over these rising waters. The word we cannot lose is most treasured, we must repeat to each other as warning, as warming together as we gather in the dark together Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me? ― Walt Whitman I Am My hair is marsh grass arms tree limbs stretching, muscular in youth lowering, frail in old age. My heartbeat is a frog’s eyes, a bird’s lungs, a fish’s skin, a seal’s in youth rough wood bark in old age. My veins line a leaf blood, a river inside the leaf breath, is a breeze, a gale the soles of my feet, a bear’s. My bones are rocks, elongated minerals, calcifications. They will be the heaviness of my ashes you will feel in your palm as you scatter me to seed new life. GPS Dirge We have forgotten what butterfly and bird, dolphin and sea turtle know. The young bird and butterfly imprint on the sun and stars, oriented to the direction, pulled by an electromagnetic embrace, certain of their journey home. Above us bird and and butterfly understand the messages carried by the wind, comprehend the news of temperature on their wings, and how the scent of of forest, fields and mountains build a map to follow. Below us dolphin feels Sound waves, the magnetic magic in the ocean too brings sight, a fine echolocation its guide. Sea Turtle moves on a electromagnetic wave as well, pulses slow and sure. Oh, human too quickly losing balance, devoid of our senses, toppling the poles north and south. Constellations We send wishes to the stars our hopes dot the black sky, forming paths of light from our longings. What set stars ablaze set us afire as well, born, as we were, they say, in nebula nurseries. Mother/father stars draw upward our gaze, though we have forgotten how we floated on helium to earth, as electrified dust released from the super nova of numberless explosions children of of planets grown full and massive, dying yet deathless energy transformed, gaseous. Hope is illuminated by mystery a fusion that fuels the living universe known and unknown seen and unseen.