Monday, March 12, 2012


"Small Songs" -- March 2012 (Temporary Storage)


"Small Song: Midnight"

Although the storm's gone by,
the tree frogs remain silent.
Nothing sounds but a thin drip
from the eaves. The moon's
still just an inconsequential blur.
The world would seem a void
were it not for the burst of scent,
rich and sweet, from the tea olive,
passionate in its rare March blooming.

* * *


"Small Song: Lost"

A few thin firefly luminescences
thread disparately through the Johnsongrass,
final desperate messages blurred to incoherence
by the rising chill of autumn mists.

* * *


‎"Small Song: Wintering"

Brown and split, trumpet vine pods
sway slightly with the wind,
a flotilla of gondolas suspended
by their bows awaiting the spring floods.

* * *


‎"Small Song: Ember"
(For Jackie Shough Garbarino, who asked for a snow poem)

At sunrise, the branches
of the water oak
stretch out the shadows
of their fingers, blue with cold,
across the snow towards
the fading spark of Mars.

* * *


"Small Song: Metaphysical"

A haze of rain obscures the pond.
Shifting verticals of silver, beige, and gray
blur surface, shore, certainty.

* * *


‎"Small Song: Ornaments"

Suspended from the purple tubes
of the chinaberry blooms,
hummingbirds flicker and flame
in the sun that breaks through
the afternoon rain.

* * *


"Small Song: Chorines"

Catkins cluster on the branches of the pecan.
They lift on this brisk wind,
Rockettes kicking high into spring.

* * *


"Small Song: Joinery"

Mounds of discarded gourds
mottled black and gray with mold
rise behind the empty workshop,
held together by the thin stems
and white bells of bindweed

* * *


"Small Song: Library"

Riven and curled in layers,
scrolls of riverbirch bark
record the momentary,
hold, perishing, only
notes on the inconsequential

* * *


‎"Small Song: Vibration"

O buzz! O thrum!
That bumble of thrust,
that jiggle of hum,
that bee that throbs
the secret center
of the jonquil
alive with quiver
and spasm.

(Suggested by Lorna Dee Cervantes'

"100 Words to Vibrate You" from "Ciento")

* * *


"Small Song: Compensatory"

Late frost and drought
have forestalled the clover's blooms;
no mouse-ear sized white balls of blossom
constellate the grass beneath the sweetgums.
Under the hanging feeders, though,
white daubs of songbird poop
look much the same if I
take off my glasses.

* * *


"Small Song: Landfall"

Your dark hair streams down your back
luxuriant and heavy as kelp,
damp with the sweat
that bonds us face to face.

* * *


"Small Song: Practice"

The bronze wings of boxelder seeds
rustle softly as they sway from the branches,
rehearsing dispersal with the breeze.

* * *


"Small Song: Cyclists"

Strung out in a long, thin line
at the edge of the country road,
all alike in black with shiny heads,
their bodies bent and legs churning --
ants on wheels, scurrying in file
back to the nest before the last light dies.

* * *


"Small Song: Palimpsest"

Slight rain slicks the pavement, stirs
pollen dropped from roadside pines.
Random rivulets scribe hieroglyphs,
dark threads through yellow, unread
before scoured away.

* * *


"Small Song: Premature"

Warm March rain nurtures early blooms;
tiny and delicate, the transparent petals
of mosquito wings open, to great annoyance.

* * *


"Small Song: Held"

The storm of the rose swirls
about its center, motionless,
passion sustained in suspension
awaiting the release of your touch.

* * *


Small Song: Divination"

As all's uncertain risk,
I cast above you a tuft
of seeded milkweed silk
to resolve that sweet dilemma:
which breast should I taste first?

* * *


"Small Song: Departure"

To slip away as simply
as a freed cherry petal,
to drift through light
like cottonwood silk,
to lie quietly along the earth
as the willow's shadow on water.

* * *


"Small Song: Search"

Three winter-blackened weeds anchor
a close-woven cup of spider silk,
metallic with morning moisture --
a tiny Arecibo seeking life nearby.

* * *


"Small Song: Solo"

Dispersing clouds slip across the moon,
its light a shifting tremolo
on the rain-hushed field beneath.

* * *


‎"Small Song: Rib"

I want to be a sparerib;
I'll bathe myself in the richest
of fragrant marinades, braise myself
to succulent toothfulness in red wine,
then leap into your hands
in anticipation of your pulling
my flesh from this bone
to join with yours.

* * *


‎"Small Song: Value"

This sky, dull in indistinguishable tones
of gray, appears to be a factory reject;
not even the ragged edging of spent wisteria
adds anything of obvious worth.
Cherish it for its bland astringency
on the tongue.

* * *


"Small Song: Vigil"

A weathered rocking chair rests
on the embankment over the railroad track.
A spill of Cherokee roses fills its lap.

* * *


‎"Small Song: Sign"

The descending moon rests its chin
on the hill just long enough
for its thin-lipped Cheshire grin
to stir uncertainties.

* * *


"Small Song: Meditation"

In the sanctuary of the squash blossom,
the bee chants her mantra of hum,
seeking beyond the self the truth
of nectar, of pollen,
of continuity's perpetual renewal

* * *


"Small Song: Checklist"
(For Melissa and April, who
want to become gypsies)

The bells of your ankles
sing your lithe steps.
Copper firelights shimmer
in your hair's dark sway.
Your navels are deep, warm mysteries.
You are ready. Go.

* * *


"Small Song: Worn"

The late afternoon light tugs
the hems of its bedraggled skirts
across yesterday's mudpuddles,
plodding heavily toward evening.

* * *


"Small Song: Still"
(In Memoriam: Earl Scruggs
January 6, 1924 - March 28, 2012)

The plucked strings
cease to move.
The hills refuse
to end the echoes.

* * *


"Small Song: Fertility"

"I am a field lying fallow."
-- "Field," Laura Lush

There is no full cessation;
even now I nurture the needless,
the inconsequential, the ignored:
quackgrass, spurges, dock, redtop,
pepperweed, brome -- these children
of the random wind who come to me
to find a place to be beneath the sun.

* * *


"Small Song: Enriched"

The whisper of rain --
after absent months --
silvers the night
as would the moon.

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