In that odd, timber-framed house
At the end of the long drive
A barely hospitable glance
From a darkened window
Hinted at what came later.

If not for sheer happenstance
The weather would have turned us away
But those black leaves and reddish skies
Cured any chance of despair.
Someone was home.

The winds howled mercilessly
In a scarecrow cry that shook the porch
And bent the makeshift eaves.
We entered cautiously as no one knew
What was really expected.

It was not an unfortunate thing,
We had, after all, journeyed this far.
Only the opportunity to meet someone,
Even, one of them,
Was too great to pass up.

We sat tightly huddled
In the Earthlike semblance of
A rocking chair and an old couch.
We listened, understanding little.
But there we were, listening, wondering,
Looking into its large eyes,
Planning yet another conquest.


The Whole Game

Long past that point
Where pauses mattered, caused distress,
Or lingered for a few seconds too long,
They always noticed the stove or remembered something
Suddenly needing their attention.

That break, or shift,
Is the whole game now,
Played on table tops covered with food where
All may eat at the same time
But never together.

Once he passed her
Too close in the hallway
& she turned so quickly
He nearly jumped, alarmed that
Even an accidental touch
Could provoke so much distress.

The Buddha statue & batik heads,
The ones from Thailand, are quiet, yes,
But there is no peace here.
Only a tortured calm
Until the next time
His arm nearly brushes hers
& they both quickly remember
Something else.

Like a game,
Or what to cook tomorrow.



“I look to the north now,
The space of cold, where the birds fly from,
I listen to the deep heritage I received,
Wondering if I have the wherewithal to resist,
To fight, again,
Like we always have had to fight
Just to live.
I don´t. So I wait.
You come and ask me questions. Alright, then.”

“We lived, ‘unsupervised’ would be an understatement:
We lived taking the food and leaving barely any marks
In the snow. In the summers,
We moved with the other animals, listening to their voices,
Watching their habits until we were allowed to take what we needed,
And only that.
Then you came and for some reason it was hilarious,
How our nakedness offended, or how we had no schools
Or churches.”

“The hills were my church, the forests and fields my schools.
The authority our leaders received
Was given them by good experience, hunting, fishing,
Fighting away those who wanted to put us into pens
Like the animals you fattened to eat
Until you were too fat to farm!”

“Before, Earth fattened us all enough to be food for something and,
When times were lean, we were too, waiting for signs of return.
We suffered, yes, sometimes we did.
We laughed, too, and slept with our women,
Saw babies take their first steps in the tall grasses
And saw our old ones return to the sky when it was time.”

“When you first came,
The undercarriages hid the guns used to shoot at us,
As if we were only crows eating your corn.
Now we have some secrets to give which you want to collect,
Just like you collected the land, and the waters before.”

“I am old and the sunsets are quiet, but they whisper to me
That you and your young ones, the whippersnappers, you call them,
Are trained to eat from plastic which they throw on the fields my
Grandparents, and the generations before them,
Saw as the Source of all.
Too much plastic, not enough good food.”

“You cannot control them, their faces stuck to screens, when,
In my time, the stars thrilled us and the occasional shooting star
Gave us stories for months.
Now, you are angry and lost, frustrated because they are angrier,
And more lost, and you come to gather stories from me
When all I have whispers from the other side that
I will be soon reunited in the great space of flowing fields
And cool, clean streams of water, where I will wash my face
And look up to see a bright sky,
And signs that all is fine.”

“Go get your stories from somewhere else.
Your brokenness is not for me to heal.
Now my days are short,
And my hearing is bad
So I need to lean into those whispers
Which one day, will at least answer all my questions,
And you can have our bones in the soil,
But you will never have had our hearts.”



Out there
The night pitches battles
Against the dawn.
Kids lose.

Out there,
Lies behave better than trees,
Keeping secrets, never snitching,
Everybody waits.

Fires light the sky.
Some winged creature laughs
At the spectacle.

A black roof burns.
We go forward.
Trust is in the bank
And down in the suburban valley
A door slams.

Children cry themselves
To sleep.
The neighborhood sits still,
The “prize” still waits.