Monday Poems

"in god's world"

May 25, 2015

questioning gods and wars
are acts of treason.
hell is the reqard
for questioners;
prison for not playing
by the rules. not
doing what you're told
can get you killed
in war, and isn't it
more or less always war
in god's world?

don't be deceived
by snakes or moles.
come inside the temple.
the exterminator
will keep you safe
from the vermin
out there who scratch
damp, fecund dirt
and wallow like swin
in their own
sweet pungency.

"Moment: Grand Canyon"

May 18, 2015
Grand Canyon National Park Service

We have just arrived.
We are standing on the south rim
looking down, feeling our bodies slip

and fall away from us past the cliff face
into that deep space below. We feel light
and small now, our equilibrium shaken, as we watch

the raven riding thermals, its sleek black feathers
shining in the sun as it glides just above the rim
then drops down again. Out across the chasm

Shiva's Temple rises above a moat
of mist and seems to float. Someone aims
a camera, someone puts his hand in his pocket

"why print books"

May 11, 2015
Sabda Press

why print books he said
who needs books these days
everything's on the web

well i wouldn't know i said
i still enjoy turning pages
in a chair by the fire

still window-shop mainstreet
still relish a big screen matinee
buttered popcorn jujubes and milk duds

still sit and think about how
all last century carriages went horseless
and horses thank god are not extinct

still long for real letters in the post
the effort of someone's penmanship
the dear and sincerely yours

"Stranded At Noon's"

May 4, 2015

Now that wet street smell
evening rush hour,
and I have a flat tire.
This morning
a dead dog in the ditch
a black roamer who would come in
and leave our yard sniffing.
Now this rain
this stranding at a gas station
this dead dog in the ditch day.

Two bearded house painters
push through the glass doors,
decide out loud not to pay taxes this year.
No forms in the post office
the day before they're due.

"Six Women Laughing"

Apr 27, 2015
Sean Dreilinger

Backdrop: spirit mountains,
rustling trees, sounds and scents
of late spring. Evening sun
squanders deepest crimson.
To this we drink and to our lives
come together fleetingly and full.
Birds flash at the feeder, call
of an Eurasian dove, an enormous
bee bumps into the glass.

"Normal"

Apr 20, 2015
Paul Sullivan

At the Helena bus depot a deaf man and his sister
wait in a hard, sideways wind.
When the driver asks the man a question,
he points to his ears and shakes his head No.
Raising my eyebrows, I tilt my head,
circle a shape in the air with my hands,
sign language
?
His face breaks into such a good smile.
Yes! He nods his fist at the wrist, Yes, sign.

"Knee-Deep"

Apr 6, 2015

The body—god box—holds
the stuffing, blunt-winded plot,
until it doesn't

    tissue of tiny details
soaking up gestures of wedding
parties, neurons, steering wheel,
sugar bowl, the solarium

the nectar ebbs from the design

an autopsy, the openings filled with liquids,
already locked-out of the house, embarrassed

The river bank has been dented—
material ghost, the knees lock-kneed, knee-deep

What is left is fact and its antihistamine

"Outskirts"

Mar 16, 2015

Slept by a flat mud
reservoir with sandhill cranes
cluttering sound
all night

way out here
in the dragging wind.

We go for breakfast
smelling like sage, cow and creek water,
small town diner
a new mural half painted across old brick.

Remember how the waitress accuses us
of stealing postcards of their local boys
hometown band?

I tell you, she will not relent
despite all our defending
in our bright polypropylene fleeces
and reflective shoes.

"Holding The Stone"

Mar 9, 2015

You must hold it close to your ear, and
when it speaks to you, you must respond. - Richard Hugo

I found it by the Clark Fork
on a high bank above the river
where someone dumped remains
of an old road, broken slabs
of concrete crowding the river stones.

I admit my first thought was throw it,
skip it on the surface going gold
in sunset, dimple the water like
whitefish rising, give it back
to the river that gave it shape and color.
But once in my hand its calm
And luck took hold.

"Muriel"

Feb 23, 2015

My mother held out for tangerines.
They were more willing than the orange,
Rare as China, still, and carried the
Thought, which was never spoken,
That life was no more than that.
Peeling them now in the darkened
Kitchen, the taste of them almost in
My mouth. A mouth forged
From the soft melding of two others
Slipping open like caves found
In darkness, moistening the sweet,
Heavy air that fell between them
With the thought that was never spoken.
My thumbs enter the skin
No differently than did those

I was there
as the rain
hesitated;

drizzle contemplated
itself.

I could feel
the world changing
its mind.

Until the drops
thickened into
glycerine.

Like I was there
at snow's invention.

The sound changes,
you know,
once the snowflakes
hit the ground
they decide
to rejoin

The day was wild with certainty.
For a small moment there,
I knew what matters.

"Winter Feeding"

Jan 26, 2015

for Ralph

It must be the kind of work.
The hauling, the pitching,
the sour bale we heave aside,
the extra strength that takes.
It must be the crafty figuring—
Let's short tonight. Hell, we
spread extra last night.

What he would say to that,
the joke he would make.
The off-chance falling star
that caught him wide-eyed
on top of the stack. Wrassling
the froze-up end of a bale,
cutting and cutting twine
that won't let go The knife
that won't close right in fingers
clumsy with cold.

"Sacrilege in Monterey"

Jan 12, 2015

Just down the street
From the Guilded Cage
Where James Dean married
Some guy in gold chiffon

The graffiti above the urinal
In the Bull's Eye
Tavern is quite explicit
As we piss away the day

"Sacred cow makes the best hamburger."

----------------------------------------

"Frosted Marsh"

Dec 29, 2014

Marsh-grass like a bank creature, black-footed and salt-tipped. Twilight
in the water grown tinsel. You're drawn to them heavily, a clarity
stilled, waiting for the body to catch up. No more events, parties, no
more running ahead but here with the fever, with what is wrong. The
evenings will be long. You will be alone and scared. This familiar out-
of-season, not of harvest but of fast, thrift and reticence, faced with
the same flaws. Look, the ghosts are calling. Will you ignore them

Not Ursa Major, whose outer edge
points at Polaris, our North Star,
or the seven sisters of the Pleiades,
the six daughters of Atlas who shine
dark nights for the one who is lost,
but the little slate-black river bird
always rocking and bobbing
to an inner music at the edges
of ice, slick stone and cold water.
The one who flies low and goes
down under the surface to see
what the fish and the water spirits see,
down in the current where sun
and stars stream and smooth
the hard edges, regrets and fears,

"Itinerary"

Dec 8, 2014

Monologues of white interiors
time-dried of water and wind

crowds gather in history's emptiness
weightless in the hollows of memory

description without witness
so long ago lost.

-----------------------------------------

"Five Bars at the High Spot"

Nov 24, 2014
Frances McCue
Haley Young

It worked like this:
we clung to our telephones,
searching for clearance.
I rang for you over the river.
All water goes slant
to the place you need
most: mouth, sea, tributary,
and then into books
we love.

So you answered. “Hello,
great signal, wild scenery.”
We craved the high spots
and now you’d said it
up on the ledge of perfection
phone activated, scene made.

------------------------------------------------------

"The Milltown Union Bar"

Nov 10, 2014

for Harold Herndon

(Laundromat & Cafe)
You could love here, not the lovely goat
in plexiglass nor the elk shot
in the middle of a joke, but honest drunks,
crossed swords above the bar, three men hung
in the bad painting, others riding off
on the phony green horizon. The owner,
fresh from orphan wars, loves too
but bad as you. He keeps improving things
but can't cut the bodies down.

"Outside the St. Ignatius Mission"

Nov 3, 2014

We must be poets to hear from home
on nights like this. The moon
has a thousand echoes
in mud puddles all over town.

The old Mission looms behind life
like something so terribly lost
that life anchors to the loss.
Its aged walls wane to ghost at night.

Through stained glass dim candles radiate
like the soul of something ancient
through the continuance of itself.
Home is a deeper place,

submerged here by the landing of this world
we cannot have
God no longer thunders
from the sky, but whispers

"Life"

Oct 27, 2014

To maintain balance of the soul
Is our ultimate goal
For death and life are foe
But yet together stroll
Between the stars and the grasses
As crescent moons come and go
With each winter of snow
May you walk in beauty.

---------------------------------

Poem For October 20

Oct 20, 2014

Today's poem is untitled. It was published in chasers of the light: poems from the typewriter series, by Tyler Knot Gregson.

What good
is a half-lit
life?
You
can burn me
to ashes
as long as I know
we lived a life
alight.

"Responsibility"

Oct 6, 2014

At the lower fence line under the stars
he hears what at first he takes
to be the neighbor's mare,
come to investigate his apple pocket,

but then gets that neck-chill
and knows otherwise and turns
to see by starlight alone a dust devil
spitting along perpendicular to the wire

and straight at him. He's seen thousands
of the things but never crossed paths
with one on foot, and watches
as long as he can before the grit

"Tide Blossoms"

Sep 29, 2014
Duane Niatum
Klallam Tribe, Native American, poet

She and I alone step down the shore.
I hold her close because she's a daughter of the sea.
We watch boats cross the jetty's corridor.

The autumn storm strikes our bodies with its lore
as the voices of the wind we hear and seek.
She and I alone step down the shore.

The clouds that spark return the blue to force;
the rain drowns out the breakers ebbing reefs.
We watch boats cross the jetty's corridor.

"The Hermit's Work

Sep 1, 2014

They'll wonder
that I left

my things—

my name on folded forms,
the job I did.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

"Magpie"

Aug 18, 2014

Magpie
infernally
multiple,
gangster-gaggle
in a poplar snag,
long liver,
egg sucker,
eater of eyes,
murderer of unfledged
nestlings,
carrion cleaner
of our own
assorted
homicides –
deer,
dog, feral
cats, porcupine, never
mind,
hardly
a blood trace
left
by the next
afternoon –
glorious harlequin
Magpie,
coal snow
burnt ash
night moon
examiner,
and us
except as surfeit
flesh
found
wanting.

" Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout"

Aug 11, 2014

Down valley a smoke haze
Three days heat, after five days rain
Pitch glows on the fir-cones
Across rocks and meadows
Swarms of new flies.

I cannot remember things I once read
A few friends, but they are in cities.
Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup
Looking down for miles
Through high still air.

----------------------------------------------------------

"What Silence Is"

Aug 4, 2014

The Adagio in Rachmaninoff's
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor
is so sweet-sad you stop what
you're doing, you can hardly
turn your ears from its deliberate
infiltration, you remember
what you didn't want to remember,
the sweetness of early love,
the sad days and nights that follow,
the way days and nights collapse
into one another in the fury of live
which is so like what later you call hate,
there are no laws for this, shrapnel, shards,
shattering, the indistinctness, the disappearances,

"The Solitude of Ophelia"

Jul 28, 2014

...We know what we are, but know not what we may be... Hamlet, IV. v 44

My eyes open, lettuce leaves,
curling cabbages to look bitter inside
my terror, a skinned spine.
Creature of death, I welcome and eat you without pain.

The monster heart
gone to weeds.
I make mental contact with the lovers
watching TV in hotel rooms, share
wine with the carpet, spend
every buck I have.
Sell the typewriter.

"Montana Inventory"

Jul 21, 2014

At 85 miles an hour an insect splattered
like saffron on the windshield
and a white cloud in blue sky above the
     speed-curried bug

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"In A Field"

Jul 14, 2014

Here, in a field
Of devil's paintbrushes,
The circle of far trees
Tightens, and near bushes
Hump like ruins
When the moon floats loosely
Past the desolation
Owl moans wake. Here,
As if the world's
Last lovers, we
Have rung from the ruins
The whippoorwill's
Thrust of melody.
You have fallen asleep,
Breathing as the wind breathes
Among wetted thistle,
The scented vine,
And, listening, I move
My body toward you,
When a small convulsion
Shakes your hand,
The moonlight flashes

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