MTPR

Monday Poems

'Burn'

Jul 24, 2017
Lost Horse Press

by Katrina Roberts

A tower of bales suddenly aflame in Yakima makes
news. Not dry enough, a static flash, indeterminate

cause, though vast lost. Next day, crisp grass beneath
the Ford so he slicks it off. But these things, like sparks

from exhaust—we understand them. What of the wick
effect, spontaneous combustion of human flesh: torso

and arms consumed; bare skull, lower legs intact, rooms
left relatively uncharred while the TV-watcher flares,

'Spirit'

May 8, 2017
Cover Art: Russell Chatham "Hayfields on the Cottonwood Bench," 2004. Oil, 36" x 48". / Copper Canyon Press

by Jim Harrison

Rumi advised me to keep my spirit
up in the branches of a tree and not peek
out too far, so I keep mine in the very tall
willows along the irrigation ditch out back,
a safe place to remain unspoiled by the filthy
culture of greed and murder of the spirit.
People forget their spirits easily suffocate
so they must keep them far up in tree

'I Lost My Job & Wrote This Poem'

May 1, 2017
ClarkCountry.gov

No longer will I swallow hard boiled
instructions. No longer smile at
people I’d like to bite.
Today I am free.
Today I am Mick Jagger’s lips.
Today I am Kerouac’s touchdown in Lowell ’39.
Today I’m Jack Kennedy—ich bin ein unemployed!

There will be time later for assassins.
Today I am Lenin arriving at Finland Station
Napoleon back from Egypt.
Today I am Neville Chamberlain’s peace
Timothy Leary’s PhD
Joplin’s vocal chords
I am used up—but new
and yesterday was my last day of work.

'Stranded At Noon's'

Apr 17, 2017

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.

"Phone Therapy"

Apr 3, 2017
Lilly Ledbetter, REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi / Lost Horse Press

I was relief, once, for a doctor on vacation
and got a call from a man on a window sill.
This was New York, a dozen stories up.
He was going to kill himself, he said.
I said everything I could think of.
And when nothing worked, when the guy
was still determined to slide out that window
and smash his delicate skull
on the indifferent sidewalk, "Do you think,"
I asked, "you could just postpone it
until Monday, when Dr. Lewis gets back?"

'Why Print Books'

Mar 20, 2017
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

'Wooden'

Feb 27, 2017
Kate Brady

by Jennifer Finley

When you feel like a block of wood
when you used to be a branch whipping
up after a lump of snow slid off you,
what are you supposed to do?

You can't become a tree again. You
can't reattach yourself to where you
came from. Yet, you share the same
bark and pulp.

'The Sleigh and the Buffalo Robe'

Feb 20, 2017
Jeanne, Creative Commons

by Bonnie Buckley Maldonado

1935

The big sleigh pulled easy
by the draft horses,
Teddy and Baldy,
sailed over snow banks,
flashing diamonds
marking their way.

Sleigh bells rang out
our excitement,
parents up front,
children in the box behind.

'Bardo Thule'

Feb 6, 2017
Tim Pierce

by Dave Caserio

My brother, expecting, thinking, what?
That the wind would waft our father's ashes
Gently out of his hand, convey them
As though a squall of butterflies, as
White bits of the soul, as wafer
Upon the tongue, to dissolve

'Mutation'

Jan 30, 2017
Ruthanne Reid

by Elizabeth Cain

When you can walk a milefrom your front door in August
and eat wild strawberries,
something changes
inside.

Months later you thrive
when the snow tumbles
down the mountain
and the roads ice up
and you can't even see
your way to the barn.

'After a Terrifying Nap'

Jan 9, 2017
Daniel Orth

by Michael Earl Craig

Gratitude came down
in the form of a golden
grasshopper.

Not golden like a bar of gold
(an ingot)
or golden like honey
or paint on a football helmet.
It was another kind of gold.

'We Burn Good Together'

Nov 21, 2016
Nov. 30 marks the end of open burning season in Montana.
Karl Nousiainen

by Michael Revere

Starting fire in a downpour
is no problem for you and me.
We burn good together.

As we tend the late fall slash fire,
I say, "Sweat feels good."
You say I'm "nasty" and smile.
I see beautiful curves
outlined under your t-shirt.
A small, dried out spruce tree
bursts into flame.

'Buffalo'

Nov 14, 2016
Shawn McCready

by Eduardo Chirinos

In days of old, buffalo dotted the plains
with a soft, light brown.

Their hooves fearlessly trampled these pastures.
This was their home, their vast

'To the Man in the Jaunty Golf Cap, Wow—

Nov 7, 2016
Paul Elliott photo

by Rob Carney

I'm glad that wool was saved from coyotes,
glad for winter with its sight lines, glad for trees,

the way they cooperate
by letting go of their leaves.

And I'm glad for the skill of the helicopter pilot,
ski-smooth even in the crosswinds,

'Rain'

Oct 17, 2016
Jordan Hackworth

by David Allan Cates

A flash on the ridge lengthens shadows, dims the wire
of ravens, and you retreat again tonight.

Madness drives us to bury seeds in what solitude
and night reveal—or perhaps it's only vigor.

Born in longing, words come to life in whispers,
the first truth I know.

'When God Was A Woman'

Oct 10, 2016
Evan Lavender-Smith / The University of Arizona Press

by Carmen Giménez Smith

When God was a woman,
empire was meh.
When God was a woman,
we built Schools of Listening
and every week we sat quietly
until we could hear
each other's thoughts.

No shadows when God
was a woman. Little girls
had great dominion,
and grandmothers

'For Which It Stands'

Sep 19, 2016
Peter Miller

By Gregory Pardlo

For a flag! I answered facetiously. A flag of tomorrow,
fluent in fire, not just the whispers, lisps, not just the still there
of powdered wigs, dry winds. Who wants a speckled
drape that folds as easy over smirch as fallen soldier?
This is rhetorical. Like, "What to the Negro
is the fourth of July?" A flag should be stitched with a fuse.

'Green-Striped Melons'

Sep 12, 2016
Li Talpo

by Jane Hirshfield

They lie
under stars in a field.
They lie under rain in a field.
Under sun

Some people
are like this as well—
like a painting
hidden beneath another painting.

An unexpected weight
the sign of their ripeness.

'Lovemaking in America'

Aug 15, 2016
Simon Huggins / Creative Commons

by  Rob Schlegel

I watch a silent film about the sea and I am forced
To imagine the sound the schooner is making.

Upstairs, you fill the bath with everything that has
Or could ever happen between us.

You think you have lived this day before. Earlier
At the fair we found a magician who claimed

'Rondo Of The Familiar'

Aug 1, 2016
Laurence Barnes

by Robert Pack

Beside the waterfall,
by the lichen face of rock,
you pause in pine shade to remember blue
for drawing back, and green
for trust, replenishing yourself
among familiar leaves
with scattered sunlight.
And beyond those trees in time not ours,
you see our children search

'Sweetness'

Jul 18, 2016
Joe Pell

by Mark Gibbons

Raven struts
Down the sidewalk

Tasting
The air

Shakes its
Tuxedo tail

Dips to clean
The cement

Caws to another
Combing the grass

Hop-Roaming
The plaza

They dance
The Caw-ca-doodle-doo

Tango like
Dada-dandy

Blue-black
Crow sisters

Waddle bumping
Big breasts

In a hornpipe
Dead heat

For some sticky
Big Hunk

Candy
Wrapper

'Eat Stone and Go On'

May 2, 2016
Dave Pijuan-Nomura

by Joe Wilkins

Isn't it a shame, my grandmother said,
silver fork in her shivering fist,

how we have to go on eating?
We were sitting up to burnt chuck,

potatoes in their dirty jackets,
and hunks of Irish brown bread,

'Reincarnation' Lives On

Apr 25, 2016
Medora 2013

For those who love it, and for those who've never heard of this classic bit of cowboy humor:

REINCARNATION
by Wallace McCrea

"What does Reincarnation mean?"
A cowpoke asked his friend.
His pal replied, "It happens when
Yer life has reached its end.
They comb yer hair, and warsh yer neck,
And clean yer fingernails,
And lay you in a padded box
Away from life's travails."

'For Myself'

Apr 4, 2016
Bill Walsh

by Lois Red Elk

This day, I adorn braided
sweet grass earrings handed
down from Mother's Santee
rings of aromatic medicine.

From the ancestor lands of
Father's Lakota family, I fill
pockets with handfuls of
cedar, my protective shield.

Into this circle of morning
spirit food, a prayer surfaces
from the Southern recess of
primal night-dwelling dreams.

I thank the Western powers,
where a mirror reflects
images of the ones I trust—
transparent photos of the

'Names on the Land'

Mar 28, 2016
Ed Dunens / creative commons

by Joe Wilkins

Freeze Out Notch

The breath of mountains
is dry grass and sloped fields
of winter wheat. Their eyes
are bedrock and ice.

Clearwater Canyon

Old men drink tall glasses
of yellow beer and stare
at themselves in the mirror.

Trailer Hollow

A red-winged blackbird
hops across the hood
of a red pickup.

Hog Meadows

'The Time of Irises'

Mar 21, 2016
cc: Gertrud K

by Jennifer Fallein

There is the dark one
with that sheen
of fluorescent green
the impossible color
of a male mallard's neck in sun.
And there is the salmon one

'rainy afternoon'

Mar 14, 2016
cc: leigh_east_photoman

by Lowell Jaeger

we lay with our legs entwined
breath to breath
mattress on the floor
candle-nub sputtering
on the nightstand

windows crying cold rain

our ghosts of persistent forebodings
we couldn't fend off
for long in the troubled face
of imminent consequence
headed our way...

'Insomnia'

Mar 7, 2016

by Bruce Morton

The shepherd has taken leave,
a no account. Wild
and wooly are the sheep,
coutless to the nth power—
flocking sheep, herds, hordes,
at warp speed,
insulating the crimped brain
from respite.

Instead,

'Life at the pace of Secola'

Feb 29, 2016
Secola
Sam Manno

Jet black, coal black, midnight black now unassuming but present.  Her walk strained, each step deliberate. Last winter her urine stained the snow red (ish) (brown).

Once a queen; at our last visit her herd no longer (recognizable); the favorite of Evelyn, not a favorite.

She outlived her usefulness (there), now just another to feed, emotions do not factor in
in a practical life.

Her life wrestled from death…from a bullet passing through the back of her skull to her mouth.

'Happy Hour'

Jan 25, 2016
Snowshoe Photography - Alaska's Photostream

I always forget the name,
delphinium,
even though it was the flower

the hummingbirds
loved best. They came in pairs—sleek,
emerald-bright

heads, the clockwork machinery
of their blurred wings
thrumming swift, menacing engines.

They slipped their beaks.
as if they were swizzle sticks, deep
into the blue

Pages