Lightning Complex


The fires came from the sky.

Silver sucker PUNCHES to defenseless mountains;

they just took it.

In the morning ten thousand hungry fires

were seen m a r c h i n g toward each other

throwing forests into the air

where they flew like ANGELS

to a world of dreams

blocking the sun, watching us all

the vapor of one million trees

From tongues of CLOUDS.


Now the siege is ending.

The human mind contrived to-stop-the-flames

and I can not say what is right

what is the proper voice of Earth and Fire.

I can not see the Future

but I can see the M OU N T A I N S.

their hearts beat just below the skin 



When you are swimming and

You crawl out of the water

On to the wrong beach

but the mountains are not your mountains

The sand is different

even the air smells wrong,    

Poetry will save you.


When you wish it were different

you didn’t mean it to roll out and break.

Everyone can see the bruises.

Locate a cave in a rock, go there.

Once in the dark you sit

covered with ancient dust.

On the wall in some glowing chemical;

Poetry stares back at you.


When all voices are voices of your captors

there is no river or stream, not even milk

and you have been left to look for crumbs…

Poetry, once again your hero.


When you are cut and bleeding

battered and numb

with a plane ticket you can’t use

and a broken axle in the twisted heat;

watch the tow truck.

It may be followed by a dozen Western Tanagers

singing about the irrelevance of tropical birds;

“We are the real color” they say.

Poetry is their best language.


It is always Poetry

Dangling from the lip, stuck in the heart

Pouting and forgiving.


On the reservation

You reach into the glove box and pull out a small bottle.

Give your Navajo guide what money you have

You ingest Poetry

Hoping the visions will summon the muse.

You drive away though the wind is full of grit

It works upon your scalp

and down through the layers of skin

evolved to cover your mortal pieces.


Poetry saved you

there…… and there…… and there.

Your pins and glue, tears that track

And run through canyons becoming your rivers.

So here on some sand altar

You sacrifice yourself to Poetry.

You came back, you … the prodigal.

You cry real tears with your head in the lap

swear your fidelity like before

then you are swallowed and you are home

this time for good.    


Protected in Drawers


Ten thousands days I have walked

So here, these faded photos

now your grey whiskers

but on edge of a sweet, cold river

bank moss and layers in the shale

and bedrock.


In seeing these I say,

“I do not remember that

but see how young,

how long ago”

How far this righteous cliff edge

We have walked

Taking turns holding the map

And saying,

“I believe it is just over the next rise.”