For Mother In April

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bittersweet sun, warm on my tongue
ascends on a world without you
I rise from fetal knees

to stand very still, to watch
worn, wooden shelter of songbird nectar
dance on your garden hook

grassy arms wave toward heaven
juniper limbs cup a bird, lost
in bends and folds of branches on sky

though my tear-brined heart will never forget
I can’t help being drawn by the sun
what lives on continues to burn

The Black and the Light

The world will tell you you’re crazy,
because you listen for owls,
La Llorona and lowriders,

because you yell “Burn Him”
under fireworks, “Bravo” for Don Pasquale,
and hiss at the Melodrama.

They won’t know why you need
to dance by bandstands, or soak in cinema
under stars, margaritas on balconies,

why you crave faralitos, Las Posadas,
and piñon when it’s cold, when footsteps snap
through your turquoise fatigues.

 
They won’t understand, when all night long,
you lie between the still and the turning above,

just to take in the black and the light,
that quiet cold filled with the hunt.

They won’t get why you need
to feel stars press into your skin, and
the Milky Way flush through your veins,

why your lovers are Orion and Venus,
who soak their light on you
until they shine through.

 
They’ll think you’re crazy when you tell them
your wheel is slowing, and
that your soul is tethered to the rocks,

because you know you love the mountains
even more when they’re hidden,
and that a living heart will always be broken.

You’re the one who’s woken up
by raven wings and the sun’s rising song,
they who pull you in closer,

they who called you to a life you knew was here
when you had no reason to, no reason at all.

Her Last Third

A woman doesn’t come
to her last third lightly

but after knives and nights
have taken their bites

with guttural noises
and doubting voices

after she’s been to the waterfall
on fetal knees

where the light of death
makes clear the cost of caring

and her soul, scarred-strong,
imperfect and naked,
goes where it must.

my horizon home

my horizon home beckons,

when the ways of words are gone,

and the need to feel is deep,

 

soak your eyes in my mountains,

trace my jagged lines, my curves,

my purple layers permeate you,

 

we are still, yet we are moving,

we quiet ones who never sleep

Pantoum: Literary Key West

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Here we gather, aging ants,

focused, clouds of chatter,

“Education Leads to Freedom”,

my heart becomes Cuban,

 

focused, clouds of chatter,

drawn into the body of San Carlos,

my heart became Cuban,

white marble steps, rising,

 

draw into the body of San Carlos,

Ernest looms above all,

white marble steps, rising,

Jack Kerouac, Elizabeth Bishop,

 

Ernest looms above all,

“Education Leads to Freedom”,

Jack Kerouac, Elizabeth Bishop,

here we gather, aging ants.

Resilience

invisible sap,
she wears the bark
of the weeping willow,
bending to the wind

stubborn angel,
she guides me out of bed,
presses the piñon roast,
sets me on my day

sister of perseverance,
she lives in cocoons,
pawn shops, and
the wink of my grandmother’s eye

lone dandelion,
she eats what her stomach will allow,
what she can get away with,
what her mother fed her

blazing phoenix,
dog with a bone,
because of you,
I am happy to be alive

Sestina: Right Now is a Season

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white stars on a horizon of blue

snow announces it’s presence

in the yawning shadow of a mountain

my mind chews on lingering seeds

left over from a different season

church bells guide me, look for the light

 

as I lift my head, there is no light

the sun a blip on a sky void of blue

in this moment of many seasons

gray is the only one present

chaos of creation encompassed in seeds

dirt made manifest, murky mountains

 

I hope one day to climb those mountains

arms wide open, try to catch that light

let my spirit go to seed

the sky be my vast ocean blue

bathe in light’s holy presence

dare to reveal my season

 

right now is a season

for terra-cotta cloaked mountains

and dusty beasts revealing the presence

of air given form, dancing with light

for a moment masking the blue

jarring loose dreaming seeds

 

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catching in nooks waiting for seeds

lucky enough to have their season

horizon’s hues, the purple and blue

of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

in the shade of the fading light

I can not deny their presence

 

right now is the undeniable presence

of stories hiding in hearty seeds

nurture dreams unready for light

until it is their season

when through the clouds a patch of blue

emerges over the mountains

 

turquoise vein’s shocking blue presence

creeps through mountainsides full of seed,

this season of solar-flare-northern-lights

For A Friend

Our first good times,
we shared my brown suede jacket,
you gave me a bullseye cross.

As miles between us multiplied,
seasons became years,
children owned our savage hearts.

Then, my home became your refuge,
a woodland to your deer,
with little white she-bear.

Now all your beautiful songs
are a solo for one,
and as I look for keys
in this post-everything life,

I see you see me in the rear view.
I can no longer hide in memory.
I must acquiesce.

She Told Me To Call Her Amy

I called her Mrs. Pirillo,
but she told me to call her Amy –
such a young name, for such an elder,
the mother of my 40-year friend –

but not for a builder, a teacher,
a mother, a leader,
an ex-betrothed, who wouldn’t
be swayed from waiting

for the right songbird
to play piano for their children
and dance her eternally
under St. Michael’s full moon.

Villanelle: Descansos Pummeled, Winds of Early Spring

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Descansos pummeled, winds of early spring,

bait and stir ghosts never old,

a bird flies alone, what song does it sing?

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Here spirit flew as if in a dream,

they’ll return until their stories are told,

descansos pummeled, winds of early spring

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Mothers weep for those taken wing,

oh seeking one, the nest will grow cold,

descansos pummeled, winds of early spring

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Grandmothers cross hearts, beads on a string,

welcoming buds in purple and gold,

a bird flies alone, what song does it sing?

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Kindness, unexpected, makes my heart sting,

trumpets blow, life never grows old,

a bird flies alone, what song does it sing?

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