Monday, September 12, 2016

The History of Wind

Let me tell you the cross-gusts around the Deschutes river mouth will shake your car on its springs, slap-rock a top-heavy U-Haul, whiplash fish-tail a triple-trailer across two lanes—that’s Mr. Wind. He’ll thrash a thousand miles of tumbleweed to flour-fine dust, whip the Columbia into salt-free surf.

But when that big flood came down, wall of water shoulder-high on the Cascades, thick with ice, stone, toothpicked trees, Mr. Wind was in front of it and you should have seen him run. Tail between his legs, he shot out of that narrow place like a cork from champagne.

After it was all over he came creeping back through the canyons, tiptoe over stripped-out stone. Water was beading on bare clay like blood on new-flayed flesh. Mr. Wind called the new rocks home, and he settled in to play. He made all the trees point upstream like signs to Pendleton.

Twenty thousand years went by and Mr. Wind was still busy playing. Then he felt a slice. It was just a little slice, but he turned around to see what happened. There was a whole forest of windmills growing up around the cliffs and every one of them was slicing at him. Little cuts like papercuts. Mr. Wind didn’t know what to think. He thought they looked like trees, but they didn’t bend like trees, not one of them would lean and point the way he pushed.

Mr. Wind, he ripped at the windmills and he broke one or two, but mostly they just spun away when he hit, and then spun back and swung at him like a fast-footed boxer. Mr. Wind danced in fury and he whipped up a storm, he swallowed smoke and spat out lightning and waited for the clouds to clear, and when he could see again there were more windmills than ever. Mr. Wind ran along the ridges and threw dust into the sky, and still the windmills kept slicing away and he could not stop them turning. Mr. Wind was bleeding air from every slice, writhing across half a continent like a coachwhip got run over by a car.

“Help me,” said Mr. Wind to the moon, “Help me,” he said to the sun and the stars, but they went sailing along and didn’t listen to him. “Help me,” he said to the river, and she laughed her cold, cold laugh.

“I’ve been a slave behind concrete walls, pushing turbines around these fifty, sixty years while you ran and played like nothing was wrong. I watched my children die trying to climb dams and my fast white waters turned into stupid lakes. What do you want from me, Mr. Wind?”

“Well, if water can’t help and wind can’t stop, I guess it’s time for earth and stone to say their piece.”

Mr. Wind pushed and shook at the roots of Wy’east and Louwala-Clough. He knocked on the doors at Pahto.

Stone listens slow. Stone listens long. Stone’s still listening, maybe. But you watch out, because when stone answers, it speaks in fire.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

First Fall Rain

although

it rained the week before
I call this first, the rain that fell last night
drowning any remaining barbecue embers

we expect summer to begin Fourth of July
(although
this year it rained well past)
and end Labor Day weekend

although

there’s still a chance of Indian summer
which as we know will always end on Columbus Day
but can begin again on any day, any year

when the true names of mountains are remembered

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

World Enough and More

“Had we but world enough and time”—Andrew Marvell

I’ve had always world enough and more
but time—ah, time—I too have felt the lack,
have watched the tide retreating from the shore

and wondered if I’d see it coming back.
I gathered seashells on the drying strand
but time—ah, time, I too have felt the lack

though agates gleamed upon the emptied sand.
Why discontent? Was I not happy when
I gathered seashells on the drying strand

and polished stones against my shirtsleeves’ hems,
a treasure better than a dragon’s hoard.
Why discontent? Was I not happy when

I spent those hours gathering rewards
there in the space between the sand and salt,
a treasure better than a dragon’s hoard.

If this seems poor, my sight may be at fault.
I’ve watched the tide retreating from the shore
and in the space between the sand and salt
I’ve had always world enough and more.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Windmill Country

I live to the west of windmill country,
I’m a knight on a quest through windmill country.

Flights of white pelicans dazzle in sun
and course the river’s breast in windmill country.

The highway climbs the bluffs to the south
and winds to the crests of windmill country.

Hawks ride invisible roads of air,
can they pass the tests of windmill country?

Power lines write a brand new history
across the palimpsest of windmill country.

Will salmon ever run unchained to the ocean
freed by the harvest of windmill country?

The world is my home, my house is my clothing.
I’m overdressed for windmill country.

Let me dervish-spin, growl and hum:
that’s my request of windmill country.

Let me see and see for a hundred miles
what God has blessed in windmill country.


Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Seascape

3 Word Wednesday: Queasy, unruly, violent

That was easy...

blue ocean waters
unruly violent wave-crests
queasy landlubbers

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Monday, June 27, 2016

Drain

There once was a young man from Drain
Who said “I’m so sick of this rain
I’m moving to Libya
or maybe Namibia
to live in deep desert terrain!”

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Drought Ku

dry river bottoms
sparrows bathe in pools of dust
find nothing to drink

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Punquery

metal-pierced face
taut Lycra, tattered denim
old taboos flouted

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cheapskate

Mad Kane's blog has proved amazingly durable...

When Jason returned with the Fleece
he put all his crew on release
and all he would tender
for service they rendered--
at most, half an obol apiece.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

February Scene

3 Word Wednesday: quick, raw, sassy

bitter wind, raw cold
quick flash of color shakes branch
sassy cardinal

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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Cutting-Edge Cuisine

3 Word Wednesday: Nibble, outlandish, perplexed

outlandish foodstuffs
diners, perplexed and cautious
take tiny nibbles

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

A Long Hot One

Saw it coming far back as February. No, earlier: there was a single stray blossom on one of our camellias before the New Year. All the signs were for a mild winter and an early start to a long hot summer.

And a long and heated campaign season, full of deranged rhetoric and ugly posturing. Which city will riot this year? Who will die to distract us from the utter emptiness of the political process?

Already the grass has died back to its roots and the shrubbery is crisp with heat. Fuel everywhere, lying in heaps, just waiting for a spark. The city has signs out, warning people not to throw away cigarette butts. Discarded lives start fires too.

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

Monday, June 06, 2016

RIP, Champ

Friday, June 03, 2016

Australian Bush Slasher Flick

Getting back to 3 Word Wednesday, after a long hiatus...
Kook. Lethal. Maniacal.

maniacal laugh:
kook, or just kookaburra?
lethal to get wrong

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside