I Never Dared Trespass — NaPoWriMo2

(an ode: Lajitas Peak, Lajitas, Texas)

Once, I imagined stretching myself out
in the dust and rock
at the hem of her red velvet dress.

Hands behind my neck,
Elbows stuck out like tomahawk blades —
I knew I would see the dance of
the shimmery beads she wove into hair
so blue, so black
I would plummet with vertigo into
endless strands of braid.

She was so fine, and so right, this Night in the Desert
that she stuck like caliche in a breeze
to every memory and every dream
of untouchable tomorrows
that decades later
I believe I can reach up
and wind dimmed urban Leonids around me
against November’s “garish sun.”

~LD

“take your gaze upward, and write a poem about the stars”
With apologies to The Bard; One of my favorite speeches from R + J. ‘-)

NaPoWriMo — 1 — A Friend Always Says

“Sadly, this town is not like London” –
no Big Ben to count out
hours of our days
or umbrellas
for sale at every street side café.
No one owns galoshes
only a few have a proper raincoat,
settling instead for a black garbage bag
with holes for arms and head.
Also not like Venice,
though the lightest rain
makes gondolas seem like a fine plan
for transportation, while
buildings of concrete block
belie the mirage.
Nor is it Paris
though we boast our own
kind of tower
and from the hill
city lights glitter
and glisten
romantically.
Not a ranch,
not a city.
In between
somewhere else
and
home.

~LD

Describe “something in terms of what it is not, or not like.”

Betrayal

"nothing is real"

“nothing is real”


You strolled into my embrace
out of desert afternoon sun –
gangly and long, all elbows and knees,
bleached and browned
by summer’s long, slow touch.
Your ivory smile, framed in blurred crimson,
filled my sight and burned my throat
like moon shine.
Words stacked up impossibly,
unexpectedly,
behind surprise
and a kiss withheld
because my ankles wavered
on a tide of standing and sinking.
We were, suddenly,
perfectly,
broken.

~LD

Hugging Stone — NaPoWriMo #24 (masonry)


Belly to earth, snuggling in,
back to stone, belly to stone, back to stone,
ad infinitum.
Warm in sun, cool in rain
the lizards lounge about
in our reservoirs of heat,
sneaking into sunny winter light
and dipping back in blistery boil.
We are earth made old,
time made flesh
and flesh made timeless
like wordsmiths of old
the mason has stacked us here
with care and precision
a poem to withstand all comers.

~LD

Ghosts of a Bass Guitar — NaPoWriMo #21 (New York School)

Though I’m no Frida Kahlo,
against my better judgment,
I invoked my Diego
one August Friday night at eleven forty-three.

On Saturday morning I spent two hours of my life
standing in a sweaty, chatty line to change
my cable service to digital.
Suddenly you were before me —
Eddie, Charlie, David, Garrett, Armando, Jeff, Joe, etc. —
in the guise of one man, a bassist in the band.

I was next in line to update my cable service,
and you wanted to engage me?
Seduce me?
Impress me?
Terrify me?
I turned and stepped forward
to fill out the requisite forms as
a horned toad ran
over the toe of my shoe,
each step a rumbling thunder
across the desert sky
harbinger of death.

In the afternoon of Sunday
Will Smith got jiggy wid
some aliens on my newly
digitized television service
HBO? Or was it Cinemax?
And I couldn’t help but wonder
if my reaction to your visage
was silvered adequately in bullets of
boredom and disinterest to
keep you at bay.
Werewolf with a beat.

~LD

To know where some of this comes from you’ll have to check out the semi-structure provided by today’s NaPoWriMo prompt here. From where I sit, this is a remarkably, terrifyingly revealing poem. Read from it what you will. This was a toughie. ~LD

Waiting, with Blood Moon (a not-quite kenning) NaPoWriMo #14

Drizzling temptingly up from the east
you rise in traditional silver,
while an ocean of desert wind sloshes
against the house,
splashing windows and dashing doors.

A mere reflection of light,
you tease men into strange beliefs –
offense to the brain, lycanthrope, end of days,
or mere bad luck –
you hold no such sway over me.

But then, here I am,
ninety degree neck
waiting to pass – tiniest of shadows —
between you and the source
we all look to as life.

And still you drip, tantalizingly slow —
night gradient black-to-silver velvet behind you –
and I wait to see your perfect shine
tarnish away to coppery
bleeding, light.

~LD

I’m no viking, but I saw a couple of potential kennings here — but it could be wishful thinking. Happy moon watching one and all!

Sunday Saving Daylight — NaPoWriMo6

Eyes still shut
I awake to the practiced, stolen
tunes of the mockingbird chief
outside my window;
I love his
teachery ways.
My sleepy ears enthralled
by his youngliings’ answers:
in tune, if not on key.

A crunch of leaves,
already sun-dried in April,
disguises the crack of a bat
and briefly the rustle
of fifty Moms cheering
in the stands;
I break open soft-boiled eyes
and imagine shadows of children
swinging bats for arms and mitts for hands.

A glance at the clock
reminds me time has changed;
by summer schedule
I’m up early even
without counting the hour I’ve lost,
but I envy my mockingbird
his timeless choir practice
that runs on angles of light
not on the hands of a clock.
~LD

The Trouble with Dust — #NaPoWriMo5 — a golden shovel

(with apologies to William Carlos Williams)

Like wilderness everywhere, an urban desert lies just so
Constantly changing, but not by doing much
Its glowing watercolor sunrise depends
Bug-like, upon

The thickness of industry exhaust, a
long time ago, this city was red
with the blood of civilation’s wheel
that dug up the desert foxes’ barrow

Their eyes looked out and saw the glazed
tangles of steel with
eyes bright from dwindling rain
They walked down to the river only to find no water

The maquilas built the dam beside
The craggy cliffs and stones upriver, while the
Dusty limestone glistened white
All around the rancher’s wife’s chickens.

~LD

The Rancher

We used to see vinegaroons sometimes out in West Texas. All but harmless, the one I remember was 4 inches long and terrifying. If I didn't scream, I assure that I felt like I did.  Photo taken from scorpion-forum.com

We used to see vinegaroons sometimes out in West Texas. All but harmless, the one I remember was 4 inches long and terrifying. If I didn’t scream, I assure that I felt like I did. Photo taken from scorpion-forum.com

Trekking out
in a jagged desert sunrise
and at sunset —
fiery disc hacking its way
out of night and back in again.
Dogs at his heels,
checking feed and water,
recently calved cows
and their young;
driving fence-lines —
eagle-eyed for breaches,
coyote spoor,
and unexpected predators.
Noting the occasional wonder,
maybe a star-cactus
out of place,
an arrowhead,
a pictograph,
a tarantula,
a vinegaroon.

This is NOT "the" hat. But I added it for effect. From antiques.about.com

This is NOT “the” hat, but it was John Wayne’s hat. Close enough. ‘-) From antiques.about.com

I imagine his days,
and a light gray
felt showdown hat
comes to mind —
sweat-stain continents
mapped around the
brim and leather band –
places he dreamed up
under long rays of desolate heat,
stories unspoken,
gone now, along with other fictions.

~LD

Las Mamás Esperan que Volemos (The Mommas Hope that We Fly)

Ah, the chamberlain (if I'm not mistaken), pathetic fellow, he is.  Taken from planetirk.forumotion.com

Ah, the chamberlain (if I’m not mistaken), pathetic fellow, he is. Taken from planetirk.forumotion.com (film reference The Dark Crystal [1983])

The poor fledgling trapped in my carport looked like a Skeksis. They always do. I can’t help but feel sorry for the ugly things. First off, they’re so pitifully ugly in the midst of molting before they can fly, but after they’ve been cute and fuzzy with baby feathers.  When they get stuck in the carport, as one or two does almost every year at about this time, they always find the same perch under the bench and won’t be persuaded to move more than a hop or two. Usually within a day or so, the local street cats, the bite of starvation, or the roasting spring sun catch and break these fallen nestlings. But this guy had cojones.  All week I watched him go from hobbling the ten feet from my washer to the front gate, faling to fly and then, finally, flying short distances inside the carport and a little beyond.

Every day an army of grackle mommas that live in the tree out front kept a close eye out for any threatening movement from the cats and me.  These are serious mamasotas.  They are not to be crossed. Their presence makes clear why Hitchcock’s The Birds is such a scary movie. As I hung up the laundry last Saturday, I found myself cringing under their screechy scrutiny; there were ten or so worrying the top of the high wall around the laundry space. Even though I didn’t see the fledgling at first, I knew he had to be there somewhere; the mommas army doesn’t deign to notice me unless there’s a baby hiding out.

Sunday morning when I went out to collect the laundry, the main momma — the one with goodies in her beak — sent all the others to harangue me while she looked for the little one. Grackle mommas, aside from being vocal, are quick and wicked looking. I crept back inside, figuring the laundry could wait while the little one got fed. Monday and Tuesday I dashed in and out of the house warily, bearing glares and warning squawks with a mix of patience and trepidation.  I’ve read that crows and grackles recognize human faces and have been known to attack offensive people.  I didn’t want to accidentally do anything to offend.

Fallen Chanate / grackle, before flight

Fallen Chanate / grackle, before flight

By Wednesday he had perched his ugly Skeksis-self atop the bougambilia bush. I was impressed and hopeful that he’d been able to fly high enough to get to that point four feet off the ground. Not wanting to scare him, I neglected watering the plants. I explained the situation to the airplane plant, the ivy, the rosemary and thyme – begging fotbearance — and then stealthily refilled the water bowl I’d left out for the stranded fledgling.  The next morning he was nowhere in sight, and Momma only fussed briefly as I left for work.  When I came home yesterday afternoon he had not come out of hiding, but I’d seen him fly quite high, so I decided that he had finally gotten strong enough to fly himself away. My hope was heightened to a kind of glee when my neighbor told me this morning that yesterday he had seen the bird fly from the carport all the way up to the top of the seven(ish)-foot high perimeter gate.

Today, Friday, he lay there in the fiery afternoon sun, fat, molting, and covered in soapsuds.  His little body had tipped over in a puddle, his beak pointing south, open a crack, still in wait for the day’s feeding, his feet like broken twigs flopped uselessly. The dead fledgling simmered in a soapy soup on the concrete between the hot water heater and the washer.  I hadn’t liked him hanging out in my carport all week, and even less did I appreciate his mom’s scolding each time I went in or out with trash, to water plants, wash clothes, hang clothes.  I guess I should be glad he’s gone, but I’m curiously sad.

He came so close to flying free against the high, endless blue, croaking his misanthropic “song.” Early on, I could have shoo-ed him out the big carport door onto the sparse grass below his home tree.  I could have tried to put him in a cage and feed and water him there.  But I decided to let him use my whole carport to try to find his own way.  I guess that’s why I’m sad.  Of all the options available to me as a witness to his strife, I did the best thing I knew to do: not interfere, keep an eye out (momma grackle, me), make resources available that he couldn’t have gotten on his own, and wait for him to take wing. Maybe next year. ~LD

* * *

A few process details: After a draft workshop on Tuesday with the sophomores (oh, how I love the sophomores) I almost didn’t finish this.  The earlier incarnation had great description, but was purposeless — the fledgling was still living at that point.  But today, after finding the fledgling dead during housecleaning, the REASON came into being.  I remembered being one of Momma and Daddy’s “arrows” set free to fly into an unknown distant future. No other note is needed here, I think.

Glad you dropped by.  Leave a comment if you are so inclined. ‘-) No matter what, have a great weekend.  Summer cometh. ~LD