coast starlight

The energy of attempt is greater
than the surety of stasis.
You too can be carved anew
by the details of your devotions.

—Mary Oliver

Emil Bisttram, “Creative Forces” (1936), oil on canvas, 36 x 27 inches

Mountains were backlit to look like cat ears
and the golden hills, deceptively gentle,
were engraved with generational cattle trails.
Sagebrush squat, tilted west. Backyard pools lay
calm behind rows and rows of houses maximized
to worship light from a perpetually setting sun.
Spacecraft occasionally crash-land this far west,
missing the Pacific Ocean by a magnitude.
And then the hypnotic groves of ripening oranges
murmur my fate. The trees changed. So can I.

strictly personal

The Consciousness Raisers

they meet on Fridays when
the women home from the factories & the offices
& on Sunday afternoons

At night they lie in bed
& hold hands
counting the stars

—John James from the collection Kinderlieder (1992)

September 2022

I.
I saw a dream catcher hung inside a USPS truck.

II.
There is a shadow side of salvation, of rescue, of deliverance from a foreclosed future. I want you to imagine the energy needed to be in a constant state of arrival.

III.
I dream. The Pacific Ocean waves are frozen solid; locked, raw and stilled. No sound.

IV.
The news circles like a drain. The production of meaning taking the path of least resistance.
I write about the weather to keep track of time.

V.
I dreamt the Washington Monument was draped in Christmas lights in July.

VI.
I take in the beg and prompt of morning. Familiar neighborhood sounds rise in courage and with stamina. My waking memory, still a hinge, holding onto yesterday.