Persimmon

Clouds thick around the edges of his vision, he doesn’t really know why he is running. Thumpthumpthumpthump. His heart and lungs are numb engines, redlined, sweaty. Dodging dark forms, his legs push through a net at his feet. Flash, then thunder shakes the ground. In a moment, his clarity returns. Trees splitting, thick underbrush, and bells. The bells aren’t external. They are inside him, somehow inside his ears and head. His hands are cupped to a hot spot on his stomach.

Rolling, caught, he lands hard against the roots of a tree, and slides down between them as pine needles float above and around him. Flash of red and gold. A cracking sound followed by a succession of snaps and whooshes. The sound is coming from above, close, repeating around him in dampening echoes. Instantly, he is aware of the searing metal rod through his stomach and shoulders. He remembers why he is running.

The smell is Christmas. Evergreen. Blinking lights and so many bells. Cries of excitement. Fire and celebration. He can see his breath, everywhere, like smoke. Face hot, legs like ice, he shivers.

Tipping the bowl of his hands forward, with every breath, he watches them fill with persimmon seeds.

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Fall

When they tear down the statue,

They damage the pedestal.

The politics of prestige requires

a willing base.

The politics of power prefers a

coerced one.

Either way, the foundation must

be repaired.


Stages

I will allow myself that luxury,
pursue it,
the one that begs the blade to close in
much too near, knowing it could
easily enter, almost invited, split the skin
with an unbending silver grin,
dive deep through my ribs, and
knick the artery,
emptying me.

The story on the skin,
is of the nights and lights
I had danced naked against this chance
willing, already spent, when a slip
released clear blood, dried fruit,
and rushed attempts to breathe

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Little Things

When you train your eyes to see the magic and miracles in little things, you open the door for your whole life to shift.

Carol Woodliff


I would

The branch I hold follows behind me, a wand, tip furrowing, carving a border between a psychic fete on the left and my footprints on the right

The distant locus of a beginning far behind me along the spine of a snake, the ends of this line never meeting, the shape never closing

I’m not creating an a wall, an egg, or a jail, though shelter, incubation, and incarceration are choices I’ve considered

This is, above all, a choice. The line marks a limit, a declaration, not an endowment from god or human, or a claim to protect by sentry or trap

It is a personal mark, holy to me alone, and no breech is considered heresy except my own

A quick step to the left and a change of hands would find me still ahead of this tail, still dividing my world, but on the opposite side. The world would know no significance. I would.

Before I drew on the earth, there was no side to be on. After, twins here and there were born. Every place became part of a distinction and every move becomes a direction.


Zero-G

Creating in a space without weight

Expands possibilities, however,

While the scale of the project

May be practically limitless,

Its reach expansive,

Its form efficient,

Skin delicate and bones slender,

And its motion nearly effortless,

The restriction is:

Owing its uniqueness to the environment

Of its birth,

What’s built best in zero-G

Must live its entire life

In zero-G


Memory and Dreams

My memories are never in high enough resolution to be more than visual impressions, literally clouded at the edges with moving swatches of color and light in the center. Voices, sounds, and smells are not actually called up, like watching or experiencing a rebroadcast of an episode. Rather, there is an awareness and inherent understanding of it all, re-living without replaying. I’m fairly sure this is how it is supposed to work.

I just “know” the words being spoken, I don’t actually hear them. I think them, and it’s an abstraction. I just “know” the location, the setting, and the emotional temperature. I just “know” the echo of a feeling, and involuntarily connect back to a facsimile of me when it actually happened. The more powerful and more recent the original experience, the higher the engagement of pulse, breath, and skin tightening in the reminiscent moment. With a little focus and attention, actual dialog and trimmed edges of details can be painted back into the frame. The sound of someone’s voice can be approximated to accompany the words. But this is no more than a repainting and an estimate.

And that is the poetry of memory. Always rewriting, and always fading further into the gray. Intimate with everything going on in my brain, my memories change as I change. Diminishing. Never ever correct. Biased and broken, it is as beautiful and magical as a sponge painting. Last year, oil on wood. This year, acrylic on paper. Same subject, but different texture, different vibration.

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Grand, Day 9 (and 10): Splash Down

Our hotel checkout was at 11am, our flight was at 11pm. We had saved Hoover Dam as our last stop.

Hoover Dam is amazing to see. We went on a dam tour, which started with a short historical film, included entrance to one of the power plants, and finally, access to the museum at the visitors center. We then walked across the dam. I consider myself fairly adventurous in exploring nature, some of it occurring at pretty significant heights. But, I have to admit, my knees automatically become wobbly when looking over ledges, something I know will happen regardless of my mindset. My kids had convinced me to lean far over the edge to see coins that had been dropped onto a concrete ledge about ten feet down on the face of the dam. I thought that they were goofing on me for sure, as they were laughing at me as I leaned over (altogether not dangerous, but nonetheless over a huge drop and enough to trigger the automatic response). Sure enough, the ledge and the coins were there.

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Grand, Days 7 & 8: The River and the Road

By day 7, we had more “vacation” than I had planned for, but I still had more items on the schedule. This day, we drove back north to the Verde River near Cottonwood, AZ. Though our float was unguided, we met our river guide in a shady wayside along a dirt road, where he gave us an introduction and basic directions. He drove us up to our drop off point, where we and a family from California dragged our inflatable kayaks down to the edge of a peacefully flowing and relatively cool stretch of the river.

At most, the water was about four feet deep, and the route was alternately open and shaded. We paddled and floated past desert mesquite and tall rock formations. My son and I got out of our boats to enjoy the cool water. Two hours of sun on the river, however, makes one tired. For the final mile, I used my shirt as a tether from the back of my kayak to the front of my daughter’s, paddling for both of us.

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That evening, I tidied up the house and packed up the car for the long drive through the desert back to Vegas.

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Grand, Day 6: Relax

The home we rented in Phoenix backed up on a mountainous nature preserve. Before anyone else was awake, I hiked a few miles through the nearest hills, watching the sun rise as it brought the temperature with it.

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The night before, we had seen a coyote walking the property. This morning, I saw lizards, quail, hummingbirds, and could hear the owls in the distance.

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