Past fiddle creek, p.2
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       Past Fiddle Creek, p.2

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I think I know her well, yet I

  can only explain her hows and whys

  in terms of a pulsar,

  smooth and firm and pulsing,

  spinning out some cryptic tune

  concerning heavy dark matter

  and the end of time and space.

  Gravity wins.

  Alone at my telescope now,

  the center of my universe

  dances a deadly orbit round

  an invisible black hole,

  where everything’s torn to bits,

  subatomic particles,

  and then nothing,

  and then less than nothing,


  like what’s her name,

  the one with starry eyes

  and the gentle manner

  of a Klingon warrior woman.

  O blissful whirlwind

  of compulsive self-destruction,

  where will you take me next?

  Somewhere off in the distant night

  a star explodes and in a swirl

  carbon and oxygen and iron race

  toward some vast unknown potential,

  roiling and moiling with mystery

  that summons me

  into a dark interstellar medium,

  somewhere on the outskirts

  of my ever-expanding universe,

  where sirens sing a quasar song

  and infant stars are born.


  On Klamath Lake

  A feverish dream starts to freeze,

  first along the snow-crusted shoreline

  then spreading contoured ribs

  into the soft, steaming middle,

  and what makes it so bright and cold

  crystalizes into the severe opaque

  of the wintertime of her affections

  I realize she’s not finished punishing,

  and I’m beginning to numb

  against frostbitten waves of aversion,

  for this is the moment of transition,

  an instant charged with silver auras

  when I no longer give a damn

  and the hurting drifts off like frosted breath

  I’m in a rowboat without any oars,

  way out on this enormous body of water,

  and the fish are flying overhead

  and the birds are swimming down below.

  I can barely see her on the distant shore,

  a tiny hourglass, cracked and spewing out

  the molten sands of an avid nemesis

  The frigid air, harsh and dry as wisdom,

  makes me ache just a tad, down deep,

  as if I’m experiencing nothing more

  than the later stage of growing pains,

  and what vague little sense it all makes

  seems to be more than enough

  salmon eggs at the heart of the matter


  The Only Truth

  I breathe in sky and give it back

  to plants that process sunlight into sugar.

  Oxygen factories bloom springtime buds.

  My nose whiffs in the pungent scents,

  and crisp exuberant green

  is the only truth

  my body really knows.

  Summertime highs pressure surge.

  Arroyos rechart the course of flash floods.

  Dust devils whirl round weeds atumble.

  Sand dunes turn to glass as I erupt,

  and red-hot raging fury

  is the only truth

  my body really knows.

  Inky clouds blot out all heavenly hope.

  In the graveyard, death’s doorsteps

  line up like granite welcome mats.

  Cool autumn rain mingles with warm tears,

  and harsh blue darkness

  is the only truth

  my body really knows.

  Snowdrifts gleam in frigid moonlight.

  Cold drafts penetrate the walls,

  but you snuggle up close, tell a good joke.

  The hearth is warm, the fire crackling,

  and ember-glow orange

  is the only truth

  my body really knows.


  Orlando Begat Robert Who Then Begat Me

  Faint smells of vomit and urine

  Cigarette smoke and a legacy of sick-sweet perfume

  I sit in a tawdry honky-tonk

  Two-steppers deftly glide by

  They remind me of my father

  Quite a dancer in his time

  He had a penchant for crying in his beer

  And subsequently drank himself to death

  At age fifty-three

  But not you, Ole

  Orlando Isadore Monson

  You out-lived your only son

  More than ten years

  And you never let on

  At Dad’s funeral you said

  “It’s a good life if you don’t weaken”

  I came away wondering

  If you thought I was him

  And now, I wonder still

  I’ve heard the tales of your punch-drunk exploits

  The singing, the dancing, the stories

  All thick with Norwegian yodel

  The old Plymouth that could find its own way home

  Even your ugliest vices possessed

  A simple, old-fashioned charm

  Dark horse, rebel of a bygone era,

  Your insatiable zeal for life made us think

  You were too stubborn, too mean to die

  Shot glass still wet on my whiskey lips

  Hot-bellied afterglow of poisonous euphoria

  Hot smoke further enhances the numbing effect

  Country minstrels butcher another sad ballad

  Shaded figures dance in a Day of the Dead parade

  Each new death, a resurrection of past deaths

  I remember the night you barged into the bathroom

  Presumably unaware of my presence

  There between you and your intended target

  I stood shivering, mid-piss, terror stricken

  My child’s eyes gazed up as you proceeded to

  Blubber and fart and take a leak in the sink

  Dreaming about the Catholic girl you married

  How you got yourself disowned by the family

  Lumber-jacking, building your own houses

  Snooker at the tavern you owned in the thirties

  And all the loopy Nez Perce squaws you fucked

  Near my table, draped over a handrail

  The mop-up towel hangs on

  Like a stumbling lush trying to regain balance

  Nagging pain behind one eye

  It’s time to propose a toast to the memory

  Of generations passing on


  Banker on Your Back

  Zero to sixty

  like a big cat

  pouncing the fast track

  brilliant metallic mirror

  slick and sleek

  and cheetah quick

  nimble coupe or convertible

  swerving lane to lane

  in and out of traffic

  past orange barrels

  flatulent buses

  blazing past those

  “lollygagging seniors

  clueless soccer moms”

  who panic and slam on the brakes

  leaving in your wake

  a ten-car pile up

  But what do you care?

  You’re living a TV commercial

  moving out ahead of the pack

  a cut above the rest

  as long as somebody’s

  sucking your fumes

  you’re happy to carry

  the banker on your back

  you’re glad to dish out

  twenty or thirty grand

  as long as you can backshift

  bap bap bap bap bap

  and nudge your big

  rectangular butt

  right in front of a furious

  bird-flipping taxi driver

  Congratulations, fuckhead,

  you’re first to get to the stop light


  Haiku Postcards from the High Plains

  7 June

  Rustling pine needles comb back

  the long striding mane

  of brisk mustang winds.

  16 June

  Red earth

  turquoise sky

  Indian loaves like blistered prairie dunes

  —the Jemez.

  22 June

  Green spiked, high-plumed,

  desert urchin clutches the rocky bottom

  of a long-lost sea.

  30 June

  Crusty boot

  up side down

  on a fencepost beside molted

  cicada skins.


  Corrida de Gallo Now

  Bumble bees gather pollen

  Springtime turns to summer

  Mountain runoff, a dribbling trickle

  Time for the village rain dance

  Bold young men don Casanova masks

  They swarm to nightclubs, honky tonks, taverns

  All across the land

  Young ladies primped and preened

  Bury a live rooster up to the neck

  Young men, and some not so young

  Angry, frustrated, horny

  We resent the meat-market atmosphere

  Of the ritual but willingly do our part

  We race for the rooster

  On froth-clouded mounts

  Swinging down low in the stirrup

  Dripping sweat from dust-streaked brows

  Trying to jerk that rooster by the head

  From its living grave in parched soil

  In the heat of excitement

  Someone pulls the rooster’s head off

  Women’s voices shriek and swoon

  Sudden bursts of angry words

  Trigger an explosion of unfettered fists

  Beer bottles break

  One noble rider hits the ground

  The bouncer priests forcibly ejaculate

  Thunderheads gather

  For the seeding, and a hushed, post-violent

  Awe pervades the crowd

  As spattering raindrops rinse away

  Drops of blood on the ground


  Noelle’s Pastels

  Lavish mountain landscapes jitterbug

  across the canvas like gnats at play

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