Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Keep the purple boots dry

A woman walks her child to school
from the car,
takes a call on her mobile phone
The ice, desert islands
on the sidewalk sea. The boy
tries to walk on the islands,
keep his boots sidewalk-dry.

The boy is too slow. She talks
and gently tugs. The boy says
I am a god. I am Shiva. I will
keep the purple boots dry. The
mother says I am Kali and I will keep
my nine o’clock appointment,

or I will devour the son.
Everything is as it is. There is
hunger. There are efforts
to fight hunger. There is
struggle. And this is love.

-- David Cheezem

Monday, March 23, 2009

Meditations on ash

Mount Redoubt blew last night, after so many weeks of holding its breath, and now we wonder where the dry spit will land. So far, if I'm reading the radar right (and that's a big if) it's flowing up a channel to the west of Cook Inlet to Skwentna, where there are already reports of ash, and possibly to Talkeetna.

Ash is light and sharp, good for dulling paint on your truck or redecorating your lungs. It hardens when wet, but I've always thought that volcanic ash has some value, that it's part of what makes the soil rich for planting. I don't know this. I'm not a gardener. It's just what I've always thought.

The earth is alive today. It is belching and spitting it's sacred innards. It is a good thing that we study this. It is a good thing that we follow the paths and imagine the patterns of this, measuring and tracking the shaking earth. Let's learn what we can.

I hope Governor Jindal is listening.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sonnet 7

Youtube Video:America's Next Top Model Audition Riot

There is no single pitch, no single sound.
Everything we hear is atomic.
Sound as we know it is overtone.
Atoms playing pool in the inner ear.
All sound is like the sound of ocean waves.
All sound comes to us in concert.
I never understood how waves make sound --
the ocean mass, the rush of waves
across wind, the dull, loud multi-pitched
throb of the living ocean below,
screams torn from their throats,
trampling each other.
They were beautiful.
They were waiting in line for someone to say so.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Contagious Wellness

Christ got
too close

to God.
Christ caught a


He walked and

so his
feet pained

him, from

skin, to

He walked
through seas

of thronging

and the

clamor: please
touch me,

or if
you won’t

me, please

me get


Sunday, March 8, 2009


How we figured it out, I don’t know: leaves
gathered in a depression make a softer bed,
a better sleep, fur becomes a pelt,
and now I have a mattress and a quilt.
Someone scratches marks on a stone:
“These are my sheep.” Years pass, thousands, perhaps,
and those marks become an alphabet.
Now I tap this poem on a laptop.
And then there’s fire, not that we invented it,
but we learned to feed its hunger slowly. We said
you may have only the dry fuel I feed you --
these twigs now, later that branch, gathered safely away.
Everything we learn, a room in the brain,
and every room the possibility of another.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Balance Sheet

You own a home. You own the value
of your home. You own a page
representing particles in an account.
You own chairs, tables, furniture.

You have a memory in your muscles,
the way you know
where to touch her in the dark.

You own the fading taste of garlic and carrots,
chicken broth, chives. You own these.

You have debts. These also belong to you.

You owe a mortgage. You owe part-
icles to Wells Fargo for your home,
and particles to Bank of America
for your credit card, the classmate
you barely noticed 35 years ago.
She could come back to you.

Debt is the possession of fear.

This is what you own. This is what you owe.
This is also who you are:
hope, fear, and – oh, yes -- desire:
another kiss, another sip of broth.