Friday, February 10, 2012

Hunger Moon of Transformations

Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

The full Wolf Moon—the Hunger Moon
of Transformations—
tonight is obscured. Without a light,

I walk out the door, around a corner
into dark. Dark of coyote,
cougar, owl, and spinning spider.

No sound, no stars. Sky a muffled glow
as if angels lit torches
above the clouds. From somewhere

inside, a webbed rhyme, a perfect strand
of words. Not words—
a thrum that echoes in the blood

if I walk out blind with no star-guides,
no destination. Words get lost
where the woods bunch together

in a dark broken off from the rest of night,
too tangled to show a way. Maw
of oak and willow. Things get changed

here. Everything I wrote goes
roaming, to catch on roots or spider's web,
or maybe fly free above clouds

where I'll never know them
for my own. Alone I keep on walking
under the cowled moon.


—David Iribarne, Sacramento

Sunday winter evening
watching a movie.
My mother and I are locked
into the movie about
how this couple survived
ten days in a snowstorm
with not much gas, food or time.

My mother says—“All this snow reminds me of home.”

There were snowstorms in Canada;
many of them left my mother stranded
waiting, wondering why.

She tells me frequently
the snow covered sidewalks
right and left until snowplows
scoured down the hills of snow.

She survived cold weather
day in day out
walked through snow
back and forth.

Now she is trying to build strength
to live through another snowstorm.

A snowstorm like no other, it only affects her.

She must harrow through
the throbbing pains of each day.
The sun never shines
only snow falls.

Canada’s winters have taught
my mother to be strong,
but this storm is too powerful,
too much snow to plow through.

Yes, cold weather helped
my mother become strong,
but it never prepared her
for the never-ending snowstorm
screaming inside her body.


—David Iribarne

It slithers through the ground
like a snake—difficult to detect.
Waits to find just the right body
to prey on and slowly destroy.

Hunts, scoping every body part
to see if it has what it needs
to survive and then devour it
piece by piece.

Pounces on its victims
when they least expect it,
dragging all the energy
from their bodies.

Comes in many forms
lumps, bumps
changing lives forever.

It fights the victim,
building strength as it hacks
at another part of the body.

Once it gets inside
it swallows everything
in its path:

breast by breast
bone by bone
heart by heart.


—David Iribarne

Used to be strong, earthly
rock hard, invincible
sometimes able to withstand anything.
Now breakable
deteriorating, cancerous,
hurts to move them.
Always ache
never feel good
don’t withstand anything
weak, fragile, frail.

These words describe my mother’s bones.


—David Iribarne

She lies on the couch
waiting for Jeopardy to start.
Plays the game show
with the contestants.

The six categories:
Song lyrics
Famous Quotes
Wars of the World

Her best subjects
are Wars… and Medicine.
The commercials come on,
she has watched these advertisements
too many times too care.

Runs her hands through what
little hair she has, presses
against the table to get up.

Walks slowly into the kitchen
like she is way beyond her years.

“Mom, it’s time for Final Jeopardy.”

She walks gingerly back in
again answers the host’s questions.
I sit, watching, knowing no matter
how much information is gathered,
no matter how much
research is completed
the answers to her important questions
will come too late.


—David Iribarne

Five of us at the dining room table,
giving thanks for our food,
for each other.

Mother doesn't know
what to be thankful for.
Maybe that the gut-wrenching pain
is only in her legs
not her back,
that she slept peacefully last night
without screaming
about the torture,
or that perhaps she'll
eat today without vomiting.

Guilty for her ungratefulness
she thinks she should
be thankful that she's alive,
but she realizes
that the bones of the meat
she's about to eat
are stronger than her own.


—David Iribarne

She may have lost
the strength to work.
Bones too fragile
can’t take the pressure
of standing for several hours.

She may not be able
to get up as quickly
as some people do.

She may not eat
or sleep as much
as some people.

Her life is definitely
not as active as before.
Now her activities are:
getting up in the morning
watching talk shows
where people gripe about their lives
game shows where people
jump when they win,
and worrying about dinner at day’s end.

Despite this life of not being
able to do the things she used to,
she still has her spirit.
Not always high, but always there.

It will continue to be there
through all the pain and sorrow.
She will continue to live through her spirit.


Today's LittleNip: 

The moon is brighter since the barn burned.

—Matsuo Basho



Photo by Taylor Graham