Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Pockets Full of Bees' Wings

—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

From trailhead we contour below that knob
you call The Stetson, creating our landscapes
as we go, with names of our imagining
and our own footprints that won’t last. That
skeletal cedar, lightning-snag moon-silvered
with weathering time—by rights it should have
fallen modestly, unheard with no one near
to listen; instead it stands sentinel, a milepost
on the trail—like the moon, just past half.
For today, the mountain accepts our
temporary presence. Who knows what names
it gives us, before it forgets. We load up
and drive away under the scrolling infinities.


—Taylor Graham

We ended up at those old ruins built into
hillside. Crumbling masonry, free-standing
walls and archways dreaming of collapse;
almost lost in vines. Mossy stone steps
to the mouth of an adit cut into mountain.
            It gave off scents
of history, maybe secrets. My dog sniffed
here and there, but couldn’t tell me.
            Then a car pulled up, a man
and kids jumped out, checked GPS and map;
ducked into tunnels, peered into crannies—
for what? A plain glass bottle, a slip
of paper. They logged their names; took
their token, left a coin in its place. A trade
of remembrance.
            Did I feel the broken walls
sending percussion waves, stone to eardrum?
Wave-lengths broken like the walls.
Tingle in my ears. What was it
            brought us here?

 —Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham

           for Benny

The guy who taught you how to do this
said, rappelling is so dangerous.
You could spend the remainder of your
days without hanging over nothing
on a rope; store the climbing-
gear in its bin like so many forks and
spoons; become a flatlander.
But here you are at the dropoff—a trace
of goldminer’s trail below you.
You’re searching for that miner, or
one just as blindly brave.
Dig the emergency static-line
from the bottom of your pack, position it
around that little stump
the miners use. It could be a bumpy
slide down—your dog restless
across your knees; staring at cliff-face
or the river far below:
the thinnest silver gleam, knife
that cut this canyon. And if
the endlessly eroding walls collapse?
Nowhere to go but down.


—Taylor Graham

Let her consider patiently the unfixed
plumbing, and ladle the memory of Bridal-veil
Falls from the sound of a dripping faucet.

Let him find her quick, fluorescent
smile flickering up, for no particular reason,
on a sullen Thursday.

After the coldest winter night, let them
surrender to the dawn, not dark, though its
sparklers hide behind clouds.

However little they own, let them see
that everything in Nature—the budding leaf
and the falling rain—is theirs.

For the next sixty or seventy years
of their lives together, grant them as much
courage as love.

 —Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch

(for Raymond Carver)

At night the salmon leave
They sing madrigals and
Dance the macarena
At the Foster's Freeze in
Antioch they gather in the
susurration of flourescents
Throw away their maps
Tuolomne, Mokelumne, Cosumnes
Admire and trade autographs
Marshall, Fremont, Tenaya
Screen doors are left open
Should Ninawa, the Inland Whale,
care to follow them


—Robert Lee Haycock

Totem to be lowered
Drum to be raised
Ironwood both
No thing can be this heavy
No stone
No world
No sin
No room for Archimedes nor any machine
The work of hands and backs and legs and hearts
And mine burn o how they burn

 Contra Loma
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Robert Lee Haycock

Tuyshtak sighs

Bunch-grass waves break on sandy hills

Blossom-proud cherries shake off their stony complacency

Silent-winged sisters hunt backwards

Never-dying night candles flicker away


—Robert Lee Haycock

With my pockets filled with bees' wings
And my shoes stuffed with birds' songs
I hang myself upside down
A rock against the heavens
Forever flying

 No fog no flu not a flipping bit of work to do
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Robert Lee Haycock
When I was a daughter of the selkies
I loved you without my sealskin
Loved you and hated you

When I was a mansion-ful of spiders
I loved your treacherous dancing
Loved you and hated you

When I was the bottoms of these pill jars
I loved your darkening laughter
Loved you and hated you

I hated how I loved you


—Robert Lee Haycock

Here before the church

Leaf-laden heads bent in prayer

A blessing of oaks


—Robert Lee Haycock

The full moon dropped into the hills
Just like a brand-new orange penny
Into a gumball machine


—Robert Lee Haycock

Morning tumbles out of that mountain bed
Pawing the night out of her eyes
While the pumpkins plot global domination
And the crooknecks test my patience

I said something that has the mockingbird in stitches


Today's LittleNip:

—Caschwa, Sacramento

What is the difference between
Iced tea and amnesty?

Not much.  Both are means
Of chilling out.


—Medusa, noting that there are two new albums of photos on Medusa's Facebook page: one from Michelle Kunert, and one from Eva West. Check 'em out!

High Chaparral
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock