TEACHING THE CROSSCUT
What kind of father teaches his
little girl to work one end of a two-man
crosscut saw? A little girl
who thinks it’s more fun than kitchen-
labor slitting a plucked chicken,
pulling out intestines gray-iridescent
as oil-slick after rain.
A girl’s quick to learn the art and lingo,
teamwork with double-handed
grip; the scent of woodgrain;
rhythm like a dance. Decades later—
mountain patrol, a winter-
fallen lodgepole’s athwart the trail.
Crew boss takes a crosscut
saw from the truck, she
grasps a handle, and it all comes back.
The rhythm of woods-
work; her father, dead for years, alive
on the cross-cut’s far side.
That boy lost on Silver Fork by sliver moon—
did he wander from camp unthinking?
He told searchers nothing of surviving a cold
night without supper; what went through
his mind; who was his teacher?
Mountain creek rushing summit snow
toward ocean, carrying its till of rock-scrub
eroding its way as it goes.
Tibetan monks visit our town
each year, creating sand design of this world
with just one flaw; then carrying their
mandala to the river, giving it up to currents
of wind and water, de-creating to cleanse.
They say, once you’re found,
so much is forgotten. What might that lost
boy recall to tell his son or daughter
of a moment-by-moment night
under thin blade of moon? what was un-
created, whitewater angels carrying it away.
What is this strange box
appearing in cat’s domain?
No good for napping—
if given sufficient time,
black Latches will get inside.
MY FAVORITE TEACHERS
They’ve never spoken a word of English. They’re prone to long unscheduled naps, from which they leap four-legged like electric current to a light-switch. They’ve taught me so much: never trust a two-legged to do what it says it’s going to do; there’s more to the world than meets the eye; just being asked to do a job is a joy in itself; relish every moment but be ready for the next command; quiet can be the best company.
my dog studies me
her eyes a path between us
open to the world
DREAMING A PLACE I KNEW
Just another hilltop bulldozed flat as a mesa,
soon to be condos in the traditional style
of too-pricey for the common working man—
I’ve walked hills like this with my dog,
fields weedy and lush with green after winter
rains, singing with seasonal creeks,
their beds paved with native rock
like worn tiles of landscape. We don’t
walk here anymore. Fences
to the edge of traffic resistless, roaring
off the mountain, headed for suburbs, cities,
malls. A dream dreadful? Down it comes.
You’ve been in tech-frazzle this week.
Connectivity’s all you seek
but you’re staring at a silent blue screen.
You push the buttons, click and swipe.
Are the TV ads just plain hype?
The password, the passcode? where is the door?
This brave new world, enticing, rare—
you need a breath of living air.
Take a walk under sky, among the trees.
BEYOND THE HARVEST MOON
Just past equinox
moon’s a fading sliver-blade
as I walk the hill—
look, in dawnlight, overnight
soft green blades, September grass!
Thanks to Taylor Graham for poems about some of her favorite teachers today, our recent Seed of the Week! “Quiet can be the best company.” For more about the Bengali form, the tripadi, go to www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/tripadi-poetic-forms/.
Big Battle spoken word team competition takes place tonight between poets from Elk Grove, South Sac., North Sac. and Rancho Cordova, 8-10pm. It's a $10 fundraiser for the “From a Boy to a Man” program. That's at Laughs Unltd. in Old Sac. And as always, Poetry Unplugged meets at 8pm at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar on 16th St. in Sac., with featured readers and open mic.
And this just in: Tonight at 8pm in Davis, Poetry in Davis presents Maya Khosla and Camille Norton reading from New Poetry Books, plus open mic. John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 1st St., Davis. Info: www.facebook.com/events/2361125590793204/. Host: Andy Jones. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
—Medusa, celebrating all poetry teachers, past and present ~
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.