Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Where He Is Lost...

—Anonymous Photos
—Poems by Craig Steiger, Nevada City, CA


Little did I know
When I stacked two-by-eights
And corrugated sheet metal
That my errand to repair her leaking roof
Would carry me up shaky ladders
Into a windy blue domain
Where hour by hour
Close clouds caught the light
a hundred ways,
Rowdy ravens gave me their greeting
Morning air pulsed
And squirrels scolded from blustery cedars,
Little did I know!
Spending a day rubbing elbows
With eaves & chimneys & gutters,
That dusk would bring
a perch on that high gable
For viewing a full moon rising huge
Over the purple Sierra



Carpentering the old house
Brings thoughts of those selfsame roughnecks
Who constructed it in 1936,
We found the Carson City Appeal
With such a date rolled in the attic for insulation,
Who were those men
Who spat and swore and sweated
In the 100-degree dog days of August,
Bloodied by rough lumber,
Whither have they wandered now
To wheelchairs & graves
And who will visit my handiwork
Sixty years hence,
Wondering of me?


A date with death
On the high Wyoming plateau
premonition in dreams,
December when the ground lay bare
And sunlight shone golden
On vast windy rangelands,
Out of Rock Springs
Ominous snow clouds gather to the north
Sioux chanting & death rattles
in the bottom of the mind—
The pickup out of gas
Miles and miles down some wrong turn
Where the road ends
Under swaying cottonwoods.



Trudging through hip deep snow
Along the Truckee River
Showered with blowing snowdust
From the close ponderosas
I stop to catch my breath
And glimpse a winter half-moon
Between swirling snow clouds—
What exhilaration I felt in that chance moment,    
Like any reckless tramp
Bogged down in the middle of nowhere,
Snow in my boots, the going rough:
Out on the edge that is everywhere,
Out in the cold waver of pink twilights,
Baptized by ice, the elemental shakedown
The world builds itself against—
The adventure lives for that edge,
Seeks it, walks it, courts it,
Where all roads end, trails end, time ends,
The blue glimmer of the forever beyond
He finds irresistible,
Forsakes for it all other loves,
Where he is lost he finds his life...


Tomorrow has been cancelled.
A swoop of magpies
Jabbers in the pinetops
As the bath fills with hot water—
Silvery woods at dusk
Where all things meld
Into an Indistinct soft repose,
Including me.
For an hour then has no bounds
There will be no dreaded consequence
No silver hammer poised above my head,
All sins forgiven,
All fears forgotten.


‘Standard of living’
Came his reply to my question
“Well if you could live anywhere,
Why not live here?”
But elsewhere
There is far more standard
Than living


Today’s LittleNip:

—Craig Steiger

Your keyboard may be more efficient
but I’m fondly reminiscent
Of the chrome and black shine
and the Remington ding!
At the end of the line


Many thanks to Craig Steiger for visiting the Kitchen this morning! Craig graduated from UCSB, where he developed a love of poetry from reading haiku, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder. He has lived in Nevada County for 35 years, where he worked in home repair services. He has self-published several small chapbooks of poetry, including
Wintering at Lake Vera, Stolen Apples and Works and Days. Read more of Craig’s poems at


 Craig Steiger
Celebrate Poetry!

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