Chalked hands roped waist helmeted head
Clear day long drive steep scramble rough rock
Careful necessaries impatient wait eager dread dreadful joy

On belay
Cracks and crevasses
Bumps and lumps
Three point contact

Lean back
+++ Away from the seeming security of the rock face
No real safety in hugging close

Safety only in separation

Lean out
+++Over the void
Trusting – am I mad?
+++In small finger holds, tiny toe grips

Lean out
+++ Look up
Search the next move
+++ Depend on life knowledge skill
+++ Dare death
+++ To drop me

Halfway up
+++ Suspended between here and now
Tethered alone
+++ Face to the rock back to the void
Heart beats hard against gray ribs

My shirt is wet
+++ So are my panties
Hard rock quiet under my grasping fingers
+++ Sweet butter pulse in my grasping groin
The rhythm of my reaching fingers
+++ Steady upward for my next hold
The pulse of my tingling groin
+++ Surging upward to my empty womb

I lean out
+++ Strong and sure
+++ Suspended by fingertips
Over the void
+++ Laughing
+++ Confident
+++ Terrified
Turned on

Pan Dances

[Once again, I am participating in a “writing rodeo” for National Poetry Writing Month, led by the irrepressible Rebecca Bratton Weiss. Fittingly, this year’s theme focuses on crisis. I will do my best to create something in response to each daily prompt.]

Now we dance – each alone
to the unruly unholy untune
of the pan pipe

In our lonely rhythm
it is easy to hear
the emperor’s nakedness
easy to taste
the prancing dancing goat legs
lightly tripping the light fantastic
‘round ratings
and boastings

Ah, history so easily hides
his mincing minuet
that began this dance macabre

The naked emperor
danced our invincibility
pranced his superiority
chanced our health
minced no words of praise
for his fine clothes

Round and round he whirls still
high kicking his slant eyed innuendos
twisting his inheritance
jiving past his advisors
bowing only to himself

While alone we dance
to the tune of loss
the rhythm of fear
the chords severed
that tethered our lives

We falter,
wanting to sing together
waiting for a choir master
who listens for the tune of now
and teaches the needed harmonies

We look for lyrics
that sing of hope

While the naked goat god
over too many graves


In our back garden
the quiet primrose

(Eyes raised high will miss it
Eyes following footsteps will miss it
Eyes hurrying will miss it
Eyes seeking splendor will miss it)

Small flowers
Yellow, red and white
Barely peek above
Mounded leaves

Whisper spring softly

While high above
Boisterous trees
Shout out showy blossoms

While The Goat God Dances

The goat god of mischief

The cozy comfort of home

The soothing softness of touch

The steady stream of news

And yet, and yet

The eager earth of spring

The persistent promise of tomorrow

And the lasting legacy of love

Though the greatest of these
be love

Our time now
calls for faith
demands hope
requires patience

While the goat god
on too many graves

I Hear No

I hear my mother’s TV…
My husband’s staple gun…
The soft tap of my fingers on virtual keys…
Our dog barks.

But I hear no traffic from the nearby road –
It is a new experience
To hear no.

I hear no friends laughing as we play bridge…
no grandson giggling as he snatches off my glasses…
no colleagues working together…
no restaurants…
no movie theaters…
no churches.

I must listen more carefully
Right now
To hear yes.

Away From the Sunrise: A Contrary Vision

Following a poetry prompt, I took my most recent poem and tried to reverse all the imagery. The result is interesting (at least to me) and helped make me more aware of all the specific imagery that makes up that poem. So here, without further ado, is Away from the Sunrise.

Still dark dawn
As we walk away
From a scrawny sunrise

The noisy path straightens
And straightens more
Arrows through robed trees
Slowly brightening into low living beings

Noise fills the path
Not the usual blasé noise
Certainly not erupting joy
Complex noise
That common ordinary noise
Of several young people
Unfortunate enough
To recognize hate
Walking with difficulty
Up a straight path
Through attacking trees
Past empty, still buildings
Away from a threatening land
Slowly strengthening from weak early gray
To hard morning blue
With yet many dull patches
Of cloud-caught sun bursting
Outside sky and earth

Outside now and here
Outside then and now
Outside yet and then
Outside never and yet
Outside ever and never
Outside enough and ever
Outside us and enough