Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shaker Love

her calling was simple

lift the newborns to skies
brushed clean with promise

imbue the children
with the wisdom of animals at rest

untangle the forced love of
women with waspish waists
(their struggles to breathe now over)

impart to men the unflinching
compassion that looks you
straight in the eye...

she writes, and

the frantic curves of her
calligraphy--a sweet, shaky graphic--
unlocks a puzzle that utters
all those words never spoken

which is then carefully distilled
to a tentatively growing thing
teased into blooming
(a surprisingly fiery flower)
(a rather gaudy blossom)
before ending
its strange fruition as a pink radish
tipped in haloes of light

Carl Sandburg Home in snow

One of my favorite places--in a different light...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Inner Kandinskys

Thanks to Maggie for encouraging me, Cian, & Luke to greet our inner abstract painter selves and create some spontaneous art!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Angels tend the miraculous unfolding...

A tunnel book I made, not so recently. Some more of these need to be created!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My heart split open to reveal
tiny glowing cities
filled with empty reliquaries

These little containers
were covered with a fussy
kind of silvery filigree

But inside--nothing
to see, nothing to take home with me
except a lining of ruby red velvet

both smooth and plush to the touch

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bless the Whistle Pigs

It may stem from a deeply anti-social vein
in me, this wish to see

Instead of blacktop and three
color traffic lights and a tangle
of telephone wires, to see

wide expanses of native grasses, beetles, and the
harmonious networks of earthworms

Bless the burrowing creatures
for they labor and rest in their own time

Instead of 1.5 acre outparcels with potential
restaurant or retail site, to see

the wide arms of an ancient oak
almost as wide as it is tall
above which circles a patient hawk

Bless the creatures of the air
for their keen eyes and for balance they restore
to the fields

Instead of the repetitive molds
of houses and their attendant towers
clustered against the edge
of a forest, to see

rivers aged into meandering curves
and the silent horizons of rocky ridgelines
shining in fading light

Bless the fish hidden in dark waters
for they have not witnessed a world
stripped of mystery

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


for Janisse Ray

Some people thirst for big weather--
Fat, ballooning raindrops,
roiling clouds and wind
that rips through trees

I like that too, but
to be a hovering witness to the thunder
and crack at the tip of the top
of a Longleaf pine seared by lightning bolt
and follow the seam of fire racing
down massive trunk to the tinder
of bluestem grasses at the base
of a proud grandmother pine--

(where, upon igniting in a dance of flames
passion of dry spark, nest of inferno,
there is only unquenchable heat)

this would bring me a radiant type of joy

This violent healing unleashed
over endless miles of generously spaced trees
doted on from an understory of wiregrass,
pitcher plants and the peculiar silence
of Saw Palmetto
to bring the next generation of Longleaf--
extending roots deep in the sandy soil

The once familiar Bachman's sparrow,
the red-cockaded woodpecker,
the Eastern indigo snake, and the gopher tortoise
so at home here, even with fire

Or even cougar, elk, and woodland bison--
now, names in a book, struggling to get off the page

Where, in this now shrunken, patchwork forest
can this fiery dance let loose in joy and
longing for itself
sweeping the distance with happy flames
ancient and able, so perfectly adapted
to the destruction that allows for life
in a howling rage
and then, slowly, carefully, in the quiet that follows

Sunday, November 15, 2009


With Tom ("the Beatnik") Ferguson and Jack ("the Frost") Drost, Beth ("Totally") Beasley scrambled up to a low ridge on Weed Patch Mountain, in search of the elusive White Irisette, which was giggling at us from the leaf litter as we slid and slipped, and I ultimately fell in the creek on the way back to the car. A fitting end to a *funny* hike... chewing on anise goldenrod and mountain mint, trying to avoid using rotting trees for support, and admiring Lake Lure from a height.

All going well, this area (about 1600 acres) will be soon be preserved--through the efforts of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy.

Pepper-spore lichen (or is it Peppercorn lichen?)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Close of the Mesozoic

The earth bled under an electric sky
bright like nectarines ripe with life
a soup steeped with spores, saprophytes
and the slow pulse of outsized beasts

encumbered by their own heavy hearts
lumber along within jungle tangle
in fits and starts
toward an unexpected demise

in the clean horizon of Jupiter's eye
this wayward meteorite
sacked the light
and upended in a fine spray of loose dust
creatures clambering for air until
in the darkened chill
heavy eyes stare in silence
and footprints fossilize
while the inheritance of the meek
is quietly established

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Transition Towns

I can't stop thinking about what I've heard about the equivalency of the energy in one tank of gas compared to simple, straightforward human labor--of the fetch wood/carry water kind. One tank equals 4 years of one human laboring. Four years.

When I told Cian this the other day, he sighed relief at the fact we had fossil fuels. We now live at a standard higher than any other society has before on earth because of oil. Just so we haven't painted ourselves into a corner.

I got the one tank/four years information from a video on 'transition villages'--an intriguing idea regarding peak oil issues that is starting to gain momentum in England, and also here in North Carolina.

See a video on transition towns here. I love that they bring humor into it--Americans can be kinda sanctimonious when it comes to environmental/cultural issues. Simple solutions are best, no?

Monday, October 26, 2009

chalk monsters

I love this photo of Cian and a neighbor's dog--the surprise of spots of sun shine.

And a lithe alien, from the mind of Luke...

Sam Knob on a sunny fall day

Leisa & I nibbled on mountain ash fruits & took in that feeling of being on top of the world in this odd, magically beautiful place... That's a huge chunk of quartz that I'm leaning on--you can see bits peeping out from the hills in the 360 degree view from the top of Sam Knob, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

trees in flight

This week I saw a little dogwood tree crammed with what I think were starlings--there were more birds than leaves on the tree. I knew it would happen, and it did--a huge burst of wings as they darted upward in a flash. I don't think I could describe the sound it made. I was standing only about 20 feet away. Wow.

Which of the birds decide when and where to go? Is there a leader? What if they truly move as one being?

fading in concentric rings/a swoop of starlings forms a joyous backdrop/against the evening sky/rejoicing in the vigorous/breeze and the readymade roosts/of patient trees

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

as she speaks her words ring clear and bright

Sounding out across the crystalline
green of distance
where sweet encouragement never fails
to whet her tongue
and loosen the darkening
stars set like diamonds in the depths
of immobile coal

Here emerges an eye, like a glassy chrysalis
umbilical, newborn to breast
in clean parthenogenesis she releases
her own diaspora
bread unto water
wine in the desert
light into darkness

Like the eye of a slow moving hurricane
hollow, hooded threat
of a bombed out building
like a white sheet rumpled
and now snapped to tautness
she awakens the moment a word
sounds out like a bell from her breath

Monday, October 19, 2009


The Lake Eden Arts Festival seemed a little less crowded this time--maybe it was the forecast of 35 degree weather on Saturday night? To stay warm, we danced to the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Los Amigos Invisibles, and Zap Mama, then Cian and I snuggled together in my little mummy bag. It was cozy & warm, though my head kept feeling the outside chill, while I heard snowflakes dissolve on the roof of the tent. Sunday dawned clear and we enjoyed sitting in the sun eating crepes, hula hooping, doing some acrobatics, & listening to Mamadou Diabate, Billy Jonas, and Arrested Development (while we broke camp across the lake.) I think the thing the kids enjoyed most was being free to run around with friends, play around the streams and in the 'forts' of trees and shrubs. Idyllic times.

Red Hat Ramblers

High above Camp Rockmont and the hubbub of LEAF is a ridgeline that includes Cedar Cliff & Eden Rock, at about 3800'. We couldn't quite hear the music that far up, but the cold wind had some snow flurries...BRRR. Holly, Ed & I returned to the Festival in enough time to catch the tail end of the Red Stick Ramblers, with some Cajun dancing. I've always wanted to do this hike--only wish Leisa had been there too!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Obsidian Collective

I was in a fog yesterday & found it really hard to concentrate, maybe because I haven't written a story in a couple of weeks, or maybe I simply should be a professional daydreamer and nothing concrete. I caught Andrea on the phone just as she was arriving at work in San Francisco, thinking she might have a solution--a walk around the block did the trick and I was able to stitch together 1800 words to complete what might approximate quality journalism (thanks Andrea!) The story is about a new film production company in town, find them here:
My story will be in Sunday's Times-News...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Professional daydreamer

Last night I dreamed I proclaimed myself as a professional daydreamer, but no one listened. I'm sure the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard would have listened, and recognized all sorts of modern-day applications for my vocation, that with a little practical training could be developed for fields such as aeronautics, urban planning, architecture, conservation, and of course, journalism and poetry. Oneiric acrobatics...

This is a fine place for daydreaming: seal rocks in San Francisco... I took the photo a few years back.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No comment

I realized recently that the few friends that I believe read this blog on a somewhat regular basis are not the kind of people to leave a comment on anything--being private and not inclined to voice their opinions (in a public way, at least.) Two close friends my age don't even have Internet access--no email, no computer. Of course they have never seen this blog. And that's just fine.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In today's mail

Look what arrived via the mailman today! The one little luxury I decided to indulge in this fall is buying a few books of poems, that can't be found at the library, etc. Any other material goods, like clothes, will be from the thrift stores.
I only clued into Craig Arnold through the latest Poetry magazine--he was a poet about my age who met a tragic death on a volcano in Japan, this spring.

I've also bought books by Pattiann Rogers and Sarah Lindsay, which I'm enjoying. More of my own poems are in the works, BTW.