Off The Grid

And when God gave out rhythm, he sure was good to you.~Michael Franks

We land on the porch
chairs all lined in a row
enraptured by the
pulchritudinous show.
She’s a great beauty,
riveting, rowdy.
She rumbles in low-voiced
black and storm-cloudy.
The afternoon plans, the park
and the beach are suddenly
cold wet and plumb out of reach.
Her raspy voice jitters,
her light play entrances.
We watch her whip waves
in her white-water dances.
And then in the evening,
the calm seeps back slow.
A sun-kissed goodnight
lingers, breaking time’s flow.
What a day this has been!
Not a show, not a tweet,
computers are down, and
the living is sweet.

Inspired by: Raspy, Riveting, Rowdy, Pulchritudinous, yet another amazing sunset and Michael Franks’ song Popsicle Toes, which was my first introduction to the word pulchritude.

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Play The Wind

I can’t help but whistle

this morning, surrounded by

cheer.  It’s cool and clear,

the symphony inviting.

If it were simply a song

sparrow or a quail, I would

echo and mimic, a duet

of sorts, but this hour

is atwitter and cheeps and

liquid trills rise blended by

surely some unseen conductor.

My morning embouchure opens

a high range so pleasing

to my ears, I feel my way

into the mix with short bursts

of goodwill and heart

listening.  Filling this opening

and then the response.

The goldfinch keeps feeding

and the cedar waxwing

preens until I miss

the subtle shifts and changes,

grabbing the mike for a solo

that takes so much space

the song moves to the tall

branches.  I lost the connection

seizing the melody in my joy

—I’m back in the band, man!

How to screw up your audition:

play an amazing solo

get lost in your own tune,

flowing so bright and thrilling

that you lose your ear

for what supports you.

Even when I raise my face

project my jocular tones

to the leafy trees,

this is a serious matter,

singing tree spirits

and sky wisdom.

Silence as they wing

to the wind.  I’m alone again

with paper and pen and

a resonant longing to fit in.

Inspired by: Whistle, Jocular, Project and Wind and the SoCS prompt to write instructions as a stream of consciousness, no editing.

Sound The Alarm

Cricket frogs join in a wave
of clicking beneath this outspread

heron’s wing. He preens oblivious.
Their alarmed call fades. A bonfire

blazes this morning air. Females
sequestered, only vivid males–

like this lovely blue-feathered soul
squawking at the red-winged blackbird,

a solitary goldfinch, one
red cardinal–blast past. All the

Eastern cottonwoods atremble
in the light breeze craft this careful

morning stitched by solitary fliers
over blooming hydrangeas

pink and white and creamy green,
purple clematis and lilies

orange and yellow. Forsythia
wafts fragrance until the far shore’s

smoke drowns the sweetness. Uneasy
pupils, our mortality seams

appear. Where is the brimming life
of July? Gardens planted with

exuberant blindness weed out
natives. Well-meaning lightworkers

illuminate the dark monsters
only to recoil, foul demon!

What can I do? Though doing drives
us lemming-like over the cliff.

Still at the bottom, if only
we can reach the ledge above where

mysteries are revealed: dream-speak
sounds blasting open our filters.

A hummingbird crashes into
the mesh, startling me from my

self-inflicted pain. Only when
we reveal our anguish, immersed

in difficulty, swallowed whole,
only then do we rise like these

bubbles in the lake bursting at
the surface and rippling outward.

Inspired by:Bubble, Pupil, Dark and Drive.

Vacation Home

“We can travel…without any means when it’s as easy as closing your eyes.~ Rodney Crowell

A harsh warning skeow and
I’m scanning the shore. Killdeer

rise abruptly revealing
the site of their hidden nest

as these green herons give chase
across the skies fierce low swoops

to claim fishing rights. I sit
alert, inquisitive: when

do I act this way? Certain
the lessons here reflect what

I’m denying: oh, I breathe
entitlement. And now a

trailer backs up to slide a
boat into the water. This

man will spray a concoction
to kill algae. He swears the

birds and fish and turtles and
snakes and crayfish and frogs and

dragonflies will not be harmed.
He’s coughing as he pours his

poisons and I feel a knot
of apprehension. Every

step we take ripples out un-
seen multifarious ways.

When we are triggered, we fight,
fix or choose flight. Green herons

scramble away, abandoned
fight. As the liquid gushes

out, I send up a prayer:
harmony, an it harm none.

Inspired by: Scramble, Knot, Vacation and Multifarious.

Lost In Space

Green heron preens with blue-gray
bill, orange foot scratching white

chest overlooking the freshly stocked
lake-larder. Killdeer claims the black

tarmacadam, feigning injury.
Cardinal’s red flash fleeting past.

Clouds gather unobtrusively
for the afternoon surprise

with thunderous flair. My cup
is dry, my plate empty. And still

I hesitate in this fluttering.
Instantly seven swallows swoop,

the green heron croaks her warning.
I turn my head for the wren’s spray

of notes, liquid, mellifluous.
When I look back, they’ve all vanished,

end of Act One, the lessons I need
played out before me. A how-to

defend boundaries, strong nos
in living color as I sit with coffee

and pen. My filters and expectations
pushing extraneous ink to

protect me from the dizzying
freefall of now until there are

no words and
I’m in it.

Inspired by: Hesitate, Flair, Extraneous and Spray.

Better Free Your Mind Instead

You tell me that it’s evolution, well, you know ~ John Lennon

He chants, magical, Magical,
MAGICAL in his carseat while
I drive, enthralled by his fluency.
I’m not sure what his spell entails.
We sail through the chockablock roads
laughing and irreverent,
thumbing our noses as time
wields the whip on all these
frantic commuters.

A bashful goldfinch perches
sunlit orange beak, bright yellow
head. He’s hanging upside down and
pecking, checking first to track
my wrist, the pen slowing but I
can’t stop and my vulgar scratching
finally frightens him to flight.

What would I give to be
trustworthy and tolerated?
Every part of me surges an
answer and requires my deep
commitment: believe in me.
Prove your love with dedicated
practice, simple daily steps.

When I rise, surprised molecules
scatter in response to my
expanded state. And just like that
—out loud—I sing my newfound
immensity. This container
shifts and I fill every nook and
cranny, engage the places
who long lay dormant. Not today!

The rain has eased, the light kiss
golden, finessing every
yellow between the blue lake and
the green green summer green
on this cloudless glorious
morning of my new beginning.

Inspired by: Vulgar, Bashful, Irreverent and Finesse.

All These Separate Pieces

i.
My third toe on the left foot
dives into consciousness

of individuality. Where did she
find the tokens to buy into

this illusion, stepping out
from her cheerful center,

abandoning her task of anchor,
sick and tired of never

receiving appreciation? She’s
wriggling, impatient to be off

on her own.
I don’t know her plans.

ii.
Right now silver glimmering
the freshwater spring twirls

below as the surface quivers
from these caresses. Every breeze

kissing a new perspective.
In an hour or less, discordant

and choppy, white water
bluster is forecasted.

iii.

I’ve been too invested in ephemeral
lines, seeking control in borders,

creating patterns of similar
threads in the weave, ignorant

and worse, believing I know.
A referee calling out rules and

flagging the foul play, I frown
as bluebirds squabble with

house sparrows over the birdbox.
The oakleaf hydrangea’s creamy

cones are spreading fullblown into her
sister’s space, the greeny-white

snowballs a week behind.
The fragrant hosta’s filling

the watery air. We wait in the calm
for the next thunderstorm,

watching the cloud banks hoarding
and amassing power.

iv.

Going deep past the criticism
and the worry to find

sheer gratitude,
I sit astounded,

showing up, playing my small
part as the mystery unfolds.

Inspired by: Control, Referee, Ephemeral and Similar.