Braving the Wilds

Field Notes from the Suburban Jungle

Category: Uncategorized

Easy Chair

A Haiku

Vestigial or not

Sunday afternoon jitters

Are unwelcome here.

Responsibility

A Sunday Morning Haiku

I had wistful dreams

Of Sunday morning leisure;

But the dog had other plans.

Pillow Talk

A Sunday Morning Haiku

Did I push you o’er

Or pull you back from the edge?

Our world is round, Babe.

Déménagement

There are spaces we occupy,

We nomadic tribes, picking

Up and leaving the eroded

Ground behind us,

Touching each and every

Possession twice, at origin,

Destination, judging

The beauty, the utility

Of an object.

The original purchase of

Sacred ground, from

The raised open palm of

The Wyantenock to

Transplanted Englishmen

At the peaceful source of

A river, ushered forth

A revolution,

As does mine: yet altogether

More personally. I cast off

The ill-advised blouse, the

Vacuum that never worked;

But I carry your letters,

My own hand-written

Epistolary memoir,

With me, like the bleached

Bones of our dead.

Ripened Berries

It was well after midnight
When I heard the whine,
Louder in my heart’s middle-aged senses
Than thunder, which rolled
Over First Mountain and into
My still-waking ears, registering only
The anxiety of a trembling
Labrador retriever. His fear
Befuddled me, assuming him more
Cognizant of the natural world than me.
Perhaps his instinctual response,
A vestigial one, harkened back
To a time when the woods were
His home, and there was nowhere
To hide from flashes
Of blue, illuminating lightening.

I slid onto the floor with him
Where he placed his head in my lap,
Next to my womb, which had sat
Vacant for a decade. He was supposed
To be the antidote for that emptiness,
Filling my nest with a wordless
Charge to feed, to caress,
To nurture. Now I wondered if he
Was destined to comfort me,
To guard my abdomen which
Wouldn’t give way. I gazed at him
With my own brand of anxiety
Wondering if the blood that pooled in me
Supported another or grew stale with age.

The rumbles subsided, the flashes
Grew dim, and the pup’s breaths
Grew steady as a man’s snores.
I got up reluctantly, rousing him,
Ordering him to his donut-shaped
Plush pillow, as my body gave way
To its monthly flush, in conjunction
With the full corn moon. Like the native
American calendar, we women have thirteen
Ticks in our annual cycle. I remembered
Fondly the berry moon, ripe with summer,
Where during a warm night I reached out
To my partner, grasping at my own
Aggregate life. Delicately I pinched the fragile fruit,
Its carpels soft and sweet, staining my fingers with
Raspberry juice before they fell
From the vine.

Immersion

“I could get used to this.”

My stoic companion’s heels
rested on the cabin railing
In front of her, her feet forming
A Vee, mirroring the mountain pass before her.
A plate of wild strawberries balanced
Precociously on her lap.

Les fraises du bois, sweeter,
More acidic than the
The caricature version
Packed in a plastic box
At the A&P, a mere suggestion
Of the genuine, alpine version:
Delicate, dark, a decidedly
Unseasoned traveller, and wholly
Uninterested in private enterprise.

Fruit foraged from the woods,
Hidden at the edges of tree carpets
That adorned the Rocky Mountains:
We came dressed, ourselves, in bells
To deter bears, miles stolen
As if by Venus herself and
Left to contemplate Icarus soaring
Around the setting sun.

An impossible image,
Framed in vertigo and
Quickened breath, I turned from
The majesty, delegated it to a corner, to
Fade with age and romance.
“I don’t want to get used to this,”
I responded, fearing prolonged
Exposure would burn it
Away, like a jammed
Eight millimeter cell, muted as
An old knee-weakening ballad,
A torch song, turned
To background music.

 

Walking A Second Mile

“…each person had their moment when they assumed the skins of wild animals, when they took responsibility for the story…”
From Michael Ondaatje’s,  In the Skin of A Lion.

Arguing an idealistic view,
The younger jaw, set in self-righteousness,
Sits across the table from elder eyes,
Softened by his own altruistic one.
With the advantage of hindsight,
The body that had slipped into the
Skin of a lion to protect, disguise,
In windfall shed that of a seal,
A selkie, wearing another’s moccasins,
Bridging two worlds with the divine mind
Of a philosopher: empathetic, passionless,
Developed human longing and
Outward peace. That familiar jaw,
Tired from talking and stronger from listening,
Would unlock on a Celtic rock, where they
Would meet as equals.

Selkie-in-the-sea-478x700

Woodcut style image of the Celtic mythical selkie in the ocean. ‘Selkie in the Ocean’ image © xunantunich- Fotolia.com

 

 

To the White Horse in the Passing Lane on Route 684

Not yet coaxed to the median,
Where grass grew a foot high,
Bedded down under your
Capsized chariot, wheels spinning
Like the legs of a belly-up beetle
Waving for the cloudless sky
To touch your eyes, humanely blind you,
Now shrouded in a terry cloth
Of Turin, of New York, reeking
Of oxybenzone and coconuts.

An eight-inch gash
Across your ribs didn’t bleed:
Your coated skin split, an open eye lid
Revealing fibrous tissue and
A barrel of bones, creamy
Next to your bleached hair: a proud
Piece of flesh revealing
Where the light had
Entered through your broken window.

A stranger in a foreign land
Of pavement and metal and voices
Unlike your own. Human hands
Knotted your mane in
Shakespearean elfknots,
Placed riders of the apocalypse
On your back, created an
Avatar of Visnu, ushering in
An end, wisdom, and the sardonic
Truth that they unite
In your majestically wounded package.

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Kalkin, Visnu’s Future Avatar, Sandstone, Pre-Angkow Period, first half of the 7th Century, Collection of the National Museum of Cambodia, Phenom Penh (Ka 1642).  Photo Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

 

Genesis

Birds singing an incessantly hopeful
Dawn chorus, a springtime declaration
Of their collective intentions
To live, to thrive, to endure, or,
Scavenging cawing crows,
Ominously cleaning up after those
That could not: this was my
Vernal alarm clock, deafeningly
Absent on this drenched morning,
When the downpours whispered
In my ear, a white noise, a snow
Following a late night TV test pattern,
A gentler, wiser reveille
Less frantic than adolescent
Birds, raging in their desperation
For aviary love.
Beyond the fogged window pane
A torrent, a rambling street river flowed
Over parked tires like wakes
Washing away the sins of
The neighborhood: streaks of
Color, plastic, scrapped paper
With its faded words.
Still rumpled and stale
With sleep, I remained in my
House, my ark, on my horse
Swimming against the tide,
Therapeutically working an
Injured hock. Welcome,
Solitude, allow me to travel in
The company of no one to the
Love of my life. My leaves,
Wet and waxy and
Impossibly green,
Are thriving with the life blood that
Is your water. Protected from
The burning rays of a fickle sun,
My creamy threadlike roots,
Stretch in the damp soil
That surrounds them,
And keeps them free from harm.

images

Fifty-Two Card Pick-Up

“…a game is indeed a clear instance of a process wherein obedience to common rules by elements pursuing different and even conflicting purposes results in overall order.”
-Fredereich August von Hayek

“It is not certain that everything is uncertain.”
-Blaise Pascal

Black suits, smoke, where
There is a red suit, Fire!,
Heralding an unforeseen shower
Of plastic-coated playing cards.

Unfurled, twisting mid-air:
A confusion of butterflies
In transition, in migration,
Suspended in uncertainty.

They fall in a shuffled flutter,
Bent and creased from its
Squeezing projector, in chaos.

Yet each card in perfect design
Symmetrical, rests,
Having lost its mates to
The radiator, the couch cushion,
A rabble of once air born dust clouds.

The deck, useless for solitaire,
Is incomplete, but suitable
For a game of war – or –
As building blocks
For a new house of cards.