Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Autumn Poems - Equinox

Cottonwood, Santa Fe

 There are some cottonwoods across the canyon that usually turn quickly and early, but not this year. They are still mostly green. There was a day in late September, 2018, when I was rounding the patio, to go down into the basement to do wash at ten in the morning, and glanced across the canyon - all the cottonwood leaves were mostly green. When I went to retrieve the clothes from the dryer at noon - most of the leaves on one cottonwood were yellow. 

An entire tree changed in two hours.  
That night I wrote the poem below. 

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

There's melancholy in Fall. Leading up to Halloween and Day of the Dead, the veils between worlds (whatever worlds you choose) become thin. Things are lost, things are transformed. And there is that strange excitement brought on by these brilliant changes. 

Beauty and grief. The Great Pumpkin Waltz, by Vince Guaraldi, contains both. I especially like the version recorded by Chick Corea. I've posted that after the poem.
Bosque del Apache, New Mexico

Autumnal Equinox

Dead lizard inside a window-hinge well. Brittle,
nothing but a skin-shell. Must have been folded-in,
crushed last fall. How long before death was welcome?
I hold the paper-light body in my palm. Individual
scales drift off. Grey snow, death seeds. They mate
with mint leaves. Next year, haidomyrmex ants will
emerge from the earth.


Grey skies. The last pear sways in the wind.
I think of so many children's school photos: that
eager smile, those sad eyes. Can you love me?
Can I be loved?


The old feeling that everything is illusion has
returned. Mars burns above Picacho, taunts me.
Spears, helmets, a trigger finger; children's shoes,
empty. No way to find the touch that's real. Shadows
at the corner of the eye. A bird or spirit or ghost-hive
plunges through the dark.


Yesterday, while doing laundry, a cottonwood
across the canyon turned yellow. It happened
between ten and noon. Later, we stood together,
staring, taking it in, stunned innocent as lizards –
what is this world?


War and work, always there, always waiting.
Someone stole my credit card info, was flagged
across town. They were desperate, I was desperate.
A moon crests the ridge, one of a thousand that will
rise tonight. Lit from behind, the mountain's head
and shoulders are still, waiting, poised to strike. 


Everything has become a cave painting, exposed
in the light, exposed by the cool wind. Our eyes
whirl in dark sockets. Hummingbirds battle among
pear leaves. They drink from my body, from yours,
and during the night, they dip long beaks into the space
where lizard scales have fallen away.


I sit on the stone wall, look down into the canyon:
streetlights, lights of houses. I keep slipping in and out
of so many worlds. Past, future. Indigo worlds, parchment
worlds, worlds without name. At the base of the pear tree,
stringy cowpen daisies glow with their own light. 

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