Friday, September 29, 2006

Inhabiting the body

sole on the cool metal rung of the stool
hand warmed in a puddle of sun under a window
tongue still tasting the moment of bitter coffee
arms sliding in the smooth underside of velvet

eyes and ears soaking in curves of wood and fingers
over lines of brasswound string
notes singing through the body
touching the innermost drum

resonant skin and hollows
time and tongue
breath and beat
body a concert of organ music

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Morning light

the sun this morning
crept along the street
in quiet brilliance
felt its way early
under the leaves that
arc up the tree trunks

it lit them a glowing yellow
then slowly it lit the copper tips
of the dusky purple leaves
and last the leaves that rage
broad and orange
before the light

it caught the glossy glare of a white pickup
plastered with political signs
and the elegant scrawl of arabic script
it rippled over the ruffling fur and
enthusiastic tongue of a dog hanging out
the back window of a passing car

the sun this morning
called up the birds to sing
and buttered the pavement
with its soft heat and for just
a moment it flashed across
the darkness in me

Click on photos to view larger versions, more interesting that way

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The flame

this is the beginning
of I don't understand
this will be the opening
of a door for who

who scratches at the door

my eyes fill with
whiteness, slowly
embroidered with thin black
lines, curves, dots

who murmurs these words in my ear

who lives behind words
who stirs at the source
further back, behind thought
behind beat, behind breath

who begins with imagining me

I do not move alone
along a burning river
welling up in brilliant darkness
from imperceptible deeps

who lights the flowing flame

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


one flame marks one year
of words strung and cast out on
capricious web winds

Thanks for being here with me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

So far away

in a dream of stars
shone a beloved face

reached for that hand
across empty space

could not span
the cloudy distance

before a rippling

suddenly woke
still steeped in aching

found and lost in
dreams and waking

Friday, September 22, 2006

Old river bed

this granite sings in the sun
shining mica and quartz
in shades of pink and red and grey
in paint made from oxide,
blood and fat
songs of nourishment and decay
body and spirit
still here
through centuries
of rain and snow
and flood


traveling over the green
ribbon unwinding
between white waves,
I find myself unfolding,
discover I am
mouthing into the wet
and spinning air
songs and words that haven't
surfaced for long years


ragged pink granite cliffs hold
us and the boats and the water
in their tight embrace
I am flooded
with old-rooted memories
of my mother
her round arms
and softness

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Song of shadow

the shadow of a swallow
hunts the shining pool for gnats
but never moves as quickly
as the silent-singing bats

sing a song of shadow
a silent whispered prayer
sing a song to something
that maybe isn’t there

there is a hole, a hollow,
where water rushes to,
it never catches, never holds
as it passes through

there’s darkness fast to follow
every rushing shadowed past
seizing and uprooting
phantom dreams that never last

carry wings or wallow
or wear a furrowed face
put the shovel to the shoulder
turn again to look for grace

dig a hole, a little hollow,
let darkness rush on through
slipping through the fingers
become the water, too


Click on the photo to see the larger version.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I am the river

stretched out
in the dark
of a moonless night

I am
the river
flowing in my bag
between the rocks
of these thin tent walls
my slow breathing
the current flowing
through my body

my river ears listen
to the sounds
beyond my banks
the snake rustling
under the sagebrush
the wind through
the row of black hawthornes
along the creek
the sound of
the moon rising
of the stars singing
through the mesh

breathing like this
I am going

into sleep

Monday, September 18, 2006


in the western sky
hangs a juicy apricot
waiting to be picked


Click on photos to view larger versions — it's worth it.

Rafting 80 miles of river through the heart of the largest Wilderness in the lower 48 states:

flying, like in my dreams, low over forested ridges and lakes in a tiny plane, plumes of smoke rising in the distance from wildfires...

sudden, steeply banked and vertiginous 180 degree turn, down into the narrow canyon, landing smoothly on a stretch of sandy soil beside the river...

beauty of undulating, rugged rock and river under sunny blue skies with wisps of white cloud...

sleeping alone in the darkness as temperatures sink below freezing...

meditating on peaceful stretches between wild whitewater rapids...

sunlight yellow-gold in bright green grass...

flashing trout moving through glass-like water among brown riverstones...

kingfisher on the hunt, plummeting like a stone from green bush into green river...

mood lighting from the intense smoke of a wildfire, a "sunset" at 4 pm (top photo)...

receding arcs of tree-lined ridges in fading shades of pale grey smoke (above)...

waking in a moonless night to the acrid smell of choking smoke...

the constant sound of rushing water in my dreams...

the shock of sudden cold water falling across my body...

burrowing cold, wet, bare feet into dry, sunwarmed sand...

slight sulphur smell of a hot spring pool nestled in the rock...

rock paintings made from oxides, blood and fat, still there after several hundred years...

cliffs bearing sideways flower gardens, trees growing from cracks in the wall...

veil of water falling hundreds of feet onto the rock floor below...

bear tracks on the beaches in detail down to the claws...

bighorn mountain sheep running down the precipitous cliffside...

two huge golden eagles appearing suddenly from around a bend in the river, flying low overhead, headed up canyon, something clutched in the talons...

mink scurrying among the white rocks of the riverbank...

waking to rain with miserably cold temperatures and snow on the hills...

laughing to keep warm...

the scream of an osprey ricocheting off the cliff walls...

watching the boat dip and spin over churning white and green waters...

ripple, curl and foam of a translucent ribbon stretched like blown glass...

Sunday, September 17, 2006


an iridescent
ribbon curls through this canyon
shining water road

breathe in and breathe out
bounce across sparkling water
breathe in and breathe out

in the darkness, smoke
settles down in the creek bed
moonrise glows orange

the osprey's screams bounce
off the snow-topped cliff and rain
blows up the river


Click on the pictures to see larger versions — it's worth it.
More after I'm fully dried out and warmed up.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Instead of a computer screen this week I'll be resting my eyes on the rushing flow of a river.

I leave tomorrow to go whitewater rafting down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, through 100 miles or so of Wilderness.

The river was also named the River of No Return by early trappers because its whitewater made it impossible to navigate back upstream. Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery went overland rather than run its rough waters.

I do intend to return.

Back in a week.

Photo gallery

Photo from

Friday, September 08, 2006

In the wake

hollow space
where thoughts


a heavy wake
a shore

time slips
like sand

empty hands

wait for
something holy
for healing

pray that
will grow from aching

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Smoke gets in your eyes

Sang into the smoky air last night, thinking of faraway friends.

From the stage, I watched the color on the stone wall at the end of the block go from white to orange-gold under the setting sun, the light filtered through thickening smoke. After the encore, a few scattered raindrops fell. Then a wild wind kicked up, whipping my hair in all directions. I sat with the supper we sang for and a glass of merlot, watching a couple lost napkins soar up three stories high like white birds in the darkness.

This morning, the smoke still sits in the valley, a little thinner for now. At least I can see the hills directly above town, today. Idaho has more wildfires burning than any other state. We're getting the smoke from Washington, Oregon, and Nevada's fires as well. I've never seen a summer like this.


Update: The hills above town disappeared again this afternoon, so I drove up the road to find them.

Do you see them? I don't either. They should be looming:

Looking back to where a metropolitan area of 250,000 or so should be visible, sprawled across the valley:

View of downtown from about a mile and a half away:

Update to the update:
It's gotten progressively worse since I took those pictures a few hours ago. I have never seen our skies like this.
Air quality cam

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Through flickering leaves

in the aspen grove
light falls through flickering leaves
like sounds of laughter

across long dry grass
bent down by the deer at night
day's hard light shimmers

the high mountain wind
sifts through and skitters loosely
winding around trunks

where bent white trees arch
over long flattened grasses
all things are made soft

Friday, September 01, 2006

Still light

sparks fly
through my dreams

smoky air
keeps the
light golden

your touch left
a trace of phosphorescence
on my skin in
glowing blue lines
that don't fade
in dusky light

Festival of the Trees #3

Festival of the Trees #3, a blog carnival celebrating (what else?) trees, is up, hosted this time by Burning Silo.

A poem of mine is included, along with photographs and writings by others.

Go enjoy the whole carnival!