Ruins Near A Waterfall

Snippets of blue and clouds

Poke through rafters

That once held meaning.

Still, something walks

Within the ruins

Weathered old boots…and

Ashen hands, brushing

Stone, steel, and rust

Feeling along debris

As if it were night

In the summer shade.


Outside, where tourists

Muffle the sound of the falls.

Young summer types

Adorned in shimmering

Glacier melt, current dripping

From plump elbows

Dash about, in the radiance. 

Look from the open air 

Into worn out windows

Unaware of how much

Walking ghosts do.




The 99 Cent Lady

Her eyes…opaque. If you look into them, she won’t return your greeting. Her sight fixes upon someone who’s not there, as if the air holds a face that no one can see except for her.

In words you don’t trust, she tells you what she sees…the symmetry of shapes, the mistakes of nature, the movement of lips when they sing, the spin of a record playing a song she wishes to forget but aches to listen to…the curl of a handwritten name.

She tells you these things…and when she speaks it’s lucid…as if she’s telling that person, who’s not there, the very thing they need to hear.




(Image entitled Blue Unravelled. Click on it)



Denny and I, with his Wasco legs, inside Gifford Pinchot…

Late, when the dust of the gravel road settles, fast, into black…

We cup our hands, to make an old whistle, like the hoot of an owl

To settle our minds, to settle our fears, of the directionless twirl of sky…

Upon hearing the tones from our small soft hands, deer stand still, freeze

Their black pool eyes, resolved, never leave our movements…

And the stars we see above the maze of Douglas Fir

Are old stories still being told anew…

Our voices, with purpose, retell them to each other.

Looking For Goldilocks


We’re measuring distant planets

By the flutter of their stars

By the flicker of the light

That lies

Next to their circumference


Abstracting them down

Into analyzation

Bringing them up to surface

Through <code> </code>

To words, pictures, and meanings


To read them aloud and aloof

To write them as extensible language

Copy and paste our findings

Upon the script

Of our own atmosphere

Marked up upon our own globe


Which sits conveniently

Within grasp for a spin

On the table in the study

Next to the books

Where blue whirls by

With a few rearranging squares

Rectangles, lakes and islands

Fighting for eye contact


We keep our fingertips, lightly

Upon the smooth cold metal surface

Enjoying the texture

As it twists

Through our touch


(image. An unfinished project)




Tectonic Plates

Cathy is in the twilight heat

Before the summer night

Moves like tectonic plates.

She tells me stories

Of shooting people in Vietnam

During the war


The rifle she used is under her bed.

I saw it when she asked me

To feed Molly while on vacation,

Cathy took her wife to Canada

To watch the dwindling caribou migrate.


It’s such a plain rifle, worn

Its wood stain nearly all rubbed off

The barrel dull, black and textured.

She drives hundreds of miles

To watch the caribou.


Cathy is in the twilight heat.

The sun is an orange throb.

She tells me how she used to hunt,

Southeast Oregon, Steens Mountain

Hauled back all of the animal

Limb by limb, organ by organ

Buckets of blood and fat.


I don’t like it when the sunrise is hazy

Cathy throws seeds to two blue jay parents

They’re always uptight, worried,

Especially when Molly chews grass near them.

A grey squirrel gnaws on antlers

In Cathy’s backyard. Antlers decades old.

A sprinkler chases the drought. 



Cape Disappointment


Saddle Mountain from a distance is a few uneven bumps. The jetties appear as pencil marks, drawn outwards towards the sea. The river wants to keep going, to stretch beyond the haze.

 A few old growths dot the forest, challenging the wind. They’re loners in a crowd of confused youngsters, hanging onto tales, their bark scoured by rain and salt. I lay a hand upon their exposed skin, smooth, cracked.


A tattooed girl asks if it’s okay, to break coast guard rules, to continue on, past where the trail is closed, to have a look at Deadman’s Hollow. I smile. No dead men there, just ghosts of ships, who have no souls until their names have been wrecked.

I tell her of swimming the Columbia, dog paddling into sand drifts, frightened, thinking I’ve bumped into a river creature. Then, after feeling the silt move cool between my fingers, calm down. The current plays with this muck, flying apart, then glues it back together. Deadly for ships. I’ve stood upon many, walking, shin deep, in the middle of the watercourse like a river rat Jesus.

Until large ships make their way through the dredged parts of the channel, carrying cars, toys, particle board furniture, and microfiber pants. Their wakes knock me off my river dance. Fallen, I swim with the current, sideways, grasping the mud of the soft shore.


I think of ship skeletons and the tattooed girl who looks for all the things she will know.



The shape of our sculptures

The flaws in their forms

The brittleness of their glaze

The density of their mass

The allure of kilns



Click on image to enlarge. “Formation”







The Known

There is this quiet motion

When wind brushes trees,

Branches bend, a timeless marriage…

When there are the smells of summer,

Sticky pine and soft cedar…

When rivers are a language,

Creeping through echoes of green…

When shadows move, slow, deliberate

Undecided between dream and reality…

When the soft ground molds to feet

A carpet compiled by all seasons…

When hands make imprints

In the momentary wet sand…

When mountains are careful

with the selection of words…







(Click on image to enlarge. “The Movement of Lines”)

Flowers And Watchers

The boy picks Wapato in the marsh

Just the top stems, not the tubers.

He doesn’t see me standing

In the mud, watching.


I follow him with quiet eyes

Walk through the marsh.

As if he’s searching for a vase.

There’s a humid wind

Ruffling all plants around us

Including the ones in his hand.


Near us are shy egrets

With their long necks, poking

Among a dried-out lake bed.

They’re not overly timid.

They’ve seen us, hear us

Have no concern

Over flowers or watchers.


As I move, the mud is loud

Echoing off trees, off the sky.

Off of all the moments we are taking.

He disappears behind a cottonwood

And the play of clouds and sun.

My pant legs are caked with soil.


The egrets stick to their search

Of the wet marshland grass.

A small patter of rain hits leaves, branches.

We change again.





Ramona Falls’ Mist

Ramona’s whisper requites us to ourselves—our fires extinguished, our thirst sated.

That voice, a pact between mountain and moisture, is a quiet call to us

The stumbling pilgrims, forest wanderers, wishful sages who suffer from acute chatter.

Its language—slow—near wordless, near nothing, paints upon the brow reminders…

Of lost talk of the ancient shape of myths, wrapped around delicate, heavy truths,

Source of our combined story.


We arrive with city hands, parched

To drink for the first time—again.

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