Living With The Volcano

A wide emptiness sits over Spirt Lake from Harry’s Ridge to Harmony Lake Viewpoint. An emptiness of vast distance with stars or sun, clouds and wind…a series of personalities, always in the process of change, threatens to knock all thought out of you.

You search for the mountain. Some days it’s larger than any life you’ve ever known, yet appears accessible, as if you could simply stroll up its skin to the summit, say hello to the sublime. Other times it hides behind mist, playing hide and seek through clouds rolling over that same emptiness.

As you watch the emptiness, you notice a small herd of mule deer. They feed between the mountain’s ponds, little scoops in the earth, formed by the eruption, filled by endless springs, alive. The deer watch you with slow caution until you break into all thought and speak to them. With that sound, they move away from you, bringing that sky, the emptiness, back down to the ground. All thoughts are returned to you and the sky resumes its simple task of appearing, with regularity, over your head.

And it’s only when you get back home when you realize the reason you search for the emptiness. For you never knew you’d see the deer and you were aware that the mountain may be hard to see on some days. That same sky is inside you, full of stars or sun, clouds and wind…a series of personalities, always in the process of change. And it takes your own voice, one that you can clearly hear, to break into all thought, making that sky settle back down to earth.



Silent Friendship

The deer mouse comes out, when the night covers the entire sky.  

Through foliage, appearing in little instants, eyes gleaming black, tail flying behind him.

He’s in the peripheral of your flashlight as his jump crests the undergrowth.

His business, a serious endeavor, risking the watchful eye of owls

And even if he’s a bit paranoid, he’s intent upon finding your trail mix.

You sit silent, while he approaches

Accepting, with cautious boldness, your offer of breakfast cereal for dinner.

Leaves without saying much, a bit disappointed, perhaps

After you’ve packed up and secured all food.

But you know he’s still there as you fall asleep

To the rustle of branches and the sly movement of the wind.




Scapegoat’s Paradox

Holding it in, close, became a strength

An essence, a nugget, bloom’s heart

Shaped by chinks, cracks, and splits

Of a shell you wished was a softer hue.


Relinquished, expelled, produced a body

The lucid form of your careful ambiguity

From a cold clay, carved and baked

An Image of remedy, poison, and sacrifice.




Love Letters

She’s a tangent, planting words in wild rows that release constant seeds, adrift, landing upon her skin, a skin she reads to herself.

Her heartbreak, an apocalypse of reincarnations, dust on the floor, dry paper, bits, clumps, wheat lost from the chaff, molded to her insides, feeling the roughness of each word.

She sweeps the floor of these words, where thousands threw their crumbs, recognizes the smell, small mixtures of sweet and rot, rooted, glued to a pattern, reapplied to the pollination.

Her eyes like rain and sun fall heavy upon the sprout, sounding out, curling around the heads of her lovers, laying hold upon their ears, their hearts but vines and flowers.


(Image–“Sensed”. Click on image to enlarge)

Mild Streak

Rain stopped

Forced spring out for a day.


Winter is an ideal

With a harsh streak of delirium.





These cold hills stand unconcerned of what walks beneath them. Snow, that made it through the day’s rain, will be covered by night’s newest layer of white. But here today, the rain collects upon the trail.

Footprints lie scattered. There are recent ones, still adhering to the shape of a shoe and older ones losing the semblance of humanness. All show their course around the puddles, trying to find the driest method to continue.

And yes, there’s evidence of others who’ve abandoned finding the dry way. Perhaps, they see themselves as hearty, brave, or trust their shoes more than others, or just don’t care.

Tomorrow, when the snow sticks, quieting the rain, puddles will be replaced by a contour of white. The trail can still be seen and if you look closely, you will see other kinds of footprints, who share the path, either dry or wet.

And the cold hills still remain unconcerned, even though it’s they, who we all wish to see.


(Click on image to enlarge. Salmon River, near Mt. Hood. Jan. 2020)

Naming Creeks

The creek isn’t cruel by not knowing my name.

Even though, I have known its name all my life.

On walks, I still follow its voice, soothed by its flow.

I won’t ask it to know me.

I’m okay with being an eternal stranger to it.


The creek doesn’t need my name

For me to hear its voice

Even during the loneliest times

When snow blankets its banks

And trees block the wind from its surface.


There are times when I wish

I could mimic the creek

But I know its name, taught to me by these very words

Which curve around boulders and tree limbs

Written by the currents of my own heart


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