Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Feeling Your Weight

Check out Portugal. The Man's new song for Earth Day #EndangeredSong

Feeling Your Weight
we hike through the hemlock
trunks thick as the two of us
combined, you riding in a pack
upon my back

the sharp rays of evening sun 
reaching into the forest
I wait for the towering trees
to inspire you
will it be another bear hunt?
a monster chasing us? 
perhaps bigfoot?
what will we play?
just shy of three
you are, it seems
always reading my mind
already finishing my sentences
always surprising me
and I'm waiting for our play 
to begin, but also thinking
about tomorrow 

I plod up the trail, feeling your weight
thirty plus pounds of questions
you point to one of the giant stumps
the trail winds around
what's that? you ask
I stop. A stump, I say
no, you inform me
no, that means the Once-ler was here

Are you the Once-ler? I ask.
Your answer?
No, Dad. I am the Lorax.

And like that, you tell me 
tomorrow will be okay

[Poem #22 --- National Poetry Month and Earth Day! In support of Earth Day please search for and share the Sumatran Tiger song and the hashtag #EndangeredSong by the amazingly talented Alaskan band Portugal. The Man. There are only 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the world. Share the song, spread the message. Thanks!]

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Words of the Earth

"Thank you" in Yupik.

The Words of Earth

when the words of the earth
fail to move the tongues
of those meant to speak
we lose more than language

when the words of the earth
fail to reach the ears
of those meant to hear
we lose more than a culture

when the words of the earth
fail to reach the hearts
of those meant to know
we lose our souls

[Poem #21 --- the morning after the Alaska Legislature finally recognized our State's incredible REAL wealth, the rich native languages of the land.]

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Miracle of the Chocolate Eggs

I remember 
questioning in my kid head
the possibility of such miracles

a fat man in red who could fit
down our chimney, a sled pulled by
reindeer who never lost their antlers
just to bring me presents

a fairy who could recover my tooth
after my grandmother accidentally
swallowed it
left in a glass of water
on the counter
and yet still pay me a dollar in coins

a man who walked on water
who died, just for me
then rose from the dead
and later into space
on something that appeared
to my kid skull a rocket
but was corrected,
that was a fiery cloud
and he was headed to heaven

then there was the silly bunny
who laid eggs,
and left candy

I never questioned the candy
or the miracle of the chocolate eggs

[Poem #20 for National Poetry Month! Happy Easter and Happy Spring to All!]

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gathering the Turds for the Final Vote

Gathering the Turds for the Final Vote

the turds were all gathered at the Capital 
the final big debate
the room smelled of money, sweat, and turds 

all the pressing issues of the day, for Alaska
resolved, solved, solutions in resolution
all that appeared to remain 
this final piece of 

the turds, in their place
the lobbyists, concerned citizens, activist students
even the governor,  in attendance, 
each with their own turd interests

discussion began
support for the clear front running turds, apparent

Moose turds already had their place
in many tourist shops, 
earrings, swizzle sticks, even a festival
and the lobbyists 
for those small round brown balls
had done their homework

the other turds just didn’t have the support
black bear and brown bear turds 
while often appearing to have perfectly edible blue berries
 and interesting colors
 lacked a certain commercial appeal

hare turds were too small, too much like kids’ cereal
whale turds, too big, too mysterious
owl turds, not actually turds at all

then someone suggested polar bear
and a lobbyist passed a note over the balcony
a reminder that turd wouldn’t be around much longer
they would have to gather the turds in another session
move on to other turds

musk-ox and caribou were proposed
but no one felt any particular attraction to those turds
unless there were wolf turds involved

a few moments before the vote
moose still the front-runner
a new turd appeared
more specifically: a whole white five-gallon bucket of turds
conservative supporters of the moose turds laughed
just another silly liberal ploy
 to bring attention to rural turds and the buckets
 that so often hold their foul stink

this was, after all, their last vote of a banner year
beautifully un-bi-partisan
this was an important vote for a singular object
turd not turds
just like they had voted for the Alaska State Gun, a Winchester Model 70
 the Alaska State Boot, Bunny
 the Alaska State Lubricant, Crude
 the Alaska State Position, Missionary

Yes ---
 this was the time to vote for Alaska’s State Turd

[Poem #19 ---- special thanks to  Scott Woodham, my editor at Alaska Dispatch for the crappy idea. ]

Friday, April 18, 2014

Anything Helps

Anything Helps

I ready myself for morning
phone calls, messages
they found you today, "he's blank"
they say, "blanked himself"
"he was blanking" they repeat

I ready myself for the afternoon
when I roll to a redlight
winter cold, windows half frosted
four o'clock, twenty minutes until dark
you at the corner, shuffling in frozen boots
cardboard sign, black marker letters
anything helps, thanks

I ready myself for nights
when I can't find sleep
because, I'm not ready
for what the morning might bring

[April 18th --- the 18th poem for National Poetry Month.]

Thursday, April 17, 2014

On Enormous Wings

may you spread
your enormous wings
and fly
as you carried us
through vanilla bean air
through sleepless nights
curing us
with Father Gonzaga, and
turning us into spiders
pondering how you
flew so effortlessly
with language and love
the logic of your wings
so natural
so completely human

[Poem #17 for National Poetry Month --- April 17, 2014 --- the day the world lost Gabriel Garcia Marquez.]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What Good Remains

One of the most remote graveyards in America...trust me.

What Good Remains

disturb no dirt when I depart
leave the earth alone
topple no trees
carve no cross
carry no casket
pluck not a flower

donate what good remains
place the remains on a hill and
thank the scavengers I so love

cry no tears
remember how I believed heaven a mountain, a river, a snowstorm
recall how I said I would return in the wind, the waves
listen to the ravens, the leaves, the caribou click
forget not how I saw life everywhere and
know that is where I went