Today is the official anniversary of the Troutclan Campfire blog site. Note that we just passed the 25,000 hit mark as well. It also happens that the stock market is tanking, once again. If you listen closely, I think you will be able to hear Dude's oft repeated lament, "We're doomed!" in the background... lol. There is an astounding array of bad news out there today - from LATOC, Survival Acres, Prison Planet, What Really Happened ...you name it. My worst so far is the "Big Dog" scenario where the Pentagon has commissioned robots to round up "uncooperative" humans... Personally, my weird-shit-o-meter is pegged. All my Sarah Connor, Terminator, fantasies seem to be manifesting. Good grief.
Time for some soul food.
For a treat, we are posting a collection of the poems that Rockpicker has written and posted on our site through the year. We are, of course, grateful and appreciative of the poetic contributions that others have submitted as well. But this collection affords the opportunity for people to cut and paste them so that if you want to, you could create your own collection to keep through time. We are so fortunate to have such a poet in our midsts, and it's good to pause and let his perspectives strengthen and enrich us.
Waiting For The Signal
These pages that bring us together
are the fire in the cave above the stream,
no dream we move in and out of, faceless,
expendable, waiting for a burst of wings
to spill our pooled bones like coins
over the chilled and silent ground
we fell in love with so long ago,
singing the green hills homeward
under that shovel-shouldered sun.
Fatigue works grim the stone of souls.
No talk is needed to believe the bleeding
will be ours all too soon. Needled dust,
that settled itself in naive lungs, cuts
with each rasp, yet the bleeding
won't be stemmed. Quick, black tongues
flicked from windows, floors below dustified
slabs, while the Street slumped with peanuts
beside its beer, locked on the game.
In our rush of voices a stream curses
the murmur of pines. In our names,
what we begged for never to be done,
is done with no shame. And the day
drags its blindered self to toil. Night trades
whiskey pete for oil, while down slope,
death-drummer birds with blazing eyes
ascend the holy crags to kill dissent
before we waking innocent arise.
When a bunker buster
falls in the desert
and no one
shows you photos
of the shadows
of little bodies
etched on concrete walls,
is the wailing
by the whirr
An Act of Extraordinary Courage Observed While Planting Tomatoes
banked in black
and lit behind
at the back shed's eave.
He paced the peak
a throaty protest.
I ignored his peave.
like cats across beds.
Welcomed shade turned chill.
There was squash, still.
Raven crowed brave
from safe spruce,
gawked quizzical from crab.
Nerve enough or calculated ire
worked him into swoop
and grab. A defining clack
of black claws scraping plastic
told the truth. Mute owl,
on his guarding post,
Grieving For Falluja, Election Day, 2005
I'm waiting empty in a cold house,
with shamrocks, the dog and favored books,
listening for the old tread of new boots,
gunning to kick in this loose-hinged heart.
The angry hands of those with much
to lose, I imagine, close on me.
They drag me, incendiary,
into their unmooned dark.
An unfinished whiskey on the table
is how my neighbors find me gone.
No bloated stench. No skeletal sneer.
Only that storm door banging mad in wind.
Jets vs Pittsburgh,
Coldest Day of the Year
on Saturday afternoons,
in the little box
over the backbar,
a pointless struggle,
by aging boys
who too soon
will find themselves
in a gainful world,
sipping micro brews
in glass- blocked bars,
new boys who run
somehow leads one
to dead -weighted air
as a final nell
and somewhere, far away,
to dusty sunlight,
(a sweetly putrid moon,
perhaps,) under which
old beyond years,
to keep alive.
Magnetic Ribbons and the Yellowcake of Faith
When we wake puking shame
at last, and know the dream
for sham, embraced en masse...
When bells that rang victorious
hang mute, their tarnished claims
ignored in disrepute, and
bitter sons, having been all they
could be, can't wish back innocence
or the leg below the knee...
(This brash regime's trimmed reason
from its ranks, its black guard
in the street, protecting flanks.)
...then will we heed the schemers'
gloating leer? "There's no future
for dissidents here."
Row on row, with hand
in trembling hand, it's come to this.
We dreamers need to stand.
It's the wet 'yes'
of a girl’s kiss
in grass, with
her rapt eyes
your plain length
in beargrass air.
and salty hair
Planting Garlic On A Cool October Sunday,
While Waiting for News Of The Collecting Armada
The tick of hooves on concrete trumps
my digging. Across
an anxious doe changes course
on noticing my form. It's nearly dark.
This light of a weekday's usually safe, she's
come to know. But elbows and knees
that should not be here flailing put her off.
I straighten in fading daylight with my spade,
take account of the small pile of carrots
I have made and think of ships massing
in the Gulf. Apples stoop barren
at the end of this plot. They bloomed
to beat Memorial bands, then bore
almost nothing. Cowbirds worked Labor Day
to pick their poor limbs bare.
And so I'm here, bent on a spade
in failing light, wondering, will our press
speak of camps built to incinerate
dissenters' bones? And will my neighbors,
who think it impolite to talk politics,
see her white flag brandished in alarm?
Stopping For Pelicans On A Summer Evening
Driving the Road to the
Oldensoul, over my shoulder, spots
a helix of featherworks bursting
the cloudless blue near where
roads and waters merge. We pull off.
Low over yellowing grass, black wings
work the yellowing grass for what
it's worth, unaware, or perhaps,
unimpressed, by the grace overhead.
Flashes of winged bodies appear
out of nowhere unencumbered in air.
They flare white, a hundred points
of light, a flock of blossoms,
each banked turn when sun hits right.
Up and up they climb, uninstructed,
free, repeating explosions of ecstasy.
It takes our breath. They bloom,
fade and bloom again, delirious
anarchy on zazen wind.
This whirling is a public mirth, a stirring
of rapture, loosed of earth. And isn't
this coming together of a green day
with affirming moon and the scent
of new-mown hay a way to sing
our love song back to a black-winged world?
Prayer For MF's Quick Recovery
I have walked the Camas side
of Schmidtz, in bitterroot moons,
beheld the dew-jeweled hills
in succulent June and I have slept
entwined by the lapping shore,
soundly, with a late-found love.
I want no more.
A bright half-moon over Dunkelburg Ridge,
northwest flank of the
and we snuggle under fiberfil and wool
in a long- shadows meadow
at the nape of the hill.
The great bear circles above,
pointing the way for moss on firs.
My love concurs. Days exposed
and drooping, with tape and pills, are still
willow-wandering days. Let detractors
go to hell. Beyond the tops of cedar posts
and faceted glass, hills ripple green
with cheated grasses. They open wild,
accepting faces in riotous prayer. Aho.
After An Ice Storm On The Allegheny Plateau
Beyond the sumac tangle, where a thinning father saws,
a grandmother shagbark hickory sags with loss.
the sawyer knows and ice conspire some bad years
to open crowns and let a good sun in. He revs
his Stihl. Green pulp sprays from kerfs and sticks
to boots, consecrating snow like scattered ash.
You stand a distance off and dream the taut trunk limber.
Remember a girl, smart, green as whip? You loved her.
This ancient snag, lithe in youth, was left by men
long dead for shade. You like to think she chose her ground,
bolted free of gloom so deep a bright moon hurt, and ran,
breaching walls to reach this mid-field stance. You're
confused. The figure you remember kept running.
Some bad years snap the stoutest dreams like twigs.
Cures fail. Stunned villagers inter a shining son.
A wife says 'leave.' Once each life thin fathers
flesh-out plans to restack stones, slash brush
and honour the old delineations. Buck the shattered way
life doesn't go. Toss rounds to boys who still trust dreams
and cart your grief like cordwood home in snow.
Contemplating the Artist Caught Red-Handed
We arrived home flushed with the day
to find him hooting up a mouser's moon,
two poles away, hunched against a final smudge
of light. He perched so still, I wondered, plastic?
You whispered, 'so skilled a rendition of terror
one must heed.' I hooted, too, in yellow gloom.
And off he came, low over lilacs, in a whoosh
of wings. We thrilled in his twilight blessing.
Days later, I collected his broken fluff
under spruce boughs in the children's park.
I sat in a swing, dragging lines in sand,
and pressed the tips of his talons into my thumbs.
Across brown grass, past the aqua crater
of the wading pool, a wooden seesaw
weather-checks in sun. Lives lept from
seldom are remounted, or redone.
In this time of fallen heroes,
the kids have painted an American flag
on the concrete block outhouse beside the library.
Hands dipped in paint and pressed suggest
an aggressive future foreign policy.
I count sixty-seven stars. One flares fire-engine red.
Still, I'm setting stone
on a rich man's house.
In the space overhead,
between the sofit
and scaffold planks,
two jets, tail- to- nose,
fly west the walk-plank
slice of sky each day
around one. In an hour,
they return, dead on,
their contrail straight
as a shovel handle,
propped inside a grave.
Night falls like a woven throw
over the shoulders of the apples.
I lean on the fork handle stuck deep in sod and let the evening
chords of redwings thrill me.
Still, day dies sad.
The tangled skeins of rhizomes,
shaken free of worms,
heap behind me like regrets
I pile and never burn.