On Shearing

my wife and I,
are getting closer to the edge,
the margin
where failed strength lives.
Every year
we shear
is a lesson
in fear
learned in struggle.
And to whom does it matter
if I can't grab and tump
a sheep on its butt to be shorn?
It matters to us,
my wife and I,
the proto-peasants.
But there will come a time
when this complaint
will no longer make sense.
There will be no one left
who lived and loved
its truth.
No one.


My wife and I
planted black raspberries
several years ago
for our granddaughter.

Last weekend
they were finally peak ripe
for the first time.

From the porch swing
she looked out into the garden
her eyes
a million miles away
and said,
resolute and still,
"I want to eat some berries."
So we did,
the past feeding the present into the future.

Contemplative whales
swimming through
the sonic light
and moving past
all they survey.

Two kinds of poet
make a chalk circle

One closes the loop,
one scuffs it open.

One can't abide a rule,
one is eaten up with abiding by them.

One opens the spell circle
to let the demon out,
one makes sure the demon stays put
under a spell.

One makes the poem a starting line,
one says the poem is the finishing line.

One says a poem is an infinite game made for play and play alone,
one says a poem can be explicated and won

I know who I am.
Who might you be?

Passing over thresholds,
translating through liminal margins,
Hedgerow complexity
endlessly rocking.
Let the earthworm
and the dung beetle
and the dragonfly
and the deep sky rule.
That is
the minimally viable syllabus
for what might emerge,
a brood of knowing.

Stole it from Uncle Walty Whitman. He gave me permission to remix forever. What would he make of the world we live in? Something grand no doubt. @dogtrax

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The high tink of a pinball parlor half a block way,
the strong tenor of Spring owls caterwauling before dawn,
and the lightest skim of ice in a nearby rain barrel just about ready for phase change.
Memory is the cradle
endlessly rocking.

The Undiscovered Country

are the uninvited jockeys,
thundering toward death,
through the last furlong,
untrammelled and alone,
not hearing the crowd,
nor giving the whip hand
to our slathering mount.
We know,

I love the winter,
how the year slows it pace,
I love the winter,
and how it stops
to look at the moon
through the bare
tree limbs.

Tellio boosted

I broke the road
to find some earth
so we could build
with the mud and the clay
and we all laughed


We Make This Road

under the assumption
that because
we talk & teach,
students listen & learn.
God laughed.

Who knows,
maybe somebody
just kicked out the cord.
Go ahead.
Plug it back in.
See what happens.

The cold
one steel bearing
old anvil.

A Prayer

Dear God,
let my granddaughter
hear the cackle
of a pileated woodpecker,
let her feel
the belly of a corn snake,
let her know
the squeeze of our hands in hers
as we walk
toward the million spring peepers
in the wetlands
by the creek.
Let us
her world.

I have been alive almost 66 years.
I have been married 42 years.
Our oldest child will be 40 next year.
I have been teaching for 25 years.
I have been sheep farming for 25 years.
I have lived in the same place for 31 years.
Nowhere in that illegible catastrophe
Is there an interview question.

Busted. Threadweary.
I am that man on cardboard:
"Will work for respect."


Blood on the poem's
from all our teeth and lips,
rhymes and
tongue slips,
rhythms incarnadine
on fingertips,
paradiddle yawps
and yips.
Shout your own
spatter wordblood
your red ellipse.

Books remind us
of what we love,
ethical blazes
lit by others
then stoked
every time we return to them.

Spine and margin and cover and leaf bursting to light and heat.

Paragraphs burning bright as meteors,
metaphors leaping as shiny as minnows,
our hearts
from page to page.

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