Sunday, December 07, 2014

Winter Solstice


Winter Solstice


It has always been spoken of
as the grave and womb of light
this most brief day
this deepest midnight
stiffened with ice and silence.

It is crucial now that there be
harbors and pools and islands
of light

and it is necessary
that there be song
for the dead are everywhere
stricken with grief
wandering among the birds of winter

but with song they may be comforted
and Love, on this longest of nights,
requires the giving of a gift.


           
I wrote this poem as poet-in-residence at Actor's Theatre in Ashland Oregon, at the request of the Director, Michael O'Rourke, and added the graphic later as the two seemed particularly suited to one another. It's based on a photo I took of a full moon rising over a wash (small canyon) in the mountains of northern Nevada. It was a ridiculously difficult place to get to even with a jeep and an experienced off-road driver. Unfortunately, after a few unusually wet springs and flash flooding, I doubt access to this magical place even exists anymore.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Drift

Drift


I have been up all night
writing and re-writing
tomorrow
watching the stars
tick across the sky.
Around midnight
the Big Dipper is just
beyond my window.
By 3 am only stars.
No names.
Then in the hush
just before dawn
when time slows
nearly to a stop I see
my grandmother’s dog
the one she made live outside
that entire North Dakota winter
his pleading, cold-crazed eyes
a sad, two-star constellation.
They shot him in the spring.

The sun doesn't rise.
The world falls face first
into its light
finds its mark
resumes the
fiction of the day.

With regret I sense
before I can see
the Holy Dark
dissolve into grainy
morning. Here and there
a bird stirs in its quills.
Before long
they are on the roof
rattling the gutters
pecking at the tiles.
One of these days
they will pull
the house beam out
and the whole thing
will fall down.


asha
Nevada

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

La Pared

La Pared


They are not gone, they
are gone home past bricks
lost beneath plaster, beneath
paint, posters, handbills
fragile as snakeskin abandoned
to the sun and wind, past the
stenciled telephone and
"Jesús, el teléfono del diablo",
a face, "Mexico, poco real",
and startled black figures
suspended in a running
tumble, past creeping vines
turning what was once a wall
into a crumbling spine
blackened by the repeating,
always humid afternoon.

When the day is done I
open my window to the street
stir my brush into the sleeping
paint and begin again.


asha
Mexico, 2004

Monday, July 28, 2014

Aeon

Aeon


I am working my way back,
practicing speech, re-learning
the language spoken at the bottom
of the world, where the hair is.

I am threading my way back
through the complicated rain
where the words were. They
do not want you to read this.

I am learning your language,
working my way back to our
last universal common ancestor
enrapt by blue black dawn.

She is the moon we see traveling
at the edge and words spoken from
dream. Listen. I am re-learning our
language. These are the words they

do not want us to speak, this silence
reverting to the mean. The lost river
has brought us together, this moment
taking shape within us.

And all this time, her lying dead in the
ground and me looking everywhere
to find the stone that has not moved
and trees willy nilly where their seeds fell.


asha
Nevada, 2004

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Re-beginnings

Re-Beginnings


Touched by your eyes, I quake. Whatever is good has ceased to flow. I throw the poison mirror away. The walls close towards center. Barely room to breathe.

Morning comes and again I resolve to survive the day, overcome this. We had planned to do that. Times have been better. My flesh hurts. I plunge back into sleep.

But the urge comes again, jarring open my eyes. You aren't here. What am I creating here? Or am I just re-living-re-living-re-living the worst old outcomes? There was a truth here somewhere. Sinking, my thoughts become seeds seeking the comfort of the dark. Memories are of no value. Where I am now I am safe, between everything, away and alone under a high cloud sky.

In this inner world of the closed flower there is a moment’s rest. The wind and tide erase all. I do not speak the language here. It is a comfort. I communicate through half tones, faint smiles. Outside the petals, rain and finally a clear sky and distant snow capped mountains. Having held back too long, I do not cry. We bend or break. Now I lay me down to sleep. The rain drenched petals creak. I am lowered into the storm, small boat, small wings, to try the sea.


asha
Seattle – On the occasion of my mother’s death

Monday, June 02, 2014

Return

Return

To the disembodied
painted faces of the inner air
the stone voice speaks
the whorls upon waking weep
the swamp of singing reeds
the growing world
turns to listen.

Time. white faced,
delirious with eternity
sleeps on.
There is no answer.
In the winter sun
birds are thinking.
They do not reply.
It is noon at my place on earth.
I have returned
from a long journey.
I have changed.
The end
and the beginning
stir and separate my thoughts.          


asha
Ashland, OR 1988

Friday, May 30, 2014

Communiqué 3

Communiqué 3


I am writing
this in the
dark, fingers dipped
in ink, ushering
each reluctant word
to its place
upon the page,
the invisible theatre.
It is risky
business. Spies and
traitors everywhere, slavery
and broken minds.
But these are
strong old friends.
Old as war.


asha
- excerpt from Unfinished Draft

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Three lines

Three Lines
For my brother

The wind is collecting the
dead. “Tell them about us",
they whisper as they pass.

asha
Seattle, 1984

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Life at the top of the stairs

Life at the top of the stairs


~Prelude~

Having to be somewhere
I found myself living
on the landing at the top of the stairs.
A thousand times a thousand times
I finished in my mind

the unfinished painting
leaning against the wall.
The eight-legged one,
tiny Protectorate of the Shadows
and her eggs, she alone knows

the rest of the story, the window,
the comatose trees,
the fog drenched night and
all the sad creatures and
voices caught in the scaffolding.


asha
excerpt from Book of Images