Friday, August 22, 2014

Weekly Worded

           At the Un-Navajo National Monument

Betatakin, a Navajo word,
but in the glossary of time
it means 75 to 100 people
lived here, families
or clans, 135 rooms, most
the size of a closet, some
smaller, sealed, full of grain.
Soot thick on stone walls.
A kiva round as a jacuzzi
to soothe the ever-present
existential ache about a future. 
As caretakers the Navajo
invite us to look,
photograph, crush
the light into pixels.
365 thousand sunrises.
Wall-to-wall carpet of dust. 
A makeshift ladder 
leaning like a shadow
toward a door no larger
than a window.  A view
without an address.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Weekly Worded

      Reality Is Inside
           (In Memoriam)

It must have been quieter than usual
or noisier, depending on which
part of you was listening. 

Either way, you were alone
in that space called home, a full cast
of insecurities waiting for cues. 

On good days the commotion inside
must have sounded like applause
that turned into a furious scratching,

dozens of fingernails shredding
hundreds of scripts.  There.  Just enough
room to improvise, jokes

catching like barbs in the throat. 
So focused on what you'd say next,
we never heard how the air

from your lungs hissed
as it erased your tongue, your lips,
every part of you that we loved.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Weekly Worded


The forecasters say
there’s a chance of rain
so I sit on my porch,

watching a dark cloud
shape itself
into a promise.

It’s a long way off
and my glass
is only half full.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weekly Worded

                  A Mooving Picture Show

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekly Worded


Watch how the light folds into the earth
at a seam called the horizon, a bright thread
pulled taut but not broken, woven like a tapestry
between a latticework of tree limbs and the cold
stone distant mountains.  Knowing the same light
lit the morning, tugged at the sunflowers
until they turned east, steeped all afternoon
like a cup of tea, and still stitched the day
shut is what it means to believe.  Stand
with your hands on your hips and tell me
this sunset is not the reason you were born. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Weekly Worded

       Swallow Archaeology

Wet dirt from beside my irrigation pond rises
to the barn’s eaves, up where the roof peaks,
so far out of reach the swallows simply stare

down at me with a bird’s disinclination,
their yellow-tufted heads bobbing like hardhats
in a construction zone, workers plastering

fresh adobe nests to the barn’s red boards. 
How ancient the labor, older than our ancestors
coiling clay, studying this architecture of mud.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekly Worded

                  1981:Yei : Pauline Allen.  Chinle Area 21″x 28″
      Tour de Sheep

From the checkerboard highway
I watch two women leading four sheep,
one tethered to each hand.

They hurry along a footpath,
not talking, not even to their sheep. 
The older woman stays ahead,

the younger close behind. 
It’s a beautiful evening, a few patches
of wool with mostly clear skies.