Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Weekly Worded

Privacy Notice

A satellite knows where I live.
An image of my roof appears
in a database that is collecting
the face of the earth.

Whether I was home that day
the satellite floated by
I don’t know.
I don’t see me in the yard

but I see the willow trees
on each side of the driveway.
They are still summer green,
as if simmered in sunlight.

I wish I could have waved,
improvised a little dance
to signal the invader,
a whirling dervish

so happy to open my doors
the world that googles me
sees a blur, a place I occupied
before turning into air.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Weekly Worded

Either Way

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.

If I leave
and drive twelve hours,
the day will have burned
like gasoline.
I’ll arrive past sunset,
emptied of light,
the hot engine ticking
like a clock.

If I don’t leave
but stay by the window
watching the sunlight
watercolor the sky,
it will take all day to dry.
I’ll hold the canvas
before me
like a closed door.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekly Worded


At Fort Huachuca
gophers dig tunnels under
the army’s parade ground.

Left. Right. Left. Right.
All night. Orders to fall in.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Weekly Worded

When the Cows Come Home

If you stack hay in the barn
the cows will return,
like the leaves, the flowers,
and the grass itself.
But for now it’s stone cold
and the brown fields silver
with frost in the morning.
Flocks of black birds
harry the herd, flickering
like notes blown loose
from a musical score,
but the cows don’t care,
don’t lift their heads,
shuffling in one direction
like a composer that hears
how the song will end
the moment it begins.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weekly Worded

What the Fields Giveth, the Cows Taketh Away

Cows concentrate
with their heads down
on what the field preaches --
sunlight warming their hides,
a scent of alfalfa hay,
fresh water in the mud hole
from yesterday’s rain.
Any news that rises
ruminates for the day
and faithfully each cow
broadens with praise.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekly Worded

The Morning Sun

You’re up.
The birds have been waiting all night.
Damn your curtains!
These days -- the shortest distance between two points.
It’s always darkest before your eyes open.
Your tired, worn, and snuggled masses
must yearn to stay asleep.
Every egg has a sunny side, but none are cheerful.
Red sky, bloodshot eye.
Worms sleep later than most people think.
Hemingway? The sun never rises, the earth just turns.
Say I’m beautiful and I’ll follow you,
but shadows aren’t my fault.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekly Worded

Star Gazers

“Investigators believe the Dickinson State students
were on a stargazing trip Sunday and likely drove
into the water in the darkness.” (Associated Press)

I hope those three college friends
had only stars in their hearts
when the jeep they were driving
slipped from the road
over the embankment and into
its grave of pond water.

The next day the search plane
spotted the white jeep shining
from below the surface, as if death
could light a beacon, or the stars
fastened to Orion’s belt might
burn brighter with their last breaths.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weekly Worded

The Willow Leaves

Rooted for so many years
at the end of a straight driveway
my willow this morning
has left me. It took off
during the night while I dreamt
of manicured lawns. This morning
I should have followed its trail of debris
but what could I say? Come back?
The litter you leave in the yard
is a pleasure to rake?
Who cares if you’re always weeping?
I’ve raised three healthy ash from seedlings
and planted a forest of pine.
I should have known.
It wasn’t just early fall.
The willow I loved has left me
and that is all.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekly Worded

Virus Detection

Able was a one, Cain a zero
and they’ve replicated themselves
since the beginning of time,
not an apple or a snake
but a virus making its way
up the evolutionary ladder,
pointing its little flashlight
toward our dim event horizon.
Had we caught it then,
the whole system -- planets
and stars -- would not have crashed,
and we’d be looking for
original programming, not sin.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekly Worded

Bird in the Barn

With the big doors wide open
I can see how a bird
might enter the barn
but I can’t understand
why the bird won’t fly back out.
It rests on a rafter high in the loft,
exhausted after fluttering
from peak to peak
each time I walk through the door.
It believes in rising,
that the plywood will part,
that the shingles will scatter like leaves.
Such a small bird
to contain so large a belief.
Such a large barn
to trifle with a thing so small.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekly Worded

The Zen of Cat Doors

I wish I knew
why the cat won’t use this door.
He’s watching me
with his inscrutable look.
I’m down on all fours
trying to encourage him
to walk through walls, a kind of cat miracle
akin to the fishes and loaves.
He’s interested but can’t decide
if his freedom is worth
releasing me from servitude.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weekly Worded

The Looter’s Sonnet

the graves contain
beads with the bone sandals tools
handmade bowls and cups arrowheads
a cache of common
household furnishings
the living will pay
outrageous sums just to
show off on a shelf in their homes

they must need to own the past
must think I traffic in spirits
as if the dead held a garage sale
with no idea what a pot
from their pueblo was worth

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Weekly Worded

Evening Falls

I could say fall evenings
which would explain why the morning’s so cool
but the kind of fall I mean
rushes over the horizon
as the sun draws away,
a dark spray that cools the grass
and sends a shimmering vapor
of stars into the sky above it.
It’s like a Niagara Falls
as wide as the earth
emptying the universe
into our backyards.
Evening falls
and the babies are sleeping,
the night rushes to fill
every gap,
even the hand in the lap
that falls open, five swirling eddies
surfacing in the moonlight.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekly Worded

The Farmer’s Long Shadow

Fifty years ago the farmer
threw down his hat
and left it there,
that confounded combine
that won’t run a row
without another adjustment.
Its paint blistered
brown as the earth,
a cultivated look for so old a thing
retired in the same field
where it used to work.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekly Worded

The Imperfection of Art

In the foreground of this painting
called “My Window”
the trees appear very large
but through an opening
to the middle-ground
I can view the house my neighbors
are building, its skeleton of studs
like a grid-work imposed
over a background of pasture -- black cows
grazing against green grass --
a perfect country scene
except for a detail
revealing a cow
standing where the kitchen sink should be.
It must be an optical trick
that distance plays on the eye --
merging -- and for a moment I suspect
cows might be building the house.
If I intentionally cross my eyes
another cow becomes a farmer
mowing the yard.
Something must be wrong,
the trees are frantically waving.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekly Worded

Bus Stop

Seven o’clock.
Bus go
fifty feet or so.
Bus stop.
Dogs bark.
Bus go,
speed low.
Takes turn.
Bus stop.
Mom with tot.
Bus go.
Lights flash.
Try to pass.
Bus stop.
Children sit.
Bus go.
Traffic flow.
Bus stop.
Bus wait.
First grader late.
Bus go.
Mother waves.
Railroad tracks.
Bus stop.
Bus go.
Now I see
yellow sign:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weekly Worded

Anatomy of a Pocket-Watch

The sweep is set in its own tiny circle
within a larger face.
Two regimented hands repeating their tour
above a golden nest of gears.
21 jewels, tiny rubies, diamonds, or sapphires
in a miniature bank vault
to be opened with great delicacy.
The main spring coiled and vibrating
transfers its energy like a pulse,
driving an assembly of relatives
that dance as the fiddler counts.
A stem crowns like a bud
ready for winding the spring
and if it’s remembered every day
by a hand reaching into the pocket
it stays taut, not tight.
Maybe a great-grandson will hold this
pocket-watch like a drop of time
from a crystal pool
and in his guts, as they say,
he’ll become part of the works.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekly Worded

The Tarmac Hotel

"It was almost a surreal quality that kind of developed during the night,"
passenger Link Christin said. -AP

When the rerouted plane set down
the passengers stayed put
but not because they didn’t
have other places to go.
One fell asleep after two hours
of insisting he be released.
He dreamt of Minneapolis
in the snow despite it being summer,
the moist midnight air
filling his lungs like a sponge.
Another exhausted her cell phone
calling for help, the irony being
that passenger safety
was why she couldn’t leave.
Airport security, gone for the day,
had locked the doors behind them
and nobody else was qualified
to secure this acre of earth.
So the crew refused to disembark
any passenger, afraid that broken rules
might open the hatch to terrorism.
Out of kindness a flight attendant
turned off the seat belt light
and relief circulated through
the tiny adjustable nozzle
above everyone’s head, that is
until the toilet holding tank filled
and then not even relief
reigned, though the captain
still held the cockpit out of habit,
asserting his inalienable right
to remain in charge.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekly Worded

The Wounded Farm

From the road nobody can tell the difference.
It looks like a house, a barn, the rusted
remains of a tractor parked
in the shade of a cottonwood tree.
The house is in disrepair, as if the family
had all it could handle
turning the earth into cash.
They packed up and headed north,
according to the neighbors,
and the farm still belongs to the old man
living on the ridge.
Nobody else will rent it.
Nobody wants to tame that urge
to have what they want right now.
Eventually the farm will be plowed under
like the fields around it,
the seeds of another subdivision
spread by the wind
and those blood red sunsets on the ridge
right where the old farm waits
simply echo the ache
of its hundred little acres.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Weekly Worded

Instructions for the House Sitter

The house is nearly a hundred years old
but it gets depressed when we leave it alone.

Newspapers stack up on the doorstep
like green logs in a fireplace and it won’t

digest its mail, so please, pick up everything
that looks like it has been rejected, especially

the cat. Feed and water the living, dust
everything else. At night leave a few lights on

for company but don’t forget to turn them off
in the morning or the sun will be jealous.

A window may be opened if it gets stuffy
but remember how the rain thinks it owns

the world. Lock the door when you leave,
and if you look back over your shoulder

as you get to the end of the driveway,
the shadow you’ll see on the porch is only

a ghost. Don’t be afraid. It has lived here
longer than either of us but neglects its chores.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Weekly Worded

Inter-species Racing

Coming out of a long hollow
I hit the plateau, pedaling hard,
and don’t see the four deer
grazing in the orchard
until I’m nearly upon them.
And they don’t expect me
so they startle in four directions,
the one with the long velvet antlers
trying to stay out in front of me.
Like I said, I’m pedaling hard
but now I’m pedaling harder,
the deer and me on parallel
trajectories, and I’m keeping up
though not as gracefully.
He leans toward the road
as if to cross it, then veers away,
muscles straining through the tall grass.
I wonder what he thinks I am,
racing beside him, my hands
gripping my chrome antlers
like some mythical deer beast.
Then he stops so suddenly
I seem to double my speed,
on my way toward a finish line
neither of us can see.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Weekly Worded

Rain Dance

It looked like it might rain today
but it never did.
The sun broke through the clouds,
set a rainbow arcing over the barn
but it never rained.
Down the road, maybe a mile or more
there may have been a shower.
The mountains looked as if
they got a little more,
so for them it looked like rain
and it was. But not for me.
I cut the lawn,
I washed and waxed the car,
made a picnic and shared it
with the ants.
My lover played some music,
we danced,
then slept out on the porch,
pretending we could feel the starlight
running off the roof.
What clothes we had on
we removed and stood out on the grass,
bare feet against the coolest green,
and so we lay down and swept
a few imaginary angels loose
beneath the willow trees.
What happened next I shouldn’t say
but we needed it more than rain.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekly Worded


To name anything precisely
is easy as counting the hours
you have left on this earth.

Nothing is how you started
and everything lies between
one moment and the next.

Scientists measure distance
they can’t actually see
using years, and though light

races at an agreed upon speed,
life can only theoretically
arrive at any destination

by overtaking itself
in the spectrum of time,
which is precisely how

people count the days,
the longest possible view
any mirror will allow.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekly Worded

Survey of the Americas

A tractor pulled alongside my pickup while I waited at an intersection for the
light to change. There was a tapping on the top of my car. I opened the sunroof.
“Excuse me,” a voice inquired from above. I tried for a glimpse of the face attached
to that voice but I could see no one. “Yes?” I replied. “Could you tell me, por favor,
what is your opinion on the legal status of illegal workers in America?” I could tell
that I might be dealing with a man of Latino origin, possibly a true representative
of the transient population. “To whom am I speaking?” I asked. “I’m sorry,” he said,
“my name is Manuel Labor, and I’m conducting a survey on behalf of the people.”
“Which people?” There was a pause in which I heard a baby crying while a Mariachi
band played music in the background. “I’m sorry,” he repeated, “I represent the
huddled masses, earning to be free.” “Are you sure you don’t mean yearning to be
free?” “Yes, of course, I’m sorry, my English is not so good, but my people are
yearning far less than minimum wage.” I interrupted: “I think this time you mean
earning less than minimum wage, not yearning.” There was another awkward pause.
The light changed. Cars honked. People shouted insults that I won’t even repeat.
Just then Manuel (if that was his real name) let loose the foulest barrage of foreign
expletives, though I have no way of knowing for sure, since I only speak English.
And all this at such a small intersection, our opinions so close to colliding.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekly Worded

Take Two Poems and Call Me In the Morning

The ache I’ve been feeling
is difficult to locate.
It could be sinuses, a stiff neck,

or even my back, but it also could be
larger, a kind of poetic ache
that originates in the soul

and won’t get any better
until the right words
have been spoken,

which is why I keep a volume
of poetry in the bathroom
beside the medicine cabinet.

It reminds me how deeply
desperation has been felt before.
Sometimes just picking it up

is enough, its warmth
like an old steam radiator
and all I have to do is get close.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Weekly Worded*

Inner Resources

At the Kennecott mine in Utah
a sign beside the museum door reads,
“In 1906 this was a mountain.”

Now it’s a pit, the largest open-pit
copper mine in the world.
It covers 1,900 acres, reaching

two and a half miles wide,
three-quarters of a mile deep.
At the museum door I’m a hundred

years too late, but imagine how much
hubris is required to behold
this mountain in reverse.

*Weekly Worded is an ongoing attempt to post the best piece of writing that surfaces from a week of work at my keyboard.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Feelasophy Blog - Day 1

You have arrived at the place where old philosophy
meets new feelasophy. The old Geocities site is going
to be vanishing soon, and this new blogspot will take
over, a place for the best poem I can write each week
in my new feature, an ongoing posting I’ll refer to as
Weekly Worded.

Of course, the links to all the prose and poems that get posted, some YouTube
adventures, and even pictures when I can find some image that catches hold
of me. And who knows what else.

All this is thanks to my friend in St. Cloud, David, who has been gently suggesting
I try to update my static old site. So be patient as we get this change of venue rolling.

Chances are a new retiree, given the right advice, can learn a few new tricks.

Sample poems from "The Home Atlas" by David Feela (WordTech Editions, 2009)

Spring 2009 (flash) fiction by David Feela (r.kv.r.y. quarterly literary journal)

Poems by David Feela (at Newversenews.blogspot.com)

Poetry Nightmares (at SFPoetry.org)

The Quarry (at TheScreamOnline.com)

The Evolution of God (at TheScreamOnline.com)

Poems by David Feela (at TheScreamOnline.com)

Index to David Feela columns at High Country News

Index to David Feela columns at New West

An Encounter With William Stafford (at LiteraryTraveler.com)

The Fossil Record (for Thefossil.com)

Work and Play (Arts Perspective)

Column at InsideOutsideMag.com -
Type "David Feela" in the search box at:

Index to David Feela columns at Four Corner's Free Press

David Feela - Colorado Poets Center, Univ. of Northern Colorado