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.