In the Look

A bunny knows when it’s being watched,
as if attention itself has a weight.
As if it feels my stare like a rush,
like a threatening hand, like a stroke.
But when I graze the bunny
with a brush of a glance
and with half-lidded eyes,
my body faintly angled to the side,
the bunny will bear
the gravity of my notice
and I may watch all I want
as it nibbles and twitches,
hops and rests.
And so it is I learn to meet my past
with a softened gaze, with gauzy eyes,
to meet a memory slant.
The memories let me linger now,
increasingly unskittish.
I do not try to touch them.
They multiply like rabbits.

Come explore our relationship with darkness in a “playshop” and an in-person reading by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer on Saturday, December 3.  Both events are at Shyft at Mile High, at 1401 Zuni St, Suite 106, close to downtown Denver. No previous writing experience is needed. Registration and ticket information is below. 

Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer will have two in-person events on December 3 in Denver, both devoted to exploring our relationship with darkness. The four-hour writing playshop (more fun than a workshop) is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Later that night, Trommer will perform poems about darkness and light from 6-7:30 p.m., accompanied by guitarist Steve Law. Both events take place at SHYFT at Mile High. Please call 720-486-9798 or email hello@shyftatmilehigh.org with questions. These events will not be live streamed or recorded.

1. DEEPER INTO THE DARK: An In-Person Playshop with Rosemerry Trommer DATE: Saturday, Dec 3TIME: 11am – 3 pmLOCATION: Shyft at Mile HighPrice: $100/$125/$150Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/poetry-workshop-with-rosemerry-trommer-deeper-into-the-dark-tickets-428893330497 Our relationship with darkness is one of the most lush and powerful subjects of poetry. In this time of deepening darkness, spend four hours exploring the dark through language. What is possible only in the dark? What aspects of our life are nourished by darkness? What does it have to teach us?No writing or poetry experience is necessary, and sharing is always optional.LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLEPlease call 720-486-9798 or email hello@shyftatmilehigh.org with questions. This event will not be live streamed or recorded.
2. DEEPER INTO THE DARK: An In-Person Performance with Rosemerry Trommer & Guitarist Steve Law DATE: Saturday, Dec 3rdTIME: 6:00 – 7:30pmLOCATION: Shyft at Mile HighPrice: $12Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/poetry-performance-with-rosemerry-trommer-deeper-into-the-dark-tickets-428906981327An evening of poems celebrating the dark, and perhaps a little light.… there are many ways to face the dark.
One is to hide. One is to prowl.
One is to bring the bright music
of your body and offer it to the night.
–Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, from “Crickets”
 Join Rosemerry for an evening of poems that celebrate these lengthening nights and all the dark has to teach us. An intimate, mystical, heart-opening evening of poetry performance and music.Please call 720-486-9798 or email hello@shyftatmilehigh.org with questions. This event will not be live streamed or recorded.

Big Picture

On a rocky white outcrop,
Ulli and I stand in silence
at the edge of the canyon,
held by layers that range
from the Permian to the Cretaceous,
and Ulli begins to sing
a song we sang twenty years ago
and, from the strata of memory,
I unearth the German lyric,
excavate the harmony,
and we join our voices
to the structuring of time,
just one more arrangement
of temporal events
added to the linear record
since the singularity.
And the sound waves tremble
in the sensitive membrane drum
between the middle ear
and the cochlea—
a song of connection,
a song of fading light,
a song that somehow
has origins in the Ichthyostega
that crawled from the sea,
the development of Broca’s area
in the left frontal lobe of the brain,
the mountaineers who would sing
to each other across the Alps at dusk,
and this wonderful woman who
brought these words and this tune from Europe
and taught them to me in Colorado
so that decades later
we might stand side by side on this cliff
and know ourselves lucky—
after all that has happened—
lucky to find ourselves in the same remote place
singing the same familiar song,
the molecules a spiraling ricochet of praise,
our song itself part of the matter
that makes the world,
part of a pattern that is ever overlapping.
Is it any wonder
I cried?

The Path

And again, I did not visit the psychic
on Columbus Avenue.
Again, I did not sit with her
in her high-back chairs,
plush with bright red upholstery
and shining gold filigree.
Did not offer her my palm.
Did not choose cards from her deck.
Did not listen to her soothing tones.
Not that I don’t have questions.
Not that I don’t believe in her.
Not that I don’t want to sit
in those extravagant chairs
and take a small break,
to rest these tired feet.
It was the path itself
that seemed to say
it did not wish to be seen
more clearly.
So I stopped and stared longingly
through the wide store window,
took in the warm bright room,
then continued to walk the path.
The path is a metaphor, but no less real
than the window, the glorious chair.
I was not clear where I was going.
I kissed the morning air.
The path, I swear, it smiled.

Family Recipe

All day, I search for it,
the secret ingredient—
something my father
believed in. He always
made stuffing
with something extra,
something special,
then made us guess
what the secret was.
All day, I notice
what goes into a day—
a total of 86,400 seconds,
and in every second
a choice of how
we will meet that second.
If the day is stuffing,
then this day has
some unusual ingredients:
a couple dozen folks
in swimsuits on the sidewalk,
one woman with a dying parrot
she has tucked in her sweater,
a whole garden full of lemon trees,
one ripe hour alone
in the sunshine on a rooftop,
a generous measure of laughter
as my daughter and husband and I
climb a near-vertical hill,
and bittersweet tears
as I think of Dad
and his love of secret ingredients.
All day, the world
shows off its flavors.
All day, I revel in the recipe,
this extraordinary day,
something that can never
be made the same way again.


Inside each honest thank you
is a giant open-air pavilion
beside a curving and generous pond

that reflects the sky and is home
to cormorants, white egrets,
turtles, and humble ducks.

There is laughter that rings
through the archways,
wonder that wanders the paths.

There are angels that circle
each thank you spoken with love,
whether we believe in angels or not.

Every sincere expression of thanks
is a choice to meet what is good in the world
and to honor it with our attention.

There are thousands and thousands
of reasons to forget we are grateful,
and yet just one genuine thank you

builds an improbable palace
out of the moment, fills it with beauty,
shares it with the world, asks nothing in return.

So Real, the Dream

In the dream, it was clear,
I am the cable car
and love itself is the cable
beneath the streets,
that pulls me along
up the steepest of hills,
requiring nothing
except I hold on.
Though I can’t see it, it’s there.
Though I must sometimes let go,
I must always return to holding it.
When I woke,
the dream was fuzzy,
but the truth no less clear:
love has carried me.
All day I marvel
at the strength of the cable.
All day I am grateful
for love beyond understanding:
invisible love, powerful love,
a continuous unbroken loop.
Even now, I hear it
singing in its motion,
song of constancy,
song of trust.

A whole garden of begonias
blesses me this day,
this double-edged day
in which I find myself
in a long and generous park
with my husband and daughter,
and I also find myself
in a small room one year ago
when I last heard your voice,
when I last felt you squeeze my hand.
How strange and honest it is,
this living in two days at once.
Why was I drawn to walk
to this unfamiliar place
where thousands of white
and red begonias bloom,
undeterred by longer nights,
by shade?
You loved this flower.
For you, every flower,
no matter its real name,
was begonia.
I meet the coincidence
as if it’s a generous sign
you still guide me
in ways I do not understand.
Each begonia petal is a key
to pick the locks of my rational mind.
Today, the doors of love
are visible everywhere.
I open them every time
and all the world’s begonia.

            after a visit to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company in Ross Alley

Oh thin wafer—
crispy, round
and not very sweet—
you ask us to eat you
not for the message you bring
but for the simple pleasure
of eating you.
You seem to suggest
we look beyond
the white paper strip
and look instead
to this scrap of infinity
we stand in,
a moment
still waiting to be written.
Such fortune.

Interview with Raghu Markus

Speaking about silence? A paradox, of course, but a joyful exploration. I had the chance to join the thoughtful Raghu Markus on the Be Here Now Network for Mind Rolling, an hour-long podcast in which we speak about poetry as a spiritual path, meeting loss, transformation and trust, and being a “wide-open listener,” a term he used that i absolutely love–how might we become more wide-open listeners? We read lots of poems, many of mine, plus Raghu reads several by Stephen Levine–such a treat. 

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