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Posts Tagged ‘desert’

 

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It’s not that they are hiding—

it’s more that they know

the power of a red dress.

Between slabs of red sandstone,

the tiny yellow green flowers

of the desert paintbrush

decorate themselves

with bright red bracts,

colorful flame-like spears

that attract butterflies,

hummingbirds and bees.

 

It’s what we do to survive,

those of us born plain,

those of us otherwise ignored.

I think of the homely girl I was

who wanted to wear

gold combs in her hair

to the middle school dance,

as if something shiny and bright

might attract the honey boys.

 

I want to go back to that gym

with its streamers and balloons

and take the gold combs

out of her mousy brown hair

and tell her the brightest parts of her

are inside. I want to tell her

that being a small green

and yellow flower

will serve her.

 

I want her to know

that a day will come

when she’ll walk in the desert

and feel so at one

with the cliffs and the scrub brush,

the lichen and the Mormon tea,

and that in that moment

when she loses her sense of herself

and merges with slickrock

and paintbrush and sky

it is then she will be most beautiful.

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Gratitude

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Gratitude, it happens,

needs less room to grow

than one might think—

is able to find purchase

on even the slenderest

of ledges, is able

to seed itself

in even the poorest of soils.

 

Just today, I marveled

as a small gratitude

took root

in the desert of me—

like a juniper tree

growing out of red rock.

 

If I hadn’t felt it myself,

I might not

have believed it—

but it’s true,

one small thankfulness

can slip into an arid despair

and with it comes

a change in the inner landscape,

the scent of evergreen.

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deep desert canyon of the heart—

it remembers when

it was ocean

 

 

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Hi friends, I was off camping in the desert for a few days, then travelled to the glorious little town of Salida for a reading, and finally back home … here are a few small poems from the last few days … 

 

 

hell’s backbone grill—

the mouth begins to thrill

from two-hundred ten miles away

 

*

 

in the slot canyon—

knowing myself as water

moving through these walls

 

*

 

wind storm in the desert—

even my thoughts

fill with sand

 

*

 

this revolving door—

certainty, uncertainty, certainty

uncertainty

 

*

 

she sweeps the leaves

from the walk—

red carpet in reverse

 

*

 

waking in a blizzard

while in my ears, my scalp

still red sand

 

 

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trickle in the desert—

it takes so little water

to make a song

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It is not only that the desert longs for water.
Of course the water longs for desert, too.
Any raindrop can fall and get lost in an ocean,
but to fall where it’s parched, where just
the smallest amount of wet can launch a hundred
hundred blooms, can set ten thousand thousand
seeds into frothy flight, oh. Now that is something
worth falling for. No imaginary desert. The real thing,
all prickle and spine and thorn and barb.
And the petals after. The heat can spend months
holding off just the briefest sprinkle. But then
no one said it was going to be easy, this going
where we’re needed most. Patience is the marriage
of sweetness and sting. To bring life one must also be alive.

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Stop trying to understand it,
this falling in love with the scent
of cliff rose and heliotrope.
Just fall into the sweetness
and keep on falling.

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On a day when the desert potholes
are full of pollywogs and tiny
red-speckled frogs and the blue sky
is dappled with pink-bellied clouds,
and the San Juan is running muddy
and warm, well, you don’t have to have almost just died
to realize how lucky you are to be alive—
nope, it just comes natural, this wanting
to kiss your children, even though
they are whining all day about how
the desert is just full of rocks
and it’s so boring. Yeah, it just kind of happens,
this flash flood of gratitude, this falling in love
with everything dust can do.

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