The Harvesting of San Jose

Throughout the valley,

   creek and reservoir 

           feed into the orchards of 

 apricots, plums, prunes, cherries,  strawberries,

                                           where they grow in my mind.  

The half closed eyes of my memory, 

                                                     sees

these faint figures of men, of women, of children

rebounding from one season into the next harvest,

                                 resting against the bluing sky.

Like the leaves, facing the sunshine,

reaching through the limbs and branches,

their hands chatter, tenderly removing

             with their fingers

                          the first fruits to the last pick.

The old days, the lost days, 

lean against the fireplace in the sky over the valley:

   a sun-start morning of every memory turns over at night,

        yet still. the toasting of my skin, 

                                                    remains.

Falling to the ground more than once, I harvest:

    smelling injustice and its heavy load in every bucket and basket, 

        then, however, softly I walk on the earth,

              the orchards stand against the night of my memory

                               again and again. 

                                   more figures of men, women and children 

                                                         return to claim their hands in the orchards.

Vade Mecum of the Pathway

This sweet orange fruit aloft

in an furled state of its leaves,

      a shinny dark green above, 

      below pale green and hairy,

      turning yellow in the Fall,

Speaking out,  Oh Sassafras, 

      who is a neighboring herbaceous voice

      resonating among the slender Long-leaf Pines:

She’s hiding within the Bottonland

in the shadows of blue berry vines

Her faint smile, aromatic as spicy tea 

       expelling the healing sorrow from

       her roots through the root-bark. 

       across her breast, the shinny green leaves, 

                                                oval and mitten shapes

        waving in the wind with wild-flower-whisper 

        luring bees, a humming bird, 

              along with a dancing Tiger Swallow.

      The Water-Oak leaves, 

         a rusty brown, camel tan, coarse yellow, 

        host a jerky-waggle of a lizard, 

                moving from nostrils to tail-tip,

                utter green and tailor stripped with neon blue

                rips across the surface of crusty leaves,  “Go with me.”

What Happened to the Walk of Humankind

We have bruised ourselves with war

how deeply our souls abide in the wounds,

      abounding with the amputations of hearts and every reason,

From one to many times

the treasure of the soul

               until no longer whole,

the coldness of sound makes a guardian of

                                    ill pronouncements,

      A marching breath,

      frozen in ourselves as learned,

      thunder rollings of harden hearts,

      rounded into rocks.

      from which we take the notion of freedom

                     placing in our slings, words as colored stones

                          targeting ourselves

                              teaching our children to follow.

Our roads are staked with signs of void spaces

                    imprisoning ourselves with amusements,

where our souls are consigned for pawn at the every corner.

 

The darkness is black dew upon our brows

Our inventions take flight into the universe

                                 but the soul has no place to land.

Battered, the soul knows nothing of the earth.

The capacity for tender seeding is stripped

                         of any mantel unto another.                                                     

 

The exit rings out with the throbbing of war in the smallest places:

       Our one soul is no longer any kind of many

       and the many wars against the many

       leaves the soul conditioning,

                                         itself,  for the next war-step. 

A Tribute to Potter John

 …through the wanderings of blight 

    Potter-John’s fingers had, once,

                     their traction on everyone. 

Then, palm deep lowered into new clay,

     soft as a child-soul,

     soil porous with the colors of Light,

            clay from the clouds, 

                           he would say, 

transforming each hour.

            Who can say otherwise? 

The kindness of shade and shadow

cast from the tallest magnolia tree,

    leaves abounding,

                     in his palms.

 His finger-gates fluttering,

               rounding the clouds,

               from one season to the other; 

each hand harboring a gracious sight-Light, 

     turning cup-rims into a crowns.

             Who can say otherwise of Potter John?

Even as Potter-John lay dying

from a Drunk’s spinning car wheels 

      his fingers turned the soil into a prayerful cloud.

 

The Waffle House Woman

Looking back into the backs of heads

        Walls, always on my mind.

Lookin back sitting still,

the Waffle House grill hissing

          Kissing, always on my mind.

Lockin back, deep shadows, purple-gray hanging over

from too many fools on bar stools, 

hanging on my jewels.

          Always on my mind.

          

Looking back, my tatoos,

the thicken ink sinking into my bones,

pulling my jeans against hips, thighs, mostly

my eyes into the shadows of hair. 

            Always on my mind. 

            

Lookin back, I give myself,

one more time to wake-up with a cup of coffee

instead of along side another horse-breath, 

            roasted hot peppers, peanuts, and red lips stick 

            prints everywhere....always on my mind. 

            

Looking back, out the glass door, face to face, 

I wonder why there are so many Waffle House tunes

              Always on My Mind. 

            but on my lips.

 

Baggage and Life’s Intersections

The baggage

           began with months inside her belly 

                                   becoming a suitcase from the outside

                                                                          in her one hand.

I suspected, by then, on the other hand, raising a baby doesn't accept

                                         accidents and correction by re-setting, default,

                                                                                   as when on the inside. 

                                      She pulled my hinged arm. 

Becoming older, the load of baggage

           more than once, turns life 

                           inside out, in its wardrobe of places.

                                                          I stopped skipping

            between any verity and reason, over the rocks

            taking flight from any good sense of those colored pajamas days.

Age, itself, doubles in days, into months, then years; 

                       inside and out, 

                       aging upon her face forgets any reason,

             until one is the many, the many, one: 

                                               the load points that way.

                                                           We rested at the curb.

Her and I haven’t made it this far before:

            The collection of hopes includes gloves, heavy socks

                                                                     and birth by default,

                                                                                 unplanned but foretell. 

Again,  my fingers take hold of the baggage handle she once held                                                            

                                        as a child, walking onto the sidewalk, 

                                                                                  ignoring the traffic lights.

Going North

The black bronco came to stop,
its tailgate rapped in canvas blacken by
         road grime from Texas and Lousiania
         concealing the saddle bags. 
         when five children scramble from the back seat, 
         hitting the ground in colored pajamas,
               yellow, blue, lavender, white 
               with patterns of toy horses, puppets, 
                                                    and WD cartoons.
An old cowman, 
whose fading reddish leather-skin
broke into a smile
stretching out into a Mexican wooden cross.
He looks back to Highway Ten along Mississippi Coast,
       in a stare of time-travel. 
A woman
wearing stripped Mexican embroidery jeans,
slaps her ass with both hands.
Her mountain blue expression, 
     a shared ancestral homeland in the sky.
The children gallop to a nearby McDonald's outside concrete table,
     the animation of some hope.
Her hands lift  from the ice plastic box,
a rolled white bundle, wax-papered
       a dozen rolled flour tortillas, 
       burned from a hot flat iron grill,
       the rolled home-mades,
                         one by one
                                   form into their hands...
Just as an empty McDonald's bag stand upright 
                      in center stage of the journey to the North.

The First Morning Dance

As in the beginning of the Earth

where the first atmosphere

drives out the vacuums in space,

the children’s voices

barrel-roll into one another, 

pulling the chords of jubilation, 

toes and feet pounding 

               at a carpet of air.

A morning hunger lingers,

                            then and now,

a-thunder of the first ancestry’s

             dance around a fire,

little mouths knowing no whisper,

                                then and now 

echoes of light waves,

cart-wheeling morning time

              between the fingers of little hands. 

 

Outside the beach house doors,

the north wind pushes the sea away

as the belly of the ocean floor

inverts shelled creatures into soft sand:

                                 Singing. then and now 

       Sunrise unto the children 

      whose voices ascend with colors of hope.

                                     

The atmosphere and children 

                                       become 

the becoming, itself, 

those infinitesimal smiles of wonder

mirrored in the glass door panes of every house

                 looking in-and-out-side-ways

                               summersaulting words,

                                                  then and now,

                 filling the empty spaces,

                        into their places in the universe, 

                 as each child sits

                                        before the world

                                                              with their toys.

Cool Shoes Along Howard Street

My shoes watch out for every step, 

              kicking the pebbles into the shadows of  time. 

 these heels scuffing

                  over concrete expansion joints,

                                                              Biloxi style.

End to end, the flat souls shine from the earth’s buffing,

                          gliding cool along the road

                                        to the corner convenient store.

       where the profiles of night-walkers,

                  hiding behind in the images of lace.

                                                 underground pests,

                                                         alligator-shooters,

                  skippers and nippers, jukes and slip-ons,

                                                      passing one another. 

  My shoes, leaping from cloud to cloud,

                                                              picking up the pace.

The War of Tracers and Flares

Through the darkness,

the glowing of flares

floating downward, through the years,

                                        burning white incendiaries

                                            turning the clock away from any hope,

                                              fading stains floating in air,

                                                no brightness to speak of.

From beginning to end,

a voice cries,

               searching for syllables,

                                        then words

                                             flicker with sangfroids.

Upright through the night, the clock tumbles,

                                     my blood misses the heart,

                                     the shadows dance in the gelling vapors.

               This voice erupts from the arteries as the flares fall to Earth,

                then flashes from tracers cross the landscape;

                                                     I  wants out from any claim of victory.

Keith Wilson’s Radio

Days of ole 

    when the radio mazes,

    were the twisting knobs

    cracking tubes, 

    turning glowing blue

    flickering yellow hues of vowels

                A

        E

                          I 

            U

          Please  stay tuned:

On and off

                that’s my radio ear

 plugged into, 

        a short time-line of life.

 Those dancing cats, cha-wa-wa- bark,

 magic matches lighted by breath alone,

 running back and forth in those radio tubes of hope

          Please stay tuned, 

                             because

                                     I 

                                       Who-U

                                             is playing.

The Spotted Cat

The button of her jeans

rolled around my belly,

pulling down, 

bending our knees

with the husky sound

from the bass,

taking us back and forth

         in the rhythm, 

long and slow,

against her breast

as a rift of chords 

aired from the steel guitar,

        finger sliding blues, 

the washboard, crying,

from the rattling voices,

  metal covered fingers racing

                     wash-board tin.

The sound-making

            goes into our hands, 

keeping us upright, 

                      invisible

              inside and out.

The harmonies hang out from each arm

        lifted our toes off the floor

        as the cat-eyes  

        from the corner of the room

                           dance in the dark.

                     

Manarola

Tendering the Truth, my fingers move to the musical notes

The lighted years in their length-way of keyboard keys. 

             as  steams of faint lines illuminating temples in sound, 

             holy places of design: 

drums, horns, and strings sounding high and low along the way.

Walking in the steps of others before,

              even with those marching in the thunder of wars, 

              and the holy echoes from graves and judgement, 

My fingers tap out the beat, passing among the years, 

               as the Truth’s plants abound along the cliff and rocks

                                                                                   Oh, my Manarola! 

The rainfall covers the air together with the sea-mistings

sculpturing the coastal mountains, along the way, with the fragrances 

                                                                           lemon and olive trees

              release the perfumes from beached pigments, 

                             rose-madder, virgin-olive

                                    cobalt blue-violet, lime-mist green

                                                           sparking red dots of light 

                                                                   coloring the music, 

                                                                        upon my ear from the inside.