Velvet Stride 2004

Evening Walk at Edge of Night ****
Bridge from Pride ***
How to ***
California Walk **
She Told Me Tales **
When Love Fails **
 Evening Walk at Edge of Night ****
The catch was good
Eleven deer
One at guard
Happy when I paused to look
Alert as I raced off
To vanish on the trail

Two rabbits ran
I reached the peak
And gloom grew strong

I strode with velvet hips
Unconcerned with minor ups and downs
Back to edge of woods

I seemed to glide
And gather speed
My heart at rest at peak

And in the dark
I knew my trail
With certainty of day
I knew my way
My way knew me
My knees and legs were strong
Amplified and magnified
By going down
And fearless stride
Effort freed...

 Bridge from Pride ***
In her den, she lay lazily
Listening to sounds of cubs at play
Stretching curling
Half awake
Ready to spring
At wayward noise.

Forgetting to eat
Relished the food from the day
Chewing on nuggets
Dropped by the Nobel Laureate
Toying with them
Turning them in her mind
Busily planning the days ahead

The cubs dressed for night
Two rabbits at their feet,
But did not want to sleep
She waited
Time was on her side
And no school tomorrow

He left the pride
Took to nighttime trails
At speeds that almost left the path
Crossing water
To empty lair
Looking different now
Hungry for what he craved
But not wanting food
And slept better
Slept the cold night through
Silent like the dead

 How To ***
Perhaps if lightning struck
And eyes flashed

If rains fell from the sky
In July

As you tore your clothes off
In the storm

Forgot the past
And flung yourself naked into the future

And you spilled your life out
In a quiet accidental meeting


And your body suddenly
Felt quiet, calm

Then you might be open
To see his confusion


 California Walk **
I keep returning to the picture of the snake
Lying across my path
Blocking about two thirds
Four feet in length
Not moving
A little somnolent
One of two I took
The one I call
“Death felt torpid on Saturday”

I've linked the picture
To a site
That shows all the snakes of California
Uploaded it to my web site
So others can avoid
My error of judgment
Know what a North Pacific
Crotalus oreganus oreganus
Looks like

Sometimes you feel very smart
Sometimes you plan
Sometimes you look ahead
Do not see very well
Just as I looked
Down at the path
A safe distance away
And debated
Not having much experience with snakes
What kind is this?
Does it have a rattle?

Seeing nothing
I walked
A little gingerly around the quiet snake
About a foot away from its head
It did not move
It did not strike
And I did not think much of it
At the time
No, not at the time

My walk
Seemed blessed
A blue cardinal
Was unusually friendly
And later near the top
A red tailed hawk swooped down
Unbelievably fast and large
To sit on a tree 20 yards
Further up the hill
Then rising fast into an updraft.

After four months of looking
While contemplating
The shadows on a tree
I heard a rustle
And caught
Out of the side of my eye
A slow precise walk
The bright yellow flash
Of the Chinese pheasant
Rumored in the park
Not native to North America
But keeping its distance
Focused perhaps more on food than me
As I deleted photos
To make room
For his capture

I keep returning to the picture of the snake
Lying across my path
Blocking about two thirds
Four feet in length
Not moving
A little somnolent
Rattle clearly evident
If you look closely in the
One of two I took
The one I call
“Death felt torpid on Saturday”

 She Told Me Tales **
She told me tales of disappearing
Three days of secret police
Her three wishes
Not to be tortured
Not to die
Not to be raped

Yes, the apartment was destroyed
She was not
And they all declined the polite police request
To make the jealous girlfriend go away
As punishment for lies

She told me tales of Patagonia
And Ecuador
The mother of all storms
The three volcanos
The plumes of ash
The night move
Of a hundred horses
The city mayor
Who like the mayors in all B-movies
Told all was well
A little prematurely
After the first volcano went up
And shut down

She told me tales
Of betrayal
The partner who stole the ash ridden farm;
The best friend and her husband
Found in her bed;
The banking system collapse
With all frozen

She told me tales
Of deluge
When the dam broke
And she came close to dying
Six hours in the water
Unable to move her hands
Any more

She told me tales
Of surging water
And heroic rescuers
Spotting her in the dying light
Of sunset
A few rays left in the middle of the flood

She told me tales
Of introducing condoms
On a national scale
From a not so progressive church
That believed AIDS would just accelerate
A visit with its god

She told me happy tales
Of horses and dogs
Cats and son
Friends on trails
Journeys in jungles and mountains

She told me tales
As I lay in her bed
And she rested from the radiation
Glowing in my arms
Fitting perfectly

 When Love Fails **
When love fails
It can be a plane falling out of the sky
The bottom dropping out of the earth
A fall without end

When love fails
You can be angry at her
Angry at yourself
Angry that such little things
Fluttering like butterfly wings
Triggered tornado winds
And blew you apart

When love fails
Sometimes, if you are very lucky, it can fail in love
Loving her for the failure
Loving her for the leaving
Remembering the good times

When love fails
Love need not fail
No, love need not fail
You need not fall