#fullmoonsocial Penumbral Garments


Penumbral Garments

You turn your blonde head away from me

where I can still see the shadow on your cheek

My naked eye is always looking for your tender skin under all of those garments made in the east

the search for you is never tiresome as the loss we turn away from

or as weary as this pretending that you don’t have a dark side

Tigress Grass

Always I am a tiger inside,
running through the golden grasses
up the acacia tree
up to the blue and bird wing wind

But I look like a still life tiger
not moving my sleek grace muscles
toward the great green sea
toward the great green as green

I look like a tiger in the city
wrapped in a fur coat too tight
burning hot and spewing city water
lukewarm city dead water

And I see from the tops of that citys towers
gold patches of home
And I see from the tops of towers
a cold spring river cutting through
the city to find me


Today my eyes are a lake and the reflection is the overcast day where trees are hidden behind the green turning brown lowness of sleeping fish lower than lukewarm rain and voices of namelesss birds

I remember you aren’t here now and because you aren’t here maybe there is no lake at all to dip into and swim naked in our sameness like stars falling through the sleep seeking sky

Today your shadow walked by and I could see it in this water just the way you would see a bat passing in the darkness after it has already flown away with the bug that hovered above you in its throat

You were here like everything else was here and just like all of those things you’ve become a rippled edge of murk and light moving away from the center of a skipping stone thrown from a child’s hand

You were the center of my eye once but the child let go just to watch the water ripple

Before The Next Leaf Falls

The unmoving grasshopper on the edge of the weathered and soft shouldered road is as big as a raven’s head. No one is there to see him watching me drive past at thirty miles an hour.

The last day of summer lives on the edge of the trees, on the edges of the birds nests, on the soft shoulders of every country road in Georgia, ready to fall like wheat. Nothing is moving forward or backward and no one is singing with an arm hanging from a car window.  Nothing is waving summer from its ledge.

Not even me. All I can feel is how I am dry grass still standing after all the fields have been harvested into bales. Dry grass tied to the earth like a city built for no one but insects to inhabit or dwell.

But it is just a moment isn’t it, a passing day where the sun doesn’t dance like light but directs a hollow glare like a scorching judgment over the fields, over the edges of every mile of the relentless journey.

In the rearview mirror I see an old car approaching and still that grasshopper large as a raven’s head and unmoving.

Creek, Cloud, Cricket

Translations from the English


Creek, Cloud, Cricket

I drove ten hours toward the gravity of mountains
Away from the withdrawing bay and on the other side

of the Cape the sea’s constant worry-beads whirled
In the many-fingered tide. I was home and a long way

From it. I was twenty trash bags tightened one at a time
With old things, stuffed with the past in a dark garage.

I was inert explosive. I was upright. My father’s lips
And eyelids affixed shut, his hands folded, all horizon.

Modest shadow details of sunset on a strange beach.
I was home and alongside the creek I was alongside

When my father spelled out the last word he said to me:
“Yes.” The creekbed’s brushed knuckles just below

The surface of running thought, watered down mountain
wisdom. Summer drifted like a jellyfish. A creekbed

Mumbling yes endlessly. A cloud over a hospital wing.
Ritual shawl over a…

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Mary Oliver Sept 10 1935 – Jan 17 2019

To Begin With, the Sweet Grass
by Mary Oliver

Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?

Behold, I say–behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings of this gritty earth gift.

Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are thrillingly gluttonous.

For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.

And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs.

The witchery of living
is my whole conversation
with you my darlings.
All I can tell you is what I know.

Look, and look again.
This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.

It’s more than bones.
It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
It’s more than the beating of the single heart.
It’s praising.
It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
You have a life—just imagine that!
You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe still another.

Someday I am going to ask my friend Paulus,
the dancer, the potter,
to make me a begging bowl
which I believe
my soul needs.

And if I come to you,
to the door of your comfortable house
with unwashed clothes and unclean fingernails,
will you put something into it?

I would like to take this chance.
I would like to give you this chance.

We do one thing or another; we stay the same or we change.
Congratulations if you have changed.

Let me ask you this.
Do you also think that beauty exists for some fabulous reason?

And if you have not been enchanted by this adventure—your life—
what would do for you?

What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements, though with difficulty

I mean the ones that are thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the ush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment somehow or another).

And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.

And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world

Seasonal, We Hope

The world is over me

Not the glazed hills that sit across the river
In the summer when fishing is good

But the sirens on their way to a fatal accident on a dead end street

Heart palpitations and uncertainty are clouds we cannot see our way through

We blame it on too much coffee, not enough rest but it is the world, it is our neighbor we cannot trust

The world is over me like a black bag made large enough for the dead leaves of a city’s lawn

The blue things that come with thoughts of oceans and skies over the Rockies are darkened and without waves or wild animals

Death tolls from fires and earthquakes rise insurmountable against Walls and false democracies

A sign in my house is painted with flowers and it says Be Still, as if being still will get the world off the ground again

Will turn back my sheets for me

Will correct the wrongs I’ve done, that you, a stranger I have never seen before have done

The world is a January with no warm days or compassion or arms for loving

I’ve hated January my whole life for her brutal strength revealing my weakness but she is a truth teller

She is a a hand covering the lies we tell ourselves so we can sleep at night


Beneath the fireworks
On a dark windowsill a bird
With no intentions chirping
Like a clavary marching
Without a purpose but marching
Because it is a calvary follows
Command because it follows orders
The bird chirping sings because it was born
To make the sounds that travel through darkened windowsills beneath fireworks on the last night of a blackened year or the first night of a better one

The Last Day of What We Have Before It Is Taken

You’ve silenced me, Time.
Taught me the patient lessons:
To be still in a crowd,
To turn the cheek,
To swallow blood.

You’ve silenced me, Time.
Taught me to curve a smile
Upward when hate tries me,
To turn the other cheek,
To sleep on nails without dreaming.

You’ve silenced the world, Time.
Smothered the mouths of childhood.
In teaching us, you yearn for your youth
And steal our young faces, leaving us everything you don’t need to appear new.

The Title Isn’t Important

Grief changes a face the way that
A long turbulant life changes faith

The mirror on my dresser isn’t anchored to the wall but leans back in the weight of oak

If that mirror were human its neck would be broken from the strain

Is God in the business of breaking
Mirrors to put a thousand pieces back together?

When you know a man, how he loves trees, how he loves birds, and you created him and all of those things,  would you lean him against a wall to break him?

A Letter to Marina, December 16, 2018


( More of me loving and relating to Marina Tsvetaeva.  I am loyal.  I cannot help that.)

Tonight I feel I need the harsh wind of Russia to crack and bleed my hands.  I need your words to sleep my mind, Marina.

What a little childhood you had flitting about the seas like a whistling of weather.   You know, I never thought to kill myself as a child.  There are children now who do, Marina.

Once, as a child, my long and secure hair was tangled and matted down by the kids on the playground.  When I got home I was spanked and my hair was cut off with dull scissors so that it looked like it had been ripped from the spine of a book.   For many years after that people asked me why I hated my beautiful mother.

But who goes on about childhood?  Who goes…

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