Poem 20150808

the tree so dry and gray
lacking its leaves and
far enough away that i can’t
identify it

not that i have a knack for that

rises up out of equally dry
grass only feet
from a running creek

its roots not long enough
to reach i guess
or not greedy enough
to put so much effort into leaves

a single dove, fat and rough-feathered
sits on one branch
when a second bird
a yellow-chested oriole
arrives

they don’t speak to each other
though the oriole regards me
with tolerant indifference
as i respect its personal space
and commit it to memory with
the aid of binoculars

Poem 20150801

today–
the sign says to beware
of poison oak
rattlesnakes
injury
mountain lions

but we only saw some poison oak
a few birds
a rabbit
and some annoying chihuahuas
off leash

no warning about them

still

a gentle breeze
kicks up the smell
of licorice
through the canyon

and bees swarm
the cluster of small
yellow flowers

last night–
the last blue moon
for years to come
wasn’t blue or amber
but its usual
ghostly white
a rotund specter in the sky

Poem 20150725

The Reservoir
Peter’s Canyon Regional Park, Reservoir

we hiked

a trail we had been on before
well, part of it anyway

at a look out
we saw the reservoir
barely a mud pit
the last time we were here

the rains from last week
had left a soft layer of water
like the memory of ice
enough to create a reflection
of the tower
looming over the
otherwise dry bed

we left it

choosing today
to take the steep path
where the people climbing
looked like ants
crawling up a red line
of oxidized dirt

but for a moment
the tower in reverse
in the water
and the largest hill
still ahead of us
and the sun bearing down
hotter than expected

Poem 20150530

watch out for rattlesnakes
is what he says on the next leg
of the hike
and i keep my eyes on the dirt track

as if there’s not enough to think about
with the vague threat of
mountain lions and bobcats
coyotes too, i guess
and when he points out the
tarantula wasp
someone asks the redundant question
are there tarantulas here
of course there are
it has to feed its young after all

so i keep my eyes on the dirt track
and lift them occasionally to scan
the scrub for winged or coiled rattlers
or sometimes to get a look at my surroundings

it’s all scrub brush
all dusty chaparral
with an occasional lizard
or roadrunner
or hawk wheeling in the sky

it’s beautiful here, too
and lonely in its way
with the sun burning off
and the chatter of the group
and the sighing wind
on the ridges
in the canyons