Posts Tagged ‘Fairbanks’

The View from Mattie’s Pillow

August 6, 2013

I’ve taken a long break from writing here, and now we’re toward the end of summer with the Fair going full swing. I’ve given myself a break from writing in general, a strange thing to do when writing sustains and refreshes me as much as it does. But I had reached a point where the thought of sitting in front of a computer after a work day of teaching and running a department carried too much weight of obligation—and I didn’t want that to enter or underlie this blog.

That said, I’m enjoying the last few weeks of waking when I want to before returning to campus to move in to a new office and facing the plights and gripes of my colleagues. I have a school year to go before I can step back into the oblivion of just teaching—till then, my posts here may be sporadic.

We’ve had a lovely, if hot, summer here in the Interior. Spring dallied. It snowed on the day of the Preakness—mid May—and every gardener I know put their garden in late. The late cold was followed immediately by weeks of 80- and 90-degree weather, giving us no time to adjust, so the gardening that should have been done at that point was limited by our ability to tolerate sun and heat—our blood hadn’t thinned enough by then, and we fell into evenings debilitated as the sun lingered into our long white nights.

Now we have a few hours of darkness to counter our still hot days. The cycle is shifting, and with the slatey blue light that settles in around midnight comes cooler air—down to the upper 40s the other night. Instead of our typical fair-time rain, we are having smooth blue skies and 80s during the day, but the nights are giving us warning of what’s to come.

Today, I’ll load up Mattie and Sam for one more lesson before I ride Mattie in the Fair dressage classes on Friday. We are moving up a level to Training 1—after all these years, things are beginning to click. I can feel my right side when I ride, for example, a challenge for someone as left-sided as I am. And Mattie has learned to move at an even pace, not race around, pulling at the reins.

The garden is flourishing; the tomatoes are producing green ovals that may ripen before I close the greenhouse in fall—or later in the newspaper layers I store them in. Fireweed is blooming closer to the top, but isn’t all the way there yet. A few more weeks. I’m in summer brain, every moment. A few more moments, moment by moment, absorbing everything the sun brings, storing it up for the days I’m not ready to think about yet.

Advertisements

The Post of Don Sam Incognito

September 21, 2011

Looking back at last year’s blog entries, I see that I have slacked off quite a bit on writing here.  Tonight, recovering from a sore throat that ended with laryngitis, I’ve got a bit of unencumbered time.  Normally, I’d be in adult ballet class, sweating away, but my voice is still gone, my throat still a bit sore, and I decided to stay home.

The leaves have passed the peak gold—I think the best day was Sunday, when Alayne Blickle of Horses for Clean Water was here for a workshop organized by my horse club, University Equestrian Network, with the help of Interior Horse Council, Interior Horsemen’s Association, the UAF Office of Sustainability, the UAF Alumni Association, and Camp LiWa, where the workshop was held.  I’m adding their links so all seven of my readers can check them out.  It was a gratifying collaboration.   Alayne had lots to offer us: ideas for dealing with run-off, ideas for incorporating native plants into a horse property, solutions to manure and mud issues, barn and facility design.  She had the impressive ability to listen to our complaints and excuses about our situations without sounding critical—there are limits to what we can do depending on budget, time, availability of help, but I think we all came away seeing that our horses can be a part of a larger network of growing things.  Here at Mattie’s Pillow, I sometimes look at Mattie and Sam as manure producers—a valuable commodity among my gardening friends.  I can’t always keep enough manure here for my greenhouse and raised beds—especially once spring rolls around.

I took Alayne to see several horse properties while she was here and the blue sky and gold leaves set off the day and the good conversation.  I look forward to following up on the ideas she inspired.

The summer’s riding is pretty much over, though the days are nice enough for trail rides—if only I weren’t sick or so busy at the beginning of the semester.  I’m looking forward to groundwork again this winter, polishing up those areas that have gotten rusty in the rush of summer’s saddle up and go pace.  Sam is looking better now than he did a few weeks ago, now that I’m adding Vitamin E to his diet.  I’ll still have him tested for Cushings—and I’m reading up on all that will involve for him and for me.  It would be nice if his shaggy patchy coat this year could be attributed to a vitamin deficiency, but it hardly seems likely with the fancy supplement he gets (Platinum) and the fact that he’s done so well on it till now.  We’ll see.  An older horse has special nutritional needs, and at the last tooth floating, it seemed like he might not ever be rid of his wave—he’s getting short in the tooth, which is what horses get after getting long in the tooth, since they have a finite length of tooth that grows out and grinds down over a lifetime.

So, I’m shifting the way I think of Sam.  He will probably not ever go back to his youthful glory, but he needs to have a job or purpose for these later years.  He’s too much of a scaredy cat for much trail riding, and he continues to be the trickster in all things.  I may try teaching him actual tricks, now that I have a better understanding of what that takes.  Perhaps learning more about clicker training this winter will help.

As for Mattie, she had a good summer’s training at the Intro A, B, C level.  She’s 15 now, and gradually developing a twist in her stifle at the walk that may be a problem down the road.   She’s mellowed out lots, though still has her ears-back style.  Ground work is in order for her, too, this winter.  I’ll try to take her out on the road a few times before the dust settles and we are in full winter.  It all goes by so fast.

The moon is half full, now, fuzzy behind some low clouds.  A neighbor’s dog has adopted us—she was up on the deck with Jeter when I came home this afternoon, her creamy Lab head peeking below the deck benches beside his curly chocolate head.  She’s young and goofy—I put out a sign on the road and called the shelter to leave my number.  I expect someone is looking for her, but we walked her around the neighborhood, and she doesn’t seem to have a clue where she belongs.  The leaves are spinning down from the trees—there’s gold above and gold below.  It’s a dizzy time, full of smells and motion, brilliant light and deepening darkness.  We’re teetering on the edge of the season.

The View from Mattie’s Pillow

April 17, 2011

The Cruelest Month

The days are warmer now—in the 40s (Fahrenheit) but in the teens at night.  In the corral, the snow is melting and compacting to hardpack ice, and gradually all the manure we didn’t manage to collect throughout the winter—first the ice storm, a series of deep snowstorms, several flus, and other distractions—is emerging in ragged brown mounds through the ice.  Sam looks pretty ragged, too.  His gloriously long teddy bear coat is coming out in clumps and hangs from his belly in a ratty profile.  I was afraid that there was no horse beneath all that hair, but after much work with the shedding blade, his fine short summer coat is emerging and with it his aging athlete’s muscle definition.

As Eliot says, “April is the cruelest month”—for there have been a string of deaths that have emptied out my reserve of grief.  The most recent, yesterday, was my long-time poet friend, Joe Enzweiler.  Joe has been struggling with brain cancer for the past two years—who knows how long the tumors had actually been there, but by the time they were diagnosed, he was on a slow slide off the slippery slope of the planet.

Joe trained as a physicist, but always wrote poetry and, when I met him, he was one of the brilliant young men in a writers’ workshop that also included Dan O’Neill, Linda Schandelmeier, Jean Anderson, Patricia Monaghan, Gerald Cable, Elyse Guttenberg, and me.  Joe was the one whose poems always seemed to contain a vocabulary that flew off the page to somewhere unexpected.   He was tall and wiry with an unruly tangle of blonde hair and an elusive quality—he would leave town for his brother’s farm in Kentucky nearly every year, so that he seemed to have the Cheshire quality of appearing and disappearing.

He managed to make a life for himself in a cabin he built among birch trees on Old Cat Trail.  He had electricity, but no running water, and he heated with wood.  One of the ways he meditated on the nature of this world and generated poems was to head out to his woods with a Swede saw and cut small trees—thinning out his patch of forest—which he stacked in a mosaic pattern under his porch.  He also stacked rocks, and had a years’-long project building a fieldstone wall through his brother’s Kentucky property.

Joe believed writers should write, no more, no less.  Because he had his land and could do carpentry work in the summer, most of his time was spent just writing—or running, or reading, or cutting wood, or engaging us in long conversations that drifted along as if there were no other demands on either person’s life.  Talking to Joe could make you feel that work was an indulgence, a distraction.  The true work was the written word.

Joe and I had a years’-long habit of getting together for Poetry Thursdays.  It started when he needed help navigating a computer version of one of his books—what to do about margins, fonts, etc.  It evolved into sometimes his reading aloud new drafts of his developing memoir, or my reading him new poems or horse essays.  He took the manuscript of my book and chapbook and gave me useful suggestions on poem order, sections, and the paring away of words.

Every Christmas, we would go to Joe’s place to thin out a spruce from “Joe’s Tree Farm.”  We would stop for tea first, then head out in a rush to find a tree before the waning light left us.

Now, he has left us.  “So many,” Eliot says, “I had not known death had undone so many.”  But Eliot’s words still live—and so will Joe’s.  And he was right: writing (or art or whatever we can create out of our own uniqueness) is the true work.  The rest is distraction.

John Haines

March 3, 2011

I just got word that John Haines died today–or the day that just ended.  An article on the Fairbanks Daily News Miner’s website says he took a fall in December and never really recovered.  He died with friends around him here in Fairbanks.

Here’s a link to some of John’s poems.

I used to see John at events and in the hallway at the university.  Once John started going profoundly deaf, he became cranky, convinced that he wasn’t getting his due as a poet.  I believe he wasn’t, in part because he made it difficult for those who wanted to get to know him and for those who wanted to be his poetic peers.  But he appreciated a few things–good whiskey, good conversation, someone to set the mike levels properly for a reading, a bonfire now and again, attentive students, and friendships that stretched back to the more rugged days before the oil pipeline.

He had a melodious voice–almost too much so, since his audiences could become lulled by it in a warm room on a winter night.  His deafness dulled the edges of that voice so that his consonants disappeared and a sort of bass rumble took over.  When I organized readings for the Fairbanks Arts Association years ago, I would have him come in and read a bit about a half hour before the reading started, so I could adjust the sound levels on his voice, bumping up the treble to catch the consonants and lowering the bass.  Every time I did this, people would say it was the best Haines reading they had heard.  I don’t know if there are any recordings of his readings around, but he had friends in the music world–most notably John Luther Adams–so I imagine something of his voice remains behind.

Volumes of poems and essays do, and many students carry on the work of putting down the essence of the land and capturing in it the essence of human experience in the North and in the wider world.

The View from Mattie’s Pillow

February 16, 2011

Quest Finish

Still cold in the Interior.  The temperatures here on the ridge hovered around twenty below all day, slightly warmer than yesterday, but still cold to be out on the Chena River moving at a blazing five miles an hour behind a team of tired dogs.  As I went about my day of meetings and classes, phone calls and e-mails, part of my mind was always on the progress of mushers on the Quest trail.

At the end of the day, I logged back into the Quest site to discover that there was a new leader, Dallas Seavey, a twenty-three-year-old rookie who planned on using the Quest as a training race for the Iditarod.   Rookies usually run this tough race a few years before they end up in the top four, but  Seavey isn’t a real rookie.  His father, Mitch, has been running long-distance dogs for years, and he is following the family tradition.   His bio says he’s been training dogs his whole life and this flawless run shows it.

But this race has been like a novel with its interwoven threads of drama.  I keep thinking of Jack London, a writer too often overlooked in the American literary canon, perhaps because his work–at least the Northern stories–seems so romanticized.  The relationships between men and dogs in White Fang and Call of the Wild seemed romantic to me before I lived in Alaska in their suggestion of  deep attachment between human and dog, yet that attachment is what a long race like the Quest is all about.  There’s also the race between mushers and their ultimate enemy, the cold.   Even the strongest musher can become slow-moving and slow-witted if some accident of the trail leaves him or her chilled.  Ghatt’s plunge into overflow, Neff’s delay by a blizzard at the most daunting summit of the trail, these are the accidents of the North, the luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We follow the Quest because it reminds us of our own fragile peace with the cold and dark of winter.  The race comes at the first return of light in February, when we start to consider the return of spring.  But winter hasn’t let go yet, as the temperatures of the last few days show.  I drove home today in dimming afternoon.  Behind me to the east, towards Canada and the path the mushers were on, the sky was slaty blue, darkening quickly.  Ahead of me, to the west there was a watery pale light lingering over the ridge.  I had plans of building a fire in the stove, feeding Mattie and Sam, eating a bit, then heading down to the river to see the first place winner come gliding in toward the finish.

But luck has its own ways.  The house was cold and it took me a while to realize that we were out of fuel oil and needed to make a run back to town for a gas can full to tide us over till the truck can come out tomorrow.  On the way down the hill, we saw what looked like a house fire on the flats–floodlights and smoke and flashing red and blue lights.  Like the mushers, we need to pay attention to what’s around us, to the details of survival that keep us going.

We came home and got the boiler going again.  The window in the woodstove is flickering with birch flames; the house is heating slowly.  Phoebe, the cat, is curled under my arm as I type, one paw resting on the laptop, purring slowly.  The remaining mushers on the trail will continue to come in over the next few days, including the handful of women on the trail, who I’ll write more about tomorrow.

Till then, congratulations to Dallas and to Sebastien, who followed him in short order.  Congratulations and a scratch on the ears for all good dogs who pay attention to the trail and lead us on.

The View from Mattie’s Pillow

February 14, 2011

Yukon Quest

The leaders of the Yukon Quest are a day away from their finish in Fairbanks, after a long week and a half on the trail from White Horse, Yukon Territory.  When they left White Horse, the weather was balmy for the Interior in February–temperatures above zero, clear skies.  But in the last day or two temperatures in Fairbanks have dropped to thirty below, and for the mushers along the trail now between Dawson and Circle, strung out along the frozen Yukon or attempting Eagle Summit, it is even colder–in some spots nearly fifty below.

What started as a glorious race, the front-runners in high spirits about their dogs and their abilities, takes a perilous turn at about this point.  One musher, a multiple Quest winner, Hans Ghatt, broke through overflow–where water breaks over thick ice above  a stream–and became wet to his shoulders.  When  the next musher came upon him, he was going into hypothermia, and heard the musher approach as in a dream.  The second musher helped him back to the checkpoint, where he learned that he had frozen a couple of fingers, and, knowing when to accept the luck he had, he scratched from the race.

The leader, Hugh Neff, seemed to be burning up the trail, hours ahead of the others, but the cold and a storm on Eagle Summit stalled him and a second musher, who caught up with him and stalled as well.  A third musher came and helped Neff’s team up the hill, but near the summit, they turned and retreated back down the hill.  Now, the leaders have switched positions, and Neff may or may not get back on the trail again.

Whenever I have a good reason to, I have my students read London’s story, “To Build A Fire,” which has special significance to them if they’ve been here a few winters or have grown up anywhere in Alaska.  In the story, the man is condemned by his insistence that reason is more reliable than the instincts of a dog.  Anyone who has followed the Quest knows differently.  The Quest dogs are hearts with legs and tails; they will do anything for their mushers, who, in turn, will do anything for their dogs.  One rookie musher sleeps in the hay along with her dogs when she camps at night.  Any Quest musher–even the toughest–gets teary eyed when talking about the dogs in the team.

So it’s tough on everyone when dogs die in the race, and they do.  Usually, after necropsy,it’s clear there’s a reason–an undetected weakness in a blood vessel, for example–but often the cause is unclear.  Like endurance horses or race horses, these dogs get constant veterinary care when they are at rest.  If there is any chance that a dog is ill or unfit, they are pulled from the race.  No mistreatment of dogs is tolerated by mushers or by race officials.  Still, the race itself is a risk,with long stretches of solitude, away from human contact.  Things happen.

The race is an elemental test of human and animal spirit–not for everyone.  And it’s starkly beautiful.  Photos of the teams running along the flat white highway of the Yukon against the backdrop of the river bluffs are dramatic and compelling.  There are few challenges that match it, even for an armchair follower like me.

Outside it’s dropping down below twenty below here on the ridge.  Mattie and Sam have long late-winter coats that keep them well-insulated, and I’ll head out before bedtime to take them another flake of hay.  I’ll look up at the waxing gibbous moon, if it’s still above the ridgeline behind the house, and think of those mushers on the trail, running and resting in the soft gray light, thinking of the hamburgers waiting for them at Angel Creek and of the flags on the Cushman Street bridge in Fairbanks, rising over the Chena River, the finish, and a well-deserved rest.  Any time they get there, someone will be there, cheering the dogs for a few more yards, welcoming them all home.

The View from Mattie’s Pillow

November 23, 2010

Global What?

After the last post about the lovely time Mattie, Sam, and I had free-longeing in the deep dry snow, we in the Interior have been hit with two days of rain, fog, and ice.  While this kind of drippy weather is common in the Pacific Northwest, it’s unheard of here in the usually frozen north.  Our ground has been frozen for more than a month now, and the frost line is well below the surface.  What this means for us is that the rain on the roads turns snow first to slush, then to a thick layer of ice.  Everything—tree branches, fences, even horse manure—is coated with a slick clear layer of it.  It’s lovely in some ways, but it’s shut down the whole town and surrounding area for two days and counting.  The long-term forecast has it continuing until Wednesday night—too late for last minute Thanksgiving shopping.

The good news is that we just stayed home—then heard that even the university had cancelled classes, something that has never happened in my experience, even during periods of 60 below.  Articles in our local newspaper, the Daily News-Miner, show cars in ditches and the slick shine of ice on the roads.  Friends are calling and Facebooking each other to see how they’re holding up.  One friend is nearly out of coffee.  Another reports that a small willow fell on her mother’s car.  A third is tying on her and her sweetie’s ice skates, headed out to play hockey in the road.

Last night, we were settled in the living room with our laptops—remember the days when it would have been books?—when we heard a buzzing hum and saw a flash of green light out the window.  We looked at each other.

“What was that?” I asked.  The power stayed on, but, as usual, I thought of the horses and went out to check on them.  Sam, the watch horse, was standing outside the run-in shed, looking off up the hill behind me.  I went and checked them and took them a bit of hay to encourage them to stay in the shed.  Their coats were wet, but they didn’t seem cold.  On the way back in, I unplugged the water tank heater, still not sure what the strange light had been.  The snow was soggy with rain and a few small birches arched over the cutbank, glistening with ice.

Beck inside, I settled in once again, picking up the book, Horses in Human History. Suddenly we heard the sound again and saw the flash.  I pulled on my rubber muck boots and Mike put on his coat, and we opened the door.  The whole sky lit up green and the buzzing was louder than ever.  It seemed to be coming from up the hill where there is a power line cut running through the woods.  We called the electric co-op and learned that there were power outages everywhere and that they had just cut off power to that line.

Up until that point, I admit, it had been kind of fun—a bit of an extended holiday.  After that we thought of all the trees on our hill, how we lose a couple every summer in a windstorm.  Neither of us wanted to go to sleep, and when we did, it was with one ear open to the sounds of trees thumping.

Today, all’s well, but soggy.  I am headed out to the corral to put a waterproof blanket on Sam—more for my comfort than for his.  I’m planning alternative Thanksgiving dinners, since I don’t plan on driving out to shop—and the Seattle airport is hit with snow, as well, which means empty shelves for us.  We’ll have chicken and pecan pie, cranberry sauce from frozen cranberries, mashed potatoes from the buckets of potatoes stored in spruce shavings in our yet-unfinished tack room, and maybe some purple cabbage that’s out there, too.

By Thursday, temperatures are supposed to head back to normal for us—below zero.  All this slush will turn into glaciers. We’ll be chipping away at it for the rest of winter—an icy footing under the rest of winter’s snow.

And I’m wondering where this all is heading.  This weather blew over to us from Siberia, and it stretches the length of our state—Prudhoe to Anchorage—nearly 800 miles.  It sounds like the tail end of it is hitting the Pacific Northwest—so it’s possibly a 2000-mile weather system following a changing pattern of wind currents here in the North.  While the thought of the Interior developing weather like Alberta, as I heard once on NPR, has some appeal to a horse lover, the process of getting from here—the boreal forest, the deep cold of winters, the lovely dry air—to there is not a magical transformation, and means the loss of more than  just trees and grassland.

I’m not a scientist, but I know scientists here working on problems related to global warming—fish diseases, melting ice lenses, sea ice retreat, insects killing the boreal forest.  Things are out of whack, and we are just beginning to grapple with what it takes to think and act our way through it.

Meanwhile, coffee’s on.  I’m going to wrap this up and go dry off Sam, then settle in for a good game of Scrabble.

The View from Mattie’s Pillow

October 31, 2010

Halloween night, and winter is here for real.  The moon is past the quarter, slimming to crescent, and the night sky is dark with gathering clouds moving over the valley from the south.  This week, after a long, gradual fall, we had a day of snow and dropping temperatures, so that now snow sits fluffy and dry on the ground, the fence line, the garden beds.  It’s just in time for an Interior Halloween.  Puffy parkas fill out a costume nicely, and kids are unrecognizable in them.

We don’t have many kids in the neighborhood, though a family with three kids has moved in across the street since May.  I’ve given up preparing for kids to come trick or treat, so Halloween passes by like any other day, except that it signals a return to Alaska Standard Time—an extra hour of sleep the first day, darker afternoons for the rest of winter.

Today I went out to work with Mattie and Sam a bit.  Their coats are growing in like thick plush, delightful to touch.  In the mornings when I go out to feed them, sleepy and grateful for the interval of outdoor time that chore offers, I lean my arm over Sam’s back and press my face into his fur.  He’s like a hooved teddy bear, despite his bad behavior at summer’s end.  Mattie is less cuddly in winter.  Cold makes her cranky, but she’ll let me run my hand under her mane and scratch her on the forehead.  She feels like thick velvet and, even with the long coat, gleams in sunlight.

The riding season ended for us shortly after classes began at the university.  We had one last clinic with Hannah in September, during which Sam had a spectacular bucking fit, and Mattie and I earned our Bronze Horsemasters rating on the flat.  I’ve been concerned about Sam—we will never know what set him off: a yellow jacket or the sight of horses and riders emerging from the woods in a nearby field or some soreness or just perversity.  Trish, who was riding him, hit the dirt but fell well and primarily injured her confidence.   Later in the week, Colleen, the vet, came out and we stress tested him for lameness and found that he was very sore in his right front pastern and slightly sore in the left.  We checked saddle fit, and the saddle that had fit him like a glove in the beginning of summer now put pressure on his withers, which had filled out, and the saddle generally didn’t fit the contours of his back as well.  She also gave him a full chiropractic treatment and he seemed to relax immediately.  Poor guy.  By today, he was trotting soundly.  Nevertheless, I’ll have him on a joint supplement for the winter, and probably forever.

It’s been the political season, too.  I reflect back on the entry I wrote when Obama was inaugurated—how happy and hopeful I felt.  This political season has been gritty and stranger than usual, even in Alaska, where we have a three-way race for Senator.  I follow politics avidly, though I rarely write about them here.  As someone who teaches writing and whose students are often on their first tentative steps toward entering the academic world after years of working, raising kids, or being in the military, I usually avoid discussing politics in the classroom, and it’s become a habit.  Still, I’m saddened that language has become such a victim of the political process, including an Orwellian style of doublespeak. I’m sadder still that the shouting and vitriol has obscured the efforts of a few decent candidates.

I imagine the world a better place if the “nice guys,” the ones who view public office as a service to humanity rather than a ladder to power or some idea of religious entitlement, would get elected and govern politely.  I’d like it if I’d get phone calls from the winning candidates, like the ones I’m getting from the campaigns, that ask me what I think, what ideas I have, or give me a heads up on the process.  I imagine them all sitting down over scones and coffee and chatting pleasantly about their vision for the world: I want them to want more gardens, more poetry and music, and lots of smart children who have a good and lively place to go learn every day.   I want my friend, who is sick and housebound and watches Glen Beck every day, to get her Medicare and the in-home help she needs—without a sense of irony, but just because it’s what she deserves as a neighbor in the wider national community that we all belong to.

I will be out on the corner Tuesday waving signs for the candidates I support.  For a brief time, before I get too cold to hold my sign up, I’ll imagine a world where these things are true and possible, and I’ll wave at my neighbors as they drive by.

Poetry Challenge 51

July 9, 2010

This is the time of insects here in the Interior.   Here at Mattie’s Pillow, we hear the buzz of yellowjackets everywhere.  There’s a nest in the hay barn, one in the eaves above our grill (logical place, if you’re a yellowjacket), and one in the greenhouse.  They are in a perpetual state of agitation; any vibration or movement near the nest sets them off.

So, it’s time for a poem about an insect.  Have one crawl through the poem, or have it land on a line somewhere.  Be amazed at it, or be indifferent.  Let sound be part of the poem, the small peripheral sounds that you don’t notice at first, until they stop.

Here’s one.  Send me one of yours and I’ll post it here!

.

The Stink Bug on Joe’s Shirt

We talk in sun

then the sudden chill

of cumulus, stacked

high with moisture, then heat

at our backs, on our faces,

the scrubbed blue

sky.  You lean against

a lounge chair.  Your hair,

.

wild as the clouds,

curls with the charge

and buzz that fills

your blood.  We talk.

We watch your face.

The cloud passes, all

that roiling not yet

enough to loose sparks,

and the blue shadows,

your eyes.  A bug

.

iridescent,

a small bronze shield, totters

up your shirt, legs

like shaved whiskers,

bent to cling above

the “l” in “devil,”

climbing up the curled

tail toward your shoulder,

all it needs for a cliff.

.

Someone reaches

to flick it where it gleams.

Your prize:

the grown-back hair

the numbness gone

the sun in its place

and you striding

beneath it—one

bug suddenly flicked

away.  A stink.

Poetry Challenge 50

June 22, 2010

In honor of the solstice and the delirious quantity of light we’re getting these days, write from a giddy place.  Think of a time or place or color of the clouds that made you feel silly and happy all at once.  For me, last night, it was a Midnight Sun Baseball Game that went 15 innings under the silvery light of Solstice night.  We sat in the stands and hollered and laughed as the sun slipped behind a row of hills, still sending a wash of yellow light into the arc of the sky.  Then as the last hit brought all the runners in, the light behind the hills brightened, the cirrus clouds turned fireweed pink and the sun slid back up again.  A perfect–if very long–solstice night.

Write about a moment of unexpected glee.  Use all five senses, of course.

Post it as a comment and I’ll post it here.


%d bloggers like this: