The Crows at Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde, AZ

There is something that compels
on this vast, wildfire-wasted vista.

A sense of permanence pervades
the hundred-mile views and mystery—

exquisitely built architecture abandoned

shortly after completion still stands on
scorched earth and within canyon walls.

The ancient, mind-capturing cliff dwellings
astonish in beauty and timelessness—

enveloping awareness, like incense, heady

and crisp upon the ashened whirlwinds
of remaining ponderosa and pinyon now

in regrowth and regeneration coalescing
high above the elegant cities of fitted stone.

Why did they build? Where did they go?

The stubborn, willful and laughing call of
the memory-keeping trickster crows know—

stealthily flying in apparent scorn above the
Mesa Verde sandstone, under autumn sky or

perched upon their Anasazi castle keep. And

as tree skeleton moonscape covering the
mountain acres high in Colorado surrounds

the Arcadian cityscape now shimmering
in sunset’s reflection and bleached (to

perfection) rises like twisters of ash.

Absent Thought

Rising late today, just before sunrise,
I nevertheless lie idly,
watch the long shadows of dawn
mold existence out of darkness—
a second dimension, then a third,
a cloud, a tree, a house, a road.

Out of the mouths of these shapes
a hundred distant voices call my name,
the insistent sounds of a day opening.
I ignore them all, let the world
take its course, and enter my devotions
like a rock in a stream.

What is it out there that needs me?
What is it out there that can’t wait?

Soon the froth and noise still.
The water parts, glides
almost imperceptibly around my sides
like silk around a woman’s hair,
until no motion at all is discernible
and I am lost in a world inside this world.

Returning, I rise lightly, smile,
and set about my business
amid shapes and sounds that,
the moment I abandon them,
conform perfectly to my absence.

April Storm

A storm brewing—
above the valley darkened

clouds gather, descending
along the western range—

shimmering with lightning
flares echoing thunder

rolling high along the canyon
walls distilled the bright

awareness swirling within
the deepest brown of

your eyes—promising blue skies
and growth.

Traversing the trail descending
Murray Hill high above

the shimmering desert sand of
the Coachella Valley

the steady strain of rain that fell—
a melody as sweet as

the song of birds—has lingered
in my ears ever since

the day you left us
for Idaho.

The Darkness of Our Love

“Let us forget
with generosity
those who cannot
love us.”
— Pablo Neruda

Like dementia, the loss was gradual
though obvious. Scales fell quietly
like autumn leaves, vanishing
from my eyes. Alone I stood
a bare tree in late summer;
You no longer knew me—
as if always meeting
for the first time.

The mist over the trail thickened
like blood. The dark nights wore
forgettable faces like cyphers
whose only real power lay
in words—words which
brought disengagement,
hardly noticeable
at first….

But which proved to be a colossal,
ever-widening, chasm—like
love recklessly professed,
tumbling aimlessly.
At the center of it all,
there was comfort
in the darkness
of our love,

Fumbling over thresholds for what
We knew must lay just beyond—
Something. Blind men knew
More. Searching the mind
for thawing thought
or what disarms
what’s deeply

For Words to invoke the sacred name
of Superstition—a valid charm
(Often vaguely repeated to dis-
engage the reasoning mind)
to bless, or curse, and get
what’s needed from
the deep night’s