Author Archives: Mike

And Finally

She recited her poems to me through tears
that wet her pillow, great soaring tragic poignant crying,
but I did not hear in my world; here she didn’t care for poetry
or me.

Eyes dry, poets forget, but choices made remain
great soaring tragic poignant regretted choices
here in my world where years exposed excuses
in poetry.

Sunset

Lullaby

The slate gray sky blazed red above the northwest edge of town
wrapping the day before it heads to bed with soft nightgown
a single sweet bright glowing gift for those who care to look
before Aurora’s lamp is lift above the day forsook.
Ring the bell of evening ring slowly deep and steady sure
ring the sevens proud pealing the hours of the day’s deeds pure
may the eighth ring decay in peace above our silent town
an Amen as we pray safe passage through the night profound.

The Tree Chorus


“How goes it with the Humans?”
Asked Minnehaha the Giant Douglas Fir
From her safe Old Growth enclave
in the Mount Rainier National Forest.
The question vibrated from her miles of roots
picked up by the thick mesh of fungal mycelium.
“The Humans?!” echoed back the Giant Sequoias
“Those fools who killed a million of our kind
And silenced the 10,000 year old Tree Chorus?”
“I know the Autumn Solo, like my grandparents”
Bragged a large Rocky Mountain Maple.
“Not so fast! We were backup singers,”
the Sugar and Broadleaf sisters announced.
“It was the Pines that the Humans were after”
said the Black Hawthorn,
pointing accusingly at the Evergreens.
“It’s not their fault they make good lumber,”
the Cascara came to the rescue
as the Hooker’s Willows relaxed
and bent with the breeze
and the Cottonwoods grew a foot taller but no bigger around.
The Madrona were too busy watching the waves and tides to get involved in this discussion,
but the Hawthorns and Blue Spruce remembered hearing about the chorus.
“Our ancestors all had parts in the song and opened their roots wide to sing.
Some sang all year, others joined in the Summer. Tall thickets sung hushed low notes.
Alder and Ash carried the melody. A million trees sang that ancient chorus;
Roots hummed underground. The ice melted and the singing started.
Humans were here and seemed to feel the chorus with their bare feet.”

“How goes it with the boot -wearing Humans?” asked Minnehaha again.
Her question spread out across the Northwest from tree to tree.
“Maybe they are growing up, ” suggested the Dogwoods after weeks of silence.
“They want to plant 1,000,000 sapling trees.
The air we cleaned for them has gotten full of delicious carbon.”
“Some are learning” offered a Birch standing unprotected at the edge of a parking lot.
The Bitter Cherry just sighed, closed her eyes, strained and strained,
and popped out a million blossoms for thankful bees.

Peace

BENEDICTION

Peace of the flowing river to you.
Peace of marching vegetables to you.
Peace of red maples in the Fall to you.
Peace of our little town to you.
Lead us from falsehood to truth,
Lead us from despair to hope.
Lead us from fear to trust,
Lead us from hate to love,
May peace fill our hearts,
our town, our world.
beginning with our spoken word.
May peaceful poems be heard,
replacing darkness with light.
beginning with us tonight.

The Best Poem Ever Written

In the best poem ever writ
by me or anyone besides
the first sweet couplet brings
tear drops to sooth dry eyes
awed by the awesome alliteration
folks forward it to Facebook friends
they’ll all agree with little hearts
loving the best poem ever seen
gone viral as an online meme.

The words become an urban myth
the rhymes put greeting cards to shame
preteen girls write it in passed notes
politicians stump with misapplied quotes
to introduce fund-raising URLs
it’s on resisters’ protest signs
bumper stickers and billboard heights
anthologies begin and end with it
rap artists trade their bling for rights.

The best poem cuts through fake news
like an ever-sharp QVC butcher knife
after reading it together, divorcing celebrities unite
reciting it out loud can change an unhappy life
college professors write theses and more
relating it to every poem gone before
it is the best poem ever writ
and I must admit, this isn’t it.

Healing

It is folly to name the stars,
recording size, color, coordinates
as watchers do bird sightings in Spring.
See yourself from the birds’ point of view.
Map your location relative to the Big Bang.
May a flock of unnamed spiraling spirits
spin around your inner core,
remove the blinders from your eyes,
turn it all into sweet medicine,
then release you to soar.

The Story of the Storyteller’s Story

Once upon a time there was a kindly old Storyteller
Gentle people, hungry for a great story, amassed
In peaceful times on the soft cool grass under Summer-blue
To hear his story told in the best way he knew.
That story, perhaps with slight variation, always started thus:
“Once upon a time there was a kindly old Storyteller…”

Drum the Drum by Drumming

Of course we walk the walk by walking.
This is not ancient wisdom,
recorded by Lao Tzu or enshrined by Confucius.
Happy are those who live life by living
is not one of the Beatitudes.
It’s a linguistic algorithm;
the interplay of noun, verb, and gerund;
Thing, action, and the rubber-road doing.
Profoundly ponder proximity to the central truth
We plant plants by planting.
We carefully care by caring.
We love love by loving.
But there are limits.
Do we poet poems by poeting?

Giraffing Around

(drum intro)
If you give me a chance, I’ll cheer you up.
Lo! between the Pickle and the Cheese
O Daddy, is YOUR bread grateful?
(drum)
How often have you doubled over, have you?
I’m gonna rock on down to electric; haven’t you?
(drum)
Lo! I am your father! Look!
To be or not to be when the force is a farce,
(drum)
I don my bright humor cape.
Can’t you stop stop laughing?
What rhymes with laughing?
Lo! it’s giraffing!
(one drum beat)
Can you dig it, Daddy O?

Just When

Just when I thought the game was won
Just when the bills were paid
Just when I thought I’d found my mate
Just when I had it made
Just when the kids were on their own
Just when I got good wheels
Just when I invested in a home
Just when I trusted the nightly news
Just when it was safe to browse the ‘net
Just when we were over racial hate
Just when I finally had the time
Just when I managed to save a dime
Life happens no matter what
And just when I understood that