Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 17 -- Completely Alone in Nature


  1. walk the
    wild city

    pace across
    the measured

    path - step to
    miss the lines

    alone inside
    my mind

    not missing
    missing the

    people passing
    by inside

    their steel traps
    or floating by

    on their feet
    I fly on the

    ground inside
    my mind

    in my own
    wild world

    1. wow. the short unstressed lines and slow pace work really well to emulate isolation. then the contrast of the two diphthongs at the end. you make it look easy with so few strokes and such control. blown away.

    2. Yeah, absolutely agree. You can really feel the isolation working through this.

    3. thanks. also I got stuck into making prose poems and wanted to move back to my strengths, so I tightened it up.

    4. WIld! I really like this one.

  2. Stay Close

    Stay close to the house
    if there's talking in the woods
    sometimes it's not safe

    Stay close to the house
    if there's excrement of men
    they may have moved in

    Stay close to the house
    if there's still smoke in the pit
    someone is nearby

    Stay close to the house
    if there's some half eaten food
    they may be back soon

    Stay close to the house
    if there's hidden dirty clothes
    they could hide you too

    Stay close to the house
    when something doesn't feel right
    they could be watching you

    1. using a command as a refrain is brilliant. hair-raising.

    2. Why thank you! I didn't realize until I was half way through with it, that each stanza is a haiku. Which works for me, because I wanted each one to be able to stand alone. Who knew??

    3. I love the tension and fear going through here, and using the haiku as a stanza is genius!

    4. "Stay close to the house
      if there's hidden dirty clothes
      they could hide you too"


    5. totally effective. "the excrement of men" is killer.

  3. There’s something about this broad deserted beach
    You know how it feels: the wind off the white caps
    circling your memory, searching for a reason
    to return home. You remember the gull’s cruel
    cries reminding you, never, never, never again.
    You understand the waves now, how they tear
    at the coast wanting to bring a piece of time
    back with them to their deep forgotten grave.

    1. the use of "you" really works for me.

    2. Yeah I agree. That's a word I generally avoid, but it works well here!

    3. Yes moribund AND second person ... big risk. I didn't realize the Poe connection until after :) I was going for communal singular-ness/human loss. took a few chances on this one. I'm really having fun Mr. Brantingham !



    Not every person knows a father.
    Not every person has a friend.
    They say that as a species we pair bond
    But it isn’t always so.
    Sometimes the heart is cold.
    Sometimes the years just pass by filled with nothing
    And the line finally leads to the edge and just ends.
    There are examples of life without joy, without warmth.
    This is a clinical mystery of biology rarely studied.
    What type of person would have interest in such things?

    When animals are studied there are 30 phyla from which to choose.
    There are 30 phyla organized under Kingdom Animalia.
    Animals you will recall from science:
    Item: Annelida--the segmented worms.
    Item: Arthropoda with chitin exoskeletons--spiders and crustaceans.
    Item: Chordata--mammals and lizards among them.
    These are familiar. These we recognize. These we understand.
    But 30 phyla make up the Animal Kingdom.

    Item: Loricifera--visible with the naked eye.
    These animals require no light.
    These animals take no breath.
    Environment: high-ammonia salt brine.
    First collected in 1970 by Reinhardt Mobjerg Kristensen.
    First identified in 1983 by Reinhardt Mobjerg Kristensen.

    Item: Reinhardt Mobjerg Kristensen.
    Born: 1948.
    Parents: deceased
    Siblings: none.
    Graduated: University of Cogenhagen, 1972.
    Employed: University of Cogenhagen, 1972-
    Status: single
    Children: none
    Interests: invertebrate zoology, invertebrate biology, arctic biology
    Achievements: considered one of the world’s foremost experts on tardigrades.
    Discovered: 3 phyla of animals.

    1. i really really liked this. how it veers off into this scientific/biographical information.

    2. Yeah the clinical nature of this is really effective. Captures the mood and the theme!

    3. It was broken down to get you interested from who will be the soul person to study to the what was studied to the life without a life studying on nothing other but life itself, as I love the way it is describing from beginning to end.

  5. I hike big sur by myself

    Not the hard trails. The easy ones. The ones with views and the ones with twisted oaks and the ones which bridges over brooks and streams, if there’s a difference and there must be. The trails with redwoods whose trunks gape open and she — if she were there — could hide in them. It felt good. It was hot and I was tired but I knew I could handle the steepness and the heat. I sat on the high bench and looked at the valley. I ate a sandwich. I drank water. I knew needing no one was an illusion, but it was an illusion I held close to me that day. I took one step then another. Felt capable. My legs worked, my knees worked. I stopped and rubbed my hands on a tree trunk. He said I would like Big Sur. He was right, but I wasn’t talking to him. I lifted my chin and looked up a long way. I was empty but it felt like survival. I walked back down, saw the parking lot teem with strangers.

    1. Nice, I like this one. It travels well.

    2. I love the empty loneliness here. Beautiful!

    3. Nice! I think it would be even better in the present tense.

  6. Forest Bath

    The group has left without me,
    so I walk the brushy path to the river.

    In this dry year, a thin stream rambles
    down the center of the rocky river bed.

    No one is around, no one watching
    but perhaps a rabbit or a deer.

    I remove my clothes and settle
    into the deepest spot. The water curls

    around my middle. I lie against a rock
    and watch a small cloud tangle

    in the tops of the pines. Flowers stand
    on the edge of the river but they will not

    say their names. Yellow, I call one,
    salmon another. People are talking

    on the trail that runs behind me;
    I can’t see them, trust that they

    can’t see me, and don’t care. The sun
    is warm, the water cool, and only I

    am here in this sunlit pool. A bird knocks
    at a Jefferson pine, a jay wings by

    in the shadows. Leggy skaters dance
    on the water’s face. How long may I stay?

    1. "Flowers stand on the edge of the river but they will not say their names."

    2. Michelle would tell me about all the trees and plants we would see by the road. She took a lot of science classes in college. I could smell the Jefferson pine in you poem because she told me it smells like vanilla.

    3. Love this poem and I think I remember this moment although you only told me about it. Obviously wasn't there. One of those great bonding with nature moments!

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  8. It was not until night fell
    That I felt alone in the woods

    It was a big mistake I made as
    The darkness was upon me already

    I could not see the palm of my hand
    If I held it in front of my eyes

    A deep feeling of isolation
    Fear and a sense I was

    In danger of running into a wild
    Animal of head long into a tree

    Boy, I was in trouble, and nobody
    Was around to help me

    Screaming would be futile
    I may as well keep quiet

    I needed to get back to camp
    I was about two mile away I guess

    I wandered off
    Not thinking dusk meant

    Night was around the corner
    I was just an hour ago walking alone

    Along the edge of a river enjoying
    The nature and the way the river

    Winds and follows no rules
    As I walked along oblivious

    To the danger I was walking toward
    The edge of darkness I knew would

    Swallow me up only to realize
    Too late what it really meant

    To be alone in the woods
    After the sun goes down

    Nobody knew where I was
    Nobody saw me leave camp

    My only fortune was a set of three lights in the distance
    What were they, lanterns, campfires, someone's flashlight?

    I didn't want to intrude on someone
    In case I had to tell them I was lost

    Running into the right campground was remote
    But I had to estimate how far I had walked in the

    Hour I was away
    I knew I was near some camps

    So I kept on walking in the pitch dark
    Hoping I would run into someone I knew

    I went to the third set of lights over as I
    ambled in not knowing if I was back safe

    It was the right camp
    Everyone surrounding the campfire

    As I sat down not telling anyone
    Of the predicament I was put in

    A man of few words they spoke of me
    I had gone to enjoy nature and ended up

    Scared of it at the same time
    Kind of like when a riptide takes

    You out to sea and you are all alone
    Wading and treading to survive the trouble

    But I was glad to be back in camp
    Safe, sitting around the campfire

    1. Ah man, terrifying! Great moment and great poem!

    2. so scary! i had to rush to finish it!


  9. I got nothin', just nothin', no nature, no loss
    Just got me top ramen, avocado on top
    A husband who loves me, a dog who's the boss
    A kindle, and ice cream, my AC runs nonstop.

    I gained me six pounds since Christmas I learned
    Blah blah health, blah blah weight
    Blah blah lab work, blah rules
    Down with scales, fill my plate
    Stomp on diets I hate
    Down with charts, graphs, statistics, and medical tools.

    I'm not alone, not in nature, and there is no loss
    Just a husband who loves me
    And a dog who's the boss
    And a carton of ice cream calling to me--
    Darling, I'm here, and so is TV!

    1. That's great. I love the rhyme scheme and meter you set up here. It captures the mood of the whole thing!

    2. Amen! I love the audacity of your truth. The frankness and the flow.

  10. And really, you're still in the confines of the theme. You're writing about "your"nature, your world. I think its fabulous

  11. For years she has walked these woods
    straddling Richland Creek. She’s confessed
    her lamentations at the altars
    of honey locust and hickory.
    She’s whispered the story
    to the sassafras and sycamore
    trees, hoping it might help her make sense
    of a life deserted by God and reason.

    There were the usual expectations
    about time and healing. But as much
    as they were lost to her, she felt
    every day was lost to them-- again.

    She made a list of days that might
    look like healing:
    The day she could cry without convulsing.
    The day without howling.
    The day she could look someone in the eye.
    The day small talk came without effort.
    The day she would laugh and believe it.

    A week ago she woke up to an
    extraordinary snow. The late, full moon
    almost made dawn out of the night.
    She cut a solitary trail
    through her velvet forest,
    while everything slept.

    Ahead, bush honeysuckle reached across
    the path in a gothic arch. She ventured
    inside and lay immersed in its quiet,
    weighted geometries. She emerged from
    that cold wood uncertain, yet invited.

    This morning she sits by the window.
    Last week’s snow lays about in tatters.
    The wind scatters seed of the miscanthus
    she’s sure she never should have planted.
    She didn’t know how hard it would be
    to find someone to be.

    She thinks back to those bold, awkward
    years—all the artless, perilous
    decisions that led her here now—
    Who is she in this hollow bowl of winter?


    1. Yeah, and this stanza starting here is out of this world" She made a list of days that might
      look like healing:"

  12. Joshua Trees

    He'd brought me there.
    I sat inside some rocks
    Looking out to the desert.
    He left me with a pipe and some bud.
    This made me happy.
    He went over the rocks to change.
    It was like I had never ruled the world until then.
    A high cave woman looking over her domain
    Like a lioness who knew she was the Lion.
    Legs crossed, hair long, eyes hung, spirit tall.
    My sweater was warm in the morning.
    The temp. was perfect.
    I meditated and drowned in the beauty.
    Until he appeared atop a high rock,
    A dark figure shooting arrows at me.
    Literally but figuratively.
    I was struck and shocked
    My ego bent
    And mind twisted.
    I wondered then if we were not indeed angels
    But demons fighting a war on
    Plains of intoxification.
    Enemies of heart and mind.