Friday, September 5, 2008

Sticks and stories

This story is sort of true. Or it has true stories in it, along with, as William Stafford said, "stories that might be true."

I haven't found one in a while. At the bottom of this message is the one I found outside the Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder as Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson rehearsed one of Loudon's songs--wish I could remember what it was.

I started an "alphabet series" some time ago. I guess I figured it'd be an impetus to get 26 poems going. Hey, it's working for Sue Grafton. I have perhaps three--in nonalphabetical order--that are more ore less "finished" (how do you know when a poem is finished?) and another four or five in the works.


For a time, when I was dying,
I found them everywhere: the driveway,
downtown, a faraway park.
Standing on a hill as the singer
crooned about life as a man
I glanced to the grass and found
this one, with a phantom limb
in its crotch.

They are said to point to water.
I’ve seen them used, in a field by broken stones,
by a codger, smelling of cats,
charming a lady backpacker.
My mother swore her father had that gift.

I have clutched their legs and wished,
looked for the liquid source,
felt the rough bark and unexpected lightness,
a feeling gray and gentle as a Midlands morning.

I did not believe life would go on,
and I never asked why.
Now I go on,
branch to branch,
drinking occasional rain.

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