Monday, February 24, 2014


There is no peace to be found around here.  It’s all piece-meal-
pronto, then, wait - pace and even the shadows can’t slow
the flow of shadows in the mind for a minute. 

Chop-chop at this certainty coming or that count
or this conversation, pecked away even in the early morning
certainty peaking through the cloud curtains outside

and (somewhat) away from those awake
already by the perky, opportunist popping woodpecker
busy at his work inside a cactus in my yard. 

Contemplations, ruminations, thought-less-ness, considerations-
stolen, disrespected by the diligence of the scavenging
for some combination, maybe, of a mating call and a search for grub.

Either will do.  Striking at that inner surface like the law with warrant.
He follows me like an old resentment, migrating in the afternoon to meet
me in the backyard, his laughter-like kee-u mocking my
                                                                          at silence

and the cursive chirrups say no use, no use
So I say, thought-tapper,
                                                      tell me,
where is there any safety on the outside to find your way to the  inside?

Where do you first perch?  Do you strategize placement
of those zygodactyl feet around the spines? And perhaps,
you say,  I really can’t afford to be choosy these days. 

Habitat like landing,
I can’t be choosy.

Even so, you refuse to reuse but the elf owl will come later,
recycle the ready opening you've made.  So it’s not all for naught,
your need for grind and generation.  I guess we’re much the same

in that.   Maybe it’s all quite symbiotic
and symbolic.  Or symbolic,
this symbiosis. 

Defended in the depths, you devour
what would harm your home.
So much simpler, this system than the human

mind-body problem I and my cosmopolitan kind
suffer from.   Now two spotted birds
at the stocky, wise saguaro.

One peeks out and amazingly, silently, calls
another, who perches first only on the outer surface
before entering the den, to escape this heat

that makes my vision hazy and my brain hazier, I think. 
No, it’s the noise, I think.   
I peek out of the height of pother 

for periods, jot, peck, peck, peck. 
             exercises of restraint, 

which are not my specialty. 
I silence.  There is no peace
to be found here.  In the house-
my mind- the house of my mind,
the mind of my house.
The exercises, 

the prompts, the continual cracking at.
The muse has taken over the woodpecker’s body.
She is pecking out prompts and crying her mocking 

no use cry.  She follows me like the children follow me
and her queries less querulous, though as absurd.
She is as persistent, too, as they, 

and she cannot know she is lending and taking away. 
Her voice rises and is joined and I realize then
in the cacophony of nature at work imitating children 

at play what I need:
I need your soul mate hope filled eyes-
you to nest inside.  I've pecked 

pencil to paper all day inside, flown out
for inspiration, returned with none,
listened well and not to my own voice 

contesting the yip yip
of all the little pecking flitting creatures. 
It is not so hot today.  It is cooling.  

The birds say this in their way.   
I listen.  They know so much.
They know how to sidestep 

spines and how to lace embrace
and lay down roots.
There is safety

inside the flesh,
they say, of what
wears thorns.

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