A Thousand Years of Laundry in a Single Afternoon

Afternoon sunlight through the blinds, a pile of clean clothes on the bed, we do laundry together on Sunday afternoon. It’s nothing we’ve made a habit of yet, but maybe a few years from now it’ll be our weekly chore we do together. You’re great at finding sock matches. I’m shocked by your willingness, and no matter how many times I write it in my head, I know there’s no poem that could do this moment justice.

It’s like solar winds burning away layers of self-incrimination, to make a return to the heart.

River Days

River Days

the sun basks in the sea-sky, cottonwood flashes in the breeze like water in a stream. we the people wonder, will the river birds show up today?

people sit and listen to the jazz band play jazz with an undertone of funk. while a group of 6th graders holds up the ice cream line.

We the people.

black mothers in sunday summer dresses and their friends in v-necks. latinos conversate;

the caballero with two daughters —one painting a horse, the other a bright pink pig. both meticulously painted.

dad is laying back, but also giving instruction when needed. i follow his lead. he offers his chair to my wife. we smile and make eye contact.

We the people.

the old look after the young, while the young watch out for the old.

two policemen chat, arms folded, sunglasses on,
and jump to smiles and high-fives as soon as a kid walks by.

We the people.

dads push strollers. moms walk with toddler in hand.

fire hose spray, a rush of children trying get soaked
and the kids and firemen laugh together.

We the people.

the endless river smoothing stones, polishing the light of day. a drifting canoe works it’s way through the languid shallow water.

Dragonflies never seem to stop catching the eye.

We the people
We the people
We the people


The duck race at Renton River Days

This poem is for those that believe that they can learn something about themselves in the way they read poetry.

I wrote this after our family trip to the annual Renton River Days, a festival celebrating the summer season and the water in general. A part of Seafair, a week long celebration around the greater Seattle area. So much talk about race relations and this group v that group and you go out to a community outing and there is none of that. More and more interaction you have you may start to notice it’s just not there, not the way it seems within the media and political powers. It’s up to us, to you and me -We, to not let the talk run away with us. Thanks for reading!

Man oh Man

You took me

Twisted and knotted

And all the struggles of youth

And shaped me into a man.

That’s something I never could

Understand, what compels

Women to do this?

Regardless

I know my son

Is in capable hands

He’ll be prepared

To be a man.

Spring Lake/Lake Desire (Haibun)

I just keep plowing forward

everyday

without knowing where i’m going.

We left the house thinking we were searching for freedom; the american ideal. I wanted to see what Ken Burns was looking for all these years, put a face to the name in a way. We figured freedom meant it was free, so we went to the trails, the mountains and parks. It was mid October, but had yet to be much of an autumn.

On our way into the neighborhood there are no signs for the park. No mention of Spring Lake, or Lake Desire. So I figured perhaps these were man-made lakes for the private enjoyment of the residents. Roads diverge, like capillaries, off the main vein. Houses pock the sides like cancer cells. The 390 acre park is densely forested and in the neighborhood we start to get the feel that we are entering the right area. Broad-leafed Maple limbs hang over the roadway. Redwood cedars contort around houses and their low skirts dance over the tops of cars parked along the side of the street.

This whole area of forested overgrowth surrounds a primeval cinder cone. Here is evidence of the ancient outcroppings of a network of volcanoes that helped to form the region. Prehistoric man would have worshiped these mounds of fire and fury as the womb of The Mother. Perhaps they did as they built their own burial mounds. Now, though, it’s been fossilized and covered by centuries of innovation, evolution and death.

Follow me, I’m the leader! You say again and again. Almost as if to bait an argument. I, in turn, said in my head, no! I’m the leader, but instead smile and shake my head. The forest floor is caked with leaves, the path a patchwork of crimson and bronze, chanterelle and death. Late morning sunlight filters through the treeline, fog and a patchwork of leaves on branches, mostly big leaf maple, clinging to the eventuality of rebirth. The trodden path slick with chewed up leaves, like overnight puke stains on the sidewalk. But off the path, between the trunks and ferns, the fallen leaves make up a bed and blanket for the fruit that fell a few weeks earlier -providing the seeds a chance to spring to life.

Out here there is no leader, only the whispers of wind high and low. Only the stubborn secrets of the elder Doug-firs. Out here we don’t put anyone above or below because we’re capable of seeing the vast network of cooperation, which is the only order we belong to.

Along the way we pass the stump of a felled tree, which you insist on jumping on top of and having your picture snapped. I oblige. If only to inspect the stump afterword to point out the fact that it represents a generation which now provides the ground for new growth; all kinds of species, gender, and cultures, without persecution or discrimination, it welcomes all, and that like the stump, we too will provide sustenance for new generations. So it’s up to us to make sure that what we offer is good enough to sustain not just the next generation, but many more after that too.

There is a meadow surrounded by conifers, like a secret tucked away at the top. It is nearly pristine, you said something like, “whoa!” But the secret was not ours alone, between the evergreens there were houses on either side, vacation homes no doubt, perhaps now year round Airbnb rentals. It serves as just another reminder of how there is not a place that civilization has not traveled. A moment before we were explorers, discoverers, and now we have discovered only what has been claimed by others a few dozen years ago. It is a microcosm of an ever-expanding economy that knows no bounds other than the expansion of its own growth. Still though we sat -as the signs asked- on the path, and simply observed change.

The economy of the earth, of the ancient, is far greater than that of mankind. Why would we expect to outlast nature herself? since after all we too are nature. At the center of everything and just under our feet is the fossilized prehistoric cinder cone. Where once the bowels of the great mother bellowed, is now flush with verdant technological advancements of moss and perennial, of evergreen boles and rocky outcroppings from since the beginnings. Here in the fog and the dim sunlight, the spires sway and give way to the wind. Here even the moss sings, if you listen closely enough. We sit for a while and watch nothing in particular and everything all at the same time. It seems we’ve found peace just for a moment. This is where, for the first time, you discovered grasshoppers; camouflaged by the emerald grass they hop from between your feet and you instinctively try to catch and chase, laughing your genuine childish laughter.

Sitting atop

Ancient cinder cone

Amongst fog burnt daylight,

Evergreen spires –

Ah! What a feeling!

Waiting for Scraps

Moka pot is empty, the kids are finally into their movie; Lady and the Tramp 2: scamps adventure. Fridge is empty. They’re eating the rest of the mac ‘n cheese. Odin is sitting in anticipation; waiting for scraps.
Kitchen is a warzone.
When you getting home?