Monday, September 26, 2011

CPITS 2011 Symposium New Writing

The fire lilies were thinking of you
all in their crimson splendor
they turned toward the sun
The heart knows what it wants
the way the foot knows the path to the barn
the horses all waiting
each one knickers in welcome
helping us load the hay into the feedbin
and how in early morning we rose
sneaking out before the dawn
to saddle up for the trail ride
the sky streakes with carmine and gold
the horses eager, snorting with each breath
anticipating the day
the lomg glide of woodpeckers from pine to oak
raucus musicians laughing in deep woods
as I imagine you now
your olive eyes flecked with green

(revised)                            —for Stephanie Stone

The fire lilies were thinking of you
aflame in their crimson splendor
as they turned toward the sun
like horses in the stable, tracking the hay

The heart knows what it wants
the way the foot treads on the path to the barn
the horses waiting, eagerly nickering welcomes
helping us to load hay into their troughs

I remember how, in early morning we rose
sneaking out before the dawn
to saddle up, the sky streaked with carmine & gold
our mounts eager, snorting with pleasure
each step, each breath, niggling at the bit,
dancing, they could barely contain themselves
such was their joy

But the long glide of woodpecker's wing from oak to pine
and that raucous laughter in deep woods
reminded us that we will never pass this way again

Too soon you left me at the starting line
racing toward that distant horizon
from which no traveler returns

You will never know the ache of old bones
the failing of eyesight
nor the fading of memory
that slow erasure of the past
nor the parting of childhood
but all that came of the new-mown doubts
the shifting of psyche

I am left with is the sudden silence of the woodpecker
the way darkness ate at your bones
devouring the marrow until the shone
with the ephemera of catscans and isotopes of hope


Steve Kowit's workshop   Recall one incident, find the emotional charge, conjecture about their fate. The real task is to write a mourning poem, a poem that will move the reader (transformation). Use assonance/dissonance, metrical patterns, repetition.  15 lines  (OK so I sucked at the 15-line part).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bobcat in Ojai backcounty

Bobcat, Calero Creek Trail, San Jose, CA—Wiki commons pix

When the L. rufus californicus sprinted across the road in front of us near Lake Casitas as we were enroute to Ojai, I was struck by how it resembled a cheetah—a lean greyhound body built for running, jacked up higher at the rear end than most cats—a sprinter. Gorgeous black, rufus and clouded spots, long tufted ears with black points—but little by way of a tail. Not like a cheetah's yard-long tail. Wrong continent.

But I once surprised a caracal in the trashbin at dawn. And it surprised me. It rose up, impossibly slender like Baast, the Egyptian cat god, and looked me in the eye. We stood transfixed, then it melted into the morning fog.

I didn't know what it was other than an exotic cat—but I was taking a class at Sonoma State later that morning—so I sculpted it out of clay and Dorothy recognized it and we later identified it as the escaped African cat from the Forestville Preserve.

The rangers came to to see if they could find the escaped caracal—they said she was once someone's pet—declawed, and she was pretty hungry, but tame enough. I was struck how the caracal and the bobcat resembled each other in size.

The Ojai bobcat passed so close to us as we were sitting in the rental car (we had slowed down so I could take a photo of the lake), I could see into its golden eyes for one brief instant—as it crossed the highway to the lake for its evening drink.

The photo I never took. An American lynx, a Californian subspecies. My third sighting in a lifetime. That peculiar intersection of crossed paths and time— and for a moment, the day stood stock-still.