POEM: be nice to bees

European_honey_bee_extracts_nectar

be nice to bees
(for Bonny Chen)

I don’t remember
much about bees
but I think it’s true
that when a bee stings
its stinger rips off
and it dies quickly
if that’s true
I don’t quite get it
it’s not a useful defense
if it’s fatal
so then I thought
maybe bees have stingers
to protect the group
not the individual
the defenders
sacrificing themselves
for the good of the hive
when this occurred to me
I started to feel
differently about bees

8 July 2013
Auburn AL

/ / /

[Photo Credit]

POEM: the blue crane and the yellowwood tree

Blue_crane_SA

the blue crane and the yellowwood tree

in my dream
I saw a blue crane
under a yellowwood tree
she was standing there
majestic and serene
like a silent song
I couldn’t get out of my head
I approached slowly
she moved away
but didn’t fly off
she looked at me
with eyes like your eyes
I stood rooted, expectant
the smell of mangoes in the air
I thought if I could touch her
I might wake from the dream
to find she was real
so I moved forward again
but it was too much
she spread her wings
sang one bright, clear note
and flew off into the African sky

7 July 2013
Auburn AL

POEM: rainy season

walkway

rainy season

the walkway to the laundry is flooded
following days and days of rain
it’s pouring now, in fact
so I’ve opened all the windows
to let in the sound
my first full summer in Alabama
reminds me of Japan
flower petals covering the stones
wearing my outdoor sandals
to haul the bag of laundry back inside
when I arrived here last year
it was in the middle of a drought
I hiked to a waterfall but found
a trickle (and even that’s generous)
this is the part of the poem
where the metaphor goes

6 July 2013
Auburn AL

POEM: all the way down

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all the way down

turtles still make me think of you
I imagine they always will
even though I can’t remember why
or how the association started
but I know that every time
one of these quasi-dinosaurs
crawls his imperturbable way
between the lines of one of my poems
he’s bringing a message from you

2 July 2013
Auburn AL

POEM: tiger

Sumatran Tiger

tiger

at lunch the expedition
was interrupted
by the arrival
at the edge of camp
of a Sumatran tiger
a creature so rare
everyone leapt up
to catch a glimpse
it eyed the watchers warily
for a moment
then stalked off
into the underbrush
leaving behind elation
at its existence
disappointment
at its departure
fear
that it might never
come again

20 May 2013
Auburn, AL