Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Photo by S. Auberle

               phobias:  aversions and fears
               philias:  attractives & positive feelings 

I'm old        yes old enough
that if I died tomorrow
not one would say
pity        she died too young… 

I suppose there's some comfort
in that       small at best
but another comfort might be
that by now I've tried out

and worn out all my phobias
found them meaningless
paper scarecrows dancing
in the wind       except the last one 

which I don't even want to mention
but you know the one I mean
and yes I'm still scared big time
of that and if you're not 

tell me why not        and how you got
that way        unscared        I mean
and why have none of my people
come back to tell me don't worry baby 

it's all right       nothing to be afraid of
like they used to        and wrap shiny pennies
in my clenched fists        dry my tears
and send me back out 

into that enormous sunny world
where philias abound and never end
and I don't know any more than my dog
about what's coming for me        one day

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Photo by S. Auberle

This may still be a work in progress (brand new just this morning) or it may be finished.  Not sure yet, but I want it out there...


But most of all I shall remember the Monarchs, that
unhurried westward drift of one small winged form
after another, each drawn by some invisible force…
                                             ~  Rachel Carson

the Monarchs have crashed they say
as if a great plane had carried them
on their mighty journey south
and the hand of a jealous god

smote them down
certainly not our fault we say
and so we mourn them and orate
and pontificate about what to do

how to save the few     who remain
who remind us of what once was
and the number who understand
is as small as those fragile creatures left

to grace our emptying skies
who soon may join the passenger pigeon
the ivory-billed woodpecker
all the scorned-as-unimportant…

o let there be somewhere a place
where whatever passes for hearts
and arms welcome these--open wide
awestruck     immeasurably grateful for each

            flying      swimming    crawling 
            standing     leaping     miracle

Friday, July 12, 2013


Photo by S.  Auberle

yoga in first light
when the sun rises
above tall cedars
young birds finding their wings

sun-warmed tomatoes
in olive oil topped with
sea salt and fresh-snipped basil--
the fragrance will astonish you every time

slow dance of pelicans high
last lullaby of mourning doves
a poem or three and glass of Chianti
or perhaps a very old Scotch…

Monday, July 01, 2013


Photo by S. Auberle

The Yarnell Hill Fire

There are things that happen to which you must respond.  You have no choice.  They will not let you rest until you write.  Something.  And so you sit at the keyboard and begin.

Memories of smoke.  Flames.  The red horizon.  Acrid smell.  The blue air.   The yellow air.  The ash-laden air.  Magnificent flaming sunsets, as if the sun were trying to outdo the palette of fire.  Anxious scanning of skies.  Please, please let it rain.  But no lightning, o my god, no more lightning.  Just blessed moisture on the beetle-dead trees, the crisp grasses, the drought-starved bones of animals.  Pray.  To your god, to the Hopi spirits, the Navajo deities.  To anyone…who might be listening.  Who might care if your house, your hogan, your hut goes up in flames. 

What to take?  What to place carefully by the door, to clutch to your heart as you race out in the middle of the night?  Your wedding album?  Baby photos?  The computer--with so much of your life stored in its cold memory? 

Impossible to decide, and so you throw things in boxes, pile them randomly, knowing you might forget some.  Or all.  You think of tornado victims, who do not have to decide.  Whose entire life is whirled away, no decisions to be made.  Lucky to escape with their lives.  As you would feel lucky.  And broken.  And grateful to whichever of those gods listened. 

Most of all, you feel gratitude to those who are out there in the midst of the inferno.  Who are blackened and weary and brave beyond belief.  Who go for hours without sleep, without food, without fear.  You will bless them every moment as you stand out on your porch and watch the mountain burn.  As you cry for the beautiful forest, the animals fleeing in terror…

I am fortunate, the town of Flagstaff, Arizona is fortunate.  During the several fires that blazed in the years I lived there, no homes were lost, and I did not have to flee my home.

Yes, there are tragedies in the world with numbers of sorrows to enormous to count.  The deaths of innocents, the deaths of brave men and women in incomprehensible numbers.  The slow deaths-- starvation, lack of water.  Of course, the horrors of war.  Anywhere.  Any war. 

But we and our words must respond to what is before us now in this moment.  And though I do not live in fire country anymore, I will never forget the fear of it.  So I respond, so I remember, so I pray...  

My deepest sympathies and prayers to the families of the nineteen firefighters who lost their lives.