Monthly Archives: November 2011

Poem of the Day: “the inner animal”

the inner animal

the touch of something ancient,            primordial animal memory,

this shadow of instinct in dreams            and fears awakened by the unexpected

encounter, the wild eye               in the brush,

the lover turning over or around,             the heart races . . .

a thing like that, wild                              or more used to freedom,

motivated by the inner will,             of us pulls to follow its own course,

a part untamed, unbroken        the wild horse uncivilized,

like the unbridled heart           it wants what it wants,

undomesticated, it finds             windows and potions

it shape shifts and dreams          through the bars of these cages,

a jaguar made of silence,               words never spoken but known

giving the dance structure,             story, functions as to flesh, the bone

my night eyes have seen foxes run         through the heart of the city

racing the frost-light of dawn,              under these sidewalks are the sleeping

seeds of prairie grasses                 dashed through by barefooted ancestors

. . . waiting, i can feel this         part of me, this past with it’s seeds,

it’s potential                         sharing dreams with roots of trees

pushing up sidewalks                with slow solar ease

and in the forests the trees                     are falling on fences,

righteously pushing and wrenching            them down,

the weight of water and wood                 upon wicked and brown

steel crown of thorns unraveled

and stretched out across creation,             man’s manifestation

of his attempt at separation,    unnatural linear division,

year after year          the trees fall without fear

laying their rain-filled bodies down                     and squirrels apply

layers of pine needles              and cone flakes,

a hundred year hour yawns            erasing mistakes

with no human ear near to witness               or hear the slow sound that it makes

man with his multiplication                     and attempts at division

learning that the sum arrived at         is always One and will also be found

through subtraction and             through addition

remembering words                to admonish contrition

“take, eat; this is my body.”              adaptation leans toward love

to please the earth is to please the self,                  the soul, the whole,

emotional strategies of the heart             of the world,

has “it’s reasons               that reason cannot know.”

raven’s laughter whether in deep       woods or city can instantly liberate,

reawaken the animal within the moment        which seems to hibernate to

begin to contemplate,                develop strategies to compensate,

find our way through,                create a means to reconnect anew,

become whole again,                our intellect we must subdue to

start and think like a mountain, with heart

for year upon year we have struck               blind with fear

afraid of the inevitability of change,              creating a world so strange,

“The cowman who cleans             his range of wolves

does not realize                he is taking over the wolf’s job

of trimming the herd                  to fit the range.”

a circle for the mind to hold                   in the words of Aldo Leopold,

the animals within live in the moment              and are not planning their future,

the animals within celebrate the familiar scent     and shadow of the new,

one inside howls             and paws at each days events

for an opening          to dry pale yellow prairie grasses,

the mountains shrouded in shades          of blue and white, the sky is grey,

much sleeps in these seasons                 of waiting for the sun to illuminate,

lend power,           penetrate

the earthen tomb-wombed        seed germinates,

dark pinon and juniper  dot hills and

layered rock rims which           were once the ocean floor

beneath the ice of the stony bed            the creek continues it’s musical flow,

through ice, thin window, i see   green leafy plants, submerged, continue to grow

this night-walker presses his steps         into last nights snow,

again the animal within,         untamed, unbroken,

stares into me       with eyes which see into the dark,

this other me,          this wild, nameless verbiage

moving between               consonants of flesh and bone an image

of life written in the stone of mind                      by grasping hand of mine,

it’s formless form only known by the shape of it             in the dark

as it brushes past, it’s touch transforms,                fuels the fight

to take new form,                   to take to flight,

sometimes it is the song it sings,       its sound like the stars on

the surface of a night               pond,

myriad, fleeting,            wordless and lyrical,

the moments tone,               it’s machinations unknown

but resonating like bass in the bone,             familiar, unseen, but a kinship known,

the contours of vision fitting                   some curve, some void or edge unfelt

the heartland; a circle                                 without charted borders,

covers both the know and unknown,                 an unfelt shell of an invisible egg,

it’s colors exist            only in the eye of the beholder,

like mountains in the distance,                 blue of new day haze

or the reds, pinks                      lavenders of sunrises blaze

in the eye the way stars appear to exist  when we look

up into the space of this eternal now,                 we see the source and the illumination                                        through refraction               and reflection,

but the light itself cannot be detected or seen                 at any point in between,

there is the sun and there is the face           and 93 million miles of space between                                             filled with light           but unseen,

in the way that the distant bird            can be known by its song,

hidden in the heart         of it’s hovering head,

hollow and hallowed,                names are mysteries dead,

it’s there in the unconscious               rhythm of the pulse,

the next breath is not                 anticipated, yet something breathes

and pumps, grows                  un-contemplated, a life of it’s own

upon which it’s life must depend,           and when it goes, does mine end?

NOTE: This poem cannot be accurately rendered in it’s most effective form here, you will have to wait until it is in print to see how these two columns of text align in what I call a “hollow-form” poem to create not only a spirit channel through it, but it can be read as two poems side by side up and down or another poem when read linearly from left to right, it is a poem with a wild freedom.


Poem of the Day: “re-membering”

from “the forgotten sound of rain

the mountain’s song of silence
i can carry in the cave of my heart
when i return to the city

the rain, however,
sings quite a different song
when it comes to town

the rain at the hermitage is music
percussion on wood and tin and stone,
on window and roof and on
something that occaisionally goes “ping”

lying in the dark listening to the rain
striking this stone and that leaf
soaking into the thirsty mosses
and patient lichens

the forest is now rich with scent
rivulets running down and darkening
the deep cinnamon bark of ponderosa pines
and all that fragrant forest soil

the dark is so thick and fragrant with the rain,
like a kiss or something more intimate

deep and intimate, but without the heat of the breath,
without the animality of passion it feels cool and refreshing,
a slowly seeping turpid tumescence thickens things
rising sponge-like with moisture

lie with me here a moment
and feel this…

feel both the coolness of the night outside
and the warmth of the space inside

can you feel how a frog,
beating in the palm of the hand
is a small green heart,
and how a hummingbird
hovering in the mid-air moment of anticipation
is a heart in flight

the forgotten sound of rain
fills and swells the heart inside
as much as it does the mosses
and fallen trees outside

can you dig dig the roots of the rain,
hug the tree of this moment with your mind?
can you hold it close to your hidden heart
close enough to feel its beating?

Note: from a longer sequence, the forgotten sound of rain,  still slowly being worked and reworked over the years.

The poet Mike Parker on my book “Span”

“Thoreau, Cid Corman, Lorine Niedecker, Whalen & Snyder, Sam Hamill and now David Martin, a wilderness walker returning as the missing lynx in the lineage of nature based poetry heartbeating it’s way into our gorges & forests – it has the aroma of wild mushrooms & the flow of a raging springmelt. The poems span the distance between old friends. ‘Less like a voice / more like a knowing’ ”

~Mike Parker, poet and author of Don’t Fall Off The Mountain
and Wallflower Sutra

More a bout Span and links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble can be found here at Rhizome Publishings website:

Poem of the Day: “november 23rd”

november 23rd

were i unable to hear the crunching leaves of late fall
i would still be able to recognize the season with my feet

i am often aware of this part of me,
this sensation beyond or despite
the present times or current culture
something deeper within, older, foundational
the instincts of the inner animal

i like noting these things
the things that this “original” man would be elated by,
and in so doing I am generating a magical cognitive map
of my real world, where I feel at home

for often walking on a weekday in the city
or shopping anytime this close to a holiday
i feel like a foreigner or a fugitive trying to fit in,
and would feel much more comfortable drifting alone
in search of the magical moment
of connection to “the real”

like coming across this wild honey-bee hive
in the crack at the base of a tree in Grome Park
next to the sidewalk along Abriendo Avenue

it is the day before Thanksgiving and yet
it is such a warm day that the bees are active
although I cannot imagine what they hope
to harvest at this time of year

but i shall work on the mystery awhile,
and contemplate their perfect societal structure
here amidst this city of hungry ghosts

they buzz me to consider many things
one being that the alternative to socialism
may just be this desperate form of barbarism
found just outside and surrounding this park

Poem of the Day: “plastic roses” and an alternate version…

plastic roses

i am too old
to whisper plastic roses

my throat is full of cicadas
singing songs to the moon
shipwrecked in my heart

Note: and right below it, on the day i wrote it, i re-wrote it like this:

plastic roses

i am too old to whisper
plastic roses in your ear

my throat is full of cicadas
singing songs to the moon
shipwrecked on the shores
of my heart

Note:  This poem in my notebook deepening the map, seemed at the time to be poignant and appropriately brief.

This morning however, months and months later,when writing it out, it seemed to want to be a different poem, and it came out like this.  I like them both

plastic roses

i am too old to kneel
and weed the neglected beds of others,
too experienced and real
to whisper plastic roses

my throat is full of cicadas
singing songs to the moon

shipwrecked in my heart
a castaway, at peace
with the island

please feel free to comment and let me know what you think, for i am curious.

Poem of the Day: “because you cannot”

because you cannot

because you cannot put in your pocket
the way that the cloud twists & curls
with weightless grace

because you cannot really share the tendrilous way
the murmuration made you feel inside
anticipating unmoored joy

…and the reproductive yoga of dragonflies
belongs reflected in the sky
on the surface of the pond

…and the sparrows mating in a flury of feathers
in a moment of plummeting freefall
belong to that moment

remember it all if you can
the next time you press yourself to your lover,
remember and emulate

those who can,

Poem of the Day: “sunny, 16°”

sunny, 16°

joy at what I feared i stepped on
was a frozen roly-poly,
turning out to be a juniper berry
on the cold flagstone

NOTE:  from a few years back as i walked to my studio early one winter morning following a fairly warm day prior.