night percussion

was it the rain drumming against your window
that woke me? water dolloping on courtyard tile
till the dogs broke

barked silver
into blanketed night

or was it the door? snake-rattling
in its frame, wind catching beneath its skirt

lifting

lift higher

let all passersby
steal a glimpse
of our pale bodies.

was it, or wasn’t it, the heat of your chest
burning moons into the small of my back
pocketing my water-logged body with accusations

                        waves
breaking against the blanket’s edge

or maybe
it was just the rain
after all

no one whispering betrayal but myself

mouth opening with the season
sky blossoming water in the dark

and the rain drumming

drumming against your window
washing what I’ve done away

deep into night’s percussion.

Caught in the Body

A glottal stop is produced by obstructing airflow in the vocal tract.

It halts you. At the back of your throat. Threatening to
Let the air escape onto the roof
Where your voice is choked and clinging
To the rafters, unable to say anything
As simple or as beautiful as a good man’s name.

Kànälna.

An umlaut rests with the body.
And if you lean down close enough,
I mean really close so close so far down that
Your breath rustles his paper gown and
Your cheek bones brush against his leathered skin,
You can still hear his vocal chords

Vibrating in celebration of story.
The back of Uncle’s tongue
Speaking in prayer

A community firing funeral hymns from the hip
Taking their aim in two languages
Until everyone is filled

With the sound of his name: Kànälna

Ray. We carry your name on ours backs,
We’ll pack your story to the smokehouse
In Klukshu.

But for now, you must go with Grandmother.

Kànälna. Ray Jackson. Chief.
Go with grandmother.

Take her bannock and tea
And tell her she gave you power with your name.

We will not
Forget you.


Read more about Ray Jackson and a few of his (many) contributions to his community and family in Yukon Territory, Canada, by visiting this article via CBC News.

 

The Few, the Micro Poems of July

As Tacoma finally settled into it’s summer-self this July, I found myself busier than ever. Between moving, leaving the Army, and visiting with family from across the ocean,  I only managed to jot down a few lines of poetry (and I’ll honest here, I’ve been devouring books and coloring to my little heart’s content). But life is rich this summer, and I’m hesitant to limit myself to any one endeavor or hobby. Instead, I intend to build as many experiences as I can during this blissfully free time in my life. I will follow all trails.

DSC_0473

Lastly, despite the loss my family recently experienced, I’ve also never felt more surrounded by the goodness of friends and loved ones. I hope these poems reflect that, and I hope you enjoy them, too. Happy reading, everyone.

————

My mother’s voice cracks
Her sorrow tangible
As the egg shells
Slipping from my hand.
Our family breaks open
With the sound of a gunshot
Over breakfast

————

Full belly, rounded
And soft as summer grass
My niece looks up
Filling me

Easing my hunger

————

What madness grows here?
Pushing through crumbling pavement
Until it bursts,
This, a gang of puckered,
Purple blossoms

————

The pop crunch of orange
Hits my tongue
Disappears into mouth cave
Where the twang
Of cold, baby carrots
Crackles in the dark

————

Rainbow selection
My fingers aching to touch
Each colored pencil
In Crayola happiness
Every stroke
Coloring me back in

Micro Poems: June Swells

This June marked an important turning point in my life. Besides leaving the Army (woohoo!), I decided I need a few months of travel, reflection, and focus on creative endeavors before I settle down into a new profession sometime next year. The micro poems below were all written over the last month, and some reflect the anticipation I’ve been feeling about all the changes in my life. I hope you enjoy them.

So so I forget, sometimes
Push a small promise sideways
While searching for gold

I’ll always remember the red, though
Lips and wine blushing
Tasting

————

Sugared macaron
Savored while watching sunrise
Hungry for release

————

Watch the blue jay
Rattle through manicured bushes
Chaos in the hedge

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