My eyes are frozen
My glasses fogged
I can’t see even though
It’s a sunny Colorado Day
The temps hover at 0
But there’s no wind
Yellow Dog braces me
As the sidewalk dips and sways
Curves, ices, twists
No need to struggle to see through
My hats, hoods, scarves.
My huge clunky snow boots
Keep me from feeling
Potholes, patches, sinkholes, turns
I grip tightly
As his thick harness and frozen leash
He instinctively falls into his seeing eye dog role
We’ve practiced walking on ice
He slows when I slow
Counter balances when I waiver
Normally pulling and straining at his leash
He leans in close so I can feel his ribs along my knees
Rise and fall
Skate and skip
We maneuver through silent streets
Fog, mist of a ghostown
He knows his job
And he takes it seriously
Holding back the impulse to dart
After squirrels taunting him from the oaks
We’ve reached the open field
He laughs and talks a bit
In his yowling howling yaps.
I release his leash
I’m a leech pulled from him
He covers some ground
Like a pinto pony
He’s the same color as this earth
Copper and white
Reeds and snow
I can’t see him for the blinding glare
My useless glasses
The empty leash feels lonely
In my hand and I strain to find him in the field
He’s turned back to check on me
Before I give him A signal to run
…toss a ball with a bit of crumpled snow and mud
” Go. Go” my hands speak for me
Because My voice is croaky
He’s been locked inside for days
He needs the run.
He blurs into the tumbleweeds and rushes
Already he’s reached the canal
I feel panicky without him to guide.
hidden prairie dogs caverns
My calls are muffled by three scarves
Rising wind. Rising panic
And a strange repetitious
cherclunk noise from sugar factory hydraulics
I’m starting to get really cold
I’m frightened without him
I can’t whistle, for I’m already
Feeling windburnt on my face
I can’t see him
And I start to cry
I call, cluck, clap,stomp
Why won’t he come?
My screams come out as little coughs of steam
He’s nowhere to be seen.
I drop into frosted weeds
My head in my hands
He’s there. He reads my fear from 1000 feet.
‘I am here. Just reach out
When have I ever left your side?
Lets go home.
My paws are cold.’
He snuffs at my tears, shakes as if he’s been soaked.
He takes the leash into his mouth and tugs.
We stumble together along the iced railroad tracks.
I do now.
Years ago, maybe 30, I drove a woman, her daughter and son (about 8 years old ) to and from church on a weekly basis. One Sunday the son saw a bicycle a little ways from the church parking lot, “No one is watching” he said, “I think I’ll take it”.
Then maybe 30 years later I received a message about a free boy and his new bike. Faith restored!
“In my mind I envision ( myself. A ‘new old” bike cast off from a Rich relative for Christmas. Happy to learn to ride it, falls and all)
Sailing my ‘new’ bike
Wind through my hair.
the lack of brakes
Of no concern as
first flakes fly
He doesn’t feel the cold
♥ I’m FREE, Dad, ♥
It’s an oddly warm afternoon on November 25-ish
(I don’t bother with calendars or clocks any more)
for a hundredth time
Yellow dog and I amble thru prairie dog hills and holes
To view TriState Canal
An essential feature in this desert land.
Still full to the banks with September’s
‘Once in10,000 year flood waters.’
like bizarre Colorado weather
I find something peculiar there every day
It’s 70 degrees again
errant wave or county ditch rider
Has tossed a child’s bike onto the low bank weeds.
it’s a lost amphibian
submerged for months
Chain, nuts, bolts rusted but
With my knees tapping my shoulders
And yellow dog laughing beside me
we must appear an odd circus act as
I balance treacherously for a block home
On a tiny child’s toy lost to raging water.
I wonder if anyone is watching
But maybe most everyone is used to me by now.
I tidy up the little frog
Oil the chains and bolts.
Except for the brakes
Like a little chameleon
it appears new
I am too lazy to take it to Goodwill
So I peddle it to JustDownaBlock catholic church
leave it in a ragtag children’s bike rack
As I walk away, looking back at the toy
I wonder what kind of world we live in?
Is the world basically honest
Are others out only for themselves
Or can a loose bike survive a day
In warm November breezes?
A week passes. Little Green
Sits alone still
I can see it from my picture window.
I feel restored by humankind’s honesty
I make a sign
una bicicleta gratis’
(In my worst Spanish)
Paper flapping dangerously in the rising wind
I can see dark wave clouds moving over distant mountains
A squall is coming
The next day, froggy bike is gone
Permission granted to start another life
My faith in humanity restored
At least in this neighborhood.
70 degrees suddenly
Flips to 17
In what I guess is two hours time
I can smell snow in the air.
In my mind I envision
Somewhere a pint sized person
Is sailing his ‘new’ bike
Wind through his hair.
the lack of brakes
Of no concern as
first flakes fly
He doesn’t feel the cold
“One pill makes you larger. And one pill makes you small.
Go ask Alice when she’s ten feet tall.” White Rabbit
Sleep evades me
Every night of my life
Sheep won’t line up to be counted
No Zzzzzzs appear
No dreamless slumber
No visions of sugarplums
I used to stare at the dark
Breathe deep yoga breaths
In for count of 10, hold,
out for count of ten
Sleep never came easily for me
Except in those long away
Working summer afternoons
As three o’clock approached
I could scarce keep my eyes open
Now at three am
I play scrabble against
A ruthless computer.
Facebook cyber spy
On ppl that annoyed me.
fast forward black and white movies on tivo
A kindly doctor
Thinking he was doing me
Offered me a tiny white sleeper
Just one more to my growing pill stack
It was a glorious thing
Sleeping through noisy nights
Comatose to thunderstorms
Fireworks and barking dogs
Five years I slept in peace
In the bosom of Benny Zopene
A google search
Panic rising, not falling
Short term Memory fading
I was an accidental addict
My body needed the drug
It was time to face
As the wicked witch said:
These things must be done delicately
I’ve suffered the curses of
A thousand thirsty camels
In a sandstorm
As Benny Z. will not release his grip
Months now into
What is called Detox
(a place I never dreamed I would have to go)
My hands tremble so that
I can’t hold a cup of herbal tea
My knees fail under me
I trip over rugs, dogs, shoes, socks
None of which are there.
I’ve broken every plate and glass in the cupboard.
I wear sunglasses inside
To watch tv
Muscles cramp and twitch
My teeth hurt
I stare at food
It looks familiar
But it doesn’t interest me
My heart goes out to anyone who has tried to stop smoking, drinking, gambling.
I’m too sick to talk, drive, shop
I forget what I mean to say
I stumble over familiar phrases.
I wear clothes piled up on the floor
I won’t wash my hair. or clean my glasses
In this place where Benny reigns as King
I take three more pills to counteract
I attend thanksgiving dinner
At my mom’s house
but only Via Skype webcast
Poetry fails to find me
There’s no rhythm nor rhyme
In this place
Where I scarce can leave my bed
But where I cannot sleep
Benny Z and I are nearly through
I’ve shaved a little more fuzz off his face
My words come easier
that will require another white pill
Another accidental tour
In every cowshed, next to every tipping milking stool and leather horse harness sits a barrel filled with molasses coated grains. Grain barrels were conveniently located next to dairy milking stations. Throughout time, a tightly closed lid was an optional feature.
As kids, we snuck crunchy snacks while scooping up coffee cans of sticky oats and corn to bribe cows into their stanchions. Or to entice ponies to take a bridle and saddle.
On the phone, my mom’s laughter drives me to near tears as she describes a scene for her own childhood munching molasses morsels. The open barrels contain all food fears of today. A list too long, but starts with e-coli and ends with hantavirus.
Candy was not a luxury grandpa and grandma could afford in the 1930s. My dad had seen what decades of sugar cubes did to horses’ teeth, so candy did not play a part of our diets. So the blackstrap mix had to serve as a substitute.
Granola bars weren’t invented by the hippie generations. They were an afterthought to days spent in barns, listening to the sounds of milk foaming in a pail, watching a line of cats at the ready for a squirt of thick cream shot their way. We didn’t give second thought to cleanliness of the surroundings nor the layers of “dirt” piled around the shed.
These things weren’t worried over any more than Native or pioneer leaning over to toss a buffalo chip into an oven in the midst of kneading bread dough. Nary a hand washing station to be seen.
I still crave the fist- sized hard clumps of molasses tightly gripping wheat, corn, oats, and rye flakes. A perfect handful pick me up, snitched while whistling for horses or calling low in age-old cattle lingo, “Comebossy, sucalfe, suuuuuuboss.”
Plastic wrappers are just recent upgrade, minus the fun of stealing sweets in an old rustic barn. And minus a few ‘extras’.
Along a once trickling creek
Now rush remnants
Of Colorado’s worst flooding.
Colorado is not a place where
We have water or flooding
It’s a highland desert
Yet here it is
Forming into vile sediment
remains of all that
We once believed to be true
Bits of cloth, spruce, bedding, couches,
Cabins, crops, trailers, tires,
Campers, tents, sewage, asphalt, shoes
Finding their way down 400 miles
Of waterways to slide by the
Where gleaming trucks haul sugar beets
From far away fields
Great square clumps of dried clay
Clinging to odd shaped beets.
It was my arch nemeses
The sturdy, soil-holding sugar beet
smoldering sugar factory towers
That kept flood waters from
A canopy of
Two hundred year old
Unmoved by yet another flood
Cradle mucky, oily waters:
be still now
The worst is over.
I watch leaves mixed with
scraps of dollar bills
at the diversion dam
I wrestle with coverings.
Shake them like
Amur maples that won’t let go.
I kick at them
Squint my eyes
Til I can see
All the colors
Red orange burgundy blue umber
And you. Mixed between somewhere
I gather tumblings
holding on to
armfuls of fall fading veins
Slip slip slide
Grey into fog