Roots System Hardiness

Minneapolis, zone 4 more so
than 5. New York City, 7. Only odd ones
get full excavation
treatment for this reassembled

world. Don’t forget tonight’s hard
working crooner, guitar
string shredder. Buy the music
for now and for another

night, for this and another
man who would put himself
back together in new time—
more so than zone.

25 December 2010

Varnished giclée prints drop her
onto an old farmstead’s surround
with pronounced trees
and roots. She is relieved

not to be
the only one who needs a public
place to be open today—one
besides a church,

or cineplex. She’s more interested
in tiny rebirths
than one monumental birth—those moments
that can unpack themselves
onto any given day’s matte canvas.

The Sighting

Cold trapped beneath
redwoods outside
the Henry Miller Memorial

Library doesn’t deter me
from standing against evening grain
to see you straight

ahead performing. I know that sound
of aching beauty won’t last. I only wish
those graceful branches could

the deep wails
from your blues harp the way

these trees, those mountains, the rocks, that ocean hold

steady. You pack up
your guitars and you’re gone
down Highway One. I don’t see you

drive away, but I know
I can feel the air stir
from notes dropping

around substantial roots.

River Salvation

Three turtles on the back
of a fallen wish bone
branch, I’m looking down 


again. The chain
of lakes does not captivate.
Without an ocean, 

my roots 

go thirsting
for a source deep
in the mud. Home 

is wherever water carries
forth that voice.

Urban Element (Day 2,727)

You make my hair curl
around a yearning
for a straighter path. Deep beneath 

the streets you go
to rescue these roots
from those utilities. The rinse is never 

final. Four men in suits cross over
without looking
in both our directions. They don’t 

believe in rain. You aren’t to be believed—
weather becomes an emotion
under your care.


Farmers market stalls
in newly arrived cold. She would crawl
into a Silva 

Cell to live among the roots
she never got to touch before going 

to hell and back
with a pail of structural soil. Would step 

over pervious
pavers to catch even a glimpse of you 

conversing with a large red
oak before another civil twilight breaks
apart light.

Unsung Of

I am the outlier
toward a route,
I am the proclivity
toward disbanding communes. 

I am the lock
picked and forgotten
on the storm door,
I am longing itself
plucked and mounted
on the den wall. 

I am
without heteronyms,
without Whitman,
I am this plain,
unbannered song
of go-low yearning
caught inside the frame
of a habitat gone wrong.

I am fallen
winged fruit
through quilled foliage
surrounding the roots

of our tough elastic wood
into another millennium,
a clique fallen
loud and brash
without an echo.