It’s not the angle of the sun
nor the mission of the moon;
disregard the rafters on the river,
the bus stop laughter of children
headed back to school.
It can still get hot,
but the scorch is gone.

Up at the top of mountain drainages
above this narrow river valley
there is a change in the air
detectable only by those long familiar
with silence, the dance of trees,
constellations star-hard,
and a sniff of basement rock.

It’s not so much the nose
that notices, it’s more the skin;
the drumskin upon which the breath
of trees and stone and high springs
thumps or draws across integument tooth.
After the summer promise of nothing
in the way of wet comes the hint.

Autumn does not ride the calendar,
it rides the wind. Fractal waves
of ever larger clouds begin
with a leading edge of multitudinous tiny puffs
evenly distributed. We, you and I,
look back toward the shrouded north
thinking of firewood and insulation.




How important it is
that someone believe in me.

How important it is
someone who truly listens to me.

How important it is
they expect to find in me
where they hunger.

How important it is
to be loved.

How important it is
to love in return.

3 questions from Lang Leav's book


It is not fully dark
and rain scatters punctuation
on the soft dust
of the path.
Each period spells the end
of a drought
in some postage stamp kingdom.


First, a note: Tricia tagged me with this poem.  It moved me deeply as I read it.  I thought it very well done.  Then I began to recognize the language.  I checked: it was my own poem, written and forgotten.  What a wonderful surprise!  It is difficult to be objective about one’s own work and self-doubt comes at times like a tsunami.  How wonderful when a poem comes to life.  Thank you, Tricia.

perhaps it is wise
   we have put away God.
Those first lands
   are they not now deserts?
And the new lands
   are they not ruled by greedy men?

Perhaps it is wise
   we have turned our backs
   and walk away inured
   to the cries and wailing.
Who are we to shed useless tears
   when the black slick inundates
   the manicured lawns
   when the water ignites
     beneath the kitchen tap?

Let us scoff together
   at those fumbling scriptures
   written by many in many lands
   whose inadequate words slip like fingers
     on the glazed edifice
     of dreams now deemed
       and impossible.

Let us not shudder to consider
   every fruit dropped into darkness
   from the splendid tree of Evolution
   will require the miracles to renew
     we no longer underwrite.

What is a tear beyond salt and sorrow?
The skies are clear in springtime now,
   no longer darkened by clouds
   of Passenger Pigeons.
     whose fatal flaw was to wing
     to the call of distress.

Can we be far behind?

Perhaps it is best we put away God
   in every language, in every land,
   even in translations that leave no room,
to a divine being.

Perhaps it is best to put away Hope
   who takes her sweet time to appear
and what good if she is not pregnant
   beyond pauses?
We’ve had our fill of promises;
of fulfillment
   not a bite.

Turn up the empty lights
and the music of hysteria
   where there is no room for silence
   nor lingering.

Rivers are stolen.
The sandy bellies of great seas
   are naked to the powerful
     indifferent eye.

Take those words like righteousness
   tag them with disdain
   scourge them with easy cynicism.

What room in our language now
   for what is lofty
   beyond this concrete plane?
We have no time to imagine experiences
   each unique as a single soul.

With each fallen fruit and tree
   more sand blows across our imagination;
like the parting of true lovers
the long longing songs
   of coyotes and whales
   grows more distant
as we embrace the rumble
   of gasoline and war.

        –West Wind
          27 May, 2013


Let us speak of history first
and save the best for last.
Let us detail your biography
buried in the dusty ash
of ancient libraries where moles
and other nocturnal beasts
blow the darkened dust apart
to rediscover decaying books
bound in leather, cloth, or bark.
We turn with care the brittle sheets
and upon each aged parchment’s inky page
we can glimpse your holy glowing face
undimmed by times’ slow growing dark.

More timeless yet, beyond bard’s tongue
or creaky scholar’s scrawl, even the clues
buried in fossil mammoth’s teeth
fail to tell it all:
You are ancient
and you bear it well.

We read the countless times
you have beguiled the worn,
the tired, the cabin-bound
with unexpected yet expected joy,
when suddenly your face is found
between the mounds of decaying snow
between burnt needles of last year’s pine.
You have seduced the jaded without guile
and only leaden hearts lost to all
that beckons youth
can disregard
your timeless siren’s call.

We have walked beside you all this way.
I remember when at great last
the mighty glaciers began to rot
your simple beauty was there to show
the way for us to pull our paths.
Simple, simple and simple yet
your face beside our feet
shines up at us with aureole
around your open heart.
The bee is bid to do her part
to spread your pollen far throughout
these mighty Montana highlands.

Holy. Simple and true.
Bright heart of my Beloved.


thy poetry is skateboard,
thy melody scathe.

Like a frackin’ bull
on ice skates
you bust through my ear jambs
all splinters and scars
expecting my attention
as you pump my brain
full’a raw lumber studs
and limbs of akimbo hoes.
Jesus! You learn to drive like that?
Thinkin’ those pictures will grave
your name immortal? Granite,
you shock sober souls
with antics so trashing of convention,
slam down tracks of truth
extreme with raw torn fiberglass
and shards of glass suspended
just beyond my fucking comprehension
with no time to come crashing down
on home ‘crete or fertile soil.

You a passing fancy
like the lethal impact of cars
at the bottom of Lost Horse Hill,
a sudden intrusive collision
against my drums
as I been bleeding need
all these whiles?

I love your crazy ass
but man, ‘m’I just gonna stand
here and hear you screaming
meteorite into immovable
consciousness when I plead words?

Take ONE word, youngster:


You speak with muscle and nerve,
your tongue for food and kiss.
You do it on the natch.
You do it on the ricochet.
Now do it on the heartland
so you don’t end up a broken cowboy
who can’t sleep nights
nursing knits all gone crooked
joints sans cartilage
and a heart says you ran over
the fucking love joint
twenty smokes ago.

Spin in place a moment.
Restless, but let your tail
your Light and your shadow
come drawing in.

STORM WARNING; before the spill

[… …]
there’s a storm in the air that won’t come true
this is not the time to give way to anger
or jealousy. Some are tempered to stay sharp
or bend when they’d rather heat up and break
the glass. Around here the big black birds
whose wings are iridescent blue and purple as
Jeremiah’s messengers
are quick to pass over our clearing
when crackle in the air breaks an afternoon
or some rumble finds space to stretch
between you and
i practice love judo
i learn to practice self-sacrifice.
The birds cannot find their voice.
The wind searches for words.
Nothing changes but the Tao.
Long inhalation.

NOTE: On April 11, 1996, three railroad tankers derailed just west of Alberton, Montana.  At the time it was the largest release of toxic material, over 23,000 gallons of liquid elemental chlorine and a filthy mix of oil waste, ever to occur in the United States.  It changed the lives of the people of Alberton.  Imagine, if you will, how the sudden oil development in North Dakota has destroyed the tranquil lives of the people there.

Parris ja Young
Sanctuary Sylvan
Spring, 1996


In Atlantis
prophets of doom
spoke a secret language,
lugged signs written
in spiderweb and lightning –
both cheap in Atlantis.

Millionaire past-life therapists
avoided the prophets on the streets.
Billionaire astro-channelers
scoffed, “Tell us something
we don’t know.”

Like Venice, in a life-time
they never dreamed of,
the water starts up the stairs.
Somewhere else it is raining.

In Atlantis
it’s business as usual;
silver saucers sail the seabreezes
and disembodied minds caress.

The volcano has always smoked like this
the emissions established as merely steam
while from the weeping walls
of hollow magma chambers
crystals spinning on mercury threads
silently spell fractions of the day.

Whole thoughts rooted in True Spirit
slowly decay away.
Robes, like thoughts, wear thin;
a cloak ends its days as a rug.

A crystal city poised
on such legs of clay
is shocked by such a sin
perpetrated by just one
or the choice of multitudes
that the Spirit opened up the waves
and the Crystal City slipped within.


Mine is a small kingdom
between dusk and dawn,
between these two ears.
These Ponderosa:
my cathedral.
I rule through appreciation,
thankfulness, honor.
I have ruled greed
punishable by exile.

The exiles have the guns.
I am drafting a proclamation
the gist of which:
at the next slaughter of innocents
hardly begun
the guns become chains
and the bombs great weights
upon the wrists and ankles
of tyrants
and all their minions.


Beware of the poop in clear water
beware of the mud in your eye
beware of the smiling glad-handers
and the ones who barely get by

Take care for the slick wheeler-dealers
beware of the guys with the stick
keep your eyes on the rich and famous
and the ones who pretend to be sick

Beware of the crafty sand-baggers
beware of those who laugh when they’re sad
beware of the preacher who tries to teach yer
whose own behavior is bad

Treat the elderly with some compassion
make room for the ones who are slow
There are hearts hidden in canyons
surrounded by the mean and the low

Look out specially for the pretenders
for those who wear numberless masks
not all of them just want to fleece you
and not all of them are plumb bad

but enough want to mislead you
and rifle your wallet or heart
they say they just want to know you
but don’t be misled by their arts

They are people gifted with powers
to force true lovers apart
flattery, temptations or tokens
to work a wedge between hearts

Take care where care is called for
whatever you best understand
and never ever be sympathetic
or lend the Devil a hand.

MID 60s

I prayed and begged and talked at God
so long Someone finally showed up;
then I listened and laughed
as the dark waters receded from the land.
Didn’t we have a time! My brothers
and my sisters walked like Children of God,
like princes. My mother. The Earth.
Our words … Goodness! our words:
how big they were!
The Earth rang with them and the skies fairly sang,
they caught in our ears
and resounded for days.
Oh, those were times.
We could command the dead but wisely demurred.
And the light! It was everywhere!
Rainbows, perihelions, sundogs, opened up the sky
even as they cast nets against it.
Sunshine so liquid we could drink it
and Pan in the weeds.
Diamonds circled the moon.
Miracles were common as those little brown wrens.
And us, what about us? Blessed
with beads and high ideals we fought for righteousness and won; we tried the laws in court.
The world began to bend
toward the light.
So rich. So rich. It filled our cupped hands
like water in the rain.

     Butterfly Herbs


I filled my life with things
not for love of the material plane
but for ballast,
to keep me from falling over
forward, backward, right or left
progressive, reactionary, conservative or radical.
‘Walking Eagle’: too full of shit to fly.
I filled my life with toys
to satisfy the hungry maw
of emptiness;
to slake my thirst for you.

But I fell over anyway.
I fell over and over.
I passed Lucifer both ways.

I threw my ballast overboard
and began to rise.
Oh Wild! Oh Life!
upon a toss-sed sea.

Look at this:
without death, there is no heroism,
without pain, there is no courage,
without uncertainty, there is no faith,
and without Love, there is no use.


subterranean greenhouse 03 flat

     This should work:  a sunken greenhouse that would serve as a starter frame, since Earth herself runs about 52 degrees.  Things shouldn’t freeze easily.  And I suppose one could put a heater of some sort on the floor of the thing.
     It will work fine as a greenhouse, permitting plants to get large enough to transplant when the weather is warm enough … that’s about 5 June at my house.  I think a person could leave select plants in the greenhouse all summer — perhaps a removable roof would be in order.
     I have also been thinking that one could leave the original sod undisturbed on one side and just set the starter boxes and pots on the ground there, and on the other side one could remove some of the not-so-hot soil (I have a lot of that at my place in the coniferous forest) and replace it with the prime compost and other quality topsoil.
     One problem may be sloughing in of the sides of the trench.  I think I will try an edge of wood to keep the top in place.  I’d rather not crib up the entire thing.
     This should be more successful than a raised bed because the gardener will be in the earth right along with the plants.  Chummy. Bonding and all…
     Whaddaya think?


A city stood there this morning –
causing me to wrinkle my nose,
though I would not need to clean
the soles of my shoes.
It was teeming with people
whose children played in the ample courtyards
ignorant of their foreignness;
teeming with people
uninterested in one another
uninterested in friendship
uninterested in sharing a kitchen
or front room
or entering a bathing room
still intimate with steam.

In the Imported City
there is a lovely child
in her bedroom.
She is alone again
drawing a picture
of a secret room.


Once in either a surfeit of love, or the throes, I wrote a little poem on the heating pipe of the upstairs bathroom at the Atlantic Art Colloquium in Missoula. The next time I visited I found a response written by the beautiful and talented Peggy Snow.

in sufficient dose
alters perceptual reality—
     the sun sings like a river,
     is wrapped by concentric circles
     Sundog rainbows
     one, two, three
     contrary arcs of multihued
After all these signs and wonders
you would turn your face from us?
Wring down a dismal curtain?
Lose faith in a meaning
that has altered
two minds?

YOU Peggy Snow:
The stars leaned
     down so low
as to merge their minds
and plait the very bones
Turn my face never
     in day nor night.


The spring
     but not without mischief
a spirit of grace
with long dark hair
long as her hands
a steady flow
sane, reasonable
a mistress of evolution
growth toward goodness
and a wildness
     her dead Aunt Anne
     knocking out the lights
     footsteps in the snow
     X on the garage door
and dignified endings


     Here’s your word for the day:
The universe did not start from a Big Bang as the big kids down at the institute like to say. Nope. The universe was always here for all practical purpose, in fact, for any purposes whatsoever. It was just in a different form.
      It was in the form of Ozarks. The Saints shall name them Ozarks because it is mildly funny, and refers, in a gently kidding sort of way, to the primitives living back in the mountains.
      The primitive Ozarks, I’m talking about the folks now, are rudimentary. They grow most of their own food. They plumb their own house, if it has plumbing. They certainly know how to get water to the house. Their European ancestry lingers in them in the form of folk music. They are simple but are nearly impossible to root out, so deeply entrenched are they in the wild experience.
      The other Ozark, the ur-particle, is primitive in the sense of aboriginal, and have no charge; thus, the L-brain boys down at the institute maintain they are not detectable, but they’ll have them corralled in less than 10 years. They are powerfully liable – I mean the particles – liable to go this way or that. In their native state they mostly chill in divine detachment, or jostle gently like sleepers long comfortable with one another.
      There were a lot of them. The universe holds a number yet to be imagined. Some clouds of Ozarks were dense as a crowd at a show, and other Ozarks perched in splendid isolation, much like a Montana mountain family. Or the Ozark primitives. Both parties trying to imitate the way of life of the Native Americans.
      This field of readiness needed but a nudge. A single photon finally smacked into a poised Ozark and it began to spin. All of its entire existence, so it felt to the Ozark – the Ozark has assured me – it had waited for this moment and the spin became its life. With a charge, it became an Ozard.
      Every Ozark this newly charged ur-particle touched became an Ozard and began to spin, usually, in the opposite direction. These new OZards touched other Ozarks and OZards, reversing or, in a chance relationship with a number of other Ozarks and Ozards began to spin in directions none of the others had experienced. Some spins are counter-intuitive or null-spin. This subatomic Soup occurred in an area of prespace-time that was rather dense and it took no time at all to ignite a universe worth of spacetime. The start-up happened in such a short time that one could say for practical purposes it took no time at all. And for every other purpose as well.
      Not that it really makes that much difference. The speed of awakening occurred so rapidly that some of the side effects were indistinguishable from heat.
      The expanding bubble of spacetime is still going on, until, of course, it encounters, on all sides, no more Ozarks.
      In that first flash, some Ozark/Ozards were slingshot at speeds only Stephan Hawking can conceive of, reaching far beyond our measurements.
      As the charge expanded, fewer and fewer ur-particles were impacted. Here and there, deep in the expanding bubble of spacetime, just at the far end of your imagination, one of the original speeding OZards hits an Ozark in a particularly dense ur-particle field and something is born.
      And, I just love this, there are as many poised Ozarks now as there were in the Beginning. For all practical purposes. For any purposes whatsoever.
      The upshot of this is this:
      A particularly dense cloud might quietly take on charge, forming matter. Matter attracts the Soup. Still, a bit of matter the size of, say, a pin head, will spend a long time waiting for a chance capture. A bit of matter the size of a pea will not only attract passing Ozarks, but other matter. As a nexus becomes larger, it attracts more and more more rapidly.
      Sol is growing.
      The Earth is growing, slowly, but at an ever-increasing rate. Not only is the universe expanding, everything inside the universe is expanding as well.
      It will be a while before establish science admits this, but that’s what to expect within the next 10 years.


The young woman is trapped in the story.
On one arm she has a baby
and her true love lost at sea.
The other arm is wrapped around
a new husband, dutiful and kind.
Her dashing young lover
returns from the sea, wet and wiser
and rash, expecting his bereaved love
to still be his love to deliver
from bereavement to her endless gratitude.
How will the author, herself a battered
old veteran with numerous scars
on her backwoodswoman heart
and growing cynicism solve this delicious
dilemma? We innocent and rather naive
readers expect justice and resolution.
Instead the woman, her name is Lilith
which I suspect is a clue
meets a third man and disappears
into the mountains near Mallard’s Roost
in the Paradise Valley not far from Livingston
Montana. Our two male characters fail
to be properly betrayed and drive
to the Four Aces Bar where they drink
far too much, start a fight
with Julia Wilson, an ex-Marine
who thumps them both so hard
they lose their love beads
in the parking lot.
One might ask where is the baby?
The baby is left in an alley
where he is picked up by a tramp
and goes on to star in a movie
that sets him up for life.
The author, a beat up ex-marine
named Julia Wilson, throws away her pen
and goes out to trap honey badgers
who, to a man, know how to unspring
a trap.

May Day, or 31 April


a poem landed on my pen
small, the size of four hummingbirds
in a tight huddle, or a house wren
looking after commas

perhaps the poem comes hence
to feed on what is leaking
from my heart, or to lift me
with it’s little girl song

perhaps both. I cannot pet it
it will fly away, but if I follow behind
touching my pen to its bird tracks
slowly a form will arise

as when we were kids and my mother
drew and we guessed wildly
until at last the object of her intent
became clear. How could I not see?

30 April


There is a time when drawing
you must quit commanding your hand.
You must not say, “Start tightening
that curve right … NOW,”
for surely you will err.
The curve will break for the gate
kick wildly with blood spewing from both nostrils;
it will charge for the corral fence
and you will be left with bullshit.
No, the pen must be seduced, slowly
suggested, dreamed into the way
like a true lovers caress and the path
will emerge gracefully.
Do not rush to the end.
It’s the Hunter’s Walk
where every step is crucial
and a sudden stop
will not cost you your balance.

29 April


The orchards of Okanogan
are gone these many years
to make way for subdivisions
and development.
The orchardists fiddled
endlessly with their trees
taming, culturing, trying
shortcuts to pruning, watering
tweaking like speeders
in the silverware drawer.
The apples grew ever more perfect
larger, more red and market ready
but inside the juices dried
and the pulp became sawdust.
Now beside huge empty sheds
totes stacked high as a roofline
decay in the rain and sun.
Trees once accommodating were bulldozed
into piles higher than a two-story
house and burned. I suppose
that feathery ash fertilized
the baked soil. I do not blame
the farmers; they were growing old,
their children moving on,
the market drying up like their apples.
On the outside it all looks OK.
On the inside regret.
Only the family trees remain,
the wild children who did not listen
to the dictates of the market,
the layer-wearing wild ones
who did not outgrow the basket
of their own genetics.

28 April


I grew up in an orchard
and trees are my relatives.
I care for trees; orchardists
not so much. The people
of Wenatchee are hard
and scratchy. They abrade
my head if I fail to duck.
Along the river their children
shoot guns all day, destroying
many benefits of the blessing.

I sat on the bank one afternoon
ducking the bullet holes
in the silence, when a goose
came up to me. “Come with me,”
she invited, “and fly the night paths
through the sky; alight
with the guidance system songs
of our friends and loved ones;
sup on the bounty of a long river.”

“I cannot go for I am married
and I have mated for life. Please
keep me in your high regard.”
She left and later I betrayed my love.
Now neither calls. Neither visits.
What is left for a man whose heart
is abraided except to shoot holes
in the long silent afternoon.

27 April


What I should have said
at the bar in Livingston:
From one of the fallen to another,
why do you persist in
nurturing cynicism and self-loathing?
You’ve lost your perfect pitch, but
you are letting pride rob you
of the courage you yet possess.
Get down, man up — and write your brilliant,
trenchant, brutally honest testimony;
a last gift for those of us
that loved you.

26 April


I am haunted by the karst dome mountains
of Guilin, China, but I need not go there
to find soul food for my eyes and tonic
for my aging heart. Envy has left me.
Springtime in my valley yields ample
visual grace. On a low roof top in Missoula
I turn slowly to regard in every direction
mountains amplified by light and cloud,
snow and storm. Sunlight exposes detail
with angle and shadow, and when the torrent
of cloud drama shamelessly urges
the mountains to move, hidden valleys emerge.
Above green lawns, blue-black trees
stand in chill meditation on the face
of blue-white snow. Downriver toward my home
the mountains close on two sides. The river,
not yet swollen, snakes around the toes
and knees of kneeling argillite giants.
Up sudden drainages this traveler sees
the bellies and crotches of mountainous thighs
now revealed by the rolling drapery of the sky.
Ridges hidden by broad daylight are aroused
by the silent thunder of serpentine gray
and white. The prayer of every tree is answered
and my faith, formerly decaying like gypsum
where water flows, lifts its face anew and I breath
the taste of fresh.

When the snow is gone from St. Pat’s peak
the gardeners will plant their spuds.

2011 smattering 010

25 April


In Guilin, China
a family of mountains
rises from a wet and rocky plain
like tall round stacks of loose hay.
Each stands a distance from another
because each requires certain harvest space
and they respect personal space.
It would be good to live here
and fish the waters from a small boat
with no engine so I could hear
the water hiss up and down
the reeds and the marsh birds
soothing their children.
I see these smooth gum drop mountains
loosely wrapped in the feather boas
of springtime clouds. So much beauty
in one place surely binds the natives
for who could leave and not create
two empty places; one interior
and one among the haystacks?
I’ve never been there
and yet I miss it.
Guilin dream no engine

24 April


Telephone book
long slow march
to the sea
rising water
i cannot believe
i am not convinced
i i aye am
among those countless
ground swell
greenland rolling
to the sea
off those pages
and pages, endlessly

24 April

          MELTS LAST

a cast of grey monuments
     half sheep
     half stones
          nothing to improve.

23 April


…she says
it becomes unconscious
that thing you do
with your mustache
you never
clean the sink trap
you always
does no one change
circles of Hell
Cerberus naps
–no misfortune–
it’s always you
not a question
the door is not
properly closed
that thing you do
when you are teasing
little tells
an awkward foolish dance
signifying guilt
i never
the dirty black impulse
the perfected steel mind
the encouraging heart
the detached witness
the cage of habit
neural pathways
less traveled…

Let’s escape
to higher country
above the mumble
of muddy waters.
Blaze a trail.
Welcome wilderness.

22 April


Civil war is
an auto-immune disease.
The intruder
is your brother.
Stand your ground.
Kill cancer cells.
Embrace those rules
about writing–
how else would I know
where to press
to set the fundament
abuzz in a hive
of seems and likes?

Our government glows
in the dark — an agent
from the abyss
whose sharp mouth
is far far too big
for legitimate purposes.
The messenger is ducking,
escaping in the darkness
sure to ensue.
Disorder mode descends.
“Hello, I am Sylvia Plath.
I will be your guide
this evening
to the forbidden exit.”

Our guide disappears
leaving a spray of disconnection
on our clothing
and the smell
of irrevocable loss
in our nostrils.

Gravitas VS levity.
Immune diseases.

I am Earth
digesting herself.
Defending herself.
Mushrooms digesting myself;
feeding everyone,
holding us together.
How mycelium of me.

Our national forests
are growing darker
thanks to illegal filming
and rangers trained
in timber management.
(The glow of the government
making one side
     of their mouths
an unhealthy green)
their mouths far far too big
and long obsidian teeth.
The government consumes
like a maggot
prior to chrysalis.
When does it awaken

I am eating my tail.
What’s eating you?
Watching the auto-destruct
blow itself up.

I push forests
into verbs,
forest rangers
into offices.
While the messenger speaks
I am loading my camera
with rock salt.

Behold, the guide
is no more.
Is it the light
or the absence of light
that is my personal crime?
Who is the inner governor
who wanted all the light?

Every cancer cell
must die
lest they become
the new eye.

21 April

feet, sensitivity and big

Some sit
in splendid isolation,
some absorb
every sound–
your feet on the sharp
   pine bark;
Gabriel’s big boots
clomping in from
   the hard road.