Carl Sandburg

Came to our school to bless
It in his own name. .
He read one poem each
From the AP English geeks
And chose a few to
Talk to.

His hair was a straw thatch
On a Vietnamese hut
His voice was a porterhouse
Blood warm from the stockyards
Sporting a college degree.

My poem was a tin bowl of white starch.
He gave it sea-brine and dappled
city sunlight when he read. Then
He turned to me in front
Of the whole class, in front of
Patrice and her teacup of
Sexual longing for me

And he said “Stick with it
Son. It’s ok, but don’t think
It ever gets better.”

TBH I didn’t know what
Carl Sandburg did with
The food he ate or if he flew
Over Antietam in his dreams.

But I knew Patrice, and she
Sighed like a Nile breeze over
Baby Moses in his basket
When Carl Sandburg talked
To me.

Later when I held Patrice’s hand
in the empty classroom
I held hands with America,
Herself, and she held my hand
Right back. And giggled.

Spanish graves.
Tumbas Espanolas

We search among bones that still wear necklaces and earrings.

Buscamos entre huesos que todavia llevan collares y aretes.

Our finder’s list includes
evidence of genius, of inspiration, of mystical love
among the unnamed.
bones without scrapbooks.

Nuestra lista de buscadores incluye
eveidencia de genio, e inspiracion, de amor mistico
entre los sin nombre,
huesos sin recortes.

It was a Terrible genius in that year,
A genius like a volcano spewing the rage of a Moorish ruin,
Like an oak-ribbed trireme afire,
adrift in the sea of winter Alpujarran clouds,
Like a broken mirror reflecting.
the face of Queen Isabel in a thousand shards,
Like a mouse with a razor,
Who would rather die than breathe the rich man’s air –
But he is hiding in a Zaragoza cellar.

Fue un genio Terrible en ese año,
Un genio como un volcán vomitando la rabia de una ruina morisca,
Una trireme de caña de nervio,
A la deriva en el mar de invierno nubes alpujarran,
Como un espejo roto que reflejaba la cara
De la reina Isabel en mil fragmentos,
Como un ratón con una navaja, escondido en la bodega de Zaragoza
Quién preferiría morir que respirar el aire del hombre rico.

Arriba! Cry the white relics. Salud! Answer the gravestones.
You hold the thighbone of a Spanish toddler
to your ear, like an ivory phone,
like the scepter of a bleached saint
sent from Egypt to the Duchess of Lyon,
and you take a call from your own future.

Arriba! Llorar las reliquias blancas. Salud! Contesta las lápidas.
Tienes el fémur de un niño español
A su oído, como un teléfono de marfil,
Como el cetro de un santo blanqueado
Enviado de Egipto a la duquesa de Lyon,
Y usted toma una llamada de su propio futuro.

Salud!

Your future is calling from a burning chapel
on the Gran Via, in Madrid, in 1938.

Tu futuro está llamando desde una capilla ardiente
En la Gran Vía, en Madrid, en 1938.

“There must be some mistake!” You say.

“¡Debe haber algún error!” Tu dices.

Even the tears on your face are not your own.
Incluso las lágrimas en tu cara no son tuyas.

Birds

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Birds are beautiful on their own, of course.  I think they remind us of freedom.  For me finding a redwing blackbird in the marsh is a special treat.  The goose couple I followed stayed close together, and had a rhythm to their companionship that seemed to indicate affection and respect for each other.  Birds are a big theme for me this year. If I get a Barred Owl or Snowy Owl I will feel like I have accomplished something special.

The photo without the eagles

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The ice is almost a memory!  It is the total transformation of the river in the space of a few days.  What a testimony to the power of the sun, the Earth’s axis, the shifting season.  When I got to the bridge this morning another photographer was leaving.  He had seen eight eagles fly up from a nesting area when a pre-dawn bicyclist whipped through the wooded trail near them.  Eight eagles!

New Year’s High Resolution

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 The new year starts with brutal cold weather.  Our pipes froze in the house on the night of January 2nd.  And again on the 5th.  Now I know how to solve that problem.

While I don’t really have any New Year’s Resolutions, except for 300 dpi, I do have a new theory of problems born from my frozen pipe adventure.  Little problems are given to us to take our minds off of the Big Problems, and big problems are given to us to keep the little problems in perspective.

So Happy New Year to you too.

This photo taken on the Minnesota River during a break from the extremes.  Sunset on the 14th of January, 2014.