Sunday, March 03, 2024

Gift from the Gray


Toward the window:

what is that funny sound

crackling against the pane

it taps in rapid staccato

what phenomenon? It's the rain!

It seems that I forget it happens

between dry lengths of day to days

and even as the clouds gather

habitual thinking says

expect nothing. So joy ensues

when the song begins--

clapping introduction to a hymn 

of falling, refreshing

rain.

Let the 

soothing 

soak 

in.

(From the Found Poetry collection, From March 3, 2021)

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

A Walk—Just a Walk Outside

I got superstressed out today. Too many things to think about and not enough room not enough room not enough room too much to do at once at once at once so I put my face down into my hands, covering my eyes and taking a breather and looking at blackness. Not enough room in this whole wide world, not enough time in this clock that goes around and around all day? What compresses these things into urgency? "A walk - just a walk outside," I heard myself think. It was the most rational choice, so I went. On opening the door my mind seemed to catch its breath in the cool fresh air and as I walked the causes that demanded so much from me each slipped into gentle priority. The trees’ leaves, shining and beautiful, the squirrel on the green grass eating a tasty morsel in an aisle of golden sunlight, ah, and the sky, so blue and spacious, to the gentle voice that made the suggestion, I say thank you, you are so gracious.

From January 31, 2019 (rediscovered in 2024)

Friday, January 26, 2024

Flowerscape

A dry wind
rattles the petals of a small yellow flower
no bigger than a pebble
on a thin light green stalk
growing up from a struggling succulent
all by itself
against a red rocky desert-scape

the backdrop a plateau of sedimentary layers of wind sculpted sandstone.

And blue blue yellow hot sky above and around
it’s a wonder the little yellow flower persisted,
almost defying the wind but actually
just being there. Little yellow flower
petals making a shallow poppy cup around an orange red center.
And maybe a bee had come by, or would soon, 

but overall just this scene— forever, perhaps.

Then clouds. Moisture in the air. Raindrops one day.
Then more rain and more
over time, year after year and everything changed.
The sand absorbed what it could and a river became itself
little stones washed from the plateaus
and rocks rolled to the flow of water
and pools formed
and then more water and time and clouds made this their vacation land, always coming back,
and green was sprouting up on the new river banks.

More green and more and for years every year a little more rain came
and the little yellow flower on the light green stalk propagated and proliferated in patches,
even reaching the plateau, perching on rock shelves
and waving to flower neighbors in soft breezes in early evenings.

Birds arrived, and trees sprouted and grew, bringing shade.
And even the rocks seemed to soften, their edges rounding with borrowed mud.
And the water stayed all year long, inviting fish and insects that buzzed about and of course frogs.
All this life appeared because it could.

Now lush and green and flowering and musical with birdsong and breezes in trees and grasses,
with chirps and croaking and hoof steps and paws padding.

With all this sound, so much peace.

The little yellow flower, which had regenerated over generations,
now shimmied in the breezes, among others of its kind and complimentary,
in concert with paradise, because it could.

Jeanosullivan, January 26, 2024

Friday, December 29, 2023

This Is a True Story, A Christmas Story of Sorts

I did not grow up with snow.

Snow and ice are slippery.

I like cold but not ice cold 

(Unless it is a soothing drink on a hot day).

I do not know how to drive in snow,

Nor do I know how to judge

When more snow is coming.


When I was a teenager a friend and I 

Hiked out of the Grand Canyon 

In the December rain after Christmas 

And as the elevation increased

The rain became snow

But by then we were soaked,

And because we had been hot before it rained

We were sweaty.

So the freezing was all the way to the skin

And our Southern California-thin cute ski parkas 

Did not help

Nor did my friend’s dad and his second wife

Who had hiked on ahead when we were at the half way point down below

Leaving us to make our way up and out in the oncoming snow which we did not have the skill to predict.

Neither did they, I hope.


Weakened and determined with no food or water, but snow to munch on,

And this was taking hours, 

I dug my hands into my pockets wishing to find something to eat and discovered half a packet of lifesavers candies, which they were.


We reached the top 

Energized by a little bickering near the end,

And made our way to the motel room 

Where her step-mother sat at the vanity combing her hair 

Only to put her hair curlers back into her bangs—always keeping them there—and a scarf on her head asking what took us so long.

And my friend’s dad picked a fight with her because he didn’t like her boyfriend—

Who wasn’t even there!

So after we got warm

We went out that night

And hung out with

Strangers

Rather than spend the evening with him and her.

The dad and step-mom drove us to the bus station in Flagstaff the next morning.

We waited all day for the overnight bus to North Hollywood.

We had enough money to split a stale sandwich and get two hot chocolates from a vending machine.

We rode through the night with the smokers

Because it was 1978

And the murmuring conversations

And the nodding and the sleeping passengers.

And the dad and son dressed alike who kept patting each other on the shoulder excited about their trip.


We eventually nodded off

and awoke to see bright sun shining in a crisp blue sky and an ugly North Hollywood greyhound station looking just fine to me thank you.


And at that point we called my dad

Who arrived seemingly instantaneously.

He drove my friend to her mother’s house

And me to ours.

We told the story—well most of it—

And I don’t remember what he said but 

I imagine the teetering of maturity and childishness in our story made an impression; it

Did not lead to scolding but instead to a peaceful sleep 

all day and into the night for me, 

after breakfast at home.


December 28, 2020

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

O Cricket Intermittent

O cricket in the bedroom curtains

Somewhere, somehow

Visibly undetectable

You chirp for a love you cannot find

Unless you let me put you outside,

And yet you hide.


O cricket intermittent, not to be found 

Are you in the valance? On the ground?

I give up, accept your presence.

You chirp-chirpcha-chirp-chirpcha-chirp

then rest

then chirpcha-chirp some more

For nights, 

I wonder about your lifespan,

drift off to sleep.


Nights later, I stop

In a spot where I don’t usually linger

But instinct’s eye catches your motion—

Jump I cover you with a glass no

Jump I capture you with a glass no

Determined so, hunter human focused and keen

Jump covered! Captured, unlikely, unawares,

I carry you swiftly down the stairs 

Open the door to the summer night’s air,

Deposit you in the klanchoe

No longer lost, you will find

Your destiny.


Chirp. Chirpcha-chirp-chirpcha-chirp,

Chirp.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Chirps

On the other side of an office wall,

a conference call. 

I can't discern the discussion but

a high-pitched voice through the speakerphone sounds like birds chirping, which made me think: 

how much message is actually in a bird chirp?

Which led to this:

Sophisticated birds, migrating, communicating, tuned in to Magnetic North, and the other animals - all Nature in balance;

Humans are the only ones so destructive we could ruin the whole thing for everybody.

We think we are so smart but what if

All Nature's creatures have found the balances to strike

and we're the last

to get 

the memo?

—From July, 2019

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Atmospheric Conditions, Spring 2020

Driving west to beat a curfew

just declared an hour ago

the pre-sunset sunlight shaping shadows on clouds over distant hills

and maybe the ocean.

On the radio reports of protest

and agitators

reiterations of how peaceful the protests were at the start

how interlopers come for their own reasons to make a fight and skew the focus

how we mustn’t lose sight of the cause.

And those clouds coming in from gathering over the sea

absorbing molecules of skyward mists.

May 30, 2020