message

message

for jessica, who showed us all that gentle does not mean weak…

 

Message

we got your message in the morning

that she’d died the night before

on the other side of the world. tears

 

mixed with iceland’s rain. so cold

so very far away. Every one of us

is so very far away

 

© 2017 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com/jfinkimages.com

 

wet dogs

foot

 

maybe mornings like this

are the price we pay

for all those years of compromise

of being barely close enough

to each other. We’ve survived,

at least we share that, such a thin

blanket to cover the cold spots

on cold mornings such as this.

Yet I do like grey winter days

when the wind rattles the leafless trees

and the world turns without shadows.

heading out, my dog looks daggers

up at the clouds — he doesn’t understand

the rain, why he should have to endure

these cold tears falling from a sheet metal sky.

Neither of us has ever been very good

with cause and effect, or the subtle attributes

of time. What choice is there but to carry on,

as we always have, sniffing at the rotten snow

heads down, shaking ourselves dry, nose

to tail as we go – just cold, wet dogs

searching for a place

that’s safe and warm and dry.

 

© 2016 jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

 

 

Memory

green eyes old bones

 

 

 

 

Memory

 

didn’t we kiss for the first time

yesterday, on this too brief passage

through the invisible gardens

of time? the dogwoods

 

by the old dutch church drop all

of their flowers at once, blanketing

 

the ancient graves with white

for a single day each year. memory

 

is all the immortality we’re offered.

this, at least, we must promise one another –

me, I vow never to forget your eyes,

and you, you my love

must always remember my hands.

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

the lovely ones

it’s always the lovely ones

who brave this world without a shell,

 

fated to feel everything, to snag themselves

on every thorn, strike every sharp corner

of this brilliant chaotic world.

 

yet they rise and rise again undaunted

wounded but alive, shake themselves off

and look the word straight in the eye

 

then charge headlong, raging, laughing

beautiful and free, straight

 

through the narrow rusty gates

of our hearts

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

loss

Moroccan Elements – Part 2

on hearing the voices of children late at night from our riad deep within the Medinah….

 

 

vortex                 last night

last night, just as I closed the door

to consciousness and stepped into

the cool blue anteroom of sleep, I heard

the voices of small children, rising, falling,

echoing through the house, familiar voices

passing just beyond my comprehension.

are these the voices of children

 

 

gone before, or of those still to come –

or are these the sounds of the lost

and harshly punished parts of myself

that are running now, their small

black and white shoes clattering

down the long wooden hallways of time,

rushing to see who’s come to the door,

to see who’s come to reclaim them

after such an unforgivably long time.

 

 

 

©jafink/oldbones.newsnow.com

the heart of nothing

Image

near Danish flat, just past

yellow cat, the highway drops

from the hills, flattens

 

into an arrow

pointed straight at the heart

of nothing at all.

 

my father

was an Ohio farmboy, but always

loved the desert

 

would stand staring into it

for hours from the edge

of the motel

 

parking lot. all

that room—room enough for all

the dreams, all

 

the disappointment.

we buried his ashes in a small

square hole in a hillside

 

in ohio—

redwing blackbirds and endless

rows of corn.

 

up ahead, a storm

has gathered, blue tendrils of rain

reaching down

 

to stroke the desert

as if tomorrow has already

begun to cry

 

on our behalf

knowing as it must

all that lies ahead.

 

windows down,

I kill the lights and stomp

on the gas. fat drops

 

slap the windshield

while the wind tears at my hair.

I’m flying now

 

accelerating

into the black heart of the storm

spinning free

 

like an arrow

pointed straight at the heart

of nothing at all.

 

© Old Bones, New Snow/ JA Fink

Image

Centennial Valley

I should probably be posting winter-themed material now, but I want to revisit some time I was able to spend in Centennial Valley Montana. This valley sits just above the toe of Idaho and was once the western entrance to Yellowstone. At its peak, hundreds of homesteaders came to the valley pursing the American dream of independence and prosperity.  Today, it’s home to cattle ranches, moose and trumpeter swans; this winter the only permanent residents will be the caretakers at Red Rock National Wildlife Refuge.

In the days ahead, I’ll share a series of posts from the valley. Images and words from today and the day before yesterday.

Image

 

for jane buck,

(who we never knew)

 

it’s always morning, always

spring when they come to the valley

lugging their  trunks full of hope

and industry, fueled by the stew

of anxiety and ambition, stink and sweat­­

 

they’d heard this was good ground for grass

and for cows, but birthing anything

is hard business and this is hard land

a land of bad roads and sharp winters

shallow roots and bitter winds

 

how were they to know

they’d planted their hopes

in such a place of leaving?

 

empty homesteads dot the valley

like the prints of a great beast, leaving only bones

and skulls, the blackened eyes of glassless windows

roof-beams buckled by relentless snow

and loneliness. this morning

 

there’s ice on the long grass, and winter

stalks the high country. the snows

are coming. old foundations will be buried

unvoiced memories will blow on the wind

collecting into drifts in the dark corners

winter will return

to repossess time

 

©  Old Bones, New Snow/ J. A. Fink 2013