Four poems about fire: #1

the night sky lit yellow and orange by a forest fire. in the foreground, smoke rises from a blue valley.

the sky is full of Alberta

that stalwart cloak of green

that DEW line shielding the eastern provinces from the

aerial assault of off-gassed methane

igniting in one long curving line and taking with it our

hopes for a safe and happy summer

as the sweetgrass dreams of grassy inland oceans

are buried by the silty ruins of the last great extinction


an aerial photo of a dramatically cloudy sky at sunset hazily overlaid by a drone-taken photo of a stark white iceberg edged with green

I practice a form of time travel called insomnia

or maybe it practices me

a liminal state

awake but wrongly

the morning uninevitable

though it is always morning somewhere

what is a morning but the night’s fist unclenching

present always but not noticed until it strikes

rattling your old bones

the earth dragged onward

spiraling through all that night

that fist

opening again and again

and closing

and us

raked by cosmic winds

barely clinging 

all our ambitions a smear on glass

a concrescence of matter

a chance

I practice a form of time travel called insomnia

or maybe it practices me

Compassion, but can we eat it?

Everyone goes on about the human/cat and human/dog relationship.

What about the human/chicken relationship?

Simply, put those bastard bustards are delicious.  They’re tamable, foolish, and delicious. But if you as a paleolithic human have the patience to not simply eat every one you catch, they will make you endless protein in the form of eggs and more chickens.

I expect this was a major development in human awareness. When we attained the sense-knowledge that compassion and care lead to better outcomes than surrendering to base appetites.

I know from personal experience: you can cuddle chickens.

Perhaps we underestimate one of our most valuable animal companions.

After all, there is a certain humility to be found in the act of making friends with something you will eventually eat.

Photo by Rowan S on Unsplash

The Truth About Clouds

there’s no such thing as clouds she said

I asked her to explain

she said

the clouds are just a metaphor

if you touch them

they aren’t there

dissolved by our attention

like particles avoiding a dark plate

suspended in ten thousand tons of water

depending on which technician lifts the lid

huge somethings made of nothing

the weight of mountains

mist fading from your grasp

before you even close your hand

a metaphor, she said

for water’s longing for the sea