Texas history

there we sat, in air-conditioned classroom, crammed
into desks into rows; this tennis coach-teacher insistent
if not passionate about a dusty battle for glory fort, right
there still, in our hometown. living easy and far from that
rough bloody battle. except. we knew movie heroics,
lines in the sand. we knew how to wave a flag,
cheer the team, fear the other. still do

I recently ran across a contest prompt on the theme of San Antonio history, which sent me right back to 7th grade and the Alamo.

tree lessons

how we remember
to keep our head
in this storm, not thrown
this way or that, smash-
happy to believe
any worst thing
all that screeching
through leaves
—let’s talk
like the trees
subterranean, feel slow
mud pulse before earth
unfurls, surface-catching
breath to turn green
or sparking red, gold
—let’s put it aside
let the wind glide
right over grateful eyes
and fingers, not even this
moment or year
or eternity

We knew we were in a cave

transported, real-not-real
when we heard the birdsong coming down
through the forest just the way, they say
it once had been—except the glass museum
plunk in the former woods—
but you forget, don’t you, tracing brushstrokes
the bull’s eye, prehistory of color painstaking
recreation, pixel by pixel
and thank god we can breathe and crowd
more people than ever walked these woods
or learned to paint ritual creatures
(or dreams or hunt or we don’t really know)
without destroying the dawn of art—
only what’s left of the forest—
and isn’t it glorious, how dark
and atmospheric light and shade play
in this cave?

 

Ruminating on this article about France’s latest replication of the Lascaux cave paintings…

Ordinary Things

Just another mother waiting
in the orthodontist’s waiting
room reading a book about time
travel wondering should I go
forward or back? What to do
again and again or skip right over
and what if I cleared the cache
relying on insipid chatter?
(how I remember
standing just there
and saying just that
some proof if you want
tomorrow)

 

Nothing too deep today–though I am reading James Gleick’s Time Travel: A History.

Gokstad

A thousand years buried black beneath king’s
mound; ribs, timbers rotting, our ship—
oarsmen long fallen, scattered like their gold

Bread, beer, sword—but never enough gold
in blood-spattered piles, enough to make us kings
so bold and glory-lusting we fitted our ship

shields hung out, oars locked in, then how our ship
sang the waves toward the sun’s own gold—
land ripe for plunder and death to their kings!

All now ghosts: gold, kings, and ship…

 

Imagination fired by a field trip last weekend to see the Viking ship, sailed from Norway to Chicago in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition and now residing in Geneva, Illinois. Viking was modeled on the 9th-century Gokstad ship, excavated in 1880.