Cuttings - October

Haiku, Concrete and Short Poems

 

By Mike Garofalo 
Red Bluff, Tehama County, Northern California

 

Poetry by Michael P. Garofalo

 

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evening breeze–
yellow poplar leaves
letting go

 

 

jumping back
Startled

snake in the kitchen

 

 

Bucketfuls of words
to water a tiny idea–
the reader sweats.  

 

 

rain falling hard-
discordant duet
rooftop gutters and thunder 

 

 

Flagpole lanyard clanking
in the brisk breeze–
news of war.

 

 

Angry men
ranting–
barking dogs

 

 

A lightning flash–
thousands die
in the blink of an eye.    

 

 

gate ajar
    twisted hinges
creaking wind

 

 

A fly on my finger
rubs his feet–
every hair alive. 

 

 

The lingering shock
chokes us up–
rubble still smoldering. 

 

 

less light
week by week–
chrysantheum blooms  

 

 

Shaded by a towering oak
she sleeps–
Little Chico Creek quiet. 

 

 

moonlit garden–
    something ...
    moving in the bushes.

 

 

Every yellow leaf
dances with the north wind–
red pomegranates glow.  

 

 

Baseball playoffs
for cheering crowds-
Fall in full swing
.  

 

 

Behind the iron Buddha's
straight back–
a cricket chirping. 

 

 

Pulling up
twisted tomato vines–
long autumn shadows.

 

 

Half the leaves
fallen away–
dead salmon streamside.

 

 

Rumbling thunder
through the drone of rain–
folding the flag.

Frozen blood
on Afghan hills–
crisp yellow ribbons 

 

 

I was thinking about "the Absolute"
(whatever that is)
yesterday.  (Philosophers enjoy
the rush of mental masochism:
bondage to leathery ideas,
painful flagellation with cutting words,
the humiliation of utter confusion.)

Absolute Zero - Death!
Clearly, a deep shivering Super-Conducting
Absolute No.  

Then,
The Past: a second ago, a century ago...
Dead Time - absolutely kaputt!

 

 

Facing off, fists up,
eyeballs to eyeballs;
two boys gather a crowd.

 

 

Stalled imagination, repeating plot's old,
A dull shovel lifting wiser men's gold.
Thinking when reading, otherwise not;
Museless, unleavened, a nondescript pot.

 

 

Sweat soaked shirt–
a tiny fly
wiggles his wings. 

 

 

Blasting    Blaring      Horn!
Clacking   Tumbling  Wheels of Steel -
Lumber     Rolling      south.

 

 

 

Shells of Chevrons Fade to Powerout

Gleaming gas pumps
In the fluorescent
night,

Slaves of the Almighty Dollar,
Pouring hot octanes
Into the bellies of Chevies.

DingDing!  Gallons go down.
Wallets open and fold.
Acid fogs melt steel-belted moons.

Headlights come and go, flashing
By the dry Lakes of Petro.

A dead end ahead, everywhere;
For us, for OPEC, for Fords.

 

 

 

Brown hands
picking black olives–
shady grove. 

 

 

An acorn falls–
six generations
cooled in deep shade. 

 

 

The cat
leapt onto my lap–
cold floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two kid Draculas,
one after the other–
blue moon. 

 

 

Step by little step
she inches forward–
cold hospital floor.  

 

 

To dance at the still point of the Time beyond time,
Beyond pasts, within futures, this Moment
Now and forever, beyond minds.
Not knowing of Who or why
We stroll in rose gardens, and Love.
Precious flowers in the sky.

 

 

Chimney smoke rises
from house after house–
hazy autumn foothills.

 

 

The bowels of darkness, grim and cold,
Turning the heads of the hunted, young and old,
Fearing the rattle in the weeds.  White teeth,
Prowling predators, hard claws unsheathed,
Ears up listening, listening, still as knives,
Fangs barred, dripping tongues, hungry eyes.

 

 

Dawn bleeds, stars hide;
Foggy gray blue fields
Emerge from the Edge of Night.

 

 

Rowdy the Rottweiler

My big black dog burst on by
at lickety-split,
his four legs flying
in a sideways sprint,
his is mouth wide open,
drooling spit.  

 

 

Moving under the latticehouse shade,
Two toads and I, and flies;
Restless eyes from hunger made.

 

 

Wide-eyed staring into the Rich silence
Of mirrored space devoid of mind;
Not projecting or connecting, but reflecting
Supreme non-fictions, Things
Naked as they are, as they are ...

 

 

See the Big Picture
in the smallest of details–
unfolded map. 

 

 

Ribbon of freeway
shimmering over low beams–
flashing red taillights. 

 

 

Sycamore leaves
piled on the weeds--
pumpkins smiled.

 

 

In her hands,
pictures of our wedding;
touching memories.  

 

 

dusty black shoes
tired tongues turned outside,
white socks inside

 

 

Tai Chi Chuan at dawn
stirring a dreaming soul:
lifting, lifting -- Awake!

 

 

In the dimming days–
suddenly Chrysanthemums
open my dry eyes.

 

 

A wolf spider crawls
between the dog's brown legs;
dusty concrete.

 

 

 

Concrete Poems by Michael P. Garofalo

 

                                                                     ['crete'oems:mpg]

 

 

 

 

A June beetle:
yellow striped, still, alone,
quietly dying.

 

 

Between the great black rolling stormclouds sunbeams dropped
Here and there on the Great Valley floor.  The gentle first rain
Lifted up the scent of yearning from the thirsty clay soil.
Cool winds shook the crinkled cottonwood leaves free.
The black puddles danced with raindrops.
Summertime slipped away. 

 

 

His wobbly old trailer,
surrounded with trash–
Social Security Estates. 

 

 

A yellow moon
    Crosses the night–
Friday the 13th

 

 

Such tiny lives:
these spider eggs,
those birds in the sky.

 

 

Sleeping all the time,
flies on her full gray face;
my old dog's last days.

 

 

Yellowing, falling,
blowing over dry grasses--
unfolding autumn.

 

 

paying the bills
for the broken foot–
the other shoe falls.

 

 

warm sweater
cozy sock cap–
late October                   

                    

 

Prunes pruned,
acres of piled putamen--
Latins' laboring. 

 

 

Working, I squat,
suddenly fart–
everyone giggles.

 

 

Below floating toilet paper
a huge brown turd–
on the dirty walls
graffiti
verses
"tried to shit,
only farted."

 

 

Exchanging glances,
two cows munching as I pass–
the whiff of green hay.

 

 

just one
Trick - or - Treater tonight
just one

 

 

Locked out,
    key inside: 
Hassles ahead.  

 

 

Blue oaks
Dropping millions of dry leaves
Before Shasta's Throne 

 

 

exhausted–
time drowns
sinking into sleep

 

 

without wood
the walls of our world
would collapse

 

 

Falling
on the dusty path
October rain

Distant thunder
muffled by the downpour;
the desklamp flickers.

Raindrops splatter
on the hard dry earth;
dark day. 

 

 

Bridal shower
naughtiness:
phallus candles dripping.

 

 

good North, good South
good East, good West,
good here, bad wherever

 

 

WindowsTM opening
slowly;
old hard drive.

 

 

Bird-pecked pears
shrivel on a bare branch–
a cool breeze.

 

 

walking into
falling leaves–
a moonlit path

 

 

sweet dreams:
placing fudge
on mom's casket

 

 

The gopher snake
hisses and shakes–
the dog's hackles up.

 

 

plastic skeletons
scattered by pranksters,
resting in pieces

This Halloween night, we cut and eat,
Fuyu persimmons, firm and sweet.

nonlocal minds
keeping out of touch
outside space and time,
an eyeless bunch, not saying much.
mouthless, what can they say?
they can't even pray.

 

 

Raisins clustered
among the leafless vines;
mementos of summertime.

 

 

risas en
un olivar
lunchtime

 

 

Lightening storm–
under the desk
my cowering dog. 

 

 

she retouches
    his Spiky hair–
school picture day.

 

 

the toad
hop by hop towards
Mt. Brokeoff

 

 

A ball of blackbirds
rolling in the wind–
grasses bend westward. 

 

 

bitter pills 10

Life is an open book in a language we can't read.
Doing something involves undoing something.
Independence depends on others.
Blame is often a dirty mirror.
"God's Will" explains little except resignation.
When your "problem free" your dead. 

 

 

Shasta Bolly covered with snow;
Full ponds circled by yellow willows.

 

 

closing doors
where there were none–
the debate ends 

 

 

mob rocks
gunshots
Wailing Walls  

 

 

Saba Maki

Every Thursday afternoon, in the autumn of 1999, well before my evening T'ai Chi Ch'uan class,
I enjoyed a fine meal at the Tokyo Garden Restaurant in Redding. 

 

Bowls, plates, cups, chopsticks
glasses of Sapporo beer–
fine Saba Maki.

 

hot, hot
nostrils flared–
wasabi

 

A bubble poised
on the mouth of my cold beer
reflects:  popped - gone.

 

soy sauce stains
on my silk tie–
careless pleasures

 

 

 

Redwood National Park

I have driven California Highway 26, 36 and 299 many times in the past 10 years from the North Sacramento Valley to the Pacific Coast.   I really enjoy the Pacific Coast from Ft. Bragg, California to Lincoln, Oregon.  I have camped many times in Redwood National Park.      

 

Stone Lagoon and sky
become one–
deepening fog.

Traffic halted
to clear a rockslide;
the scent of cedars.

 Carcass smells;
 vultures ripping up
 a beached whale.

  

 

 

 

 

 

                                 Last Kiss           

                                                                                          
                                                       C
                                                      L
                                                     I
                                                    m
                                          hard    a   softens
                                           fast    x   slowly

                                                           her smell
                                                           lingers on my lips;
                                                           catching my breath

                                                                  silently
                                                                  closing the back door,
                                                                  our affair ends

                                                                                

 

 

 

 

 

Gun II Fire

 

    On September 28, 1999, at dawn, a fire started in the Ishi Wilderness, near Mill Creek and Flat Iron Mountain, twenty miles east of our home.   The fire spread quickly, fueled by low humidity, high winds, and ample dry grass and shrubs.  A monstrous column of smoke, three miles wide, rose up to 10,000 feet and then spread out for five miles in the otherwise clear blue sky.

    By October 4th, this fire, named "Gun II," had burnt over 59,000 acres, and was being fought by over 3,100 firefighters.  Many firefighters were injured and one died as they struggled to control this ferocious blaze.   Ash and brown haze smothered all of the the North Sacramento Valley. 

    On October 6th, the first light rainstorm of the season sounded the final notes of Taps over the battlefield of Gun II.  Now, only the black bony skeletons of manzanitas, oaks, and gray "Digger" pines remained bent over the charred bare earth.  Ishi's homeland is a graveyard of soot.   

 

Set in gray haze a
Red sun in the morning sky
Blesses the firestorm

 

Morning fires ablaze
Lassen shrouded in black haze
Everyone sneezing

 

Bad air!
No PE outside–
antsy teenagers.

 

Palo Cerdo Fire
on October 16th:
                              vast walls of flame.
                              screaming fire trucks. 
                              fast fleeing families.
                              sixty homes gone.
                                                    crisp black mice.
                              charbroiled skunks.
                              black manzanita.
                              firewoman dead.
                              ashes on green leaves.
                                                     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuttings: Haiku and Short Poems

August     September     October     November    December

 

 

 

  
Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
 

Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

January

April

July

October

February

May

August

November

March

June

September

December 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyrighted © 2011 by Michael P. Garofalo. 
Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California.
All rights reserved.

 

I Welcome Your Comments, Ideas, Contributions, and Suggestions
E-mail Mike Garofalo in Red Bluff, California

 

Who is Mike Garofalo?

 


Cuttings:  October
Haiku, Concrete and Short Poems by Michael P. Garofalo
First Distributed on the Internet WWW in September 1999.

 


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