Cuttings - December

Haiku, Concrete and Short Poems


By Mike Garofalo 
Red Bluff, Tehama County, Northern California


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Dragging ourselves out of bed
hours ahead in our heads;
grumbling, stiff, shaky;
peeing as we unpeel our eyes,
cold feet on the floor.
A story that stopped for someone;
but for everyone else ... often but
a dull drama replayed at daybreak.
Ordinary day redux.
Yawning ...  



a jay
perched on a branch–
misty December morn



Standing still in the circle of trees, in the sacred space,
one wet and chilly morn,
feet rooted, turtle toes clawing the earth, sunk deeply down;
twisted like a dragon, alert, poised, ready to fly;
settled like a bear, strong, full of power, gathering;
looking through the tiger's eye, mind-intent, penetrating;
embracing the World of Body, Mind, and Spirit,
as ancient as Now, the Three Realms, all still, all one.

From the edge, the cosmic circle opened,
Chang San-Feng slipped inside, smiling,
he stroked his long black beard and spoke softly,
"Ah, another old man standing so still in San Ti Shi.
Continue, my friend, stand in peace, touch the mind. 
Xuan Wu guards the Gate, the Turtle chants, the Snake rises, and
The subtle winds of understanding blow down the centuries.
When still, soar like the Black Dragon; when moving, walk like the Mountain.
Tame the Tiger within, ride the Tiger to the temple, and roar in silence.
Awaken like the Bear from the winter of the soul, and rise like a Man.
Feel the vital energies from bone to brain,
Sense the Great Tao before you Now,
Drop delusions, enter the Gate of Mystery,
Embrace the Center, Empty, unattached, ready to be filled
With boundless beauty, everything There, marvelous beyond words."

The cottonwood leaves spoke with the wind,
the sun rose over the shadows,
my legs shook a little;
the cosmic circle trembled,
Xuan Wu's sword flashed in the sun,
Master Chang disappeared in the trees.  
Reflections On Grandmaster Chang San-Feng



All the cabbages in our garden are robust and green to the core;
All the peppers are dead and black, not red anymore.
The onions are thriving, the tomatoes all gone,
The lettuce is rising, the pecans all stored;
It’s wet now in Red Bluff, Winter’s knocking at the door. 



Floating upstream past Time
ticking counterclockwise–
he awoke.



From Maybe to No is the path of the facts;
I'm too old for another cul de sac.
Door after door is locked this time,
Only a few to open with these keys of mine.



My breath follows
the chill wind–
a morning walk. 



The blinded
following the blind–
not listening.



his fake ID–
casino lights blink.



Yanking up
frost-bitten eggplants–
clear morning. 



December fog–
among the yellow leaves
a dead frog.  



Full moon
in the morning sky ...



grey clouds darken
mountain snow.  



graveyard gate
deep fog



moonlight calms
the frozen night–
long silence



a death poem



Licking his black nose,
twitching his ears,
calf mooing at me:
"Got Milk?"



A shabby scarecrow
with broken arms–
the cold hurts.



Flooded rice fields
full of ducks–
Christmas Eve.



Salmon drying
in the smoke house–
caviar on a cracker.



bright yellow
    mulberry leaves
        spinning in the brisk breeze



Carrying branches
the raging creek roars–
road closed.



Cuddling his great-grandson
before the baptism–
New Year's Eve.



dry herbs–
freezing wind



Christmas tree
shining so bright–
beautiful night. 



Smoke hangs over the fieldd
    smoldering pile
    of burnt cuttings.



Empty spider webs
under the eaves–
melting frost.



scars on my hand–
faint memories
fighting back  



Turning off
the leaking toilet tank;
New Years' Eve.



Her broad neck twitches
at the touch of my hand–
horse sense. 



a haiku problem:
a taste
and then



Canned tomatoes
pulled from the pantry–
summer in a Ball jar.



Leafless cottonwoods
creak in the wind–
mushrooms up.



wood stove fire,
piles of warm old books



the last leaf on the tree
her 100th birthday 



over his heart–
bus pass in hand. 



Frosty windshield
crusted white,
going nowhere.



The still cold air–
a fig leaf falls
on the frosted windshield. 



one shriveled pear
on the leafless tree–
the frost melts 



Wide open ahead
clear road on Saturday morn,
humming rubber tires.



"Broke and Hungry"
off-ramp beggar–
my windows stay up. 



dusty fan blades
winter vacation 



She decides on divorce–
he snorts
a line of escape




Green Way Blog





leafless plum trees
branches raised to the heavens
singing "Rest"



Letting cars pass by ...
magpies wait on barbed wire,
eyeing the red road kill.



Bookshelves beckon
the reader's gaze
over steaming cocoa

    keeping authors alive
    for centuries  



The tule fog
fills the sky–



sizzles fast on the grill–
lemon drops. 



Bellowing heifer–
the water trough
filled with ice. 



Soggy newspaper
lumped in the gutter–
Bin Laden's muddy eyes.



Shuffling old man
staring over bridge's rail–
the edge of winter. 



books on his belly
his eyeglasses bent
snoring away  



Naked and breathless,
a centuries old Oak
gulps down the rain.



The Other-Fulfilling Prophesy comes true:
What you never thought you'd become, you do. 



Yellow ginkgo fans
spewed over stained sidewalks–
walking after dark. 



Chico State Wildcats
back and forth on the basketball court–
cheering fans clap. 



Weeds flourishing:
tiny grasses, tall leaves–
winter crop. 



Candies, cakes,
wintertime pastries–
tighter pants.



Live long enough and the losses pile up,
Till you're tossed away like an old cracked cup,
All stained and worm, dulled by time,
Useless, leaking, not worth a dime.

Egoless, your flesh falls away, a skeleton
Lost in Nirvana; lights out, all done.

Then, the Skeleton Woman drinks your dry tears,
Drums your still heart, and sings away fears,
Slips under the quilts and gives Love a Whirl -
Spinning, twirling, your reborn as a Girl. 

Forget yourself, crack the cup on the floor,
Speak in a new voice, the past is no more.



Cracking walnuts
over yesterday's papers
broken shells.



The old man
limps off into the fog–
New Year's Eve. 



somehow, someway
gets eaten up someday



I sat,
the cat jumped in my lap;
cold room.



Eucalyptus grove
dancing in the wind
bowing to the South.



If all the world's a dream,
I'm thankful the sleepers
Are dreaming that I'm awake.
Don't wake the butterfly, Chuang-tzu.
Don't wake the Deity, Descartes.
Don't wake Buenos Aires, Borges.
Don't wake the dead, Gabriel.



Over Lassen,
full moon in Winter's sky–
late afternoon.



Mt. Lassen's face
covered with snow–
dark clouds. 



Santa's lap
full again–
uneasy child. 









As a trinket, toy, tool or artifact - a Poem
Rolls down the production line of a poet's mind;
Sounds for readers to hear themselves think,
Framed by the lens of language.  Click, Kaachink.



Pouring out
the muddy water–
three drowned mice drop.



purple skies–
    beside the teahouse
    yellow willow leaves



Golden hair
down to her hips;
slipping off her jammies.

she teased
    him up–
cold sheets 



curled in her words
slip off her tongue

inside your eyes
my thoughts



my dog's muzzle
lifts my arm–
cold nose  




Concrete Poems by Michael P. Garofalo





New moon
obscured by fog–
a pointless argument. 



Baptism on Sunday,
Funeral on Monday–
Bricks in the Wall. 



Trinity River
rafting memories -

Dusky blue Pacific
Beyond.  Above
Dark scented spruces. 



One last time
    touching her lovely soft fur;
    then shoveling dirt.
[Chelsea, our old Golden Retriever, died on 12/29/99.  I buried her.]



In the cold pond
Breathing slowly
Horsetail roots

Withered horsetail leaves drooping into pond scum -
Seedpods bursting white;

Ripe brown horsetails split,
Spewing cottony seedlings
Onto the wind's back.

The murky still pond stares at the cloudy skies;
Horsetail seeds float by ...



No stars or orchards
Only ground fog,
Rising everywhere.



bitter pills 12

There is no game until you let go of the ball.
There are no religions in heaven.
No matter what some old Holy book says, 
    one plus one does not equal three.
Tattered old scriptures - kindling for a fire.  
To get closer to the Divine, get farther from religion.







Cuttings:    October     November    December     January     February




Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Saying, Lore, Myths, Celebrations
Holidays, Gardening Chores






















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Copyrighted © 2008 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:  December, Autumn, Winter
Haiku, Concrete and Short Poems by Michael P. Garofalo
First Distributed on the Internet WWW in September 1999.


The Spirit of Gardening

Quotes for Gardeners

Months, Seasons:  Poems, Quotes, Sayings, Lore, Celebrations, Myths, Gardening Chores

Zen Poetry

Concrete Poetry

Cuttings - Haiku, Concrete, and Short Poems by Mike Garofalo

Green Way Blog



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