Thursday, February 28, 2013

Joseph Somoza

Free Verse

I let the day go, it was so
I couldn’t stand
tying it down with
lines that would
wrap it in place.
So I went out
and came back
to find the day
sailing with its
white streaks,
and its birds
doing what birds do,
they disappear to
to go do it.
The sheets had
dried on the line.  
The chair in back  
was waiting.
December’s leaves  
continued to
color the ground.
They don’t seem to mind
not being raked
until spring,
and who am I
to try to convince them?
Who am I to disrupt things
as they are?
—for Glen


Speaking For Myself

It’s all very interesting, what
“the culture” thinks,
through language I happen, also,
to be using.  
I happened also
and won’t apologize.
My back yard made me
what I am today, or
enabled me, as much as
systems in my body
passed to me by
biological urges in my
that I urge forward,
line to line, and
so forth.  
I cough.  
Two white butterflies
liven the bed of flowers
beside the faded picket fence
where a pyracantha once
contributed to the “thicket”
that drew birds in winter
for the bright red berries
reminiscent of holly berries
in the Christmas carols
people sang,
and maybe sing.  
No longer in the loop, isolated
in my body in my back yard,
I can’t be sure,
I, speaking
in the language that
occurs to me, from whatever


Kingdom, #4

I have to tell myself, “not everyone
sits outdoors in the cold in
winter and keeps his feet warm
with a woodfire in the chimenea.”

I have to notice that I’m
looking up to where the locust
lets the blue sky through its
black, rococo branches.

By then, I’m into the saga of
“the leaning tower of yucca,” leaning
but still standing,
still providing a perch for the thrasher to
near sunset, fold
his wings back, and
contemplate his existence,

or maybe mine,
or yours,
the sky’s the limit,
but only seemingly.

And now a raven in the giant evergreen
caws hoarsely, maybe to
keep the story going, or more likely,
calling to his mate

to join the raven congress
on the lightpole above Montana Avenue  
before this early Sunday morning
melts away.



Three round rocks
on the picnic bench,
one of them with three
concentric circles, somehow
by years of churning
ocean waves
scraping it on sand,
finally tumbling it out
to where we found it late
one summer afternoon
on a California beach we’d
gone to for a
reprieve from the dry
southwestern heat
that has become
our home
away from home,

our original
childhood shore
engraved on the surface
of that rock
we carried back with us. 



When I’m closed off like this
in hood &
hunting socks,
thick flannel pants &
sweater, sitting by the fire
outside in sunshine
but with a frosty
January wind ice skaters at
Rockefeller Center might
use to sail and show off their
Christmas fur
thousands of miles closer to
where I
once was—
though that an exercise in
as what is not?—the savage
raven calls from the trees defying
winter on my block, that is the one
among a million possibilities,
or even attempts,
though half-hearted and
with insufficient funds,
—as if analysis would  
compensate for what I
wouldn’t have justified
in the first place—
the place I
live inside of,
and continue
feeling like
the familiar self
I’ve always known.


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