Salton Sea update. Sonnet.

reflectingpoolapr2019

I often get asked about the Salton Sea. Whether it is still there. Yes, but a little smaller. I am looking at a mid to dark blue sea as I write this, sitting at my dining room table (the view is better than the wall in front of my desk), which means it’s pretty breezy out there. I love the fact that I can tell the windspeed by the color of the sea, and that sometimes one half of it will be dark and the other light. That when there is no wind, it is the same color as the sky.
This morning I walked down to the shore, such as it is, now perhaps a half mile of what will eventually be salt flats – some of it dry enough to walk on, much of it not, so I can no longer go to the water’s edge without ending up up to my thighs in fish guano.
I took a photo of the ‘reflecting pool’, which when I moved here almost fifteen years ago was full of water up to the far side of that little row of vegetation in the front.

When I returned I wrote this:

Shining Sea

Palm Springs to Yuma – not a hint of breeze,
the silence is so loud you’ll hear your heart
beat in your chest. Your breath will stop and start
as you behold the mirror Salton Sea’s
become on such a day. A piece of sky
stretched on the desert floor – cerulean rug
of knots so fine. And ’til a stop will tug
the air, that blessed earthly canopy,
and then that sea to ever deepening blue
then gray, then black with whitecapse, watch this glass
this polished surface thirty five miles vast
reflects the sky it lives under, to you.
On windless days, the Salton Sea shines most,
more than the oceans found on either coast.

Sonnet Challenge #31

This sonnet has been something of a challenge – in that it is the first poem I’ve written in over three months.  Some things been going on in life that just take the stuffing out of you sometimes.

A poet friend of mine, Larry Jaffe, once wrote a poem that all poets connect with.  It had no lines, just a title: “I lost another f****** poem in the shower.”

Losing Poems

I lost a poem in the shower today –
as water flowed, it ran right from my mind.
It formed and then the liquid washed away
the verse, leaving no residue behind.
I lost a poem driving down the street –
blanking my mind, the idea began to sprout.
I listened to it, it really was quite neat
but by the time I’d parked it’d fluttered out.
And in the doctor’s waiting room one time
I couldn’t find some paper fast enough
to get it down a pen and catch the rhyme,
my turn was called, it vanished with a puff.
And I’m sure there’s many a poet that has said
They’ve lost a masterpiece, snuggled in bed.

Sonnet Challenge #27

I realized that I had not posted this sonnet, despite the fact that it was inspired by the experience of a fellow blogger.  Rhi had gone for a very important interview and had asked for some accommodations to help with the difficulties with environment unfamiliarity due to autism.  They guessed at how they needed to overcome her difficulties and did not succeed too much.  Perhaps as a consequence, neither did she at securing the job.  I recommend you read her blog entry before you read the sonnet.

A day in your moccasins

We able-bodied try to understand
the difficulties of the body bent
into a chair, or missing foot or hand
by hobbling ourselves, with the intent
of walking in your shoes – or wheels – or world
of silence. We can don masks, hold a cane,
experience the perspective of hands curled
to uselessnes by age’s creeping pain.
This path we walked can help us build a bridge
across the chasms that hold back those not whole;
and yet one group we still leave on the edge
unable to feel how you’re untypical.
We can’t take steps inside a spectrum mind.
Only see footprints in the sand you left behind.

Sonnet Challenge #26

Sometimes I think poets go through all the circumstances themselves so they can write about things from a personal perspective.

Inside Prejudice

Outside of prejudice, a place that’s learned
like old wives’ tales, absorbed at parent’s knee
to recognize the ones that should be spurned,
no why, just that’s the way that it should be.
Inside of prejudice, that face is turned,
for reasons I can’t fathom, away from me,
til whispers, giggles stop when I get near
and conversation turns to other things.
I know I am the joke I cannot hear
and my imagination then takes wings
and rises on the heat of latent fear,
the wind that is despair, and all it brings.
Outside of prejudice can see no wrong.
Inside of prejudice I don’t belong.

Sonnet Challenge #25

So for a little light bedtime reading, it’s usually a science book or something similar.  I recently bought a science reference book (it’s useful to have a periodic table handy when my mind wanders) and read about the accuracy of Cesium clocks and other (mis-)uses of radioactive materials……

Atomic Time

 

We count the rot of Cesium to mark time;

we are obsessed with measuring the past

as it come at us, from a future cast

quite randomly; yet we strive to align

the whirl of planets circling the stars

above us.  Slicing time up like a pie

in pieces with precise equality

so we can note the passage of the hours.

We watch the atoms split, then split them more,

note and love the difference in decay,

and harness it to blow ourselves away,

then realize we cannot close that door.

We know that action made the world a mess

but that’s one thing we couldn’t second guess.

Sonnet Challenge #24

My friend and neighbor Bob and I usually get into some kind of philosophical discussion over dinner.  He usually comes to dinner on Mondays but he’s snowbirding at the moment so I get a few months off from trying to cook the healthy stuff he needs to eat.  A few weeks ago he was talking about visiting the graves of friends and relatives who have gone on to the next plane.  He said “I know they’re not there, but it’s like the last place they were, and it helps me to focus on ‘visiting’ with them.”  We both knew a sonnet was inevitable from that conversation.

Standing at your grave
Standing at your grave, you are not here.

Though bone or ash remains, your spirit’s flown;

and yet I came to visit one who’s dear

but taken flight.  This, your departure lounge,

a hollow hall where I can stand and wave

and visit memories you left behind.

It’s mostly when I stand here at your grave

the things you were come easily to mind

for me.  I know you wait ahead

with your side of the story that we are.

I’ll finish mine and see you when I’m dead,

where there’s no time and distances aren’t far

But now, beside your grave, I miss your face

and wish somehow you were here in this place.

Sonnet Challenge #23

Muddle Through
We don’t know how to get from A to B,

the roads are blocked, the way through is unclear

.The truck in front blocks signs we need to see

,we take wrong turns trying to get out of here

but muddle through, then find the metaphor

for life – journey without a decent map.

The scenic route that lacks a guided tour.

Don’t know if we’ll arrive without mishap

or even know when we’ve arrived at all.

Our end point might just feel like we’re waylaid

and each attempt at progress we will fall

until we realize this is where we aged.

There’s no set path for anything we do

For most things, we’ll just have to muddle through.