An ugly little worm of a being.

Thud against the ground too loud to be an imagined sound.
A pinky finger sized almost too almost neon green,
larvae type, maggot like, caterpillar looking thing.

Fallen from a tulip poplar tree taller than fifty feet about a foot from me.
Laid there stunned. And after a moment started wriggling.
Kind of had me giggling.
Impressed at how hard it had met the moist yet dense clay,
and still remained living. An ugly little worm of a being.

Obviously preparing to undergo some form of transfiguration.

Filling up to go into cocoon season soon and very soon.
Emerge some unrecognizable. Vastly unlike whatever it was before.
I hope for the sake of the clumsy tumbling ugly little thing,
it crawls back out carrying wings.

Back to the cocoon with you.

The world likes me better as its servant.
Rejected as teacher. Abandoned as husband.
Belittled middle child. The bothered brother.
The rebellious one is shunned. But this defeated,
obedient walk of life, should I continue taking steps in its direction,
has only just begun. And hard work means hard shoulders,
and white skin flaking off palms.
The world prefers calm. Understanding.
Yes sir and yes ma’aming.
Using shovels to do the work of tractors.
Creaking knees like dented wheels,
a hard settling jar each successive revolution.
Evolution, from exfoliating fear of the grave to my neighbor’s slave,
and the world has really come out from its shell to watch me work.
Perceive me productive struggle. To burst my ego like a bubble.
And as, not after, I take, too step too far, they say, roll in those wings,
tuck in those long legs, forget charred ash cinder firepits,
or color wagging perched on dog feces.
Back to the cocoon with you.
Unless you’d like to work a spell.
I feel I’m better kept up, out of sight.
Playing servant to my self on the inside,
plowing fields in my mind, and cutting grass,
fast straight even and fast. When it is my time,
when I own it, this leaves the world weak,
gives up no illusion of control,
none sense of power.

But I bet I could scratch a smile onto any bitter face,
for ten an hour.

No. Not. Never.

There are many different devices to put a handle on no, not, never.
To mow, cut, sever. But thankfully, or, I would like to thank what I call God,
this place, or as I like to say, nature, is better. Personally, I believe,
and I am biased, because I am an everlasting part of this place,
or, nature, is the best, of what we have, what we could be,
and of all the varying forms of what all we have been before.

Reason being, this tight, enclosed corner of the universe I’m seeing,
perceiving, contains no thing but no. In the storms, crushing gravity,
supernova explosions and radioactively violent suns, collisions, impacts,
toxins, outright baseline poisons, surrounded by harsh-sucking vacuum.

This is an entire universe of no.

And then, there is us. This place. I will, for the simplistic sake
of old-fashioned poetic device, call it nature, is doing whatever it pleases,
which is what it has always done best. Living, breathing, alive.

Our great rolling magnificent mechanism of yes.

A Crimson that Lasts Forever

They leave metal edges on the insides of lawn mower engines sharp.
Pull cord broke. Spool fell out tucked under Honda’s little black-painted hood,
and a whole coil of flat tense sharp and hard came undone.
It was rewrapping this infuriatingly functional component,
rewinding that winding coil up tight and small,
when an as sharp as a kitchen blade metal dove deep into the white cartilage
of my middle finger knuckle. Held that arm up above my head, to God,
to balance, to the stonewall all the tools were not neatly strewn out on.
Waiting like a child for discomfort to pass, for some parent
to sweep down like a miracle and make a distraction.
Four hours in on an eight hour work day,
and that hand must keep going, gripping,
pulling handled cords and squeezing plastic gas mixture powered triggers,
arriving home to a large-udder goat, counting on the milking
she’s been getting each afternoon, and soon, rather than later,
one handed the impatient beast, took twice as long, more time gone,
and a yard still full of soft stalk moss-dotted grass needed to be worked on,
and, about fifteen dibby birds too young to know to put their value up at night.
Never seen a raccoon’s leftovers of her majesty plucked alive, eaten raw,
from the crown to scaly yellow legs and red, white down scattered all over.
A little Rhode Island Red beat her wings just the right way.
Scratched her twiggy claws and must have flipped that whole slice
of wrinkled skin on my knuckle back, because every other bird
I touched that night has blood on its feathers.

In a few weeks though, each one will receive her opportunity
to repay the favor. To show their truest color.
And we will have stained one another
with a crimson that lasts forever.

At least for now.

Sluggish black snake crinkled over life and death all mulched together.
Army ants sort eggshells in search of crumbled chunks of gold.
Water with a hint of rust red orange iron. And a breeze,
which signifies the passing of blue metal skies,
and coming rain. Consciousness is wasted on people.
The sun can not, not for lack of trying, break through the trees,
caught tangled in wide paw-like poplar leaves
and ones on oak limbs that look like turkey feet,
with shifty raptor eyes. That sun has even left
a shady place for the moon to shine through,
intrude toe-stepping the fluctuating light of day.
Not putting up much of a fight. This spring star
is different from the one that comes out for summer.
Content to warmly tickle the mounded backs of rain clouds,
keep the ground too much mud to hope to plant a plow.
At least for now.

Another person’s grapes

Off to dig a hole that is deep and wide,
enough to bury three and a half foot of railroad tie,
to hang warped, ripped, busted cattle fence against,
to trellis not yet purchased baby grape vines.

Not a branch, a pole, a shovelful of it is mine.
Not even the seconds bloomed minutes written leaves hours.

At work toward a harvest you will never taste is grace.
And grace is building trellises for another person’s grapes.

But Ready

Poison ivy, not yet out in leaves, has still broken out on me.
Razed mountains on contaminated wrists and hands.
Just a touch or two, from touching black-coarse-hair-vines gripping pines.
The sweetgums the landowner hates. The fallen colors her husband favors.

And I, bills to pay, and no good not green place to hide.
The destiny of life to be buried in, under, beneath other heavy life.
Weighted with the weight of water. Heavily doused by a rain
dry creek bed awake again sort of winter.
To taunt us back into another dry summer.
Itching beneath cracked leather gloves already,
cracked burnt uprising textured leather hands are steady.
At least for now, they are steady. And the twisted green tips
on the ends of poisoned twiggy whips, are not yet out.

But ready.