Sunday, November 3, 2019

Beneath the Surface



Beneath the surface
a firefighter reflects,
even cries.
They did it — they didn’t let the fire
spread beyond 101.
They were not going to repeat
what happened two years ago.
They were not going to
let this one kill more people and
burn thousands of homes.
Beneath the surface
even though 77,000 acres burned,
they succeeded.

Beneath the surface
the new CEO of PG&E gets a
2.5 million dollar salary.
What if that money went to
update equipment, poles,
put wires underground?

Beneath the surface we pay our 
electric bill by flashlight.

Beneath the surface
no matter how many households
had their electricity shut off
a single jumper on a tower broke
and set off a spark
that seems to have started it all.*

Beneath the surface
I’m exhausted from carrying around 
all my valuables in and out of my car
for four days.
Bad air still hurts my lungs,
I had to cancel my class and now
I’m in bed with a cold.
I blew a fuse last night.
Did they turn our power off again?
No, I still see light in the next room,
but how that thought sent panic
through my body.

Above the surface
we’ll get past this one. 
Friends will help friends
and life will go on.

But beneath the surface
we are living powerless to the wind,
in fear of flames
and always knowing what we will pack
the next time around. 


*The cause of the fire has not been determined. But according to PG&E, a jumper on a tower, a metal connector between an incoming and outgoing electrical line, broke seven minutes before the fire was reported. The 230,000-volt power line that runs through the 40-year-old tower, critical to electrical operations, had not been included in the outages. PG&E has not provided the exact location, but investigators were seen under this tower off Kincade Road in subsequent days, with the area cordoned off. (from the San Francisco Chronicle — October 31, 2019 2:20 p.m.)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Thirst



They are all older than me —
the mountains, seas, trees.
They hold the wisdom of the years,
the secrets to survive.
They know not to fret
over small things,
that the world goes on around them
crazy and blind.
They remain steadfast in presence,
all drinking from the same pool —
the one at the center of the universe,
the one offering me a sip.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Solstice



Nothing has hindered
the advance of summer —
Not remains of fire
or fear of more,
Not crying children
or deportations,
Not nuclear proliferation
or lies
or murders
or the tearing apart
of our country at its core.

We are bound by nature,
a force as large within us
as around us.
We are one with it.
We are nature itself.

So when the rose greets us
let us feel renewed.
And when the lavender fields
are in full bloom,
let us, like the bees,
sing in harmony.
And let us drink the fruit of the vines
through centuries, perfected.

Let joy creep into our souls
and celebrate
that we have no control
of the seasons,
that summer still comes
and brings its warmth
and joys and fullness,
and carries us on its path
into the future, into the light,
into the sun.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Contemplative Still Life



Nothing is still.
So, what does a still life capture?
A fleeting moment
sculpted in time,

a breath, an instant
that lasts forever,
an image we go back to
again and again,

like a memory repeating itself
over and over,
creating a vision
that no longer exists,

yet is there—as real as ever
in our thoughts
in our dreams
in our minds.