poems

Black Barn Owl

I still remember the first time I encountered a barn owl. It was a sleepless night in Southern California. I walked outside the house barefoot and walked towards the closest streetlight. I’m not sure why. I found the moon and then walked into the grass. I got close to the large palm tree in the neighbors yard and from within its branches came the most abrasive screech.

And it took off. With not even a whisper.
I couldn’t think of anything to say which was convenient because barn owls don’t speak much English.
Some eight years later that sound brings me so much delight to hear. It only rings in to me in the dead of night. My on going soundtrack to living. Through the window in Oakland or a quiet neighborhood in Berkeley. It’s like a letter in the mailbox from that friend you have that’s always traveling. Or like hearing a song that you listened to once with someone special who later drifted away for one reason or another. So many roads since then.

They still show up though when we break out the paint.

This Barn Owl is a melanistic variation. It has excessive pigments in the feathers making it darker. This occurs in many species in the animal kingdom, not just in birds. The first Barn Owl I saw was not a Black Barn Owl, but rather a white one as is usually the case. Black Barn Owls dont survive well in the wild as they don’t blend in. No camo, no cover.

5 black barn text
Thank you for joining me in looking at the wealth of amazing birds around us.
Learn, Love, Respect, and Protect.
Every day is Earth day, and every day is a good day to draw a bird.

A poem with stones and rocks in it.

I wanted to write you a note and put it in a bottle.
I got as far as the pencil before the radio turned on and the music played.
There are still songs I hear that you can’t be shaken from.
They take me to a golden sienna morning either long ago or that maybe never happened.
There’s a pitcher of water on the table by the door.
The lyrics in your eyes beckon a smile from under the rock pile that is my days since you left.

It’s different here now. I wouldn’t know how to explain it. Though if I had the chance to talk, I could think of better things to discuss.

Like water, dreams, poems, and maps.
Through the incense of nostalgia and the rosy haze, a truth rolls towards me like a stone wheel.
Slowly grinding.
You live now only in my heart and in the notes of these songs as they make their way through the fog.
And that is all right.

A poem written on a sunday morning

She called me on the phone to tell me about children’s puzzles.
Connect the dots and word searches till dawn.

I called her back to convey the illustrations necessary for the book she planned to write.
The editor sent back my drawings with red pen marks in the margins.

A usual sight when seated next to me in the car with shaky wheels like my life here on the west coast.
No matter its criticism taken in my usual cool mannered stride.
See it through to next week and no matter with the rest.

She sits back down at the piano and I at the drawing table ours one in the same.
Bring it all right back home
In the pouring rain.

Other days between.

We cooked hotdogs on the coals of the bridge we lit up the night before. I ain’t much for ballpark franks but that was a beautiful morning.
It was my turn to go fetch the water from the river. And I did so with a smile. Laughing about the absurdity of the year.
The sun sat golden in the branches like a glowing vulture feasting on dawn.

I don’t know what else I can tell you about that day. It was good.

In the thick of the evening, when the dealing got rough.

Last night while riding my bike down Telegraph in Oakland I looked up and saw an absolutely giant shooting star. I thought somewhere in the back of my mind I was forgoing moments like that by moving to a big city. It was a nice reminder that not all is as it seems and indeed once in a while you can get shown an actual light in the strangest of places.

You just need to look up.

Some folks trust to reason, others trust to might…

Sitting up here in this tree I can see a distance.
From leaving Illinois, to that feeling of being lost and not being looked for.
From stringing her along, to closing the door.
From her lake in northern Michigan, to the western coast I call home.
It seems often that we get lost in the day to day and can forget what moves it all.
I find the easiest way for me to connect to that is to sit on my chair and draw birds.
While I do that I feel I can review my wrongs, and appraise my truths in a manner most fitting for a boy with my middle name.
I'm a big fan of the non-photo blue pencils. I go a bit heavier with them than I need to but I enjoy seeing it through the graphite latter on in the night.

I’m a big fan of the non-photo blue pencils. I go a bit heavier with them than I need to but I enjoy seeing it through the graphite latter on in the night.

And like a desert mirage brought to my bedroom it comes to life before my eyes. and now yours thanks to this series of tubes we call the internet.

And like a desert mirage brought to my bedroom it comes to life before my eyes. And now yours thanks to this series of tubes we call the internet.

So again thank you for taking a look at the world from my tree top.

So again thank you for taking a look at the world from my tree top.

Sometimes/everytime.

Sometimes I write a letter before I know who I’m writing it to.
Sometimes I sit at a desk with a pencil in my hand and just stare at the wall for an hour, then I put the pencil down and walk out of the room while asking myself “what was I doing…?”
Sometimes I write poems about row boats and ponds in northern Illinois
Sometimes I say normal words wrong like bagel and milk.
Sometimes I untie my shoes wrong and they get all knotted up
Sometimes I untie my mind wrong and it gets knotted up too.
Every time though I get them unknotted up.
No direction home.

No direction home.