From Portable Planet


Welcome To The Planet


a greeting to newborn humans


This day, we welcome you.

We teach our ways to greet you.


We are one kind among many the world encircles.

Touch all gently.


Our people are near us always.

Find yourself among the best.


Cities display our inventions and designs.

Watch, wonder, and wander away.


Highways are dark and long, concrete and crowded.

Make your own way.


Birds and beasts bring news of the planet.

Good news for your ears only.


The sea foretells the past and future.

Live now.


Soil is the source of the great and the humble.

See the small creatures close.


Mountains reveal nothing lasts.

Make peace with this.


Rivers flow in the direction of days.

Mark the many courses well.


Woods are where the world breathes.

Breathe deeply.


We greet you as your way begins.


Welcome to the planet.

Welcome home.



Indian Petroglyph State Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico


            “Probably Not Christian Influence, As

             The Cross Is A Universal Design Motif”

                                                --sign on trail


About the time my ancestors were hauling marble around

                                                for some cathedral in Europe

            or making paintbrushes for Michelangelo,

                        somebody who knew this place

                                    squatted before this black volcanic rock

                        chipping this design onto this face.


Meaning maybe a star shone brightly overhead here

                        or marking a significant event at this intersection

of the ten directions--a solstice, a vision, a falling star,

                                                an uncommon bird.


            A patient hand made these images without a plan--

thoughtfully unaware that Christians crossing the sea

                        would build a fence around this malpais

                                    and make this ground a park.


            Today, I saw my first Loggerhead Shrike--

black mask, thick dark beak, silver head, black wings

                        with a shock of white in the unfurling--

                                                perched on a wire fence

            next to a lizard impaled on a barb,

                                    just like the book says.



A Portable Planet

                                                            from Shuri to Sarasota


            Most of the time, we live on different days.

                        Our seasons match,

                                    but your night is my day.


As I rise, you set a clock to wake you while I watch the sun set.

            The only star you see when I sleep is the sun.

On New Year's Eve, we spend fourteen hours in different years.


            For my birthday, you shipped an Inflatable Globe.

I unfolded seas and continents and wondered at a flat Earth.


            A god who wanted everyone to see the same sun

                                    would smash the planet to such a plane--

a single side, all edges, corners, and straight rivers.

                        Cartographers and generals would love it.


                        But the world I want is a ball,

            tangled in the paradise of paradoxes

                                                roundness generates.


                        So I blew it up and began to play.

            The uses for a portable planet are endless.


With my fingers placed on our two towns,

                                                I spin the globe on new poles,

            a wacky axis for the plastic Earth to wobble on,

                                    whirled without end.


Sometimes, I bounce the planet on my fist

            with a rubber band looped through the North Pole.


            And, yesterday, I arranged a rainbow

of plastic dinosaurs at the end of the hall

                                                and bowled them over.


            The world works really well this way,

                        with a little english on it.