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.
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.
We greet you as your way begins.
Welcome to the planet.
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
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.