The Skin Game   Saturday, July 25, 2020

the skin  game

not just the bag
you carry yourself
around in -

it is an essential
the wrap
that holds together
all the requisite parts
in all their proper places,
and processor
of the natural sun-baked nutrients
every body needs ;

it is a sociological
and cultural mark of genetic
or light,
a mark of long-dust
ancestral origin, less so now
in the modern world
of connectivity
in all things, a melding of skin
to the universal tone
of coconut butter-swirl;

it is a tactile
and visual affirmation
of the essential elements
of art and pleasure
that affirm us,
the soft slide of skin on skin
in moments of passion,
the round curve
of a woman’s breasts and ass,
the probe of a nipple
aroused in a moment of anticipation,
the impatient skyward thrust
of an erect penis,
the tender pleasure
as your fingers caress a baby’s cheek,
the rough hard calluses
of a cowboy’s hand,
the soft tickle of pasture grass
on bare feet, the pain sometimes of parts
abused or inflicted, such pain
as important to the pleasure of skin
as all the softer sensations -

many things is skin,
soft and smooth or hard and rough,
the most human of all beauty,
much more
than the bag we carry ourselves around

An unusual post - first, all color pics. second, short, third, nothing but me.

Here and Now 
The Skin Game 


the skin game 
above the yellow sea 
good enough 
dust the color of water 
about tattoos 
wildflower patrol 
“Wildwood Flower” 
fellow in a blue denim shirt 
rain all night 
a secret your dog knows better than you

above the yellow sea

the broad banks
on either side of the creek
are hip-deep in tall yellow flowers,
some variety of sun flower
I’m guessing
but a much smaller bloom
and mixed with them,
closer to the ground
and barely seen, pink petunias

and the wind blows strong,
warning of the storm that darkens the sky
to the west and southwest,
and on both sides of the creek
it is like a yellow surf
as the flowers bend and blow
in the wind

above the churning yellow sea,
the hawk, wings spread
to full span,
holding steady,
tacking with the gusts,
for pink flesh
beneath the surface below

the storm
before the storm coming

good enough

the feel
of soft skin,
the taste of it
on my tongue…


not really

but good enough
for this long, cold
and lonely

dust the color of water

slow rising from the east,
like a long-sleeper stretching,
gradual lightening, making black
silhouettes of the tall trees
on the crest directly across from me


early morning drive
up the mountain to Sunspot
and the Solar Observatory -
old and obsolete now,
underfunded by the government for years,
highest-bid university
will own in it in two years,
or it will close


on the western edge
of the Sacramento Mountains,
from the first scenic overlook
we can see the desert
and beyond the desert, White Sands
stretching across the horizon
like a massive snowfield in winter

beyond the sands
the next mountain chain smudges
the edge of blue skies


Bluff Springs,
the beautiful spring and waterfall
few claim to have seen -
we, committed to being among
those who have seen it,
committed to have washed our feet
in the cold spring water,
take the proper turnoff from the highway
to Sunspot, a small paved road
leading to a gravel road and another sign
pointing us in the right direction, and we drive,
stirring up massive clouds of dust
behind us, doing our part to maintain
the haze the fills the valleys
between mountain ridges, until,
a fork in the road, no sign to suggest
which road to take so, being Democrates

we go to the left, travel smaller
and smaller gravel roads,
not sure where we were going,
not knowing if Bluff Springs was ahead
or another closed gate, cattleguard
after cattleguard rumbling beneath our wheels,
waking our dog in the back, normally
content to sleep between stops…

finally ,
a national forest sign, Bluff Springs Trail
two and a half miles,
low-landers, we, both, though willing to walk
two and a half miles in the
mountains, not so sure we could walk
the two and a half miles

we are, still,
and probably forever, not
among the few
who have seen Bluff Springs,
and washed their feet in the cold spring water


in the village,
a barrel of plastic flowers
in front of the bank,
bright in the sunshine,
barrels of dirt and flower pots
filled with dirt or dead and brittle vegetation
all along the Village storefronts…

spring coming late this year,
green still struggling
to break through its winter crust,
someone at the bank
fights back, not willing to wait longer
for the real thing

plastic flowers?!

it seems they do not capitulate
to the whims of overdue nature,
willing to foreclose on spring
if it doesn’t make its seasonal
green payment on time,
they are bankers
after all


an afternoon drive to Tularosa
through the Lincoln National Forest
and the Mescalero-Apache reservation,
tall pines on either side, until,

climbing up the mountain side,
stretches of burnt forest, broken, black tree trunks,
half laying on the ground, some still standing,
new trees from an earlier fire, green and growing
yards from each other, not like tight-packed
natural forests were new trees grow from
the seeds of earlier generations
still standing…

fire is a cleanser of all things,
eventually making room for new
and more hardy life -
but fire is such a fierce beast, oh so
ugly, in the cleansing


walking in early evening from the grand lodge
to our less grand dog palace,
a quarter mile downhill, tall pines
on either side, through the pines
to the west, a view out from our higher place
to smaller peaks, also tree-covered, that eventually
slip slowly to the desert below, a haze covers
the lower elevations, a light bluish color
I first took for a high mountain lake…

high winds,
everywhere dust, on the car,
on my shoes, dust drifting from the desert
high into the mountains, dry,
drifting dust
that I first take for water

about tattoos

the thing with me
about tattoos
is that I hate them

being then great appreciator
of skin
I am

(the more the better
is my philosophy)

I’ve never seen
a tat
looking better
than the skin
it covered

maybe for that really ugly guy
over in the corner

could do with some more

wildflower patrol

a drive
in the hills

strong wind
blown hard from the Rockies;
gusts pound
like a frosted hammer,

and pastures blowing -

winter push-back
against over-eager summer...

twisted narrow roads,
for spring colors due
after a hard winter…

but no flowers
on the pastures;
no flowers
in the


hard winter, dry winter -
seeps around the corners
of a blue eggshell
sky -

no flowers,
but for the one I see
behind a rock, sheltering
from the wind


the blue open sky
there’s not much color
in the hills this time of year
just shades
of grey and brown
with splotches of dull cedar green,
brush like a prickly carpet
over the rocky rise
and fall
of the limestone and granite

a month from now
the pastures will be ablaze
with wild flowers,

red and blue,
yellow, purple, and white, like
of surrender,
winter to spring,

the pride
of victory short lived
as summer lurks around the corner,


as spring
is life for the easy living,
comes as death for all but the strongest…

it can be a hard place
I live in,
unknown to those who come here now,
settle into air-conditioned hillside comfort…

those who came first knew,
learned the hard way, as they built their homes
from the stones in the fields,
built long stone fences to make pastures of those fields,

sweated through the long dry summers,
shivered in the sharp winds that blew over the hills
from cold northern mountains
and plains,

their only reward,
a new life
and all the colors of the short,

too-short spring

“Wildwood Flower”

in 1962
every wannabe cowboy singer
I knew,
strumming his first
guitar, was trying to learn
to play
“Wildwood Flower,”
a beautiful song,
the tune
always reminding me
of a high mountain meadow,
wildflowers swaying
in a soft breeze
rustling down the mountain side
to remind us that movement
is a mark of life
and that no beauty
no matter how beautiful
can shine without that spark

I never knew any of these
big-dream cowboy singers to ever be
more than that; most of them
wearing their tall cowboy hats,
not on stage,
where the pristine-
white of crown and brim
might shine under the bright lights
of fame and fortune, instead
their tall hats gray and sweat-stained.
pulled down tight
over rawhide faces
back on the small farm or ranch
where they came from,
finding new dreams, the dreams
of necessity, satisfied with the life
they were meant to live, but
still dreaming in the very early mornings,
when the sun rises on a day’s worth
of fences to be mended,
fields to be ploughed,
their herd of ten or fifteen cows
to be moved from one pasture to another

if I’d ever learned to play that first song,
they think,
things would have turned out different

I'll sing and I'll dance and my laugh shall be gay
I'll charm every heart and the crowd I will away
I'll live you to see him regret the dark hour
When he won and neglected this frail wildwood flower

lyrics as sung by June Carter Cash

fellow in a blue denim shirt

in the blue denim shirt
in his booth, back straight,

sips his coffee,
no other movement

but for ever so slight
rise and fall
of his chest, breathing,

sips his coffee,
still as the dark side of the moon,
eyes focused straight ahead -

a philosopher
lost in a new theory
of life and meaning;
a scientist

new theoretical blocks
on the structure of
the universe;

a mystic
engaged with the divine,
in deeper sea of being;

just another blank mind
at the beginning
of another blank day -

I can’t tell from 


rain all  night

rain all night…

the air
in the early morning
clear and clean and cool,
colors bright,
every corner, angle and curve
sharp and precise…

in the east, the sun
behind broken black clouds
in a patchwork of spotty

and west,
the sky dark blue,
like tempered steel,
polished, deep, gun barrel blue,
the color of
night retreating,
storm showing us its black
back, moving toward
the desert and the mountains…

the downtown valley
under a layer
of daybreak haze,
tall buildings
reaching above the mist,
their jagged heights
against the razor-sharp

the north hills
for a morning ramble
through pristine
and pastures
and goats and sheep
and horses and
cattle grazing
in new-resplendent green...

august rain…

unstained sky…

summer broke open
for hope
and cool breezes
and I’m thinking this is going to be
a very good day




it’s a funky day

the sky is in a

the sun is in a

the clouds
are in a funk

the trees and the grass
and sidewalks are
in a funk

out on the farm,
the cows and pigs and chickens
and geese and cats
are in a funk

in the city
the taxis and the signs
and the policemen on little bicycles
are in a

in Washington D.C.
the Republicans and the Democrats
are in a funk

on the moon
the cheese is in a
and on Mars
the rover
is in a red-dusty funk

atoms and molecules
and the little specky things in the air
are in a

can someone please tell me
what color is a funk

cause I’m thinking
I might be in one

and I just want to be

a secret your dog knows  better than you

I like to see the bones
of things,
the structure
of it all
hidden behind the false beauty
of color

that’s why I prefer
my black and white photos -
color, a lie, an imaginary thing
that conceals more truth
than it ever reveals…

the tree outside the window
has a single trunk that branches
into two about a yard above
the ground and above the basic
“V” of the two ascending trunks
other “V’s” on each trunk ,
the initial separation
at the base producing a series
of smaller and smaller
“V’s” …

the tree is green,
but it is the structure
beneath the green that defines
the tree, “V’s” upon “V’s” - an
arrow symmetry, arrows of tree
falling from the sky to the ground,
the tree becoming, not a thing
rising from the earth, but, instead, a thing
falling toward it, burying it’s largest
arrowhead at its tip into the

this is the tree the color
of its leaves hides
from us, denying
that which makes it

dogs are not color-blind
as often claimed, but
their colors are
and muted - a few pale
shadows of color while their most
acute visions are black and

there are many days,
when in search of the occasional
truth of things, I long to see
the visions of my
dog -

these visions,
a secret your dog
knows better than
you - the reality
of things all
it is what
makes them so

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Seven Beats a Second


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  Peace in Our Time

at 12:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the back and white, but love the color too....brightened my day....and I love flowers. Love your poetry too. Keep it coming. Thanks. Margaret

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