an honest life


oregonafternon - 1.jpg


an honest life

i hike east along the Rogue

he heads west

looking too old for the cooler

strapped to his back.

his dun-colored dog drags

the twine rope tied to its collar.

i step aside and say “you look

ready to catch some salmon.”

“ain’t goin’ to wet a line for four days”

gap-toothed smile and hustling still.

i nod and then see them bump up

a steep section of trail,

his jeans with a hole in the butt

him and his dog

to camp along the wild river

in the deep Oregon night.

Guest Poet: Erin Robertson (2)

(Please note: I am re-posting this page because I originally entered Erin’s last name incorrectly, which set up an incorrect URL for the page. I left up the original page so you can read comments that responders had made to her poems. But this re-post will have the correct URL. Please make your comments on this page. My sincere apologies to Erin.)

I want to introduce you to Erin Robertson.

Erin likes hearing people’s stories, backpacking, writing (especially poetry), getting her hands in the dirt, spending time with children, and listening to music better than most things.  She lives in Louisville, Colorado with her remarkable husband and two sons.  Her work won a First Place in the 2016 Michael Adams Poetry Prize, has been performed as choral works by Ars Nova Singers, and was included in the 2015 Art Inspired by the Land show at the Boulder Public Library.  You can read more of her poetry in the anthology MycoEpithalamia:  Mushroom Wedding Poems, in FUNGI Magazine, and on her website:

The two poems below show why I am so impressed with her work. I’m sure she would appreciate your comments.


The raptor lady warned us owls are dim

but I’ve no sense of that here in the canyon,

my back to the rough, cold rock,

craning to see each fluffed

brown-and-cream pineconey feather,

that impossibly prim slim half-moon of hornlike beak,

the quizzical grizzled white stubble shooting out of the inner eye corners,

the oh-so-slow unperturbed motion: parting eye, retracting lid,

until one deep brown orb takes you in for a moment,


and there you are,

considering each other,

drawn in by that intelligent chestnut pool,


magnificently seen

by this very owl

who makes no move to leave,

simply contemplates you in a

caterpillar-y “Who are you?”

silent aloof composed supercilious way.

What grabs me most is the talons:

three more horny beaks curled around the rather small branch,

piercing it, surely,

one other casually held aloft – unnecessary, mere accessory:

the zygodactylous X.

After a silent while the owl stretches,

lifts one leg and reveals the tough leathery pad of foot

(exactly like a falconer’s glove),

then curls talons together

and quietly tucks this fistful of hooks

high into its soft breast,

clutched there like a little Bonaparte

for the rest of our visit.

“Thank you,” I breathe,

to the owl,

to the boys (for not wrestling),

to Alex (for driving the long way willingly),

to the canyon and the tree,

to good weather and absent fire,

to all things seen and unseen that conspired to bring us together,

and back to the owl, for staying close,

for somehow forgiving one more unfinished manuscript:

the Mexican Spotted Owl Activist Guide.


Pinus aristata

coming into the presence of bristlecones

always arrests me

I stop short

do a doubletake

survey the signs:

short needles

bunches of five

spangled with pitch

black-red- purple cones

spiked and glistening

check check check check


I should fall to my knees

lay my head against a trunk

stretch out in the middle of the stand

breathing whatever they desire

picturing my bones weathered and twisted like their ancient striped brown-red- grey

naked polished

burned trunks

a thousand years after all notice of my existence has passed

they may still hold this moment

between us now

your grandparents…


(the ones who warned you

about dangerous liaisons)

dig up the back lawn


plant mars bars a red

bicycle hot poems

from sharon olds


gallo hearty burgundy

warming oil for chilly nights

a joint or two


so for harvest they come

between the rows —

whispers and moans


Lives We Choose


black lava






her back to us

thumb out

held low older


knock-kneed slow


taking her home

she whispers of

years ago leaving

then returning

to live here alone


wind howls:

the mojave



This is a re-blog from Zoltán Aszód’s blog, Seventy Heteronyms. I have been following  his site for months now. His writing is powerful and important. And on your visit you can discover that he is also a fine photographer and musician.

Move quickly when the best place To be is the Terminal Tower, but Slowly cross this or any continent To be sure how to move ahead, How not to move, as if cement Is not the key (#Brutalist af) To concrete, security, 70 Euro Rubber sunglasses: remember Why you’re in their videos, not Why they […]




in the eye,

the nice guy.


afraid of women.


no friends no


unless rueful.

cats shun him.


if religious

his would be a

severe god.



slow currents

of pain, fear,

hatred begin

to spin


until he



all sweetness.