Where we meet to share sections of succulent tangerines, opening juicy surprises; secrets of sweetness or delicious shuddering sourness, We burst and pucker up to be undone by our own kisses.
I didn’t care where we went, I didn’t care what we did, I was ready and it was okay if I made you run late, for taking the time to swing by and pick me up, which you insisted on because it would be better with me along for the ride, my company no matter how brief, you’d take how ever long you could get
I watched the petals drop from a yellow rose, tucked under a tangle of chamomile blossoms in Sarah’s bouquet while I waited by the window and listened for the sound of your work truck, for the tires to crunch on the gravel
You liked what I was wearing, you said, I looked cute in your company logo and that it might be harder to work, now that you felt a little distracted and if we had a forty minute break, we could kiss the whole time
We followed the interstate under the flight of turkey buzzards, past the wildflower freeway medians, through the patchwork farm country, berry brambled and littered with semi-truck truck stops, truck lined weigh centers, silo trucking docks, eyed license plates from Iowa and Idaho and Washington and pulled up to the sound of a lonely rooster in historic (a.k.a. broken down) downtown Donald, that boasted of Hazelnuts and a population of 979 (more or less) where we parked next to railroad tracks as abundant as the neighborhood streets themselves
The clouds that passed, rode on a warm breeze and a layer of darkness threatening to scatter showers between sun breaks and a jogger jogged, sporting shoes the same color orange as the Road Work Ahead sign, posted beneath flapping safety flags
You put on your red bandana rubber-banded mask and got out to social distance with the sales agent, asked about the crawl space, and got to inspecting and detecting and site mapping and photo graphing
And I listened to your scanner pitch into a fast screw ball, and a morning dove coo cooing a lullaby, watched you walk paces in your boots, and the finches, the sparrows, the starlings, the chickadees, the crows, the swifts, the juncos, the jays more abundant than hazelnuts and railroad ties, seemed to skitter and hop and flit and swoop and dart and perch and spy and gather and deliver and pair and fly and sing 979 (more or less) different birdsongs while I waited for you and wrote this love poem.
I opened my eyes in the early morning darkness to you wanting
to hold me and we stayed
in bed until the sunlight came up when we could see each other smiling.
We never wanted to get out of bed,
while we talked about not being able to wait to get back to the ocean and we kissed
before You poured me coffee, before you showered, while I read your poem
that said when you looked into my eyes you felt safe.
Got one boot off
kicking through waves
that would roll me under
and pull me away.
See that sun going down?
She’ll be back
to warm the shore,
where seagulls flock
and hop a couple of times before running
with the focus of my camera lens. And if I should get carried away
without a reliable raft,
if back floating only filled my lungs with salt
after it passed through my cracked lips,
He’d toss me a glass bottle message:
drink the rain. . .
Saw me off a branch from his olive tree just to send me something peaceful
I can cling to
sow the driftwood
becomes the tree he grew, to carve into the stories,
Whispers of stormy winds around his lighthouse
and how he is driven to pull his bow across my gut strings
just to listen to me sing. . .
An empty cigar box strung into pluck and strum and I become his ChickiBoom.
A garden of sea stars clinging to the same rock
as if cradled among aggregated anemones
that more truly await the return of the tide to submerge them
so they may open hungry;
Raggedy yet elegant, under salt water,
some kind of looking glass dahlias
fragile green as summer katydids
with no one the wiser to their predatory nature. . .
My lover pokes his finger into the soft tugging and says, “watch”
and I witness the longing
that can not be satiated nor understood by its own instinctual embrace,
Paralyzing to a lesser prey
so soon consumed.
He kneels in the sand to sketch our heart chakra rock,
that living rock
that changing rock
that sings at certain times in the morning
when he is still asleep and I am the only one making footprints in the sand,
walking along the shore
with circling grey-blue silver-white gulls and their speckled brown beggar offspring who’d ask the local crows for a hand out
if only they would oblige. . .
no matter the weather
He captures shapes quickly on his torn Arches
and promises to paint in the colors
later. . .
How his hair is the same as the gradients of gold
that darkens under the tide’s constant measure
and whitens where the sands bleach dry, closer to home. . .
The crinkle lines around his eyes, smiling
some sun rays
and the clouds so like his beard, puffy above
the folds of his dark blue denim, his broad shoulders
jacketing the distant hills in forest
and he turns to me
to look me in the eye
and he says, this is the place that makes lovers wanna kiss.
We live thru the thunderstorms,
the darkening skies,
the illumination of every strike and boom and all the crashing and the rolling,
and the down~
We live thru the full Buck moon;
We live thru the rise~
the record heat,
the barometric pressure of tossing and turning,
sleepless nights, kicking off the covers with our feet
and sweating the sheets
to the encompassing sound
and whirling air
of fan blades.
We live thru the tension in the air,
what is tight and withholding and impending…
And the explosive cycles
of delicate rose
all the blushing
and the hips.
- “Such Sweet Thunder” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:22
- “Sonnet for Caesar” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:00
- “Sonnet to Hank Cinq” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 1:24
- “Lady Mac” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:41
- “Sonnet in Search of a Moor” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 2:22
- “The Telecasters” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:05
- “Up and Down, Up and Down (I Will Lead Them Up and Down)” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:09
- “Sonnet for Sister Kate” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 2:24
- “The Star-Crossed Lovers” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 4:00
- “Madness in Great Ones” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 3:26
- “Half the Fun” (Also known as “Lately”) (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 4:19
- “Circle of Fourths” (Ellington, Strayhorn) – 1:45
- Jimmy Hamilton – Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
- Johnny Hodges – Alto Saxophone
- Russell Procope – Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
- Paul Gonsalves – Tenor Saxophone
- Harry Carney – Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone
- Cat Anderson – Trumpet
- Clark Terry – Trumpet
- Ray Nance – Trumpet
- Willie Cook – Trumpet
- Quentin Jackson – Trombone
- John Sanders – Trombone
- Britt Woodman – Trombone
- Jimmy Woode – Bass
- Duke Ellington – Piano
- Sam Woodyard – Drums
- Billy Strayhorn – Orchestration
- Irving Townsend – Liner Notes, Original Recording Producer
- Phil Schaap – Liner Notes, Reissue Producer, Remastering, Research, Restoration. (No reissue retains Clark Terry’s quotation, on the original LP release, of Puck’s “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”)
- Steven Berkowitz – A&R
- Darren Salmieri – A&R
- Mark Wilder – Digital Mastering
- Howard Fritzson – Art Direction
- Don Hunstein – Photography
- Randall Martin – Design
- Juliana Myrick – Package Manager
The Best Time to Be Here
When we go to the mountain, my husband looks for bats, marked by fast fluttering and ditzy circles, high above us
and he does his best
calling for owls, which I adamantly denied were there, unwilling to humor him, for a full on eleven years, before there was one.
Naturally I had to confess, he was right
so that now when he who-who’s, I stop to listen for the response of any true witnesses in our fox-wedding church.
He’s reverent of the black-hooded juncos hopping across our path,
gingerly follows the lone red-headed sap-sucker hammering around the trunk of a Douglas fir until the bird loses its nerve for lack of privacy,
and stands mesmerized by the number of goldfinches ornamenting the branches of a plum tree and blackberry brambles he can’t wait for
when we can forage like bears.
The aggressive squawking of a jay has his eyes rolling for the blue and he points at last to where the crows scold and angrily mob the brazen egg thief.
He spots a red tail hawk feather, and picks it up, cherishing it as a gift from his father.
A robin does its quick running-walk and snatches a plump earth worm,
song sparrows call out for love,
and humming birds throw kisses at us.
A sky of fleeting tangerine and pink salmon fire sun
sets through the black silhouetting trees
and he says to me, “There’s our light, sweetie. This is our time on the mountain.”