Saturday, January 2, 2016

Three Poems by Don Thompson

Dry Creeks

It's been too long.  It's too late.
The dry creeks have lost their way
out of the mountains.

And when it finally rains,
they'll have to start over, reinterpret
the blurred lay of the land

and accept, reluctantly,
that one hundred years or more
in the old bed,
so familiar and reassuring,
count for nothing.

Dead Palm

No one gave it permission
to take root here, solitary
between the bank of a dry ditch
and an unplowed field
miles from any other palm trees.

But unruly seeds do wander,
opposed to prevailing winds
or snug in a bird's gullet,
willing to end up anywhere far--
unlike stay-at-home apples

This palm, never flourishing,
nevertheless added a foot per year,
too stout to wrap your arms around
at twenty.  Then withered,
done in by the drought.

Without fronds, it stands
as its own obelisk.
Even a palm tree needs rain:  A taste
now and then is enough,
but not no rain at all--ever.

This Stone

This stone rests easily in my hand,
a perfect fit, flickering
with mineral light
like the abandoned outpost of a star
that burned out eons ago.
It's still warm.  Imagine
all the time and trouble
it has taken to weather,
to wear down to what it is now.
And yet this stone has changed less
in a thousand years
than you and I do every day.

Don Thompson has been publishing poetry since the early sixties with several books and chapbooks in this century.  Back Roads won the 2008 Sunken Garden Prize.  Recent releases:  Keeping an Eye on the Stones, prose poems from Kattywompus Press; Local Color, a book-length narrative poem from Aldrich Books; Keeping the Secrets from Flutter Press.  Another selection of prose poems, Nietzsche Wept (Finishing Line Press) is due in late October.  An LA Times profile, "Planted in the San Joaquin," remains available online.  Much more at his website:  San Joaquin Ink (www.don-e-thompson[dot]com).

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