MJ blathers

dark poet who loves to laugh


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slots

arizona’s compressed red sandstone
frazzles into sandpaper wind
but welcomes not a gush of rain
does not absorb its needed
cool moisture, but sheds it
into runoff that gathers with
other rejected trickle that stream
running headlong across the desert floor
diving, gouging, carving slot canyons
glorious in their smooth, sinuous
twists and bands of color
deep by twice or thrice the height of men
but narrow enough often for man to reach both sides
with outstretched arms
adventurers, unaware they are gambling,
lower themselves into these
slot canyons, awed into silence or quiet comment
explore under fierce blue sky
not knowing stormclouds a score of miles afar
have contributed to a gushing flood
now racing toward the low point
scoured years before along unyielding path

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sun drawing water

grandma told me
the slanted beams
were the sun
drawing water
diagonal shafts
of particle-laden light
filtered by clouds
partial bridges to the sky
and, for those carrying down
sleet, snow or rain
that were lost
before reaching earth
men have given names
virga
named, or unnamed
bright ramps between
heaven and earth
that lift upward
my eyes and my
thirsty soul


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between summer and fall

mellowing, softening
its hard edges of
intense, direct sunlight
colors richer, warmer
even in the cooler air
no longer bleached out
but summer glare
seem glowing from within
rather than stabbing with
reflected brilliance
of an overwhelming sol
reds and oranges burnished
no long too-bright
yellows and whites
i can open my eyes
lower a protective hand
peer now, rather than squint
see, rather than
seek shade
autumn allows me
to stand, to bend, to move
about in my world
no longer needing
to hide in shadows
from a truth
i cannot face


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anthracis

compound 19, in 1979
has been overgrown
and surrounded by Sverdlovsk
in Central Asia
a small city of
workers intent
on their own
families, lives
but the message
of the missing filters
does not reach
the night shift
they cleanse
their regular production
of anthrax spores
deliberately made smaller
to reach into lungs
how could we expect
the deliberate makers
of agreed-against biological
weapons to tell civilian
doctors what they were up
against—to save lives
when their purpose
was to kill?