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arcata community forest

July 25, 2016

shirtless bearded hippies sail
    (by gravity’s pull down the trail)
sky high pupils a hazed hello
    (scented wakes that wave below)

around a turn lush valleys fall
    (in Swans song fog and redwoods tall)
while high above aged sequoias groan
    (and down below roots squeeze the loam)

a knife carved bench overlooks hooved passes
    (distracted horses refuge in stray grasses)
hollowed stumps house midnight flames
    (while younger trunks twirl playful games)

i climb these circles drawn in carta
    (a treasured oasis steps from eureka)
when backdrop soothes night sounds begin
    (the last drop drained to home again)

my eyes closed still where the trail begins

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140 characters

July 6, 2015

only one hundred and forty characters left to share a pacific ocean fog that whistles and swirls around me like chilled hands seeking warmth

a few more characters and later in darkness i’ll wrap my fingers and senses around your distant skin untouched by winter’s caverness embrace

and maybe with a message tapped i can pause your heart from its rushing to and fro and in that moment with only words steal your breath away

with each thought sent i wonder as the characters disappear silently into the sky from my hand to yours if they playfully change their shape

do the characters shift and twirl turning words and phrases into carelessly typed meaningless jumbles? or do they stay locked in rigid lines

and laugh or weep or sigh from the messages they form? or do they lie awake trembling unable to forget their part in a final anguished plea?

i can’t believe that these characters are nothing more than fleeting digital beats: easily swiped away or left unanswered in a digital stack

yet in the silence awaiting your reply i wonder whether my message strayed, hid deep inside the white noise floating between us in the night

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beauty

January 19, 2015

i saw beauty beyond a towering cumulus top
storming over verdant hills caressed by passing shadows
and an emerald figure vanishing
i could only watch

i saw beauty resting in dimming light
your head held still on a slender palm
stories told with moistened lips slight and shimmering
i could only listen

i saw beauty in sleep like death
so calm yet breathing still
tucked out of sight once again in dimming light
i could only feel

i saw beauty deep inside your pupils’ ochre rings
passion cloaked by solitude unyielding
rainbow shades i can see but never touch
dreams that awaken me drenched but i cannot recall
and a whisper in the air so sweet infectious pure
that i search the earth’s crevasses for just one breath

i saw beauty and it was you

brush strokes and flickering shadows

April 26, 2013

in memory of sheryl noonan

down below tip-toe with care into the room where shadows grow
   where cocooned nestled draped and still the filmstrip rests by furnace glow

a garden strung of hanging cels pictures reversed so cool and slight
   her captured frames my shoulders brush their stories sing in fading light

the first cel taken by cupid's true arrow
   a smooth sculptured sprite in silvery gold
the artist's slight frame eyes focused and narrow
   brush and palette grasped ready, a well postured hold

cels flicker back softly two sisters in pose
   curled fingers together in loving embrace
a pair of young sculptors on winnipeg snow
   wrapped in crystals and fur on white sheets of lace

or a moment suspended the swing at its arc
   our smiles so joyful in that sun-captured frame
my face seems to tell her again! higher! faster!
   these memories timeless undated unnamed

the next cel a view of manhattan's famed skyline
   an unfinished beauty the canvas wood grain
feathered strokes inspired by nature's work guided
   pencil sketch shadows ever waiting for stain

A rough rush of air as the subway car passes
   the crowd pushes forward i glance was it you?
and forward i'm pressed with the TTC masses
   then years trickle by that slight sighting now through

in a room crossed and guarded, protectors still, waiting
   i flip through the cels ever searching for reason
every corner stacked perfect for balanced detection
   i cry for your terror this delusional prison

are those feared shadows scattered by joy's infinite light
   no longer trapped in celluloid frames?
i dream your art soars now free of the night
   peace be with you dear sherry ever more ever slight

sunlight dancing on water by James Morehead

March 9, 2012

sunlight dancing on water

a friend posted on facebook
"of sunlight dancing on sparkling water"
and in that instant eyes closed
transported past office walls and cubicle rows
to a childhood memory buried deep for forty years
balanced waist deep in atlantic surf
on a sand bar far from shore
in swells white caps and swirls
with sunlight dancing on sparkling water
hands outstretched for elusive shards of light
finger tips wrinkled in salt soaked water
feet curled gripping sand and shells
until sunlight and memory fade

shadow’s play by James Morehead

December 23, 2011

shadow’s play

the shadow enters on cue
behind the viewers seated row on row
hands placed shoulders still
following players' spot lit forms
and projected well-worn phrases
out and over the darkened theater

the shadow floats unseen
between a couple's hands entwined
a young child tugging with whispered questions
and a solitary critic quietly scribbling

the shadow drifts delicately along the stage's edge
invisible to the spotlight's tracking beam
beneath illuminated twinkles of drifting dust

but the stage manager suspicious and watchful
from a booth tucked high above
adjusts her squinting glasses
searching
while the apparition plays tricks
by the stage's edge

the shadow sensing her drifts stage right
tucks behind a gilded throne adorned with
plastic jewels casting deceptive sparkles
no more real than a shadow's touch

and with that the shadow melts into the stage
among the words and phrases
masquerade and dancers
foiled fighters' tears
and fool's laughter
her voice long since hidden and forgotten
her steps no longer beholden to blocking
her beating heart just a trick of light
that vanishes in curtained darkness

serpents by James Morehead

September 26, 2011

serpents

driving back from reno up a twisting mountain pass
while either side lie serpents as i silently trespass

rotting oak posts stand close, buried shallow
a careless worn serpent in quiet fields left fallow
crooked barbed wire across a dust thirsty plain
while bolts flaked with rust hint of last season’s rain

elegant serpents strike parallel lines
bolted rail ties and wooden brace spines
held firmly in place forming strict even spaces
racing forward never touching to faraway places

this serpent’s turns churn soil and silt
through fields of husks, yellow hints of gilt
sand bags for storm clouds create sturdy walls
fighting flood’s fury as the last drop falls

a serpent in air floats to and then fro
steps into thin air that opens below
his sail slaloms silent (or perhaps it is hers)
swooping forward then back - once still, then a blur

bemused by imposters still under smooth stone
this serpent forgotten for now left alone
tongue tasting the air to sense passing prey
while outside dusty sand swirls in circles of grey