Samples from Ravaged Angel

Blue Moon in June

It was full,
The first of June.
There is no
Sooner moon
In June.
And too, soon
A blue moon
This June.

Merry Abundance

Big bites of blackberries
Fetched from the shoulders
Of this solitary Oregon road,
Winding past derelict wooden fences
Wet with rain,
Heavy with the thick green weight
Of the tangling winding vines.
Sweet blood stains on my berry picking hands
Like childhood fingerpaint.
The small painful seeds in my teeth.
Wild bounty!
Pitched into full cheeks
By the stained hands-full.
A fortuitous happenstance,
Wet and sticky sweet.
Belly full and stomach ache.
Sinewy neglected apple trees:
Hard fruit dumped from groaning limbs
Onto long wet meadow grass.
The ferment scent of wine.
The worms winding fingers
Through the skin and flesh
Dead and turning
In the mellow earth.
September sun and raindrops sparkling.
The cool dense air
The snap of cracking apples
Between wet teeth
Stained from too many blackberries.
Delicious, bursting in opulent bounty,
Merry dizzying abundance.
Walk with me through these northwest Septembers
With wood smoke curling
Through the dark forest misty
In the cool crackling evenings
And the color of hearth fire
Through the windows we pass.
Big hands full of hazelnuts
The good weight of fruit
Pine pitch and moon-rise
After the shivering drizzle.
Keep these Septembers
For me while I’m gone,
Reckoning inconsequence in some other place.
Keep them well warm
Under tweedy wool blankets
All fragrant and fumed
With the smoke of burning leaves.

Peach Blossom Time

She had once been such a beauty
Rare as rain in this hot dry place.
A lone desert peach tree
Long seasons gone heavy with fruit.
Yellow as the setting sun,
With white blossoms delicate
As the soft wind of early spring
And fragrant as young girls,
Pliant with green shoots
Soon weighty in her fecund summer.
Round and firm
Brimming thick, swollen and sweet
Beneath curious downy fur.
Peaches like pendulous milky breasts
Blushing full in the summer sun
That gushed their juices spilt
When bite split
Down my chin like warm honey
From that ample tree
In her robust seasons.
I grew in the shadow of her full limbs
And learned the secrets stored in wood
And in her sweet blossoms
The urgent surge of life’s spring flow
Like a shot in the arm.
And the promise of good weight,
Like fat babies,
Every season
At peach blossom time.
She root-churned rocks
And bitter desert soils
Into heart wood,
Deep well water into heart blood.
Coursing broad-leafed,
Branching into a rigid permanence
Growing thick and hard
Under her unflinching gnarling bark.
Assuming a defiant dogged stance
Like a weathered toughened boxer,
Taking all comers:
The frosted black nights of quirky winter
The brutal withering of the blasted summer suns
The wild winds of early fall
The simple passing of so much time.
She had once been such a beauty
Long seasons gone heavy with fruit.
Broken brittle now in her rigid permanence.
In her dying desperation
Blanketing with immodest profligacy
With petals ankle-deep
The ground at her rooted feet
In a last chance grand farewell
For one final florescent moment
At peach blossom time.

Copyright© 1996, Thomas Phalen, All rights reserved.