A Mustang for Bob: Self-Portrait as Compost

As so often, took a break among the work emails, to read a little Okaji with my coffee. Could not resist composing a mustang poem of response to the rich, redolent thoughts brought to words by one of my favourite poets.

Here among the pepper berries
there among some flowers
red among the ripened cherries
blue as grapes in bower, whole
only when free to flow between
the forms and moments, speaking

Hear, among the pepper berries
beesong lauding flowers, read
among the ripened cherries, blues
from heartbroke bowers, old
vines free to fall toward the leafstrewn
floor of autumn, breaking

Heir, among these pepper berries
grapevines, cherries, flowers
to patterns, scattered, clattering
their rhythmic chaos seething
with larger patterns echoing, whole
galaxies brought down to breath



*Mustangs is a term used by my pal Dr. Don Perkins to describe our conversations in verse, which have become a habit of several years’ standing. I’m sure there’s some official poetry term for riffing on someone else’s words, but I like ‘mustangs’… wild poems that hang out together, but each are sovereign; tough little bands of poetry roaming the mind’s high plains. 

O at the Edges


Self-Portrait as Compost

Beneath the surface find warmth,
the fruit of decay and mastication,
of layered mixes and intermingled
juices. Disintegrated or whole,
still I strive to speak. Bits of me
meld, to be absorbed slowly; I
process and am processed: here,
within the pepper bush’s deep red
berries, there among the dianthus.
Scattered, deliberately placed,
having been, I shall emerge again,
forever changed, limitless, renewed.

* * *

“Self-Portrait as Compost” was first published in Issue 125 of Right Hand PointingThank you to editors Dale Wisely, Laura M. Kaminski, F. John Sharp and José Angel Araguz for taking this piece.

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