Monday, December 15, 2008

Christopher Hopper

Cleaning out
I found
a poem I’d

It’s lines
across a white
years in
a dark drawer
it spoke
its mind.

My mind
tried to reach
back to
when pen
met paper,
like a crime
in the night.

But time
stole that
and now
the poem
that was,
is in the dark
to be forgotten
once more.


Time has
been unkind
to my mother.
Her strength
hides inside
a frail shell
of what once was
and movement
is now a trial
with no peers
for a jury.

This woman
who birthed me
struggles to
breathe, fighting
for each day
that remains
in this place
where much
is taken
for granted.

I wish she
could run
with my child,
the mountain wind
with a kite string,
and find peace
beside a river
in the desert.

But some
things never
come to pass
and time
has been
to my mother.

Pike’s Peak, 1992

The sun adds warmth
To the cool mountain air.
I sit on the edge
Of the world, or
So it seems from my
Fourteen thousand foot perch.
The dropoff tumbles at my feet,
A vertical pile of scree
Stretching two hundred yards.

The Great Plains start here,
Reaching eastward over
The curve of the earth.
Fort Collins and the Air Force
Academy are beneath me now.
I’m as high as some fly
And watch a plane’s silver
Wings reflect light upward,
Starting its flight to elsewhere.

Later, I learn my grandfather
Once stood here staring east
Toward Pennsylvania and
This mountain’s little sisters, but
Today I reach into a black case
For my requinto, my tiny
Travel guitar. She’s a
Warm Spanish built, nylon
Strung instrument loved
By mariachis for her high
Voice that sings across rooms.

Now, on Pike’s Peak, the Prelude
From Bach’s First Cello Suite
Struggles forth from fingers
And an oxygen starved memory.
Moving through the arpeggios
We three celebrate the day in song.


Is a lead gray
Sky for days;
A ceiling pushing
Down on shoulders
Slumping under
The weight
Of everything

Months of gray
Pile up over
Snow and rain
Slicked streets;
Capping struggles.
The sadness of
Everyday gray
with gray soaked
Tree trunks,
Limestone walls
And rain blackened

The Midwestern
Lake Effect
Makes Seattle
Seem like a
Winter haven
For sun-lovers,
And here
Early spring
Is just another
Shade of gray.

Breaking the Drought

Yesterday the drought broke.
Clouds rolled in from the southwest,
a steady stream of roiling darkness
that pulled moisture into the valley
and up against the mountains.

When the rain came it pelted streets
into run-off rivers carrying desert soil
through backed up traffic and mingling the damp
earth smells with ozone. People lined up under
covered walkways to see water flowing from the sky.
Some waltzed under the iron gray, smiling
into the rain as it struck their faces, plastering shirts to shoulders.

Deep in the valley a roof was lost to the wind
and trees twisted under the screech of nail loss;
water ran over lintels into first floor apartments
and sifted through sliding screen doors while the renters
pushed brooms with sodden swish-scrapes,
trying to bar the flood from their living rooms
and keep it on the television where it belonged.

Lightning struck the dried grasses
out by the air-field and fire trucks laid out their
snaked hoses, choking the pulse of the fire out
after it caught five acres. The rain drenched
the damage while eyes turned to the kindling
stretching straight through the mountains, and watched
it soak liquid deep into tap-roots, trunks and limbs.

No one complained.

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...