Two California Drought Poems


Owls’ deep echoes flow from midnight,
night’s center, when the Bear and the Queen
dance around the North Star. “Humpf! Humpf!
Humpf!” Night birds’ songs wander among oaks,
travel to dawn.

The earth’s feverish.
Dust and drought stunt wild mushrooms:
coral fungi, gold and crimson waxy caps
grow sparsely and hide in shade.
March’s madcap streams are empty, parched.
Jade grasses quickly twist to brown.
Sun fries the ground.

Why do owls celebrate,
Toss “Humpfs!” around the sunrise wind?
play Musical Branch as they circle and call
waking robins, chickadees, wood peckers? Turkeys
answer, “Gbbbllle! Gbbbllle! Gbbbllle!
Sky shifts from black to pink, lighting
orange poppies, yellow buttercups,
scattered white fungi. Owls quiet down and sleep.
Passing geese serenade, “Awwnk! Awwnk!”
Woodpeckers drum tree trunks.
Defiant music, stay strong.
Chabot Regional Park, San Leandro, California 4/14


Let us swim into your mind and flesh,
we chocolate backed newts who rest under leaves
hiding when sun’s hear heat assaults our moist skin.
Late autumn’s rain patters on our shelter,
calls us out. We crawl into the cloudy world,
flash orange bellies to hungry birds,
our sign for “We’re toxic. Buzz off!”
We wriggle towards winter’s ponds.
Show- off boys tumble through cold water,
sing to gals, “Let me be the dude
who leaves his sperm for you to grab.
You’ll make clear, jelly ball eggs,
black dot babes growing inside.”

Water’s what we need. What
if January’s dry heat turns our home to mud,
steam, shrunken place? Our larvae can starve,
and few will crawl on new legs to April’s woods?
People, you’ll shrink as we vanish
and this pond’s orgy grows small.
You know you need our dance, flashes of winter’s life.
Take us into your flesh. We’re solid and scared.
Shade us through these years.


About pelicanguy6

I'm an environmental educator and writer currently based in Oakland, California. I plan to include a hiking/nature journal on this blog, along with articles on environmental education, travel articles, poetry, and spontaneous thoughts. I am a passionate hiker and camper and a world traveler. I really enjoy cooking vegetarian feasts, and specialize in veggie German meals for Oktoberfest.
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One Response to Two California Drought Poems

  1. K. Roark says:


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