Meditation on a Tendency to be Seasick

Team, I have news I can just barely believe: the wonderful Camas Magazine has published one of my poems.

Run from the University of Montana since 1992, Camas facilitates thoughtful discussion–via poetry, essays, and fiction–around the natural and cultural joys, conflicts, and questions of the American West. Issues are loosely themed; this summer’s is Cadence.

Here’s my contribution, born from the cadence of the journey:

Meditation on a Tendency to be Seasick

I try to travel in such a way that I have nothing to do.

On the train I was going to read a new book of poems.
But my head unclasps when I let it query the fields,
white as manna fallen from the foothills, bright
with painted boxes--loosely stacked, the way I wish
to rest. I conjure the rolling joy of bees,
precious bodies humming along to the rails.

On the ferry from Anacortes, the sea reminds me,
with little kicks like a child who can't wait to be born:
Whatever you wished to accomplish, make
your offering. Cast it to the cloudshadows
flowering down slow-waked island flanks.
Paint, with your regard, purple rivers.

I study Aurelius, who counsels that I should let desires go.
I haven't decided whether I agree with him.
Reach for a rope of kelp from a wind-trimmed vessel.
When I roll my eyes, there are the clouds to follow.
Attending to them teaches that they speak. Also, the sea.
Also, that inner unfurling requiring my silence.

Maybe you think you're going somewhere, is that it?
I tell you: you're in my own country now.

I’m grateful to the present senior editors, Kitty Galloway and Sydney Bollinger, for thoughtful curation, general pleasantness, and another issue that’s a pleasure to see and hold and hear. Thank you, thank you.

I’m also thrilled with the company my words are keeping. I had the privilege of hearing another piece–How to Love an Earth Moon River Woman–read by the author at a workshop we both attended earlier this year. If you don’t get to hear a lot of good poetry or prose, I’m telling you: it’s a gift.

So there’s my unsolicited recommendation for today: read poems out loud.

And make friends with folx who do the things you love to do.

And read thoughtful publications on the printed page.

And go by train. Or ferry.

Clouds & Contrails, Salish Sea
(On the ferry from Anacortes)

Thoughts? Questions? Stories to share?

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