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A Collaboration with Art-full Friends

Let us imagine art-full bookmark
to send and ascend 
from art-full friend to friend.

Let it deepen our depths
as we
then pause together
at art-full end
to emerge
each alone
more art-full friend.

A Collaboration with Art-full Friends 
Bob Komives

Fort Collins (c) 2017 :: A Collaboration with Art-full Friends :: 1702

Shoulder Touch

simple hello
complex goodbye

show of friendship

request for support

request for passage

passage granted

fantasy suppressed

fantasy induced

distance reduced

distance demanded

granting forgiveness

forgiveness sought

perfect understanding

absolute bewilderment

guidance offered

guidance needed

request for delay

authorization to proceed

too much noise to speak

too much silence to break

Such a simple gesture

and complex receptor

are the touch to the shoulder
and the shoulder to be touched.

Shoulder Touch
Bob Komives

Fort Collins (c) 1994 :: Shoulder Touch :: ,9428

Law of Anklets and Chain

Everywhere on earth
(Wisconsin included)
Government is unsainted.
Unions are unsainted.
marketplace and mall,
friends and neighbors,
poets, pagans, priests and preachers,
farmers, foresters and fishers,
high rollers and good waiters,
Peter, Paula, Grace and Paul:
They are unsainted. 
because there are anklets aplenty
and only one chain,
to hell with one
is to hell with us all.

Law of Anklets and Chain
by Bob Komives

                          Fort Collins (c) 2016 :: Law of Anklets and Chain  :: 1101

Little by Slowly

I inch upward
little by slowly
from this ledge

near bottom
in this abyss
where earth gave way beneath me--
dropping further than I thought my land could drop.

Little by Slowly
Bob Komives

I look up,

see a climb that will outlive me,
take  notice in the dim

of varied walls and sides surrounding:
     good sides,
     bad sides,

     sides with sheared and slippery walls,
     sides where I could sculpt and garden,
     sides where (little by slowly)
     others climb.

They rise from below me.
They lead the way--way above me.
They pause alone to sculpt and garden.
Little by slowly     

I shall climb to those nearby:
     to those who will outlive abyss,
     to those who will pull and push my old bones,
     to those who need my stubbornness,
     and to those who will feast from my memory
     of what was earth above 

     before collapse.


Fort Collins (c) 2016 :: Little by Slowly :: 1615


           Yes, these are pretty flowers.
Does not every village have such flowers?
We have two hundred simple houses,
two hundred root cellars,
three hundred wine cellars,
and two simple churches;
but no castle,
no museum.
Everyone will wonder why you wandered by.
Bob Komives
           Yes, this is my bench.
Does not every village have such benches?
We sit in front of our houses,
in front of our fences,
facing out,
along the walk,
looking over our flowers to the street,
looking after each other,
watching for you.
Can there be village without benches?
Why have flowers but no bench to sit on?
Why have neighbors but no benches for them to
      wander by?

           Yes, I sit here when my work is done.
Should not everyone have such a bench?
I sit here to rest,
speak to my neighbors,
enjoy my flowers and today's best story.
I speak here from my wisdom,
from my prejudice.
I sat here with each of my babies on display for
      all to see.
I teach each grandchild to sit here,
say hello,
and kiss an elder's hand.
I watch,
and I remember to tell my neighbors who has
      come by while they were hard at work.
I return your smile,
answer your greeting,
and wonder why you would have no bench yet
      have interest in mine.
Here, fifty neighbors pass on bicycle and foot
while the others stand hard by their work or sit
      upon benches to look.
They will wonder.
They will wonder until I tell them why you
       wandered by.
root cellars,

three hundred wine cellars,
and two simple churches;
but no castle,
no museum.
Everyone will wonder why you
wandered by.

Bob Komives :: Fort Collins © 1997 :: Benches :: ,9716                              

Cyclist's Reflection


... September twenty-nine ...
"Brandon Gap"
"Nine Percent Decline" 

Precious are moments and places

agony turns well to pleasure

Cyclist's Reflection
Bob Komives

                          Fort Collins (c) 2016 :: Cyclist's Reflection :: 1612


Unanswered Questions

Do a double-take.
Read this sign again:              "HOPE Cemetery"
Clear, bold, and large.

Is it not true?
With death,
unanswered questions
become answered questions.
What remains for hope's good work?

Unanswered Questions
Bob Komives
In life,
hope has much to do.
I can live with hope to lose weight,
but pallbearers will know:
     I did 
     or I did not.
You and I might hope to get rich.
Will we?
--a boring, unanswered question.
Did we?
More interesting, perhaps,
but --simply--     "no" or "yes."
If alive and already rich,
we hope to stay that way.
Yet, beneath a tombstone,
     such hope likely turns to smile or frown.
As to afterlife,
(no matter our belief and hope)
we can agree
nobody looks around heaven and says,
     "I hope I get to be here."

In quandary
I asked clear-thinking friends for help.
One suggested I misread the sign,
     but I have faith in the quality of my double-take.
"Perhaps the message in the name is for us--not them,"
said others.
As we pass by
we remember those who have passed away,
but should also remember
to treasure each day,
appreciate our ancestors,   
our heritage,
the continuity of life.
I like these thoughts
    but have  difficulty calling them "hope."
It is obvious, said another,
the graveyard is for jerks, scoundrels, miscreants.
Our hope is that they will stay dead.
I try to be open to this view
but think of how such intentional land use
     would destroy tourism and real estate value.
I warm more to a suggestion
that resident graveyard hopes 
need not be profound.
Mundane items that haunt us while alive
may persist into our grave.
For example:
     "I hope I remembered
      to turn off the gas on the stove."

That thought may well hit coffin-nail on the head,

but yet another suggestion
allows me to puzzle no more.
In HOPE Cemetery 
hopes do co-mingle.
Both the living and the dead hope 
to be remembered well,
to be remembered clearly.
by those who explored and opened
     paths that remain open before us,
and by those who will advance or retreat
     on paths we left behind us.

Bob Komives :: Fort Collins © 2016 :: Unanswered Questions :: 1613                              

Damp, Morning Walk

On this damp morning's walk,
as storefronts open beside me,
sudden sunbeams confront me
to illuminate a path before me,
and my day approaches nine o'clock.


from rain-drenched, puddled pavement,
glimmer and sparkle welcome me
while at play with new-made shadow.

Damp, Morning Walk
Bob Komives

To my deaf ears
dumb sidewalk whispers loudly
in colorful language
of tiny, wondrous rainbows
broadcast by spreading ripples
in concert 

with the drum-hiss-drum
(moistened step)
of morning walk.

Storefronts open beside me.
Warming sun is upon me.
A path reflects before me.
My day passes nine o'clock..

Bob Komives :: Fort Collins © 2016 :: Damp, Morning Walk :: 1611                               


I awaken (not awoken) 

with no three : forty-four yawn. 
My best words (not spoken) 
written freely before dawn. 
Brilliance (unbroken) 
will be broke before long. 


Bob Komives

In this dim light and quiet, 
I wish I could see so clearly 
in bright light and noise of day. 

How can I curse as the-curse-insomnia 
that which gifts me with a self I love? 

I scheme solutions, 
design additions, 
put words to my visions, 
find fun ideas to explore, 
so that you, 
the lesser I, 
will find them 
and find then 
you have enough for your day 
and need not pretend to have more.

Bob Komives :: Fort Collins © 2016 :: clari-a-somnia :: 1610 

Life is Rough; Life is Good.

From branch quite alive
this beautiful leaf falls to its death
to be reborn as nourishment
for same branch,
old tree,

new leaf.
Life is rough
and life is good.
Land is rough,
but land is good.
Waters get rough
and harm us,
yet water is good;
it enlivens us.
Our past taught hard lessons
as it brought all that is good.
From branch quite alive
this beautiful leaf falls to its death
to be reborn as nourishment
for same branch,
old tree,
new leaf.
Life is Rough; Life is Good
Bob Komives

Fort Collins (c) 2016 :: Life is Rough; Life is Good. :: 1609


Slide Show

I did live them.

I do love them so.

From long, flat, metal box
emerge people,
sense of mystery.

Comfortable chair,
kitten at my feet,
friendly window for illumination. 
Image by tiny image
I see again
what once illuminated my naive eye.

Bob Komives

Slide: C-11-14

A tower holds once-new telephone lines,
now encrusted

and many too many
(impossible spaghetti).
I must have laughed
then raised my camera.

Slide: C-11-2

House walls rise
part way
as they await
adobe bricks that dry nearby.
A hillside becomes the bricks;

poco-a-poco bricks become a home.

Slide: C-9-25

Yes, I remember.

I let my camera seem to dangle at my side
to sneak this closeup of an earthen foot--
wide, hardened, leathery foot
on sandal carved from discarded tire.
Callouses bulge outward.
This foot walked years on rugged trails
without protection from rubber tread.
The sandal is stylish here in the marketplace,
and also almost necessary
for modern treks upon baking highway asphalt.

Slide: C-9-10

As we wait to board this bus
I snap a picture.
Narrow ladder leads to cargo-laden roof.
The ayudante prepares for yet another climb.
Onto his shoulder,
indigenous farmers load 

     another voluminous sack of their onions

Slide: C-9-1

Young girl,

I almost remember you
and your empty basket
on your way into town.
You will buy, perhaps, some eggs
     for your mother who labors at home.
You stop here

near where we too have stopped
to watch far below
the low road's rise from the valley.
A boy, younger than you,
guides his pack of limestone burdened burros.
Surely, he hopes to sell his cargo
     to those who will refine it
and, in turn, 

hope to sell their product
to others
     who need plaster to make houses

and others
      who, like your mother
      must soak corn in lye to make tortillas.Indeed,
such could be the errand
that brings you 
with small, empty basket 
to town.

Slide: C-6-20

In mid-ground and background,

school children in colors of their flag
--fresh blue and white.
I see most wore shoes that day
to perform their ceremonial calisthenics,
sing hymns,
orate orations.
I remember watching their daily practices
     from my porch nearby.
In the foreground,
mixed into the crowd of local adults,
I remember these indigenous women
wearing (head-to-skirt)
bright, intricate cloth 

of their village in the cool highlands.
I did not understand then:
they were as foreign to this hot coastal plain as I.
Via a road newly built
they came in trucks 

with family and neighbors
to pick cotton 

on plantations further down our road.
On this day, we came together
to watch and enjoy a nation's birthday.

Slide: C-6-9

Don Lipe.

Only by this image do I remember you.
Proudly you stand with your three young boys--
one big enough to stand as proudly as you.
He is son of the only man around
who has built and nurtured a table-high seedbed.
Your selected seeds become young plants
to plant later in garden, orchard, and wood.
For now,

they grow above the ground-foraging chickens,
above the mud and the wild things.
You protect them with a canopy of palm leaves
from deluge by rain,
and from burning by sun.
More than most,
you know this land is robbed
from a jungle that wants it back.
You know how mud beneath your feet
will bake and crack,

and pulverize into dust as soft as powder.
I stopped by a few times, Don Lipe,
to praise your ingenuity
and to take this picture.
I regret not stopping more often.
I wish I had sought and found 

     a way to assist you.

Slide: C-5-23

I see Doña Victoria.

I see a madonna and child.
I see a child holding younger child.
A gathering of women and children
(and somebody’s dog).
Most walked miles to this clinic
which is clinic by name only.
It has stood here ten years--
yet to be occupied by anyone medical.
They came
to take home powdered milk,
to listen to the Peace Corps worker
    explain preparation and nutritional value.
And they came to wait for the nurse.
She was due to come the ten kilometers by bus.
I remember their collective anticipation
as the bus stopped

     at distant corner of the futbal field.
No nurse descended.
They came because they were promised
     polio vaccinations
     for themselves and for their children.
Midst their anticipation and disappointment
     they laugh and gossip 

     for two hours under the sun.
They tell us how they arose at 3:00 that morning
(rather than 4:00)
to get work done
to make this outing possible.

At least they got powdered milk.
They also got to know better their neighbors
for none has been here more than ten years,
Each is from a different, distant town
where life, they say, was tougher.
Did we ask them to return next week
for more milk and another promise?
Conveniently, perhaps,
I do not remember.

Slide: C-13-7

still tall,
a once great temple,
long lost in the conquering jungle,
lost in my ignorance
before capturing my interest.
Who lived in these apartments beside the temple,
walked these passages covered by corbelled limestone arch?
Do we know now?
We were not sure then.
They must have been important
to the bureaucracy,
to the theocracy
to the writing of partially deciphered Mayan history.
I wonder when I will be as they:
eventually deciphered?

… … …

I now close and set aside the box
to emerge from these too-deep thoughts
and wistful sense of mystery.
For, these images
(neither less nor more)
illustrate a chapter in my history.
Fortunate I am
to love that chapter so.

Bob Komives :: Fort Collins © 2016 :: Slide Show:: 1608