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This Week I Plan

I plan to scribble this week:
     both a picture and a poem.

Read this week:
      something neglected and sitting around.

Study this week:
     language and science, new and forgotten.

I plan:
     to prune and weed--a little,
     cobble a little table,
     do a little healthful exercise.

This week will likely surprise me
     at unplanned time
     with something and someone new,
take me
     over sad-but-noble miles
     to new ashes of old friend,
give me
     a moment or two
     for these thoughts and thoughts of you.

This Week I Plan
Bob Komives

Fort Collins (c) 1995 :: This Week I Plan :: 1703

Deep Embrace

Times change;
Earth and Heaven move
in the marrow of one breastbone,
steep ego
deep humility

Deep Embrace
Bob Komives

Fort Collins (c) 2002  ::  Deep  Embrace :: 0217

You Think Galileo Was a Great One

You think Galileo was a great one,
but he wrote heresy in 1632.
He wrote, " Copernicus is right,
        our earth circles the sun,
        not the other way around. "
You think Galileo was a great one,
but in 1633 he did recant so he would not burn.

Now you too believe
that to the sun belong the planets,
that we live on one example of them,
our sun-centered revolution,
a scientific revelation,
from a genius then among them,
a religious revolution,
insult to god above them.

One way or another,
believers go early, but truth stays late.

Yes, die for your country to get a plaque.
Yes, die for your religion to get guaranteed heaven.
But why die for your science to get guaranteed hell?
Why should you burn for your solar system?
Is the martyr more hero than the genius?
We well know how to make you a martyr,
but we lack the weapon to make you a genius.

How can you resist?
How can you insist:
that Earth is a sphere,
if it is healthier to talk "flat"?
that we came from evolution,
if the inquisition favors special creation?
that all peoples are equal,
if we preach one-ethnic perfection?

Recant today so you will not burn.
Choose humbly to not believe what you believe.
Humility is a sign of greatness.
For everybody knows and the Bible humbly shows
our Earth to be center to the universe.

You think Galileo was a great one
for finding the motion of the pendulum,
the equal rates of falling objects,
and, of course, our telescope.
But then he wrote that Copernicus is right.
You think Galileo was a great one
—but then he did recant
—but then he did not burn.

You Think Galileo Was a Great One
Bob Komives

Fort Collins (c) 1996  :: You Think Galileo Was a Great One :: ,9606

To The Son of Friends

I know what it is to be the younger brother,
though I have never had one older.
I know the peace in mother's arms,
though I am not sure I told her.
I know the rhythm of father's knee
and remember liking warm milk more than colder.

But, I don't know all the dreams you bring along,
nor all the talents in each finger.
I will be at your side from time to time,
and, if you want, I will linger.
Otherwise, I leave you on your own
(except for the mother and father you have chosen).
Just permit me a few of a busybody's peeks
and then some of an uncle's devotion. 

To The Son of Friends

Bob Komives

Fort Collins (c) 1995 :: To The Son of Friends :: 9519

Out My Backdoor

You'll hear me say 
it takes three days 
out my back door 
to the middle of the wild,
And so I did,
as he cleared my way to his grinding wheel.

Out My Backdoor
Bob Komives
You'll find that among your new neighbors
we borrow and lend in a neighborly way.
No payment offered and none accepted,
yet, you might say,
one is always expected.
The price to borrow one thing
is to remember to ask for two.
We lend a tool freely
where we can send along our wisdom.
Your question may be short or long,
as fits the subject,
but the answer should never be so short
as to end before you turn to leave.
Thus, our advice will often run full limit—
just twice what the fetching and lending need take.
After my first winter, and half a summer,
this custom had already served me well.
Being the youngest and the newest,
I lacked tools and had need for everyday advice.

A few houses over,
the pruning saw hung near his head
as I walked through the workshop door.
“How long does it take
“to get into the back country from here?”
He said nothing
until he had lowered the saw and put it into my hand.
Well, if you want to hear how I figure it,
(I paused near the door to listen.)
it takes me no more than an hour and a half; 
only the canyon sits in my way.

Across the alley,
she walked with me to her shed
to fetch the garden fork.
“How long does it take
“to get into the back country from here?”
She may have wished I had asked about her tomatoes.
We inspected them going and halfway back.
'depends on how you see it.
But I suppose I'd say, it takes me three hours 
out my back door and into the wilderness—
to close the door, 
drive up the canyon,
put on my pack,
and trek a few miles up the trail.
She reconfirmed as I latched the gate.
Yes, I guess it's three hours that join this place, 
my chosen life,
with my mountain escape of choice.
I needed only to go next door
to sharpen my mower blade.
“How long does it take
“to get into the back country from here?”
He had just begun to change the spark plugs
in his pickup on the far side of the garage.
You'll hear me say it takes three days 
out my back door to the middle of the wild,
And so I did,
as he cleared my way to his grinding wheel.
With several minutes of grinding ahead of me
he could afford to confuse me in the beginning.
Of course, I hinted that among his neighbors
an hour and a half, or perhaps three hours,
were thought to be enough.
Those are honest folks,
but, you might say,
I speak in the sense of senses.
Now, my sense of smell and my sense of taste,
they could agree with those lower estimates.
One breath of mountain air 
inhaled deeply through my nose
places me right back in the wilderness.
There, any food, lightly carried,
tastes as good as I care to expect.
But, ear, eye, and touch do not fit in so quickly.
I hear beauty; 
I see it; 
I touch it—
even before I exhale that first mountain breath.
Yet those senses flit about,
not always knowing new from old,
nor together from apart.
They  keep referring back here to this life—
enjoying so much the difference 
that you might say,
they miss out on much of the difference.
Then, some moment 
(expected but briefly unexpected)
around a trail bend on my third day out,
I make it all the way back 
to the middle of the wild—
all of me,
five senses,
together in one place.
While he got lost in thought
I finished up my grinding
and put the clutter back where it had lain.
Then I sent back a nod of understanding
as I took away his final words.
Now, before you reject my estimate,
let me tell you, it is not all bad.
On that last day,
I put on my pack 
and walk down out of the back country,
leaving that back door wide open.
Then I drive on down the canyon 
knowing that for at least three more days 
parts of me will stay up there
in the middle of the wild.

So, welcome to our neighborhood.
That yard sure has needed care.
Ah, there's that damned long-handled spade!
I'm sorry for the delay.
'haven't used it since last fall.
You can see it is still quite sharp.
It will always be here when you need it.
And, before you leave,
since you asked my advice,
I'd say you should take that hoe of yours next door.
It could use a little sharpening
to tame those weeds in the alley.
I see him there in his garage tuning up his van.
He came back down just yesterday.
Go on over,
but take care in what you ask.
You might say,

I think he still lacks a few of his senses.

Fort Collins (c) 1994 :: Our My Backdoor:: ,9413

Special Places

Special places
are where I always go
for my peace,
for my excitement.
They are places
I have yet to be
that yet wait to grab me,
and places to which I cannot return
—except in thought.
Most sit fixed;
some float free;
home need only be my family.
Special places
are sometimes spaces,
some places time,
sometimes wine,
someplace lonely in this mind of mine,
sometimes everyday,
sometimes new,
sometimes little,
sometimes much,
sometimes solely in the touch of you.

Special Places
Bob Komives

Fort Collins (c) 1995 :: Special Places :: 9506

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