Thursday, July 16, 2015

Poem for Linda: "Compassion."

- For Linda Hogan 

Walking in the yard, I look down, see a pale little frog, belly-up.  Not more than an inch and a half, limbs all splayed out on the hot cement.  And I think, Oh! poor thing.  I bet the dog got it.  Played with it.  I bend to pick it up by its tiny arm and - the creamy throat pulses.  Pulses.  Alive, still alive!  I flip it over in my hand, right side up.  She immediately collects herself into a crouch.  Golden eyes blink.  She’s stunned; maybe playing dead.  I put her down in a damp flowerpot, a prayer amidst a tangle of purple and pink and white and indigo. Shaded, cool.  And I leave her there.   A few hours later, I search through the flowers.  No shiny leopard-skin beauty.  Maybe she made it.  It happens that way sometimes.  Someone passing through; someone else passing through.  Paths crossing.  You reach out your hand, do – nothing spectacular.  Just what you can do.  What you can do.  

Deborah A. Miranda


Saturday, June 13, 2015


Yesterday, I flew out of SeaTac with my heart breaking.  So hard to leave my son, daughter and granddaughter!  I felt as though one of my limbs had been amputated and left behind.  The wound throbbed throughout my entire body.

In Portland, however, I was met by a beautiful person - TC Tolbert - who not only drove me four + hours to Caldera Arts, but shared his life/stories/thoughts and made my transition from mother- and Grammy-land not only bearable, but sweet.  

We were greeted by the flurry of a large red-tailed hawk at the freeway on-ramp, gazed out at alpacas, horses, sheep, cows; feasted our eyes on wide stretches of sage, yellow clusters of flowers, the round fuzzy heads of beargrass, Mt. Hood and the Three Sisters all snowy and busy with their own thoughts.  We crossed the Deshutes River, drove between sheer rock walls, stopped to stock up on fruit and other necessities, breathed in heat and sunlight, crawled through small towns dressed in their tourism costumes of cowboy hats and wagon wheels, on up, up, up to Blue Lake and the Caldera Arts Center.

And then I was welcomed with open arms by faculty, staff, and students of the OSU-Cascades Low-residency MFA writing program, who have invited me to be their Distinguished Visiting Writer (more like, Lucky Visiting Writer).
Last night I slept in an A-frame cabin above a stream.  I slept the deep constellation, Milky Way, underground river of pure water sleep.  My body was open and yet protected, my spirit dreamy yet willing.  I traveled and traveled, yet finally awoke many hours later rested and eager for the day.  Thank you.  Thank you, Ponderosas, copper-skinned Ponderosas whose fragrant needles cleansed my lungs.  Thank you small stream beneath my window; your mindful chant soothes and counsels.  Thank you night creatures - owl, mouse, bat, raccoon - who went about the work of darkness so carefully.  Thank you insects, Sphinx moth and mosquito, leaf-hopper and sack spiders, crawling and fluttering, eating and mating, singing or silent with ancient concentration.  Thank you, A-frame cabin made of pine and cedar; thank you, Pine and Cedar.  

Today I will do my best to make what you have all given me into something that is also useful, healing, a part of this matrix of creation.  Today, I will try.  Today I will do the best that I can do with what I have to do it with.  

Writing just now, Hummingbird - umunipsha - hovered around my head, perhaps attracted by my bright turquoise shirt.  The sound of her wings was somewhere between a buzz and a thrum, a sound of efficiency and perfect balance, made of tiny feathers with tinier barbs that combine muscle and air and wind into a song that uses no voice at all.  Today is no ordinary day.  Today is full of gifts.  

All right then.  Let's get to work.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


the more I live and breathe

Every family has to skip
many kinds of characters. 
Any character can bring
words and speculate:
what isn’t said
isn’t recorded.
Two worlds tease
the story
of Tribal thoughts
from memory.
Sometimes monologue,
sometimes conversations
or what I imagine to be
true writing,

by Deborah A. Miranda

PersonalBest/My Fresh Idea

Reclaim heavy:
some killed 
a familiar.
I made hardly
a fit challenge,
but cherish
the good
only once.
remember  -
because tiny
as a child
that negativity
as sharp
as before -
now harsh words.
help us.
this prayer:
grace-filled plums
and pig fat
honor the rest.  

Margo Solod

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Found this page from an Irish play in the copy room at work today.  Random submission from Fate.
 "86 RIDERS"

86 riders in a deep grave,

God beginning to ride

the mare beyond and below,

below.  Wash man, make

the finest find. Would it be

a strong wind

raising a star, the moon,

a hundred horses

jumping in

the west wind?

No one looking

for the grave.

Fall down again

or maybe the wind

is fire, a hard cruel

sea.  Listen to the red mare,

the blessing of the black night,

the blessing and sorrow

on this house.

Deborah A. Miranda

"Overlooked Gems"

Just as most 
are lost,
are likely to continue.

In short,
a story day
hums apace,
thoughtful and solemn.

It's obvious
stressed and struggling 
was very
for success.

rarely works.
A bucket
of shortcomings
our competence.

and recognize

Margo Solod

Monday, April 6, 2015

ERASURE DAY 6: "Wondrous Theft" & "Some Stayed"

Wondrous Theft

North to the overlook,
sharp, almost eager crystal
trapped her heart.
Cloves turned
the shining sphere
of silk into the voices
of the dead.  Someone
named Mule dedicated
a proper sweat,
snapped the surprise:
kept you by permission
of February.

Deborah A. Miranda

Others Stayed

They observed
appeared to have 
few reservations.
Some did not exist
west of the celebrations.
They learned
once again,
earnest from essential.
Supreme effort.

Margo Solod

Sunday, April 5, 2015



The stone hour
hit close to home.
We would murder
the different.

At a cross-roads
is a complaint,
a grievance;
Spring events
that handle their own
formation of a violation.

Trust chose not to hear.

A sense of wisdom
has to search 
many a summer
to have one, 
one individual 
that deserves
gray times,
times coming down
with such reality.

Not even a kick,
a murder -
and so 
be different.

Deborah A. Miranda
Any Inconvenience Not Recommended

Up ahead was one
of the two, trying
to call for help.
Didn't get through.  
        Do you think you could?
Not likely.  Why?
        It's hard.
Nearby, horrified
and crazed
with grief.
Just behind, 
just over the edge:
a door.

Margo Solod



a home,
is rooted in
a dynamic
kind of
touch.  All
human lives
open doors,
large spaces.

and submit
and center.

The present
of discovery
also mentors
fosters festivals
of word
and fellowship.
Story is a growing,
intensive work,
a network
of open voices
for our page
and place,
place, place.

Deborah A. Miranda


Despite discipline,
at every turn
restricted, limited.
Who thinks function
alone embraces art?
When I asked,
I wanted how
the excruciating detail –
strength, fatigue, wear
unfortunately an opportunity
to improve before us –
I never did.

Margo Solod

Friday, April 3, 2015



Companion, marvel at the self:
absorb the sea,
an exercise in power.
The song’s spirit
composes, creates
non-human artifact,
a radical maker.
This is why power
represents a union
of blessed rage
and chaos.  The seascape
resists a world beyond
the end; the face of truth
is all skyscapes.  Imagine
the possibility: seduced
by song, forget need.

Deborah Miranda

[If you can guess which publication my erasure poem comes from, I'll send you a surprise in the mail!   -  dm]

"In Perspective"

Stretch across the fringes,
draw over Europe, America,
the Mountain range 
of migrating swallows.
Neither better nor different,
rising swiftly
          to the horizon.
No tilted tabletops
out of sight or anything.
Some fiercely loyal, others
find variety.
           don't follow national 

Margo Solod

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Erasure Poems, Day 2

“The Years”

Glance back –

it is like time-fishing.

Later, soon, back,

back in those days.

At least one summer

my humble luck

changed from fur

to carbon to rock.

Different technology

replaced maps

and incremental

human-shaped bird feathers

made a comeback.

A good piece of “how long” -

just loved to death

sitting in Patagonia

for a decade.

Your first times

last a long time.

A revolutionary

second skin is my own

stainless steel membrane.

More, more – ultimately,

it comes down

to the last more.

Deborah A. Miranda 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


April is National Poetry Month, and the annual NaPoWriMo marathon - writing a poem a day for the entire month - is underway.  I've tried this before - mostly made it - but I know that the timing is rough: the end of one academic semester, finals week, spring break, and the beginning of our intense four week spring term.  I don't want to set myself up for failure, so I decided to give myself this challenge: one erasure (black-out) poem per day. 

And to make it even more fun, I challenged my wife (the fabulous Margo Solod) to take the plunge with me.

Starting today.

“In Truth”

I must be a
spooked horse.
I dropped the
skull and bones,
of course.
It is time to go
block the sharp sunlight.
The day abruptly
followed the narrow
wing of thick velvet,
waved eloquently,
not even capable
of hard work.
The faint reverberation
of colliding hands
The bright lights
picked up
a slow, deep wave
and myriad sparkling
eyes whispered please.

Deborah A. Miranda 


          crowns            spring
by                       starting

                            Please call.

          We are unable to

                                              we cannot.

Margo Solod

Monday, March 30, 2015

6:16 a.m.


6:16 a.m.

At dawn the songs begin again, as if never sung before, as if the jet stream has not wandered from its path, as if the Arctic ice shelf is not melting at an accelerated rate, as if Sudden Oak Death does not leapfrog across the continent; Shenandoah Valley songbirds lean into the indigo air as if two thousand snow geese did not fall from the sky in Idaho, as if ten thousand sea lions are not washing up dead in the Channel Islands, as if a train full of chemicals has not crashed into the Kanawah River’s waters in West Virginia, as if California’s Central Valley agriculture is not pumping twenty-thousand-year-old water out of ancient aquifers that cannot be refilled; these song warriors pitch morning as if the territorial calls of robins are prayers that keep disaster at bay, as if crows stitch the morning together with their black beaks, as if mockingbirds know the secret combination of notes that command God’s ear, as if the low purr of mourning doves weaves a feathery comfort; they persist as if pine warblers, bits of gold along the treetops, coax the sun up by degrees, as if these musical notes don’t know the word extinction, as if, knowing it, the silvered melodies would insist like the yellow warbler: sweet-sweet-sweet; little-more-sweet.

Deborah A. Miranda

My beginning poetry workshop students are working, this week, on "research poems" - poems that incorporate facts and/or statistics, yet make the leap into poetry with them.  Poets do this frequently, but I wanted my students to be conscious about it; to look around them for all the potential poetry waiting to be found.

Then, this morning, this poem found me.  I've been reading the news, albeit reluctantly; I thought I'd been turning away from the ugliness of it, admitting that I couldn't bear it, but at night I've been dreaming of apocalyptic worlds.