Selected David Schooley poems, as well as a few paintings and drawings, excerpted from his "San Bruno Mountain Book of Poems"


 

DIRT'S PARADISE 

 
Stillness in the lay of fog,
sun's first swirl buried down the ridge.
 
Coyote yip wavers into wild dawn's silence,
oak trunk dripping cold,
cloud shadowed canyon, hidden enticing,
naked ravine, gray, twisted into the air.              
 
Frosty, lichen ground, foreboding vines,
unmoving tangle down an empty creek,
jagged quartz-rock, glinting, alert;                     
 
but sudden, the poem's spark dies,                                           
vanished into dirt, 
crystal readings purged in silence,
voice drawn back in the eye.
 
I'm only one man's folly 
sitting in the dead leaves
and whatever-way you turn,
whoever you are, 
it's what heaven's made-of.
 
-David Schooley

MISSION BLUE


Nothing need be proven
though something cries out
at the murders of earth and person.
Nothing need be said
though something asks
to be perfectly spoken
into a silence of seeing,
were it only the first doubled leaves
of the lupine
through the crumbled earth
by the rock,
or the opening, closing wings
of a butterfly
flashing through the creaked
on the heighten stillness
of the valley.

FLAME'S QUIVER

 
Only a few fog leaves left
on the dripping tangle of a huckleberry dwarf,
shaken by fingers of wind.
Old rusted fence-wire, cold to the touch. 
How deep is the spring trickle ground?                                                  
How high the silence of light? 
 
Only in working with the quiver of the flame, 
once tall canyons filled with scrub and oak,
now cold erosion of the rutted slope, 
silent stifle of the burned out creek,
my path twists outward through the buried grove, 
all memories scrambling at the end of all dreams,
scattering from the bitter shepherd of my portrait
 in mourning of the light; 
only moving with the quiver of the flame, 
murdering edge, beaming summer end of hills.
Walker's print of habit crumpled toward autumn leaves.
The ugly binding shadows merge in burning 
through the flash of sunsets flesh.
 
-David Schooley


COYOTE SHEPHERD

 
Chaparral skulker, wild herder
comes at last to evening,
his thoughts vanquished among dried reeds
by the creek bed,
bubbling out of meadow seeps,             
drifting flotsam,
scrub bloom down the gnarled ridge.  
 
But his enemy innards still sprout hunger
after hidden fruit,
even fungus roots,
slime dreams and mold spores,
though he cannot eat them        
in the silence of the wellspring's mist.            
 
The fading dark of flying birds
beneath his lids
is only echoes
as the yearning dies in him-
then returns- softly, carefully, at first; 
his night hunters emerge
grunting into the rivulet's sparkle                               
over their easy prey,
grabbing every image morsel
far beneath the stars, planets and meteors.
 
But coyote-herd's crook has faltered,
as quietly his every heart's crave empties                                     
by the rawness of a rising porous new moon.
 
-David Schooley


LIZARD RIDGE

 

Astonished landfall, quite leaves.
                           Outcrop of rocks.
     Blue-eyed grass in a small patched meadow 
   at the end of a high ravine.
                 Grasshoppers scattered in the brush
                      at every step.
               A ground squirrel whistles from a knoll.
          Gently the wind forgets the creek bed
                 and fanning down the slope
          leaves all this meadow still.
       Unruffled sunlight through yerba buena.
     A lizard signals on a shining rim
                 with his sky-colored belly.
 
-David Schooley


BEFORE DAWN


 
Crickets of the valley gone silent  

and coyote, drinking from a trickle
of dry, night summer creek, 
lifts his head, 
one drip then another
into the moss,
from his hanging tongue.
Thin, leafy moon over wet rock, 
his listening eyes,
scraggly neck.                    
 
Coyote crosses a faint path
into nettled shadows;
tall, leaning oak awake  
in the ridge's darkness. 
 
Without a sound,   
the Mountain opens,
emptiness moving.
 
So quiet, the morning comes
before the light.
 
-David Schooley