Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Michael Gregory: A Walk on Wet Ground

            The memory of my country spoils my walk.



A wet morning. Gray. A little too warm

for frost. Grackle and raven having their say.

Some time yet before the blackbirds

clack and flutter toward the apparent sun.

I had forgotten, given my own children,

that the harvest and new year’s rites each fall

are first of all a response to certain death.


No place to sit: puddles in low spots,

the swelling high ground spongy underfoot.

The wettest fall in white memory.

As the light rises, the air quickens,

adding new chill to the damp: standing

still too long, the skin wants to shiver,

the hand and finger knuckles to be held;

walking, only the toes seem to feel the cold.


Daylight burnishes the orchard leaves

still clinging to last year’s new growth.

The mesquite are finally dropping their fronds,

getting as much sun to the trunk as they can.

Underneath, the beds of leaves and grasses

migrantes have made glisten with damp light.


The border patriots have a point of course:

though some birds return to the nest each spring,

others do not. Names borne in a land

they came to call home, wherever their bodies may go

they themselves disappear into their songs.


For Joel Climenhaga, born in Rhodesia,

                                    who died en la frontera on All Souls’ Day

From Mr America Drives His Car © Michael Gregory 2013, published by Post-Soviet Depression Press

Michael Gregory is the the author of several books and chapbooks, including The Valley Floor (1975) and Hunger Weather 1959-1975 (2 vols, 1979, 1982), both from Mother Duck Press; re: Play (Pudding House 2008); and Mr American Drives His Car (Post-Soviet Depression Press 2013). For the past several years he has been engaged in writing a book-length poem, Pound Laundry (forthcoming from Post-Soviet Depression Press) based on the life and work of Ezra Pound. Since 1971, he has lived off-grid in the Sulphur Springs Valley ten miles from the US-Mexico border.


MG aug14 Coole #2
[photo: Lynda Coole]

3 comments on “Michael Gregory: A Walk on Wet Ground

  1. emilievardaman
    September 16, 2016

    Lovely, Michael. Wondering when you wrote this since it’s for Joel.


  2. Michael P. Egan
    September 14, 2016

    Thank you for this, Michael. It is prescient and beautiful, and close to my consciousness. I miss the Sunday nights in Bisbee.


  3. anisioluiz2008
    September 14, 2016

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.


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This entry was posted on September 14, 2016 by in Environmentalism, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , , , .
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