Love Sonnet V

Love Sonnet V
after Pablo Neruda

Love, how like a winter we are. You bury me
in white solitudes—under many snows, you keep me.
Love, you regard me coldly, and the one I love
is a wind that howls in my ear its frosts, its ghosts

as stoic as Eskimos in the glacier-faced North.
So my mouth, like a trap, opens to sing;
and in the jaws of my song is your paw, my lynx.
Quit gnawing yourself! I want to set you free.

Botched surgeries, razors, worms, cancers, aches:
we undressed and paid violence to our vulnerabilities;
you made me want to live like a cold planet,

to ice my doubts in enormous winters of space.
My kiss would only bloody your snow. In your arms,
I grow so old. Look, a chill has taken the moon.

by Ryan Dowling

Love Sonnet IV

Love Sonnet IV
after Pablo Neruda

Do not leave us like a rose in a vase,
with its roots in the sunset, a slow-dying thing.
Away with you once and for all! Leave me swiftly
as a bullet, a flash at the fall of a guillotine,

a sudden autumn, but no more a rose,
not the stalk of my body nor the petals of your eyes.
See how I set you seaward on a flaming skiff,
pale and without a pulse, your face no face at all?

So wherever I have planted myself, burn it down;
wherever our vines intertwine, burn it away.
Is it true, my love, you’ve swallowed my life seed?

As it swells in your belly, my wheel turns in yours,
inextricably, and you must burn even this
and turn with it in the winter wind.

by Ryan Dowling

6 Poems by Robert Okaji

I wanted to share these poems by Robert Okaji, recently published on Underfoot Poetry.  They are philosophical, heavy and haunting. Please take a moment to weigh every line.

For more of Robert’s work, visit his blog O at the Edges.

Underfoot Poetry

As Blue Fades

Which defines you best, a creaking lid or the light-turned flower?
The coffee’s steam or smoke wafting from your hand.
Your bowls color my shelves; I touch them daily.
Sound fills their bodies with memory.
The lighter’s click invokes your name.
And the stepping stones to nowhere, your current address.
If the moon could breathe would its breath flavor our nights?
I picture a separate one above your clouded island.
The dissipating blue in filtered light.
Above the coral. Above the waves and ocean floor far below.
Above the space your ashes should share.
Where the boats rise and fall, like chests, like the waning years.
Like a tide carrying me towards yesterday’s reef.
Or the black-tailed gull spinning in the updraft.

River Carry Me

I approach the window with closed eyes.
In this case, the between dissolves.
Without form and weight, still you linger.
A ticketless…

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Love Sonnet III

Love Sonnet III
after Pablo Neruda

Your love is nowhere except where my feet are.
If I dance in China, love; if I climb the Andes, love;
along the bridge between us, every step is love.
While crossing the lily pads of your kisses

in a dream, I could sleepwalk to Paris and back,
and you’d never know I left your side in bed.
You unravel your yarn in this damnable labyrinth,
and the flight of your skirt lights the torch

in my heart as you whip around another corner.
I refuse to take another step without it.
Anywhere I go is only the echo of where you were.

Barefoot, I’ll walk across these bridges ruined
by walking and across your stem of endless thorns,
I’ll walk until I die of it inside your rose.

by Ryan Dowling

Love Sonnet II

Love Sonnet II
after Pablo Neruda

My love overpowers even that you do not love me.
As you slip away into cool acres of forest light,
know that I seep through your sweater and see
under your skin, into your soul, and that I rejoice.

Happy as a poppy farmer slitting his bulbs at dawn,
I walk the rows of your being with my razor,
extracting from your eyes, your laughter, your light:
the leaked colors of night, the dripping moon,

the sun impaled and bleeding on a mountain peak.
You do not know it but you secrete yourself
at my table and I gather you in little jars at your feet.

Though you resist me with the vehemence of lakes,
I will rain and rain until I flood and flood you
and it will be your love that overflows at my feet.

By Ryan Dowling

Love Sonnet I

Love Sonnet I
after Pablo Neruda

You needn’t love me as long as I may still love you;
the sun still hatches an Aphrodite from its sea of flame;
a lumberjack is splitting the badly coupled still;
still the stars accumulate in the most avoided corner.

Not a drop of water in all the world will change us,
for as long as what you feel for me is a moon-white child
that has died of her love for thirst, for the sweetness
of absence, love’s fire sleeps in a soft roar.

Take it all away from me, my dear, only not too far;
I want to know that if I drag my heart across this desert
I will find at its end your footprint or a single tear.

Go on looking, my dear, for anyone, anyone but me,
only do not find him; leave me at least the slightest chance
that, of all these drones, I alone may love my queen.

by Ryan Dowling

Gone Fishin’



As the salmon prepare to run upstream en masse, I have been preparing to leave for False Pass, AK. For the past week or so my crew and I have been lacing and lashing, seizing and sewing together a seine (see pictures). Let’s hope we’re smarter than the fish (sometimes I do wonder).

Due to the demands of work, and the lack of internet availability out there, I wanted to announce that I will be taking a hiatus from blogging.

More importantly, I wanted to thank everyone who has read and commented on my posts. It does not go unnoticed.

See you in the Fall.

P.S. Beware of frankenfish (farmed salmon). Eat wild Alaskan salmon. It’s better for you!