Jonathan Skinner lives in Buffalo, NY, where he edits Ecopoetics. These poems are from his manuscript Tifft (Farm) Logs.





Bird

so tired
skimming round the earth
no place

to put wings down

to make a nest
of fishbone pellets


floating in a sargasso sea
with ice or spindrift tossed

to wander
the edge between primary marsh
and the secondary, disturbed
garbage growth

“the more humble or even degraded sites . . .
offer . . .  a greater possibility for being in solitude”
– R. Smithson








Forest

for rest
a sanctuary
to wild and think
to get lost
and found

it’s not a park
harbors hoodlums
and razor wire

proportion’s restored
to think with others

quick things dart
underfoot, pressures
shadowed thoughts

eel-limned notions
— forest








Pond

near the blind, wigeons
quietly scooping duckweed salad
afloat between the boardwalk
and the muskrat-clearing:
a mat of tiny plants,
the smallest flowers in the world
sexually bypassed
daughters of daughters
— an offsplit floating tangle
of tiny animals







Beaver

trudge through weedy shitstained wormy
green and luxuriant mounds
overlook expressway lake elevat-
or dark satanic mills

collect goose wing crow wing
stalk sparrow in the pines’
new glowing erect branches

get cool, surprised
by oily beaver
twice don’t see it, squints
at helicopter

twice tail smacks & oily rump
goes under — 2nd time for good

cottonfrost carpets trails
wraps lumpy seed rosaries

catbirds meows squeaks
sings in a tree — can’t see
yellows’ singing rises
heatlike from the groves

inside the green
shade, inside air
green rock crystals
leafed out shade








Pioneer

delta-leaved eastern cottonwood
(deltoides) an aspen species, snows
an early summer snowstorm
of opening fruit capsules

prevailing westerlies windrow
the buoyant seeds along this shore
reaching 120 feet in 30 years








Passerine


rhamnus cathartica’s laxative berries
cluster spine-tipped branches
— a blackberry catharsis
flocks of sweet-peeping waxwings
(American robins love ’em too)
sow the ground in purple
buckthorn-to-be

the flocks’ fertile dabs and smears

Japanese knotweed feigns bamboo
through the winter
(polygonium cuspidatum)
clocks and chits of feeding sparrows
harass the attractive,
dangling clusters of seeds








Ruin


The scum floats white upon the lake
On the coke pile the light gleams and is gone
The elevators stand, a-rusting and vast
Out on the tranquil bay . . .








DDT


munching cheetos
clad in plastics
and precipitates

tres passingly
I walk around fences

the wood duck
inside a double
digit endeavor

you dithering cloud-monger!

pinching off the tip
vigorous lateral buds
grow: the derepressed buds
can be repressed
again

by applying auxin
to flex the walls

increase            augment            auction  author
drawn to the dark side

matter’s stutter
undoes the body

impulses continue to flash across the bridge
from nerve to nerve

honeybees perform
frantic cleaning movements

fire flakes and rises
where the wood duck perches








Concrete


spoke Salish
had a good car
& a bad ear:

“Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion”

white wave folds
in love with wild deer
in dusk, smoke, musk
“rising in a cloud”

the bittern booming in the grakes
the jet booming in the grass

deer shatter in the sights
quick apparition of ruby
fists of rapid flight in succession

the dead stem’s left to rust
in stagnant water, shrill twists
of matter, dust and lanes

clouds are low and the skies light,
the random dormant neighbor
grazes the rooftop

what little creatures flutter
agents in gray, green
torpedoes furling the night

light hits the flat in plaques
captures, moves, broods, removes