September 28 – October 4, 2020: Poetry from Gonzalo Adolfo and Robert Ronnow

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Gonzalo Adolfo

Gonzalo Adolfo is a Bolivian-American writer and author of the novel, No Rush for Gold, and the mixed poetry and prose volume, Gone to War. His international publishing credits include Presence and The Opiate, among a handful of other well-known and underground literary and haiku magazines in North America and Europe. He lives in Berkeley, California where he pursues his profession as a sommelier and his passion for poetry. Follow his work at:

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Gonzalo Adolfo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Visit to Badlands National Park

rises like a dam
to the sky, jagged
wall of the Badlands

* * *

putting itself on a
pedestal, petite turquoise bird
perches atop a stalk

* * *

what looks desolate is
not so, bighorn sheep
devour a late lunch

* * *

running and scaling the
rough wall, little rodent
hunting and being hunted

* * *

loud birds singing in
my ear, perk of
a trail to myself

* * *

foraging in the road,
little tubby beaver in
no hurry at all

* * *

sad sighting by the
road, gangly ram with
a heavy metal collar

* * *

as grotesque as it
is striking, a bison
grazes at its leisure

* * *

where red Badlands rock
becomes verdant, mounds of
lush green and gold

Robert Ronnow

Robert Ronnow’s most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Robert Ronnow and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Canopy and Economy

Sun and traffic–day economy.
Six a.m. drive to plywood mill. Too tired
to be angry. Each day a step
toward death. What is being accomplished? The
small satisfactions
within each day. Book consciously read.
And frustrations. Package dropped, honey jar broke.

One of 175 soil types. With the fifty
tree species
comprising the canopy under which Eric and Lisa clean their baby’s face.

Sun in winter, old apples.

Inside the school
a brilliant but rebellious history teacher
is suspended by the school board.
200 students
wearing armbands and painted teardrops
protest. Another 400
are silent.

Within each structure
human dramas and routines.
Nancy will not love
any man who cannot do as many push-ups as she.

Trees grow,
porcupine scat in snow.

No job,
no niche,
no existence.
How you earn money is who you are. You are
what you do to get food to eat
and shelter from the winter, summer heat.

Each morning I seek God
by holding still
waiting for the smoke to be black or white
coins heads or tails
wind dark or bright.

Flock of evening grosbeaks
nipping maple buds:
the sign I need.

* * *

Less need =
more wealth.
2/23/89. So much equipment just to sleep.
More than a bare floor.
Plumbing vs.
wash at stream, find a log in woods.
Implements of human existence
unlike the deer or bear who
nip buds, forage berries.
I cannot eat the gum out of balsam fir
or bark from a popple.

I am not Wendell Berry
with a wife, a farm, philosophy.
I like the accuracy
of counting pear thrips in maple buds.
8/bud = complete defoliation.
This insect has four wings fringed with hairs
and is minute, 2.5 millimeters.
Two species within the genus:
one with tubular abdominal segment,
the other with conical abdominal segment.
Sugar maple their preferred food.

All I need
are names.
Names and habitats.
Elements, products, decay fungi, egg masses.
Marriage, copulation, regeneration, education.
Machinery, accounting, hand tools, laboratory.
I need your names
and histories.
Sexual histories, books read, imaginings, unrequited loves, significant landscapes, broken bones, periods of boredom, favorite shows.

* * *

Immediately means
without mediation, intermediate moments
time in the middle.

Time in the middle
time in the middle.
I’m bummed I never saw a dinosaur, an ice age, a cave man, even missed the last world war.
Thanks to paleontology, geology, archaeology, history
mind equipped to take
time out of the middle.
It’s in our DNA!

Why should she love me, her tenant?
Because I pay the rent on time.

* * *

Excellent. The white sun rose
and lit the frost.
Early February, late March, or in between.
Birds begin
discussing family. Sap starts to flow.
Where the borer spirals in, it comes out wet.
Birch or maple.

I watched from the window. Beautiful
but no desire to go out and touch
swelling buds of elderberry.
Is this shrub crazy? It knows what it knows
with elderberry knowledge.

Come Spring, so much to identify and name.
Insects, diseases and new flowers.
Lepidoptera, root rot, the pinks.
I think I might get married too
and watch the moons pass through the mists.

* * *

March rain.

Some snow remains
roads dangerous

but truck deliveries must be made.
                                                               The light
pushing back the dark.
getting softer, slippery
at the cambium. Sap
simmering. Summer
and spring are here and there
although only winter birds are in the air.
Some buds
break swell
to turn inside out
but wait
knowing better.

I too will not break or run
hold hope bound by ropes of discipline, experience
time the magic moments to come
take the last sleet and pain
slap in the face
glad for predictable seasons.
                                                     We anticipate however
drought, maple defoliation, increased gypsy moth infestations
which some attribute to our existence.
That may be true.
Or it may be that the universe
has reversed its decision on us
and there’s nothing we can do.
But we will do
what we can
and some things we shouldn’t
because that is human.

into the space inside me
unconnected to the light switch, plumbing
fairly independent of materials beyond
food and sound.
Where I pray
like an oak
that the light will enter me

unbroken, forever
and I will live the meanings in the wind.
necessities, wood
and friends. And
the names
of everything
by which we know our way.

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