earlier, a hummingbird busily
inspected the bricks, perhaps
mistaking them for other,
more sweetly yielding reds

and now Charlie, incongruously tattooed,
the color of strawberries and cream,
leans against the rail and half laughs
about the man who tried to kiss her
down at the bar

two gin and tonics in, and the dusk
rises to dark – and down the street
something has disturbed the crows
into scolding wakefulness

I am fresh from my first bad dream
of the man I’ve been seeing,
feeling frayed and fragile – but not
seeking any reassurances

a year ago, I wouldn’t have wanted
to know my neighbors this way – and yet
here I am in the middle of another side porch
session on a warm night with too many cigarettes,

trading not a few bottles and bad jokes
between these strangers who have become
somehow (sneakily) a half dozen friends
and one just-fallen-in-my-lap lover

who leans against the ivy-covered wall
and catches my eye in that all-knowing way
that says he knows me in ways
I don’t even know myself and aren’t we
just the luckiest fucking ones

© Sarah Whiteley

Hoping I don’t need to apologize for the profanity in that last line – the intent isn’t to offend, but to capture what these warm nights spent on the side porch are really like – crass, and vulgar, and full of drinking, smoking, playful banter and some surprisingly deep and meaningful conversations.

turtles are the only traffic here -
moving slowly landward with
the June-shadowed moon under palely
trailing feet and a torrent of stars

all day, the sea bloomed -
bursting brilliant in
white florets against the sand

but at night, the upsurge eased
and sun-brushed curves containing
all the day’s heat submerged
into cooler divulgences

© Sarah Whiteley

I have a very unofficial sort of bucket list. It changes all the time, but there are a few things that have remained constant and one of them was skinny dipping in the Caribbean. And Tulum last June was the perfect place to fulfill that particular wish – amazing experience! I’m heading back in October and am trying very hard to convince the beautiful person I call boyfriend to come along with me.

In other news, I think I’ve decided to combine Ebbtide and Tied to Sky into a single blog. Things may become a bit messy here while I play around and decide how I want to revamp the site in order to better accommodate both poetry and photography/art. My apologies in advance for the chaos.

Be well!

at night while I lie sleeping
tucked quietly in bed
his tiny feet come creeping
as quiet as the dead

he’s a wingéd little being
smaller than a mouse
he sneaks with no one seeing
through the darkened house

his little wings are dusty
like the books he holds
his breath’s a little musty
and reeks of damp and mold

the Dictionary Fairy
creeps across my bed
and whispers rather scary
things into my head

your vocabulary’s awful,
he hisses in my ear
they ought to be unlawful,
those words that you revere

you sound just like a nitwit
when you say “aiight”
nothing but a dimwit
when you say “that’s tight”

“wicked” means bad morals
and isn’t something “cool”
you’re an insult to the laurels
of your most esteeméd school

what’s become of decent grammar?
have we seen its sad demise?
crushed beneath the hammer
of listening to “yous guys”

then the Dictionary Fairy
opening up his tome,
reads words like “ablutionary”
and “heterochromosome”

all night the wee fiend chatters
foul words into my ears
as if it really matters
if high school takes eight years

© Sarah Whiteley

A re-post from 2011. Attempting to get myself into the mood to write another humorous piece – I have such fun with them once I get into it!

a truth-teller follows me,
skating from tree to tree

this morning his black
is ruffled by a stiff wind

and his message is more
raucous perhaps as a result

but even on quiet days
it is much the same

but one morning, he’ll cry
“a-ha! a-ha!”

when he sees that I
finally get it

© Sarah Whiteley

Has it been a while since I’ve given a crow update? It has! There are signs that Coyote and his mate are nesting, but it’s not in the same spot as last year’s nest. Knock-Knock (last year’s offspring) has made himself scarce again lately – no doubt exploring the world. Coyote seems to have accepted the boyfriend and has even approached him when I’m not there once or twice.

The relationship between Coyote and Freyja-dog is an interesting one lately. Freyja knows not to chase the crows (but will chase pigeons!) and I think the crows have learned this. But lately Freyja has wanted to play with Coyote and engages in the typical doggy play invitation stances when she sees him. A couple of times, Coyote has crouched and hopped closer and then away as if teasing her. Crows are completely capable of play and I’m halfway wondering if he’s recognizing that’s what my odd little dog wants to do.

Had a lovely (albeit very breezy) breakfast on the side porch yesterday morning with Coyote for company. I managed to capture a video on the tablet of him asking for treats. About midway through, we get interrupted by a neighbor (who gave me very odd looks for clucking at a crow) and I had to pause until he went away, but you can see Coyote get anxious.

Anyway, here’s Coyote wanting his treats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FY26nP1Sb0M&feature=youtu.be

days stretched out so long, they toppled
off the end of the weathered dock
into the spring-fed cold at Sleepy Eye

among the shadows between the pilings
swam the uncatchable ghost of a walleye
(suitably fish-tale-sized)
someone years past had called Walter

every summer we saw him jump,
breaking the lake at dusk, just offshore
where the small-flies gathered
in their short-lived, tiny-winged hordes

at the splash “it’s Walter!”
we’d gasp and sit properly awed
while we envisioned the sort of net
that might finally nab him

the “growed-up” me is somewhat relieved
Walter’s remained a fish-ish myth,
dodging all the efforts and lures
of the great northern fisherman

this way, he’s stayed a childhood tale -
of firefly nights among hundred-year pines
and the hollow sound of wooden oars
striking the sides of a kid-captained boat

© Sarah Whiteley

Coyote rests on the fence post -
clucking and bobbing,
he does not hide his pleasure
from the April sunshine

we sit on the side porch -
laughing at crow antics
over a well-worn cribbage board,
my hair becoming tangled
in the ivy on the wall

© Sarah Whiteley

A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon – enjoying a break from Saturday’s rain. Coyote chose to join us and was so obviously happy basking in the sunshine, it was almost comical. Our new-ish neighbor stumbled upon us and no doubt is wondering if we’ve both gone senile, talking to a crow. Ah well – keep them guessing, I say!

Have a beautiful week, my friends!

on a whim, I turned left
to walk beneath the magnolia

spilling pink-hinted petals
into a differently scented morning

than if I’d just
gone straight ahead

© Sarah Whiteley

it is a relief to not be raveled -
but rather to be finely woven

like a sweet grass basket,
or pale roots that reach deep
into the comforts of soil and loam

in equal parts flourish and succor,
I have discovered in us a landscape -
an expanse of trust and generous sky

and things between are not a tug-of-war -
darkness versus the light -

but rather quiet observations
on how sunlight coaxes shadows
into long, delightful things

© Sarah Whiteley

Four more days, and all the work craziness will finally be behind me. It will be a relief to be done and a blessing to once more have the time to actually focus on writing and reading. Be well, my friends – I’ll see you soon!

a brace of camellia buds,
pale gold and swollen,
nod knowingly in the rain

March puddles may come,
but the thrush still shouts
when he’s discovered his mate

April is at the threshold
and soon a parish of sparrows
will be singing themselves silly
in the branches of the wild plum

© Sarah Whiteley

tangled in the lines
drawn by your lips -
bursting red,
and wild as flowers

I savor the grace
of your hands -
I am as slow
as honey in them,
and as sweet

© Sarah Whiteley

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