Here: Poems on Place

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For Father���s Day, a little poem about my dad who taught me much about how to be present in time and place. And another poem-sketch of a favorite ���here,��� the place where my soul feels most at home on earth.



���Are we there yet?��� I asked my dad on the long road between school days and summer at Grandma���s house.

���We���re here!��� he always retorted, regardless the location.

I am here now. I am here. I am now. I am.


Needles Overlook, Canyonlands, Utah

���Earth. Rock. Desert. I am walking barefoot on sandstone, flesh responding to flesh. It is hot, so hot the rock threatens to burn through the calloused soles of my feet. I must quicken my pace, paying attention to where I step. For as far as I can see, the canyon country of southern Utah extends in all directions.��� ��� Terry Tempest Williams, Desert Quartet: An Erotic Landscape (written from the same vantage point where I sketched the following)

hot sandstone���my palms, undersides of hands and feet���know you intimately, though I would lay my whole body, naked, against your smooth heat and rise red���underside and back���as

your skin; I walk, heels weighty, circumambulating like the pilgrims at Ka���ba in Mecca, clockwise ���round, like the march at Jericho, marching until I fall down and there is no space between me and thee, no

space between you and the layer lower���Navajo, Kayenta, touching Wingate next to Chinle sandwiching Moenkopi with Cutler;

and above me and around sky cuts through my soul in blue curves, lines, jags, this way and that, no particular order, dismembering me with only glances from every direction; the sky, yes, cuts me low so I am just one more

layer upon Earth; maybe someday geologists will come here and add my name to the list: Joelle, Navajo, Kayenta ��� and the wind will carve me up more and the rain will run me down into the Colorado and my

red blood will course as a river between solid canyons endlessly wearing thin


How do you experience the sacredness of here? How do you remember your place in the universe, your connection to all that is?

Image of Needles Overlook by Joelle Chase

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