Craig Wisner

Archive for October, 2015


I cannot recall the names or faces of my ancestors

further back than a single great grandfather

and this only seems to reaffirm

that we come from nothing

and return to nothing

dead and forgotten

in due time


I was lost again.

Following a stream, looking for sanctuary

temporary hermitage

-a canyon on the right catches my attention

its entrance a dry waterfall twice my height.

I start climbing

top out in a dry rock basin

carved by once raging floods.

A new fall is revealed

beyond this another

and another.

I keep climbing

tracing the rock walls

until finding a face too high to climb.


I lost myself again

in movement and breath

and an empty mind.

Red poison oak leaves, sticks

and  scree in my sandals, between toes

squatting on an outcropping

-comfortable at last





Three Coyotes.

Three coyotes

in the arroyo tonight-

yammering, snarling, squealing

excited by something cornered in a bush.

Two adults and a pup, a family

rubbing necks and biting

all mangy, ribs protruding

lean snouts scanning the air

strangely unconcerned by my presence.

Bald spots and matted fur

bodies thin and stressed

their eyes burn with wariness

a feral light

ears erect and alert.

Survivors, born and tempered

by the indifference of drought,

vanishing streams and chain-link fences

-mouse eaters, beetle eaters, cat eaters

always looking, always looking

never stopping

out there hanging on, if only by a strand.

Two Poems.

While counting smooth pebbles
and sorting my affairs
a spider strolls across the ledger.
My new office lies streamside-
beneath sprawling, weathered oaks.

Hold all calls, no visitors, please.

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Thinking of you, today, all of you;
the Cold Mountain poets
-who know their way back to the world but instead
choose the loneliness of trees.
The bird watchers and stream listeners,
connoisseurs of dragonfly flight
and falling blossoms.
To all those who carry the Burden,
who feel uncomfortably hot with the windows closed
even when it’s cold outside
-who find their cure in the smell of dark earth and moss.
I hope you find it.
I’ll be out looking, again, today
as soon as the other world lets me be.

Southward Bound. (10/10 thru 10/11/2015)

If backpacking is about taking to the wild and severing ties with civilization, bike touring the Southern California coast seems to be about skirting its edges and flirting with the perimeter. Riding paved roads and stopping for drinks or burritos, only to silently glide off into obscurity, lost to the rest of the world in the shimmering heat of untraveled paths.  The bicycle has always brought me a sense of freedom rooted in the relative anonymity they provide- being just some guy on a bike.  Seeing a person on foot on a remote road is unnerving and usually draws the authorities; seeing a cyclist doesn’t give much pause.  Bikes tend to glide under the radar, slipping through this world to their own rhythm. Rolling onward, sweating, sprawling out in the shade on curbs and street corners, cowering from the sun in laughter behind military gas stations.  Heat and asphalt, fried brains and missed trains…three fools on bikes, free, if only for 36 hours.

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