The Fine Art of California Forest Fires

by Stanley Moss

As I walk out one evening through white ashes,
a week after nothing glows in the motionless
grey and white ashes of forest fires,
suddenly my feet are burning,
the roots of trees are still on tire.
Most forest fires run uphill. I run downhil.

I hide in a metal tent. Appalling words
often have different meanings now,
according to our needs. The arts have different fires.
The ways we paint a nude body and soul
have different meanings.
Singing in the streets, translations
have different meanings. The arts
embrace, hug, roll uphill, a ball of fire.
Justice is blind, government's a guide dog.

Every living thing is born free, dependent.
I could make a long list of what's dogmatic.
Mother's milk and rat's milk are political
as is the scorned milk of human kindness.

Last updated December 17, 2022