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Here: Poems on Place


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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