Diapheromera arizonensis

Arizona walking stick

Karen Falkenstrom



Dear Life

                                                             "further main silence career miles defense makes.

                                          leader scenes eastern commission practice wants work osama.

                                                      Everything had been done that was humanly possible."

                                                                                                              -recent email spam



I. An Environment


For months, the news has sifted like dust

through the fissures of the hours.

Caught in the usual eddys,

thumbing its nose

at the dried-out weather stripping—

it gets everywhere.


You could say, it has a knack for survival,

but I'd say otherwise.


Survival requires intention

so deeply ingrained

it defies our notice.


News, on the other hand,

is arbitrary; it has

no genetic advantage, is wholly

uninvested in itself

and cares not for what it spawns.


What's worse, the news

calls attention to itself. It is not

evolutionarily wise.


What matters most deeply

is usually ignored.

It is subtle.

It might continue infinitely.



II. A Bug


Since you look like a twig

and you walk,

you are so named.


A poetic sensibility

might wish you referred

to the object by my door,


made from a saguaro rib and

meant for the long desert hikes

I take too few of.


But in truth, your name

is as unassuming as you

would like to appear.


There, among the

thousands of branches

you could be a multitude


locked for hour and days

in the throes of carrying on,

quaking as the leaves quake,


sure of nothing

but your inestimable life.




Karen Falkenstrom received an MFA from the UA creative writing program in 1992. Over the next decade, she served as Director of the Tucson Poetry Festival, Event Coordinator at the UA Poetry Center and co-founded Kore Press. In 2002, she co-founded Odaiko Sonora, Tucson's Japanese ensemble drumming group, and later established Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, AZ's only artist-owned performing arts incubator space. Honors include a 2008 YWCA Woman on the Move award and the 2009 Arizona Arts Award. She is currently a performer and teaching artist.