Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Thoughts on Will

There is spirit in these creations.
Life despite it all shines out
From cars, houses, chairs,
More inarticulate maybe than nature
But just as needy. It wants to
Change us, so we vibrate with what
Grows outside.

But we can’t perceive this constant
Grace, the swirls on concrete that speak,
The squeal at the gate that needs listening,
The copter that needs to know it’s not mere
Dragonfly — it's like these steel shapes
And polymer personalities
Still are not worthy.

Even now we see the animals and plants
As senses to engage, real somehow,
Not like what we created, though
It always was that other mind,
The one that lets us think
It’s our decision,
Our plan.

The notes of a piano play, still alive,
From 1953, not what we want it to say
But what it is, what we would call
Breathing, if we didn't fixate on
The differences in our faces, in trying
To make the common
Stand apart.

The water expressed in a fountain's
Trap knows a freedom, like these
Words I capture that move on,
Nomads in the monad, to some
Frequency that calls
In certain turnings
Of the wind.

So we who are fixed, who can
No more evolve, may see
Celestial spinning
Of what we’ve set free,
With the look of the horizon,
The taste of apples, the sound
Of baby birds.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Regrets of the Hive Slave

And so the feel becomes the real
With nothing but antennae
To protect us from the hidden
The world inside no longer viable
Encased in a fear of the other

True immortality dies
As the waves of desire are conjured like a cobra
By the old invisible wands

A flurry of codes and numbers
A library of explanations
But nothing anyone says makes any sense
As what is real

The life within cannot be shared
It has no voice
It has no name
It only glitters with all heaven has to say
And nothing more

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Photos by Nan Goldin

The faces look so holy, so guilty,
Imbued with hues of blue,
But what they do, so angry
With finality, whatever suffering
They possess isn't there.

It’s in their eyes, with lip caught
Hanging mid-thought, hair
As it’s pulled back taut.
It overwhelms the streets
And rooms and piers
Like lights on chandeliers.

One wants to cradle instead what rots away,
Some dated monograph, some player
From the 50’s, some image
Of what stays, what never breathed
Our air, or made us disappear.

The gesture that cancelled is sweeter
Than the eye that never ends.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Words Again

Too much has been said.
           Will my last breath
Redeem words that were,
           when they understood,
Unfeeling, parsimonious
but voluminous, mellifluous
When I didn’t have a clue
of the damage I could do
Where silent people lived?

How could one be wrong so many times
            unless convinced that he was right?
And think that insight could be held inside a line
            like a shadow holds a branch
When everything’s already known,
            it’s just some children finding out?
Perhaps their smile is not the one
            that says they’re first to shore,
Perhaps it’s just a look of joy
            when trees give way
And the vista appears,

But it's a vista that’s so far away
            for what is needed here:
To receive an ice cream cone from someone,
            to prove that I’m not what they say,
To tell what I did, how it happened,
            who I am.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Report

How empty
light is
without us

tho we’re
by dark earth
and star rise

like we
have no will
only express it

as a back and forth
breath of
death and re-birth
in conscious turning

a report of what’s
too far below
for the Lords
to explore
for themselves

and we are
for the gleam
in our eyes
that remains
of the wait

for this, what has
happened to us
what we know
no more in need
of being

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dance of the Dilettantes

Moon clobbers everything;
       is nothing we think even real?
Our auras adjust like a hand
       at a party where
Everyone seems an extension,
       everything seems within reach
Of that old capricious heart that needs
       it just so, not too close,
Never far, we know how it is, exactly,
       we have lived it,
No matter how removed or concocted
       it seems, we can relate!

Oh the powers we have, to imagine
       the powers we have
And make them snug as a wet suit.
       They’re waiting for us now
To fall into their lap, with their pics
       of pizza and 9-year-old beagles,
Smiling like we belong there,
       and the quotes that they steal
Seem made for us in that moment,
       Who are on a first name basis
With presidents, date A-list royalty
       exclusively, know every ancient land
And every plot twist intimately, as if we
       could sense any trap.

There’s no distinction between what we hear
       and what they are saying,
Though the tapes, when they’re played back
       never validate our faith,
There is only a hiss, as if we were never alive.
       We’ll call it the still voice of yes.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Building an Enclosure

Iguana Boy lays out his sadness at least
Like a man:
Uncompensated play …
The pain of unconsummated dreams …

Such a rich broth he stews in
Yet I can’t make the smoke blow away,

For I’ve been escorted in my day as well
From construction sites bearing insulation lungs,
No parents to teach me my value was zero
And no clue how to be, like the fool, carried over,

And I’ve done my children’s impossible math problems for them
While they gloated from the kindness of another room
At how stressed, when they requested me to do it, I’d become.

And I’ve felt every fiber that held me together
Break at the not-unkind words of a teacher
Who revealed how the world regards me.

And I’ve been enraged
At all the little queens and kings of the realm
When they scream to be protected from society,
But have backed off from ending their dreams prematurely
Though I wanted to scream myself, perhaps with them,
Like an executioner begs to be forgiven.

And I’ve cast myself adrift down indifferent streams
On a porous splinter, where there’s no more questions
Pity can answer, to be free of the shore where
They commiserate, and pluck off the garish blooms
From themselves and hand them over,
Every one of them a tear.

It’s inconceivable how unconditional one must be
When everything is naked, broken and wrong,
But that’s all there is, when being accepted yields so little learned,
A world misconstrued, broken and wrong,
With no value in experience
Or wisdom gained from pain
And no one to oversee the rules who can be viewed
Only imagined.

How could I escape? From the one family?
The bubble in theory that saves what is mine
For me, and keeps others’ needs on the outside
In reality failed when I first tried to turn away
And saw the young astronauts fall to the void
On tethers that really did break
And I heard the hive mind remind me again
– In its kind computer voice – of my failure to act,
My intransigence at saving the doomed,
For they never were doomed after all, merely
Misplaced, free of time and space,
Rogues, just like me, forever learning how not to bend
But able to make a fire from what is.

It still warms,
Still is visible from far away,
Still offers a future of meaning.

There’s meaning in blue lights
And hair color products
But none yet, apparently, in the world.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sunset Chiaroscuro

A shadow over Commerce where the dream bins lie at ease,
7-Up machine lit up in green,
The Intermodals find their way as the dark patina falls
To tell the people where to watch, who to believe,

Who, at the shadow's moment, spoke with end-of-day smiles
Remembering nothing, of salvation's smattering of sun.
There's still light on ticket windows where a woman tries to buy,
But salvation is only for the doomed, individual.

Well-lit warehouse floors, silent cranes, grinding derricks,
No windows in the office parks beside their carless lots,
As a distant tribe of winter palms awaits rebirth, not death
Like the rest of us bereft of possibilities.

A practice field with families under fog lamps,
Worry fills the emptiness inside,
Cognitive relativity rules the roost
And grudge warfare vies for what belongs to heaven.

Security bulbs above the empty trailer cabs,
There is a world, it seems: a distant highway billboard.
The people stepping down the ramps await some kind of signal
But no one seems to know what it is.

Long lines of fluorescents in the halls of storage centers,
Whatever it is that's tucked away will not be seen by us.
At coffee shops with neon cups the taste of blood came back
And people only changed each other's minds.

The rows of spying white lights look on blind
While what hides behind glass frosting won't be seen.
The river shows its darkness as its currents catch the sheen
And it rolls along the voices whose words fell in between.

A gallery of forklifts, centered by the flag,
A concrete car wash box with metal gleaming,
And signs for Walnut Ave, Victoria Court but nothing's there
Like no one breaks the white of Pete's Dry Cleaners.

The people sulk away from all of this into the dark,
Marching where their passions lie, anywhere but here,
Down corridors with eyes inflamed, as keen as rats,
Having lost the trust of what they cannot see.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Afternoon Escape

Winter in LA, no one in the park,
Trees alive in sunlight, soundless and still.

Their radiant blooms await another's sickness.
The birds complain from perches far away.

I've walked these black brick paths in circles
Never finding what was needed,

A respite for my mind, solutions to the differences
Between us ...

So unimportant now,
As if a change in wind changes it all.

Yet still there are the crimson flowers shaking,
Like thoughts forgotten, waving madly in the void.

The One Thing Left Unsaid

My life
Flashing before my eyes
On a woman's curls
Like the shadow
Of a tree
Rips away
The street

We're only
When alone
Though it pains us
To see it
That way

In our warmth
Of sharing
A constant
Of facts
That are not
Ever true

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

When the Epikurean Are Defeated

Flowers drop on smooth concrete
In another garden these people are free

They know how to bear the toil
Of non-slavery

We can speak to them now, in smiles and concepts
Hands stretched out in lieu of hearts

What if all they need becomes a given?
Does it matter if they no more can want?

What will drive the legs to the next crosswalk
At First and Main, Royal and Squalor

When the hole deep inside
Can be lit with the lamp of the stars?

Monday, January 29, 2018

Putting Ladybugs in a Shoe

The winds come from the direction of the moon
Cities of sand bloom like skates across the floor
They push the seabirds back, turn wave crest into breath
The withdrawing tide a skein of tremulous veins

This sets up somehow the unexpected
What we glide through like the kites
Oblivious to the hand that holds the thread
Just the magnitudes of dust, the gust trajectories

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Drifting

Invisible planes
          take down invisible
But we hear a rumble
          above the ocean

Sand blows like spores
          from the feet of 
Running to the surf

Lights on the dock
         as Catalina rides
                  the burning
The horizon isn't ours to touch
        the lilac waves are veils
                  from what's beyond

What's moving
        but never
                  really known
Some surfers and some birds
       emerge in black like spots
                  upon a celluloid

The stories to be made
       are churning
Low light provides
       some shadow and some sun
The action is as real as
        our belief will make it be
Which is only what we know
        of what we see

So glimmers
       take the place of worlds

Sunday, January 21, 2018


Discernment is a curse,
Like doctors who listen to classical music
Don't really listen to classical music;
The river isn't understood with words.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Day in Booneyville

There's nothing but me in this world.
Still, there's a longing for what is not:
The wife across the street
Who seems to exist, enough to create
The stars and the sea around me
...But then the lights go out
And still it's dark.

The rain seems like something
But it is only the cinders
Of what used to be,
What was created here along Humane Way
In houses worthy of pleasure not paint:
Joyous barbecues over the freeway
Where on a good day one can see peaks with snow.

Only the past is real, what is here now
Is a theory.  What will it be?
The elephants the children see
Rising from the mist
Are just some Hindus from Pomona
Selling frozen rats for albino pieds,
Trying to turn the fern chameleon blue.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Card Game with Mr. Rothschild

The ripples of death
In the sand, in the sky
-- It's nothing to fear,
The old architect cries
But not quite like the seagull,
Who knows the higher mind
In the wrap of kelp.

A photographer strains
Against her bloodline
To capture what is,
A sunset, to share with
The world, what is not.

The trash rolls up
On the obstinate terns
Shrieking their victimhood
At what is not natural law,
Though its rules were observed
To the letter.

They can choose to survive
On the barrenest beach
Or fly further, holding the will
Of the manipulator
In opposition, never to use
The key to get out
Of the prison, thus,

Accepting the rules
Cos they must,
And maybe, if fate
Is sweet, to shape
A twisted pearl
Of hatred, that will
Stand for eons
As a beacon of truth,
Worth sacrificing for.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Rooster Redux

I wish you a dream as real as mine
So strong we could call it the same
And sense in the bread of each other’s minds
Something to share and to claim.

But all you can hear is my fear for you
How you can’t know the peace I can see
And none of my longing can ever get through
For the chains on your dream to break free.

There’s no you in me, as there is none in you
But there is how you feel, what you know,
And that is what love is, to enter that, true,
Without any vestige of shadow,

And if it is cracked, to wish for repair,
Knowing I can’t, knowing it’s damned
To want that, or to pass you like thunder
Even though that is what I am.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Dog Beach, New Year's Day

Notes elope
Not self
Not one

White grass
Not spirit
Not world

But the muzzles
Are equitable
In the gallop

Of social graces
Across the mirrored
Sheet of sun

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Art ... Descending

Our rubber-toed soles are holes,
The sandpiper tracks a language.

They surf the ridges
To the envelope's edge.

They know their invisible flight lines.
Our eyes are helpless to the setting sun.

They won't stop their hieroglyphic tread
For anything but wave fold,

For the truth of alphabets holds
But a moment.

We see the water's baby blue
Long after the red ball dissolves.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hope and Low Tide

Waves like stairs
Widening like a bow
To some target in the warp of ocean blue
An equation on a shivering graph
That maybe someday will explain
The Sunday feast for seabirds
On the plateaued glass beyond

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


The smoke on the hills defies
The words we use at a distance —
The fire never knows its cruelty.
The skyview forces a remove.
The truth
Is always invisible.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Chemset Left Unrecorded

When you read a poem a second time
It's a different poem
Because you forget where you've lived before

Though the tracks are entrained
With experience's trance.
It is for some other pupil.

Our eyes hold such light
For the lords of our ways,
What we call unrecoverable.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Poem with Saxophone

People try so hard to make it through the day,
Listless sheets of feeling, like stains along the road,
The heart would break for every face if you let it,
The unreachable, individual madnesses,
The brave in not knowing, the strong in being wrong,
Forbearing themselves without forgiveness,
Wanting others without a way to trust,
Sensing mercy in the turning of machines,
Chasing information like the sniff of cheese
In a mess of tossed-off messages, in the fuss there is with silence,
With the will to twist the surface noise to story
And hold shame in suspense to a “then what?” response,
But this merges with the bubbling fountains and moving engines,
Becomes a larger structure, clattering with patterns,
Something for the palm fronds to comprehend
And for the sun to waft through the mesquite fingers a tune,
What the lantana plays on the saxophone to hands of blue agave. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

After-Breakfast Back Yard

The clouds want to pick a fight. The light
on the stone taunts me to make of it
what I can. The black peppers glisten
with intent, decline to respond.

I try my hand at meaning,
imagine a discourse, hold what's heard
in the drape of my shadow.
The indifference is not unkind.

It's different with those who, prompted too
by inarticulate force, slop blessings from
bowl to bowl with remorse, for they need
to think of what is not as what is.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Tower Without Workers

The bars across the sky are your prison.
Unresponsive eyes guard your thoughts
From extending past your expanse of breath.
There are no words that are yours anymore
— The books now read "Property Of ..." and say you're wrong.

It's as if you've woken up
In a cottage on an endless field.
This is freedom — unyielding and cold.
How unappealing the evening heaven sky seems.
How easily everything burns.

You must turn away
For the fire inside your being,
Leave the alluvial shores behind
To where there's only the One,
A club that only the unescorted can join.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Imagination is the truth
          beyond appearance that seeps through,
Dispatches from intelligent light.

Can't we hold it in our hands
          the way we'd cradle an idol,
Make it glow its emptiness away?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Clear October Evening

The only ghost I see
          is my own reflection in the glass,
Which doesn't look like it could ever be real
          much less hold some key to nether worlds
Folded like cards into air

The night construction crew beyond the glass
          looks slightly less likely to
Disappear at any moment, though it does

But still the pull of the unseen
          calls through the lamp-lit boughs,
These bodies moving down the ramp
          must have something pulling them through,
A force to feed the stream or move the leaves

The past's crouched like a tiger
          in an empty field
Although you can't see that either

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

MacArthur Park Morning

Here's to the wounded ones
That the world moves too quickly to heal,
Who wait in line for the liquor store to open
Or break bottles on the concrete
Because the screaming's never loud enough,
Who travel the ring of hotels like feeder suburbs
To the pure rolling hills of sleeping sacks
And backpacks near and ready
Trying to be still.

There's nothing in this for them but pain
And the ways they can widen the sensation
To make it not hurt.
Human debris roll like logo-wrappered tumbleweed
As if they've never been sampled at all
Just moved from rejection to rejection
To a home where their plans don't have to make sense
And the geese in the pond forgive them
And the bars on the men's room aren't locked.

O love that drops from the sky
That I can be unworthy of the ones
Who've fallen so completely.
What a waste my life has been.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Vers Gnostique

What misdirects us is our need to know,
The only thing concealed by glaring sun,
Blinding paths illumined like blue runways,

For in the "not for us to know"
Lies the thing the whole grieves over,
What was lost on our way to here

And is not recoverable
Unless it was never real at all;
That's the way most grieving is.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Blackpatch Implications

I would deliver autumn's grapes to you
But fall is somewhere else
And so the force I would assume,
Your source for transformation,
Exists as perverse myth alone,
That's how quickly I turn
From steward into threat:
A sky that is not spoken for
Must not exist.

I was not content to have touched the garment
That glowed with how the greatest shame
Came with the greatest ecstasy;
I saw the weave as in fragrant sun
And found the words that stepped into others
But it was the thing not what it captured
I couldn't bear not to have,
The voice from another realm
Was not enough to merely hear.

A child, they said, can't think immortal thoughts,
The Gods are to be worshiped not adored,
And finally they stood apart, like toys too high
Holding back their joy as we rode the dirt
And became in coldness of distance a flame
Nursing the veils of our feeling
And all I could do was to turn to the light
With everyone else, and see in the faces
The thing that they lacked, the memory
Of what was lost.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Waking Up In Catalina

When I see myself in the Avalon Ballroom
It’s always 1936
And I am gloriously pearled,
On a champagne baron’s arm –
That’s the way it always is,
The present light is stolen
Like the tickets of dead invitees
For more detail in the tapestry
Where eyes become one gaze,

Not unlike these murals
Restored against the forgetting salt
With garish colors and distended forms,
What was never celebrated,
As if that’s all there was.
The real lies buried, never recoverable
Even in the moment it was alive,
And the light is only in the other

So we conjure a glow around the shadow
To madly reflect an outline in abstentia,
For shadows always hang on the goldenest fruit
And what they told us of this striving world
Was never true,
The impoverished were really holy
As the famous were cursed

But there were no lies to yearning eyes, we believed
In a purpose, in a value to life,
As cold and uncertain as that role made us feel
We were hungry to share a dispensation
That labors partook of the Gods
And not just the lots of the fallen
Bequeathed so we could learn together
The horrors we were capable of

As well as the wisdom
So far away
That deigns sometimes to buzz through our bones.
That is the diamond we want to steal,
The firefly in the Skippy jar,
It exists here and here – moving from body
To body – let’s give it a name and a plot,
As if what disappears
Could conquer, at least in mortal hearts,
The structures where the damned reside,

What we call heaven, in the moments
When the present melts
And ghosts assume a nostalgic glow
And there’s nothing outside the window but shapes
Of what we allowed ourselves not to be.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fire Dirt Suite

I. Island With People
Without the earth’s dropped tears, where would we be?
Banana leaves know how to dream, catching the one like rain.
The guardian faces with their stillness hold the flow intact,

Keep the water like saber-toothed stalactites before it falls again
Like a serpent across the sand, where vines offer flowers
Like lines of communication from the forest.

The sound is joyful, the constant deafening chime of what is
And always will be, a truth that’s so elusive it must be
Said, and heard, equally: What living seems like to the alive.

The rain draws blood from the bark. The water they call clouds
Moves in non-linear ways, south, then east, as in a dream,
Before it stops and pulls back, for a mad dash west.

Nene and ant don’t exactly wait for the rain to decide
When to come. It’s in the voice of the sky that speaks
Through their tongues, to share with the clouds as they pass.

And we, who sit in beach chairs, feel it’s a conspiracy,
What goes on without us knowing, this assurance of dove,
Machination of crab, quivers of lizards on boughs;

It’s all destined to make us look bad: red, fat and bad,
The denizens of Haoleland, who drive 4-wheel trucks into the sand
Because we can, but do not understand

What the aura round the leaves is saying,
Or why the birds go quiet at certain times,
Or how the driftwood finds the perfect spot to be,

Without a reason we can see, how it seems to be
Smiling at all this, what we are supposed to know
And voice, but don’t, so silent are the loud ones

As skies move across the surface of things,
Counting the breaths of the ocean as if it’s not
Our breath, as if it’s not a breath at all,

But a pattern built into time,
An equation required to balance the random,
One that denies the birds a mind and the rocks a will,

Just forces colliding at some distance from us,
Sparking coincidence thunderbolts
Across a dead and desolate space

Where the bodies huddle on the beach in the rain
Not obeying these dictates even, as they chase
Imaginary vistas, converse with impossible voices

And sit in an uncompromising dream
Where rock is not domesticated
And birds come ‘cos they ask them to

As if they never were
The promised blocks of granite
To fill the horizon with forms.

II. Beyond the Roosters

What words are in the spruce,
So articulate in sun, who even fallen
Leaves quills and redolent cones?

Still the bird at the top struggles to convey
What its waverings might say
— A spray of orange needles on the clay,
The berries turned so blue beneath its shade.

III. In Honeysuckle Season

Rainbow weather
The wind across the canyon
Like cast-adrift light

IV. Behind the Oil Refinery

At the old Buddhist cemetery
On the trash heap by the sea’s edge
The stones are knocked around,
Tombs broken off like trees.
The migrant families who survived have moved on.
Seventy feet below, trash continues to ooze out
To eventually become things of beauty:
Radiator rocks, rubber stones, uranium glass.
The green lichen on all the graves, too,
At the moment of sunset
Glows above the red, as evergreens swerve.

V. Rain Forest Politics

The trees that give the jungle life
Bow before the stream
That rushes ahead
Refusing to be more
Than alien
It throws off a reflection
The forest sees itself in

VI. In Nohomalu Valley

There are no Hawaiians beyond Kekeha,
Only the Department of Defense
To guard us from Polihale’s ghosts.

They float across the Mana Plains
And rest in these grey bushes, gaining
From black boulders whatever comfort they possess.

They have stayed so long beyond corporeal
There is no form, even, to their cry, only
The buzzing of a thousand flies near spectral carcasses.

They want me to sit there in a vague way
And in a vague way want me to stay.
The newer ones hide in the straw like cats.

The only other man out there at the end of the line
Knows nothing of the spirit world
But he knows drainage ditches,

How the fallow sugar fields have served
Their purpose, and how the water must
Now be preserved for endangered birds.

Faces rise above the crackling grasses.
Every town has disappeared without a story
— There was never any hope 

“Just leave us here, ye lovers of
Desolation and waste,
There’s no salve that you can render

“As you wander round in circles
And try to form the words we might have said.
What life was, you know less than us.

“The wind knows more, and will speak if nothing
Resists it. Maybe our voice will one day,
When our work is done, be in that sound.”

VII. Goodbye Kauai

As the first earphones have been lifted into place,
The first motivational speech put on the blank sheets

Of creation, the books, the games, the disputations,
What you called a bloom seems already non-existent,

A tacky kitschy tchotchke at best, what was only
In the dreams we carried in with us, an innocence.

The waves murmur forever, like the moonlit lips of lovers,
And the cane sways as if nothing has to happen anyway 

Such an Elysium sleep for the hardened immortals,
To float on a raft of endless peace in safety.

The woman led him to the cave inside the jungle
Of waterfalls and parrots and passion fruit raptures

It seemed so much a part of them, a laurel for their oneness.
What rides with their mind is something different:

An objection to what is, a nod to what can’t be,
A myth that can be framed or dealt like cards.

The island, whatever presence it once had,
Becomes the strumming of a tune on a summer afternoon

And all the blues gets in there too — how the sunlit palms
Still wave so far away, unfathomable, with the lilt of

How easily the real became illusion, because it had to be,
A sacrifice to the jealous gods of surveillance and portability,

As the most precious were once given to volcanoes,
An act of faith, somehow necessary.

Friday, September 29, 2017

99% Business, the Rest How the 1% Lives

"No crazies today," she cheerfully reported
and vowed to continue to upscale disruption
across the whole Carmen Miranda enchilada hat,
but she practically begged to deliver on a platter
as many diabolical show biz accounts as we could handle
though we were full already with images of oil drills
in people's yards and how the British gunpowder was stolen,
and then Oscar Wilde was waved over the proceedings
like a thimble of commie rum with burlesque bitters
to look down with benevolent animosity, like any good Victorian,
and I knew the velocities of change would find the right ecosystem
after all.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Lover's Journey

Love has a past,
It cross-references other stories,
Revises certain facts

But the original book,
Where characters and plot twists match,
Was committed to flame a long time ago

As if the lovers who are doomed
Will have no future, only that endless past
To rectify their acts

So when the new love comes,
Clear as a spring,
It could never have happened before.

Monday, September 25, 2017

End-of-Summer Bonfire in Los Alamitos

The bamboo has learned to be still
without learning the reason that it wasn't.
The grass where there once was a river
Lets rabbits pass through without bristling.

All that's allowed on the leaf-colored floor
is equally unknowable:
the why the squirrel bounds,
the how the alder bends,
dependencies are as hidden as faces.

Only the immovable sun could change
when creatures wake or dream;
what new perspective do we seek
in rustling the papers,
in breaking off the branches of the trees,
in knowing time to stop,
in willing space to yield
to check the outrage of perfection
that we think too much to comprehend?

The noise elongates to silence
in some unforeseen way, like the view
one can only see when rounding a cliff-side curve:
how it ends when it doesn't have to.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Lucidity of Phenomena

The birds feed
                           on the higher
                                                     octave of the river,
the ripples above the flowing line,
                                                               where paradigms 
form and dissolve
                                  as the clouds fall
                                                                  in a rich broth
for freedom's creation.

The water turns violet
                                         and so do our minds
                                                                               as we look,
as the lock of
                        seed and ovum achieves
                                                                     the greater sight
where all that's left is
                                        a blessing to give,
                                                                        a warble in the stillness,
where all that is
                             is so far
                                            out of reaching
but lives to have its existence
                                                      given life

— forgiveness to all
                                    that grew out of a deeper
                                                                                  need to be real,
but jettisoned from that
                                            like a breath, not to
                                                                                 journey back,
but to be perceived,
                                     loved into being,
what form only

This was desire once,
                                       these trees, these stones, these people,
but the lover can't
                                                     it only marvels at how close
they can come to its hidden,
                                                    unknowable heart.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Everything That's Happening All the Time

The mind is thinking
I am moving
But magnificent currents push against
Like equinox winds:
What cannot be resolved
Only experienced

I finally let my hair stand on end

Monday, September 18, 2017

Live Moon Cam Images

Everyone is here
To experience that ppfft
As worlds turn around
The self

Who plugs in like amplifiers
To glow with the knowledge
That once was holy
Worthy of libraries

But now we know as no more
Worthy of being saved
Than a dandelion seed
In the background of sky

The quarry we will call the self
Seems to grow more elusive
When in fact it's the shackles
Have become so small

We don't know they're even there

The Eccentrics

Everything speaks
But the people today
Who try to keep away
What they're dying to say

No constraints
On the rest of the tree
For growing from the mind
Is the need to say "I am"

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Canadian Girlfriend

Every guy, it seems, has had a fake Canadian girlfriend,
As bragging rights fantasy, at some point in time.

Mine, for example, just served me vegan poutine.
I felt that I could meet an Inuit without the need of a pelt.

But then the shared experience crystals hit,
The null set of the other

And it dawned on me:
They are all Canadian girlfriends,

That's the true true, without the shucking
On the irritable facts altar

(Maple leaf flag waved
In surrender).

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Technical Presentation

The scope of the sadness
Vast as it is invisible
Comes through in miniscule pauses,
Miniature gestures.
It is all that we can see.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


With enough light on the leaves
They are no longer leaves.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Songs of Avila

The sea must go somewhere;
It snarls in these caves
Blackened by its foam —
All that's left of a reaction.

The sound of water on rock
Is not the voice of the sea
Nor the mouth of the stone,
But it will have to do —

Wasted violence turned back and smoothed
Must be the answer to every question.

Eclipse at Aptos

A coastline of driftwood
Skeleton stacked
As if to support
The pier that's collapsed

Where the fish still believe
In marionette poles
And the pigeons still pray
At lovers' bare toes

But the pelicans roost
Past vanity's end
On a haunted guano island
Built from broken pilings
Where the slight return of
Light begins

Monday, July 24, 2017

Variations on a Theme by Ammons

Desert flowers, voiced by the wind, their spiked heads
and open blooms lean my way, ever so gently, as if afraid
but the wind pulls them away like a father
wrests wandering eyes from a rough-figured stranger.

The grasses, on the other hand, tune to much subtler
perturbations, above the fears and desires in closeness,
afraid only of missing it, the hidden inculcation.

The wind itself is left with the dead stalks
to state its case, for shivering and coming close,
how hard it is to flow, it stiffly asserts,
and the yellow flowers at the root of these dead
merely watch, in a kind of awe, though
all the wind can say to the living is "Don't be so lazy,
move!" (to the eucalyptus), and "Shake your pretty
tambourine in our choir" (to the bougainvillea).

The grasses feel it all but cannot say,
relying on the pink bloom nested in their bed
to offer a flicker at meaning.
And we, we go through their turnstiles,
twirling their ravishing plumage in the light
as their brothers and sisters whisper in the distant field.
They turn their weary fingers with such hard-earned purpose,
for they can hold so still, for as long as it takes
Herr Wind to summon its presence,

Which sends the mustard to pray, its bobbing bonnets
oscillating at the sky, and makes the ivy
fan the trees, throbbing with honoring, tells the new
oak shoots to reach beyond the who, what, where
they are in the soft persuasions of its breeze,

Yet the honeysuckle struggles, against the reminder
that summer's fat stillness will not be long, it
flails and gesticulates, thinking the recoil is who he is,
but calm returns soon enough, and quiet nodding, the lightest
breeze caresses it like a bee hugs a strand of blossom,

And the cool current flows like a mountain stream,
effortless as the day, and silent except for the sighs
up and down the hillsides, of those who wait for it,
as for a cloud to lift from the sea over a distant golden island.

"This distinction," the wind says, motioning all around, "has no
relevance, except as the parts are forced into a mouth to sing
what they are, that is, not what I am, who attempts to be their
king. A king? As if the symphony I orchestrate is in my name,
as if my nurturing, invisible, has a result that redounds to my
credit — no, my power is in the withholding, creating time
the curse in the waiting."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Another Temporary Identity

Silence is the only truth
        as it sifts between the queries
                of what should or
                       might not be,
Proposing an ever-expanding
        question wide enough
                to swallow the room
                       full of doubt.
Silence is the best
               or at least the best
Why then, is it like
        the earth will implode
               if you don't

Saturday, July 22, 2017

By the Glaciers

The hanging rain forest strands
       And moss-mound floor:
Everything has shivered off its white
       And is squeaking color:
Life supplants life, as if there is
       No living thing, no form
To ascribe a good or bad condition
       Through circuitries of blame,
There's only quality of light,
        The way the truth, in being
Articulated, takes the essence with it
         On its endlessly rising wave,
Leaving the salty snow melt grass
         In frosted radiance
With the bullseye lichen
         And the pink wintergreen,
Even the late afternoon, as if they
          Are alive
Like the look of the fireweed,
          The sound of the stones.

Friday, July 21, 2017

In Victoria

Float homes, glass madhouses,
A folk duo in red caps who hop
At the end of every song,
Canadian geese, finally at peace,
Gliding through galvanized ripples
As the wind turns the maple leaves
To Theatre Alley, Orchids for Uma,
The Lee's Benevolent Association,
The Flying Otter's drunken a capella.
Seagulls take over the sky
When the moon goes under.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Some Inner Passage Views

It's how peacefully white folds into black,
The abundance of lack
As the sun scatters living light over the waves
And the many dimensions arrive
And leave just as mysteriously,
Like mountains that offer glimpses of eternity
Before assuming the shapelessness of cloud.

It's an invitation to what never seems to come,
Just ice shrouds on pine islands, crystalline tree lines,
Fishing boats with hooks in pink half-light
That passes for sunrise here.
The mist sweeps by like powder to reveal what isn't there.
The smoke of a deeper war
Explodes in the cold distance.

Because we are curious, we can see
Until how we want the story to end
Leaves fingerprints on our eyes
And we go blind to possibility,
Tapping the stick of our will on the hard mystery
Of whether the illusion can be kind enough to be real
Or we ungracious enough to mind if it can't.

Snow negotiates the crags like a jagged, eternal smile
To snag whatever life it has left
From the sudden, inextricable fall
Off the hanging vapor that hugs the hills
Carved and torqued into divine curves that like the falls
Find new life, in the inner eye, the iridescent purples
Of what needs to exist but cannot.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Two Alaska Towns

Catch as Ketchikan Can
The prison nestled in the glacial cliffs
Where the hemlocks swallow the houses
And the mountains are swallowed by cloud.
They were so kind — their rounded eyes —
And glad as we were we were going.
Now the party begins.
You can hear the screaming from the harbor.

Skagway as a Destination
The Arctic Brotherhood and Red Man's Improvement Association,
Plum storefronts and red bumblebees,
All to celebrate the tragedy
Of gold panners flowing upstream
Like silver salmon to die.
Now the lure of tourist ore
Brings these pale green streams once more to life.