Tuesday, June 30, 2009

(spacers, as in a necklace)
we have to remain separate to contain a separate fire

Monday, June 29, 2009

same old, same old

each weekday the mailman
angers the same dog

visits and visitations

The old, not so very dangerous

You do not have to have a plan
By itself, my body breaks into a smile

pooled in the hall--
(these things are not important)
(describing these lets them take on a false importance, do you see?)
greeted by the stink
of forgetfulness, unbound bodily urges
the breaths-upon-awakening
exhalations of spent stems
from flowers too long in vases
crazy laughter from the boy without a bladder
Theresa, on hearing herself groan
feels less alone

coiffures and nail polish, lipstick and earrings
on the propped-up old, waiting
feather-light in carriage wheel-chairs
for family to come and take them home

“Listen, dear, I don’t live far. Can’t you give me a ride?
I’ve been waiting here for such a long time.”

Earl, I love him
his face turns red
when I read to him
he cries

Leila, lovely in pale pink
and a little straw hat

back to pre-speech
variations in tone and timbre
a flute and a hum
innocence returned to her

rising inflections on the way to a question, “oh are they...”
parts of statements left hanging, “yes, that’s a...”
an opinion stated, while smiling into a smiling face, “no ”

common, farmer stock
pale, lipless, cave of her mouth--

does battle for her perceptions
bursting right through her confusion
to make a statement, any statement

a definite conclusion drawn from an imagined occurrence--
“I got them to give me a beer”

there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her
though it frightens them when she talks of things that never happened.

“I’m ok, I guess. Only I have to waste my time, come here and sit all day, you know, when I have small children at home, the youngest only, what is he, six by now I guess.”

no crying
around the lunch tables we tell jokes
short ones so
we still remember the beginning when we get to the punch line
Estelle, hooked to an oxygen tank
chortles into her coffee (she’s hoarding two green cups at once)
“I’d give anything for a highball”
(make that a 7-high, if you would)

motions an arthritic claw towards her plate
I pick up a fork and feed her
She thanks me, unaware
we’re saving each others lives

Sunday, June 28, 2009

from the viewpoint (vandalized, graffitied)

the fields laser-straightened,
the fruit trees equidistant
their shadows aligned

the subdivisions
are securely fenced
so the houses cannot escape, stray into
the surrounding fields

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Worlds in Collision (Immanuel Velikovsky), etc

I wouldn’t push the truth too much
or regulate the child too precisely

bad science makes for good dreams
a great education

hope from a book that’s badly written
but too exciting to put down

in the cracks between
the inefficiencies and inattentiveness
of the imperfect teacher
flourish little lives


being good at something--
not always a recommendation
but a competition

on the campground

I don't mind the children
It's the parents
giving in to anger, lies
when a quiet word would do

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I accept what I'm guilty of
my mother, not so much

corn fed

cows genetically stupefied
held on blackened ground
under a wide umbrella of stink

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

advice to self

don't be afraid to look foolish
it gives others courage


tomatoes–-hand-ripened, slow-picked

Monday, June 22, 2009

Two more dreams (it wasn’t real, but I did live it)

I said tomorrow is going to be my lazy day
but my dream knows better
comes at me with mops buckets...

Although it hasn’t rained in months
no matter how often I repair the roof
water continues to drip from the ceiling...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Art Project

every Sunday, the priest
climbs into his plane
secretly sprinkles
holy water from the windows
he wants to bless the city

Whiff of Cologne

(we could see the cathedral in the distance
but construction barred the way)

five remember the city not only for its fine cathedral
but the actions of one old man

who, seeing our out-of-town license plate, led us
past detours through construction zones
directly to the underground garage
stopped to point us to a parking stall
and drove on

Thursday, June 18, 2009

(before it becomes entrenched)

not yet sure of its position
everything the child touches, sways

the teacup with the tiniest flowers
lost its handle on the floor

they drank from broken teacups

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ney Springs

no one needs to prune these trees, arrange these rocks

this is not a park
uncorrected lies the glade

(there is nothing to be done here and there is everything)


let the rocks be hot and the water glacier cold
the logs span the rock piles
dead sticks remain in the trees

let the bumblebees swing
back and forth like pendulums
unaffected by my breathing

let the birds be silent or insist

exposed roots hang, curtain-like
side pools reflect the shadows
fallen leaves float flat
let the water striders stop and start
over colorfast stones
on a clear ceiling

let the dark moss soften and envelop
stone wall and hillside

the spiders continue to wire the canyon, the sun
glide on their filaments

let the sulfur spring continue
to overflow its bucket-round concrete pool

let the plywood covering the larger pool
continue to warp and splinter
the concrete steps detach from the hillside
the fine, almost dainty debris
accumulate on the path

the rock, appearing
continue to work its way out of the ground
blue and white stippled, the color of old enameling

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

impress (1)

carved black marble
the light just so
bronze cherubs in the vaulting
floating between them
the Polish crown

I remember this place
or another exactly like it
another dark tomb

left-over mysteries (2)

a medieval street and
a funerary chapel
in a cathedral deep in Poland

twice I returned
in wonderment

what deep well
of memory
connects us?

Monday, June 15, 2009

imaginary conversation after stopping at convenience stores, the length of California

Studying English?
Yes, I’m going to visit the States
Really? What part?
Oh, that won’t do you any good there...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Belinda encaustic notes

memorable colors, textures
filling in the squares of an orderly life
partially or completely, or with overflow
out to the edges of the painting,
honey running down the sides

(a few are filled in half-way
to a rupture
cascades of wax solidifying over
a bottom-heavy canvas)

(some thick and gloppy, slowly clotting)
(others, liquid, faster, shoot out the top like a geyser)
try to be consistent in your admirations
which muscles do you use to be true?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

at Box Canyon

the dam in massive silence
among the interactive trees


happening upon
a statue in the wilderness
begin to pray
to the best in both worlds

Friday, June 12, 2009

at Eileen's

beautiful the room
the carvings intricate
costly the chandeliers
no matter. Once you sit
down with the others, there you are

eyes pulled outside to the trees,
the hills, hoping for a distant raft of clouds
to hurry on this way, bring wind

at Mary's

take off your shoes—
contact with the same ground
the teacher walks on

listen to no one’s poetry
who will not reveal their toes

Thursday, June 11, 2009

she's getting old too

purpose-driven life?
not for this cat
asleep upside down among towhees and sparrows
pecking at seeds on the new seeded lawn

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


her poor dishonored body
she tries to think, plead, order it into place...

(the brain, in its capsule
aspiring to become commander
of the whole darn rocket)

(the body, with its own will and intelligence
regards the brain as an add-on
latecomer, would-be usurper)

...which finally responds, expands
into the true position

Monday, June 8, 2009

it’s a long way through Nevada

simplify, simplify, says the landscape
mountains in their stony essence
blank valleys
repeat, repeat
driving through an endless
mid-day still life


she must have decided that
to have a clean house
cleaning is too high a price
to pay

Saturday, June 6, 2009

importance of words

the cat stares, round-eyed
when I look up, she heads towards the door
now that’s just plain English

the dog projects his wish
directly to my hand
that last little piece of meat
won’t you lean it down to me?
it does

the black man did it! (another false accusation in the news)

If there’s any crime to be done, I’ll do it
That way it will be easy to tell who’s responsible

Friday, June 5, 2009

noisy news (from the neighborhood)

the mockingbird
and the jackhammer
in duet

police helicopter
in circles over the house

new neighbor
at the top of her lungs

Amtrak sultry-soft, two tone
reminds me
you can get out of here

Thursday, June 4, 2009

words about Anne

her paintings are modest, hold back
reveal themselves slowly, over time
as your eyes adjust to their tranquil light

in folds and niches she concealed them:
silks of countries changed forever
bits of wheat fields
laces of streams and, I happen to know,
a mountain, entire

the fabric of her life is woven
into grass and soil
beneath the placid horses
lazing or grazing in the surface sun

and did you notice
the Sandhill cranes just arriving
or have they just left

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

progressing through the age brackets

the controls loosened
sounds began to escape her lips
she learned the strength of her emotions
surprised at her surprise

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I stop for gardens

pausing before a house
a patrol car happens by
watching me
case the spinach

Monday, June 1, 2009

wind today

jerking the tethered wires

the orange plastic ribbon caught on the fence
waves like a hand

and beyond, rising and falling
great lungs of the eucalyptus