Friday, May 30, 2008

We’re very impressionable
Throw us into the middle of a different movie /dream
And we’d believe that too

From one dream she
Fell, dreaming
Into another
believing all the while

Somnial roads (I did it myyyyy wayyyyy)

Square-cut niches, shelves in clay
Dusty window, cobwebbed, gray
In passages I traveled by myself at night
To get there my own underground way

(underground chambers now fallen in
or closed off by spiders
you can’t go that way again)

flat against the sky

hawk or buzzard, mistaken for eagle
until an osprey happens by
evenings the osprey go fishing over at the hatchery
uttering high-pitched eagle cries
at the cry
I looked first to the human
but it was impossible
it had to come from above
two osprey
turning wheels over the city

Thursday, May 29, 2008

fellow light, so briefly shining

removed the gaze from her eyes
took the verve
and left us with this stiffness
this stillness
erect ears, body still clad
in perfect

we laid her in the ground

I have been reexamining
my attitude towards the ground

crow and raven notes

the tips of their wings
a little curl

sunlight with its long train
is shining on a glistening wet surface
young crow on asphalt, begging
following another
swinging its black tuxedo from side to side
crows to juvenile, a too-persistent child
still demanding to be fed
you can’t stay here
it’s a pair bond, not a benevolent society
cries building to this black confrontation,
feather-flap through branches and down into the grass
they are harassing their parents, begging raucously with open beaks

edge of the parking lot, in the puddle
one parent continues to fulfill his duty, wading in the water, showing them
here’s food

again I find myself asking the question
though I already know the answer
suppose one of theirs
won’t learn

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


dissolves the light
from the stained-glass windows
the clash of battle subsides
from the bottom of the staircase
flee the echoes

real morning shines through
the tunnel of doorways
for the murderess
surprised to wake innocent
among mirror glass, ceramic
stainless steel

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

dreams, fears

alone in the house
while mother went dancing
night pushing black
against the midnight panes
fear looked in the window
with goat’s beard and long horns

stretch marks in the air--descending wires
a witch alighting in the trees
a force you cannot fight, or save yourself

cracks one day, shouts
deep in the leafy woods
sweating men and whipped horses
dragging tree trunks past the house
in heavy chains--gashed earth
the creek ran in mud

I dreamed my life was over
when giant logs turned, rolled over on the house

hauled not by horses, but enormous oxen
spike-horned, swaying in tandem

I followed them later, another dream
to revisit such a fear
but found them grazing in mellow sunshine
flowers dangling from their lips

sorting through some old dreams

I can tell the dogs have grown
since my daughter brought them here for me to tend

three tawny pups, the male lion-like with a short mane

In the long intervals between dream visits
I must have forgotten to feed them

Tired of waiting, they had gone to final sleep on the straw

I don’t want my daughter to find out!

Monday, May 26, 2008


I’ve been dreaming of an ideal world
where the winner wins
and the losers are honored
for giving what they had

Sunday, May 25, 2008

taking action

she shrugged as she watched her losses accumulate

everything that was left
she began to fasten down with words
novel: a story dreamed for us by a different sleeper

Swinging my arms

Walking the patchwork
of old concrete and new asphalt
over cracked geology
in the wilderness of houses
between the hills and the waters
I’m not lost

By now, the exhaust of the buses is nesting in my body
The wind from the sea blows both me and the weeds
busy taking back new native ground

Saturday, May 24, 2008

upon reflection

thanks be to the red dog who barked a warning
thanks to the hail of footfalls down the driveway
the man vaulting over the fence (flash of white hood and the red dog)
to the back fence, up and over
thanks to the policeman in blue who almost had him
breathing hard in the back yard
thanks be to the helicopter, circling
the sirens up and down the street

thanks to the warm bed, round pool of light
paper, the pen

Sunday, May 18, 2008


the plants won’t grow
in the yard, the earth
tamped down below the level
of the walkways,
half buried plastic toys
cries, curses
another puppy, tied
new consolation child
so much anger breaks a window
seeps into a neighbor’s house
An argument before the house
loud voices answering each other
belligerent with force and life
pull back in alarm and consternation
Mary, with her trust and lack of guile
disarms the fiercest mother
what distinguishes you from your neighbor--
you have electricity
something other than
shorts and t-shirts for the snow
you never scream at the children
get the fuck out of my room
“she’s not
minimalizing her life,
just poor”

relentless blue

Californians watching the weather channel--
Any hope of weather today?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

generation gap

in children stories, I could never
look the devils in the eye
but noted where they were
and turned two pages at once

my daughter keeps hers
on a shelf by her bed
so she can say
goodnight and good morning

Monday, May 12, 2008

note to the halves

you don’t know what you want because
what you want doesn’t matter
life as an interpretation, as vision, as art
heroically carry
your life from a deep center

Saturday, May 10, 2008

the rewrite

born of woman so hard to take
better: springing intact from the forehead of a God
still better: a complete reversal: small loss to a man
of some insignificant part
rib, one of several


I answered the cat that blinked her round eyes at me
Crimped ear was her answer

Sunday, May 4, 2008


she liked to hook my robe with her claws
and lean back against my arm like a child,
exposing a neck of white plush

wiped herself down pre-nap on my desk
so she could go to sleep in the blue
plastic basket on the bills

Friday, May 2, 2008

an only hen
top of the pecking order
expects me to fight for my position

it must be something good for you
administered with motherly intonations
a painful peck

makes do with the company she has
alternately squats, pecks, and begs for cheese

the god of hens dictates closely
does not allow one to choose
heaven or hell

remembering when (I had some too)

not so crazy
as to talk to chickens
the hen and I,
engaging in duets

Flees the night into the racoon-less space

the scruffy outside cat has taken to dashing between our legs
welcomes me into bed, running her little motor

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

home sale dream

in her pastel living room, accented with fur
pick up any ornament,
squirrel, skunk or baby bear
and it is an animal, sitting still in its skin

stripes, tails, ears
among the houseplants, performing as d├ęcor
she is tired of them now

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nye springs

listen carefully, he said
a rhythm has to beat somewhere in the music
but the water

overflows the pool and falls
divided overflows the stone
clearly in small arcs
falls white in foam


Sometimes, and at the same time, an alongside child
is born from the first child’s left-over attributes
(It is always sleepy)
You don’t have to feed it, nor enroll it in school—
It’s an extra-curricular child.

proposal (for an art project?)

Take a truck carrying pipes
and fit them with reeds
Drive the highways, fluting

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


drove home from the station after midnight, happening upon
a pickup, haphazardly parked on the hill
and two young men ecstatic over their discovery—
below them, on a siding, bright and hot on the back of the train
the Olympic flame

being pulled unannounced, unknown through towns
on a special car, constructed to carry fire
blazing just for them, their personal flame

Monday, April 7, 2008

saw some cedar waxwings yesterday which reminded me

cedar waxwings
on the invisible staircases
between the pyracanthas and the oaks

masked popping berries
in the pyracantha's flames

shrill cries from the oak trees
necks craning, cheering the robbery
till the fire is extinguished

wing-storming past the house
a hard knock on the pane--
this one will not fly again

Thursday, April 3, 2008

unlike the artist

nature never gets tiredpainting centers in her flowers
that’s not all she does, that’s not all
the details continue
to the microscope’s highest magnification

(nature presented each flower with an I
to paint its own center in)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

jornaleros at the corner

passing all that standing and looking
it’s late
shading of eyes, craning of necks
kicking of curbs
passing all that hoping


The man in the wheelchair looks
over at the woman with the crippled hands
"How can she stand to live like this?"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

all hens are redheads

the scrub jay by the garden gate
knows a bird when he sees one
lets the chicken walk right up to him
though all she's got left from molting
is one tail feather, behind

the chicken, red decorations on her face
her feet always dirty, from where she's been scratching

yesterday's me

A previous self cannot be trusted.
Otherwise, why am I revising these words?

Monday, March 31, 2008

even in darkest woods

in the gloomy spaces
between tree trunks
flakes of light, hovering
here a slanting light shaft, broken
there a twig tip
triumphantly illuminated

to predict

carsick, wedged in among travel bags and crates
peering from underneath canvas flaps on the truck (illegal)
on the way to the harbor and the SS Seven Seas
but not unhappy to be leaving
next school year they were going to teach us English
and I was sure I wouldn’t be able to learn

Sunday, March 30, 2008

musical city

bring your flute, piano, organ, orchestra
play the pigeon notes
crowding the staff
of electrical wires over Fruitvale Avenue
to the motors, flapping tires, to the sirens
add your pigeon music

Saturday, March 29, 2008


a photograph is barely a reminder
the sun does not touch your face
you and the river are not breathingthe same air
and you’ll never know
what the photographer left out

whether she stepped in from silence
and miles of valley or the sound
of a leaf blower from the million dollar
house up on the hill

wood smoke, incense of a cedar?
or smell of sewage, rotten apples
fishermen stabbing the river with their poles

Friday, March 28, 2008

the way it works, dear

someone made him
get up and go to work
and now he rides
at the head of a long blast
the ladder of the tracks
up into the mountains
laid by others
who were made

Thursday, March 27, 2008

political comment

yellow ribbons plastered on the backs of our cars
didn’t help