Monday, June 8, 2009


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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weather reports

forks of lightning, withdrawn
darts of rain
a huge glory over the water
light shining out of a sun-cave


clouds with their bottoms intact, firm, dark
stepping stones to the mountain
where they fray with rain


grey day
the sun sets in a gold commotion in the west

Thursday, May 28, 2009


she tried for years
to straighten him out
nowadays she contents herself
ironing creases into his jeans

bird spit

by a single bird
high on the wires
with inordinate aim
she felt herself selected

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


oh boy
said the old man who had just stubbed his toe on a tree root
this is really going to hurt

Sunday, May 24, 2009

90 degree turn

she stands outside the door
pulling on a cigarette
with that left-behind look--

society has moved on

Saturday, May 23, 2009

news from the other world, visited nightly

what a night
kitten in the water
the wallet, the blood test, the game abandoned in the middle
an avatar of the children—
from those parts of them that lie unused--
and in the morning, like handles
the words

Friday, May 22, 2009

holding the pose

by a thought-quake

Thursday, May 21, 2009

view from the hotel

swaying towards us
headlights in air
our windows part the stream

hoards of metal
arriving birds
reach for the ground with rubber claws

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

walking toward the darkness

at 75 she asked herself
while looking at her breasts
aren't you tired of having these?
cataract surgery? no thanks
my eyes fading to the details
as they should
after the old man died
his wife still gardened for years
"I'll just mess around a little longer
then I'm coming too"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

acting as if--
aiming for the door right beside heaven...

Monday, May 11, 2009

inner smiles all day because of what a dream whispered

the beloved departed---
sometimes they’re still available to us in our dreams
for long rides down the interstate, for instance
in a bakery truck...
tired of her illness
she stepped into the glass-walled garden
plucked a leaf, and ate the healing herb
the children chorused
they wanted me to be their teacher, but
a big man sat down beside me
and muscled me out of my dream

Sunday, May 10, 2009


the hesitant child gained fluency
by not correcting herself

(even the awkward are able to achieve
a level of competence over time)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

after the break

Once the devil goes home
and God withdraws His face into the clouds
and you are left with yourself, alone,
whom do you trust?

Not yourself.
Hug tight the bottle, pills rattling as you walk

morning city

A fast morning walk
adds swing to the day

The people are mostly in their houses,
(their cars, their businesses, their schools)
Out here it’s just me and the birds
a few stray gardeners
or old walkers
we greet like friends

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I imagine the rain eating
clattering utensils against the eaves
forking at the slopes above roads

scaping off with a butterknife
a thin film from naked mountain tops
a few more pebbles spooned away
from the mountain's slow life

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the back 40

cows, ducks, rabbits, hens
our edible friends
come running to meet us

war room--no damage

For birds it is a hands-off world
Whatever they’ve been discussing
with shrieks and cries, ramage
in the roomy juniper at the edge of the parking lot
the world will come to no harm from it

(birds use their hands to fly)
(in the hands-on air)

Monday, February 16, 2009

glimpsed on the way to somewhere important

the quail, jangling its little bell
runs into the manzanita bushes
rolled up like mossy boulders
against the leggy pines

Sunday, February 15, 2009

by the stream

scrub jays arriving on startling blue wings
answer each other's questions with questions

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


shall I peek out fearfully
from a corner of myself
or dare to be the force
behind my eyes?

Monday, February 9, 2009

alternate view

I see a small dark Jesus
slightly myopic
the load of love bending
his forehead down
shaggy beard, long black coat
briefcase, roomy, to accommodate
everything he owns

hurrying up to people in the bleachers
bending close,
whispering, "Remember--
the children--
they still know the way!"

when he leaves, much sighing before
the murmuring begins, "Yes, but
what He really meant
must have been
entirely something else..."

Monday, January 26, 2009

he sang a dream song, not with his mouth only

today the Spanish kids are playing
with the Korean children’s puppies

pedestrians on the sidewalk smile and greet
as after an earthquake

“I cried, brother, I cried
that such a thing can happen in my lifetime”

Saturday, January 24, 2009

more rain

what an anger the river
has gathered into itself
and now rushes to the sea--
the grinding of banks
gnashing of boulders
and in troubled recesses
silent accumulations of gold

Friday, January 23, 2009

light side

earthshine you're standing in
earthshine you are
when the sun comes bounding in
to warm you

at once poetic, scientific
and mathematical
it reflects off our foreheads
at predictable angles

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

state rock

spilling out of hillsides

having been accustomed
to supporting water
by the oceanweight

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm ready at last

to apply for citizenship here, now

Monday, January 19, 2009


pouring rain
our superior intellect
fat, wet squirrel
at home in his fur in the tree

Sunday, January 18, 2009

preparing dinner in a glass pot

through transparent crustal plates
we can see the inner workings of the planet
roiling rock, blue darting flames
plutons rising and descending like parachutes

Saturday, January 17, 2009

sugar pines
stretch forth their arms
welcoming, though with bare regard--
they like to have their seniority recognized

Saturday, January 3, 2009


we came to praise
so our voices, herded together
could plead your reality down

to walk here among us
in justice and wisdom
we're somehow not able
to conjure up for ourselves

all the sadness banished
the yearning quenched
your light to wander among us
in sudden new landscapes
of joy and acceptance
and unending wonders
that our eyes, cured of darkness
would now be able to see

(for the children)

very soon
probably today
someone will want you to be
smarter, quicker, straighter, taller
hairier, prettier, stickier, smaller
stumpier, less willowy
bony-er, less pillowy
smilier, curlier, burlier, meaner
pricklier, sillier, lighter, cleaner
(did I forget anything?)
well, do what you must
but what the world really needs
is for you to be more...more...
what was your name again?
yes. you. more you.