Sunday, August 30, 2009

it's just good feng shui (Dunsmuir take note)

suspend some wind chimes in the canyon--
the river, the railroad, the freeway and the wind
blowing through town through opposite doors

Saturday, August 29, 2009

mathphobe mutterings

one number is pretty much like any other

stored on slanted shelves, they slip off

Friday, August 28, 2009


from a child I learned
it's ok to be easily hurt
it's ok not to understand
it's ok not to want what others want you to want

from a dog,
bark sometimes
don't let just anyone come near

from the cat,
disobedience does not kill you
("Come here." "No, thanks.")

Thursday, August 27, 2009


the cat gallops past to play
I chase her under the dining table
her legs distinguishable from all the rest

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

surviving the landmine

at peace--she’s not a burden to her family--
they’ve sold her into slavery--

on bare ground with her one leg
her hands weave the rhythm of her days
she had hopes, but they are dead
nobody wants me now, she said

Monday, August 17, 2009


suppose we really did
love one another
what would that look like?

Saturday, August 15, 2009


...standing on some foreign threshold
the fear, a fur on my back

where is that gold-paved road
the stone lions, the iron door
who has the formula?

where the dwarf to lead me
through this wind-torn landscape
shreds still flapping from the bones of trees...

I watch myself
trying to flee a terrible dream...


from the door
the view is wide, wide!
it seems that this is where fulfillment lies
and greatness
and slipping of the yoke
one step...

so why is my heart racing?

it is grey, and cold
I am alone
it seems a violent wind has blown
the air away

this freedom feels too much like dying

the door has gotten very small
but I know I must get in

Friday, August 14, 2009


snow with a bite--
dunes, knife edge
in dagger formation
gnashing under your boots

Saturday, August 8, 2009


when I make a statement and you negate it
and I restate my statement, softening my stance
I’m not bowing to pressure
I’m restating my original position
refined for accuracy

Friday, August 7, 2009

yard list

gazing balls
purple plastic windmills
yellow wagon, red petunias
terrier with a serious underbite
snarling & snorting

Thursday, August 6, 2009

gray days

the bay area was hiding from the fact
that it is a very hot summer

as the temperature climbs, the fog piles on the hills
ready to wash over us in the night
neither does it settle on the ground, but floats, protective layer
between us and the sun

I peered out the front window last night (where it is never really dark)
and saw it--caught the fog in full retreat, draining back to sea
tomorrow will be a very hot day

seltzer birds

bush tits in the bushes
like bubbles, rising,
breaking in a soda can

Monday, August 3, 2009


tanker truck
up the hill at full speed
swinging its trailer

(trucks we built so as not to burden
any more beasts)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

note to self

Shut up! The position of knower is already taken...

shifting the plates

whenever you say what you really mean
red hot material oozes from a crack
a blackened fingernail grows between two continents

unnecessary opinion

matadors, unnecessary heroes

Friday, July 31, 2009

sun so bright, fly shadows
penetrate the camellia leaf
emerge on the other side
why the dinosaurs died out?
collapse of their heaven

Monday, July 27, 2009

telephone dream conversation

grandfather calling, from his living room
at the edge of the farthest galaxy

and indeed, he is gone,
within reach of the stars
into the realm of the timeless

disapproving of her social self

perfectionist, she kept it pure
visiting no one
inviting no one to her house

Friday, July 24, 2009

celebration house

Christmas lights tacked to the eaves
ceramic pumpkins on the stairs
stuffed witch in the window
pink balloons
streamer over the door, “Happy Birthday!”

foreclosure effects

furniture stored under blue tarps
two more dogs in the yard
another car parked before the house

somewhere another house
dead grass, empty windows
the roses bloom for no one

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The lie?

“at the tollbooth by the bridge I paid for the car behind me
just to imagine their surprise”

she told me the story and I could picture it
so well, in fact, that the next time I heard it
it came out of my mouth

I couldn’t remember and still don’t know
whether I repeated the act
or had accepted her story as my own...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

pair bond

you can’t both want
one of you has to be able to say
yes dear, that sounds all right to me

getting into the passenger seat

if you have no expectations
they will surely be exceeded

Friday, July 10, 2009

winter bedtime

in the cold house
I laid my cold body down
topped it with an electric blanket

and learned
what a hot fudge sundae feels like

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

speaking of animals...

leaps through the air
warm, purring fur-ball into my arms
silky and filled out with winter fur
her paw and its thorn sticking out
on the keyboard leaving
a trail of 7's


start of the morning
in your robe, pork chop in hand
luring a recalcitrant hen

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

omnivorous and ravenous
the hen, when laying
Schnabelschweinchen (beak-pig)


distinguished from animals
by scheduling ourselves more tightly

(animals take themselves more lightly)


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


the cat comes in from the snow
and balances on my knee with her cold buttons


she followed me to the corner
and sat down, ears erect
black and white statue under the oak trees
until I walked out of sight


Cat on the fence, bird caught on her thorn by a wing
Malevolent little spirit
Anger lives in her
What it takes to bring a fast bird down


I imagine one small cat could eventually
Fill a whole house with hair


the cat admires back
eyes half closed with love

asleep on your warm bed
plunge your hands into her round rug

enunciates clearly at night
ow-whoa into every lonely room

flashing her green mirrors


the difference between us and the animals?
we are able to speak hypothetically
from a position occupied but not
believed in


neighborhood dog
peculiar high
bark of protest, wounded pride

when your dog calls, why do you not answer?
pity taints the springest morning


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


the hen, in flight on the ground,
steers through the gate with the rudder of her tail


My black cat travels, in part
Hair stuck to the Scotch tape
I used to mend a payment envelope
To Allstate in Dallas
That’s also how my tongue cells,
My saliva gets around
To the various corporations
That personal touch, soon to become obsolete
Bill Pay online


Dogs are young
And don’t know any better than to give in


Chickens--Observing their customs
Committee of three
If you can persuade two of them
The other automatically follows

Flatten the grass with extended toes

more of a sail that a tail

--Free flying chickens
Flying is the araucana’s joy
She cajoles the others
To fly onto the fence, chase jays
Who come for the sunflowers
We tied seed-side up

Right after I wrote this
I was forced to clip their wings


The cat
The way she’s laying on the chair
Four legs together
Like a bouquet

Crackling purrs
I hold her while she spit-cleans
Her face

A little food to sustain the cat
And a lot of opening and closing of doors


observing chicks—the expressions
on faces that come to a point
_____ says
Innocent lives that can be had for a buck


Chickens stretch their necks to peck
Spider-silk wrapped packages


The way the young chickens, gathering their skirts
Come running out of the greenhouse every morning
Leaping at each other with a challenge
Into the air, chest to chest, with raised beaks
And then resume pecking at a common clump of grass

You’d think that
That much aggression
We might be allowed


The cat’s asleep, at peace
Having found her food bowl
She has discharged her duty to the nation


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


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

(coverlet for seeds and civilizations)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

the woman fat, the old man limping
between them their bright-coated dog
with his hesitation and adoration
sensitive ears flicking up, flicking back

Friday, July 3, 2009

The raccoon children have been in the cat food again
And they peer from basement corners with their shining headlight eyes
Brief glimpses of black masks
Robber babies

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The cats accrue to us when the neighbors move away.

silent leapings, little m sounds
tidy head-butts and rubs

dish out the cat food in the laundry room, satisfied crunches
(mud flowers on the washing machine)

cats reward you with their well-being

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

flood on South First

in a moment of exuberance
the river catches at a back yard
swings itself over the road

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