Palos Verdes

Far-up the mountain
cliffs among white lines
of rain- a single thought

occurred and I placed
it in my pocket.

Further down, where
life becomes a tunnel
between the hills, brush
overcomes the thighs,

covets the migrant;

clings seedlings
to cotton cloth-

another reminder.

Green-grey is my theme
today and gasping purple
wildflowers too tiny
to understand nature's

with land-bound

Consider the sky-

smug, pensive
and splitting
with decisions.


A Thousand Places to Die

"Consider Icarus, pasting those sticky wings on,
testing that strange little tug at his shoulder blade...
Who cares that he fell back to the sea?"
(Anne Sexton)

The evening wore
a blue jacket. Your voice
dressed itself
for a long journey.

There are a thousand
places to die. You chose
the sea because
it remembered you.

A dead bird, fallen
from eternal flight;
a small capsized body-
the secret of its search.

Wings moved
air, carried grief
through bones
of your yearning...

traced lines
of the missing
piece as if
you had known it.

You kept yourself
indifferent; the mystery
of interrupted light ...
blind falcon

at the end
of your fragile bindings-

set sail.


Message in a Bottle

... and not even the sea
will remember you-

shadow of your tongue,
torso of your nights,
sound of your eyes

give way to thunder,
laden the sunken wave,

exhaust the forces
that lent you to me.

All your long years,
the clatter of rain
and its meaning,

myth of wisdom,
my misplaced heart,

the bottle that kept
your demons captive-

cast away.


... then by chance,
we discovered

(faint and blue like corpses)

where and how
the light was used:

the calm discipline
of living, the sublime
yellow glow of bones,
a match for mountains

set on-fire,

the subtle gleam
of quiet spaces,

of wildflower...

the stark

of elegance.


Impatient Gardener

Carefully crafted,
the story, the flower's
name whose footsteps

hurry towards
its beginning,

slowly rises
from past
to present,

by our sleep,

by our extinction-

our violent

The fist
of our sensible bodies
asphyxiate the rose.


Size of Heaven (first draft)

Before I realized my mother's
disease was mine; my brother's-

(first blood shared
but not diluted)

I thought

all orchids were white.

We bathe
in separate pools;
tributary veins

destined for

the same
large body
of water.

My mother sees
visions, electronic
voices, walls of rooms
the size of heaven-

not wide enough
to accommodate
her wing span.

My brother arranges
shoes, leather
according to shades
of evening. Rehearses

his prayers
to the stain
of black orchids.

I gather blossoms,
consider the color
of their skin

and reinvent


Cares of the Day

Dwell in the good bones,
the crest of the hip; wake
at the same angle
as sun, parallel

to its ascension.

what is necessary-

simple, weightless
and pivoting

like the hand
that builds our bed.

Every discovery
decreases the effect
of erosion,

draws natural light
into the enclosure,

the fields,

persuades us
to wonder...

"what is all
this space for?"



When a man weeps,
a son is born or
dying. A woman

conceives both
in her womb-

birth and death-

a pair of stray dogs
roaming the streets,

each of them

I am not here
to make you

I grieve
for my own.


Room-Cage #7 (draft)

Splayed thighs rising,
her dove-oven peeking
beneath her lily-pad dress

tethered in Room-Cage #7
by a delicate strap.

Three months dessicated
cigarette butts smoked
past their bloom and four

empty wine flasks tilt
against window glass
overlooking a neon sign:


She settles
into the cavernous gloom-

on the unlit side of the city

a cheap plaster statue
grown into scab-garden,

a Bargain Barn madonna,
a factory mold stare...

seeing much less value
than God ever intended.

From the mouths
of raven-throated
sewer holes, her stagnant
fog dreams ascend
up the alley spine...

desperate clamber
of sinners up the ladder
of grace.

In the body of night,
skeleton steel
(fire escapes)
draw up their knees,
chatter tinhollow vibrations-

keeping time
with the rhythm

of her lashed-in anger
cracked under the strain-

chest of a ship galley
whose captives row
to a resonant


base, opiate tempo
that is her music;

forfeited and spent
like a quarter won
circus prize or

an illusion of light
on the unlit side
of the city...

from a window
in Room-Cage #7.


A Good Dream

Secretly, like the back of a hand
it comes to us,
enchanting and suitable...

the idea
of "infinity"
and everything in it

(moves back
and forth
with the tide)

endurance of importance,
the distance between
forgive and foregone-

we are just as transient
as shadow, a good dream,

the temporary ache
that recedes from the bone.

everyone vanishes,

In my sleep,
the only thing
I can't imagine...




...burn all night,
I whisper
to the candles-
my longing


(with silver wick,
round, waxen body)

Burn the wood
down. I am already


In the Park

A walk in the park;
we notice a boy
with a stick and a dog.
They seem exclusively

happy and we wonder-
where is his mother?

He has no mother.
He has a stick
and a dog, autumn
wind at his back,

sun of his eyes

and waves
of tree,
like the sea

surround him.

Even we
belong to him
now, and we
have nothing...

but this.


Of the Cup

I must tell you,
as the rind cracks.

I'm an internal

[ferments within]

The world
gave me thorns
and I bury them...

secret haircloth,
inside-out of the coat,
deceit of the smooth
body of rose.

I am ashamed

of the cup
that contains

but never

of the ground
rich with root,

yet, refuses
to flower;

of the night
rolled in bundles

and how
it recoils.



I am not sure
of risk, of sleep,
of departures.

What falls
is collected

The dead
will not protest
the living...

they fall.

Who composes
music for the deaf?

Who divides leftovers
for the rest
of mankind?

A word
to the wisest-


Fair Weathered Friends

I toiled a field
of people
and did not
like one of them...

winter will
assist me.


Dead Wood

Fasten the door...
archive each
hiding place;

of my secret walls.

No names
or faces rise
from within.

I re-visit
the city
or cities
where compassion

was lost,

my silver locket,
my red jacket,
my white mare-

the ability
to make fire.

[my voice, my eyes]

On a warm night,
the pungent smoke
of memory burning-

dead wood.

Autopsy of Spring (draft)

...among other things,
the vibration
of bees, winter's
rhythm sliced
at its seams,

gentle crack
of the knife
in the sternum
of pines,

the knife
at the throat
of the sea;
a well-designed incision.

We begin to understand-

the organs,
where they lie
beneath the skin
of the sky, of the corpse
on its cold steel table...

examine the ribbons
of its offspring.



We are folded together,
fleshed origami

or spaces

between cut-out dolls
where the eyes should be.

I warned you
of fusion, of kiss,

of dipping
into bowls
with your fingers,

the reflection
of someone-else
standing behind you
in a mirror.

Only God survives


the silvered skein
that shines pearl
and purple.

So we slowly
unravel, a little toy,
a top, a spool of thread,

to become
what we are not;




When life
left the room,


the color of silence
(black) remained.

In a small vessel, ink
of the last desire

spilled prayer.