There are prayers
that no one prays;
stairs never climbed,
stars whose light never
passes through the eye-

you are one of them.

And so like curtains
filtering the room
keeping out mornings light
or like black bulls who die

beneath a fighter's cape.

If only I had suffered
more, held you longer in
a snowstorm, drowned myself
in dreams of fire, maybe

you could love me now.

Today, I Thought

Today, you came back again
full of pain and glory. Should
I release what you had been
to what you always were?

So many stones to steal
from a jealous surf whose
loving hands shaped them
into jewels, a gentle chisel.

And you are like the sea, rolling
in, then rushing back. My human
heart wanting desperately to hold
you still, to call you back.


With Grace

A soul and its body wake
in blue-inked sweat. One
is filled with incandescence,

the other carries nerves.

To find words for: spirit, air,
invisible, we must wait until
our hearts unfold themselves with

pollen-laden hands, petals beckoning.

A soul and its body , fused flame,
rosy fire, two embers glowing
in the spaces between them,

an impervious union, to keep
the heart-strings tight, attached
always moving, clinging to eachother.



The moon looks down,
its pocked complexion
like teenage acne,
its blurred features,
a bride beneath her veil.


The Hungry Night

All night our hunger is limitless.
The things that stalk the wood
gnashing teeth, stomachs shrunk
with emptiness, grow desperate.

Past smaller trees, darkness
is a skin, self-possessed, swimming
in blackness like blackness itself,
flames of its eyes like embers,

its red hair changing colors
in the shadows. And what we hunt:
things the soil made and gifted,
a small, tenacious life, a will

to live forevor. As hunter and
the hunted meet with noses heavy
breathing, claws clicking on the stones
the only difference between them-

who will eat and who is eaten.


In the Name of Nature

Black wolf waits in his domain
with glittering crystal trees
pristine, diamond-crusted snow.

He does not have a name;
he is grateful for it.

A dog moans, an old whale turning
in the grey-blue deep, his wail
muffled in moisture-laden clouds.

He has a name; he cannot bear
to hear it.

There, in twilight mist, dancing
in on dew-soaked shoes, silver cloak,
in blankets unifies the beasts

and calls them by their nature.


The Language

They say poetry is like breathing:
inhale, exhale, the way the heart
pulls in what it's learned then
shares it with its hungry body.

All beauty is not light-filled,
dark words too have artistry;
they bring what they have captured
and lay it at our feet.

As we dream in poetry, a brilliant
heat, birds, the moths, swirling stars
compete to kindle us. On a white
piece of paper, the ink is blood.



When you hear the night-owl,
he's saying: essence, hunger,

instinct. What makes him call
from the black forest, his voice

low and lovely like a siren?
He obeys the duty of his body,

his wide, strong wings, his large
moon-like eyes. And when he swoops

tracking the shivering rabbit,
tearing its flesh with his beak

he carries his noble body
back to the mystery of trees.

Collecting Beauty

In the quietness of years,
years looking back, looking

forward, the eye loses its place
in darkness and blinds itself.

In the room that I was given,
I collect beautiful things:

a green and wispy dragonfly,
a silver snakeskein, pieces

of honeycomb, thin as paper.
Before bedtime, I unlock

the windows to let darkness
fly in; a bottle on my nightstand

to trap it.

Of a Stone

To hold a round, smooth stone,
the shape of an egg in your palm
is tranquility. Its silence
a sponge.

When what you wanted to hear was
I love you or the voice of God
when you prayed in the evening;
this is fortitude.

As you realize this world is
a magnificent kingdom and though
this life may end with extinction
you must learn to be blissful.

So much happiness twined within
our genes, we can harldy miss
the inner kindness and beauty-
even the smooth, round faces of stone.


The Great Wall

Behind the walls, the light
cuts out. Not even stars,
not moonlight stab within.

Here in this valley, hills choke
the breeze, the grass is grey,
the black crows shiny, feathered.

For me the hardship is memory,
of open fields, curvature of sky,
the ocean endless to the sight

lures the mind to free itself.

And so my thoughts escape the cage;
how good it is, how like salvation
breaking through the cracks.


When I was a girl, my heart
was like a plum, swollen, purple,
sweet and sour hanging on
its limb. Now my heart, is like
a fig, wrinkled, gritty and
quite the laxative!

Changing Shapes

He tried to change me
as men will. What he saw,
a female lump of clay

that kneaded shape.

And though his hands
pressed and pulled
and sought to forge me-

he couldn't mold a stone.

The Speed of Submission

A morning of chores, baking
bread, washing dishes, folding
clothes- a sudden gasp of revelation;

why am I fixed here? So like trees
whose roots anchored in the soil or
trembling leaves sewn into their bough;

I am glued into the fabric of my body,
this unyielding discipline of fate.
But then I see the tiny hummingbird

from my window, feeding on the flowers,
his rapid heart and wings so engrossed
in purpose, he hardly pauses.



I like to live
my life backwards
from the tomb.

Death comes first
and then the morning.

How grateful am I
to see the sun,
the sweetness of

the purple hyacinth.

Day by day, I'm growing
younger, stronger still
my sense of joy, as I remember

darkened earth, the smell
of burning, silence like eternity
roaring through my ears.

From the Womb

I could not have recognized it,
in my teens. Who pays for
the father's sins?

The son who became a father,
a man turned into fist.

Familiar splinter, the language
of bone, each hack recalls
a similiar detachment. Look back,

the bruises are the same.

Who is this child whose heart
was infinite winter, darkness,
even from the womb?

We can say "the heart has memory"
We can try to be re-born. There are
many reasons to kiss our fathers

despite our inheritance.



I waited for you,
like the arctic wolf
waits for caribou

or desert lizards
listening to thunder

wait for rain.

While every stone
is waiting for solitude
and silence, I am

lingering, alone.


When the journey
becomes dark, we turn
back to our roots.

Pulled and pumped,
our blood conserves
itself by slowing down.

Secretly, the heart
becomes thick and numb.
It's bones are breaking.

And how it is we change
from eager-eyed to grief,
from love to agony, ask

the tiny bird hidden
in the poplar trees.


Deeply Involved

When I talk
to wild things:

calla lilies, the wolf,
the sharp-hoofed horse

I use a different voice.

You can teach a dog
of words but they listen

with their hearts.

Their world is all light
even in the dark, they see

the softness of moon,
small, glittering stars,
fluorescence of their pupils.

And immersed within their lives,
they have no need of questions
or of beauty; the sweetness of

their nature is enough.

The River

When the river is sluggish,
it calls by name the minion
of birds who slave its bank.

Some forms of loneliness
are like worry. See the egg
fallen from its nest? There,

a grounded fish gasping for air.

White pines pressing the river
know too well the meaning of dread:
in winter, frozen, cracked, breaking;

in summer strangled by torrential winds.

At sunrise, light bends down to touch
the river's bones, clouds reflected
in its eyes; at last, the waters swell

and rush away.


What this Surface Holds

This part of California is
a sunlit hill, warm oceans,

nights where you can walk
your dog on sand, throws himself

joyfully into the surf, paddles
out to greet the seals, who are

to him a pack of dogs with flippers.
These nights are not filled with

fear or angst; we are mere mortals
chasing loveliness, immersed, straining

to approach it. The dog and I, we are
but splinters in this wilderness,

transient as flattened rocks I skip
bouncing off the ocean's surface.


Servant of Seduction

What is the meaning
of attraction? Ask
the moth whose wisdom
is instinct. This too,

is sacrifice, the burning
of its body, ignited feathery
wings, fine black-ashen smoke.

And we are human, carefully
we hedge the heat, staying
damage by our fear, resisting
what our hearts might sense

like stone. Small insects,
nature's living flowers, how
dutiful, not-knowing they rush
into their light-filled deaths.


No Longer Disguised

I will not hold the blame
for things we've suffered.
I'll call it useless now,
the tragic and the comic.

Did you think my conscience
losing you would disappear?

I am more like hunter missed
his mark, placed again the arrow
and let fly. Although, I am
a secret longing for a kill.

Isn't that what life is afterall-
fall asleep, dream of star and moon,
trapped within the same small space
wakened to the morning's thunder?

When you think of me, I would prefer
it desperately, what constitutes
departure is a sadness, death.
I only looked behind me as a test.


What is flesh if not
a coat for bones, pockets
of light and darkness,
joy or pain.

If I could be a bird,
how perfect, feathered paper
wings and hollow limbs
delicate as cloud.

What shape or weight
is misery or love?

Who decides whose gravity
is soil? Who predicts
the final moments in the sky?

This evening, in the tangled
shadows of trees, a spotted owl
watches with his yellow eyes
coyotes catching mice.


Intimate Room

We were made from cold
to warmth. A long time
heating in the fire.

And when we're gone,
we're gone; let us
grasp the cool root when

we are pulled through
to the other side. The side
that is winter, hard soil, snow-

the little room beneath
the frozen grasses.


The Smell of Fear

Fear means the black-furred
animal is hunting in his kingdom.

All night his shadow follows like
a lover stalks its careful keeper

while other creatures struggle to
survive its violence in their lives.

Did you expect the heart to last
forevor? Do you understand surrender?

Everything we do has risk;

a rabbit paralyzed by fear
is captured by the wolf.



He has a name. I do not. When you give
your heart, your name dissolves. It is
unlikely you will ever get it back.

There is proof I did exist, you can't
run away from "nothing". I would like
to stay un-noticed like a rain before

it falls, like the proverbial unfinished
business that keeps ghosts hovering about-
unseen, unhappy and nameless.

Follow What You Love

Those who walk in other's footsteps
have no doubts. The spirit follows
what has made it, who it loves.

Oceans ravage the dogged shores
receding to its purple lair; even
stars swallowed in its shimmering

come back again. In the morning,
stick-legged birds dance across
shining sands until they fly into

the blazing clouds, following the sun.


Creatures of Harm

Let me know if you're here;
there are lots of creatures

who've meant to harm me.

I've heard what sounds like
thundering hooves, clear

as glass; in joy or panic
it's impossible to tell.

And I couldn't leave the ocean
or the wine, without its wings

the seabird drifts and drowns.
If I loved you more I wouldn't

have to question who you are.

A Piece of Rose

In this dark night, as soul
I walk away from the funeral,

everyone a black umbrella
and rain sliding down

a rectangular bed of earth.

Listen to the grief song
that is my mother, her heart,

a storm, her eyes thundering
flickering clouds; my brothers

like two brown hawks circling
above a life-sized mirror.

I see what is before me, but
feel what I have left behind.

Someone throws a blood-red rose
crashes onto wood and bone...

the rest is soil.