Let Me Stay

Walking home through the woods,
moon's silver knife stabbing
the pine, a blue mist hovers
just below the longest flower
like a witch's spell. Here I am,
a solitary human stepping over
rocks and vines as if I know better,
as if I have a sure destination
to which I belong, as if I have
been pre-ordained. Let me stay
within the mysteries of nature,
become one, the fragment of a circle
that never ends.


The First Stone

Look out the window. Two boys
fighting in the yard. Future
soldiers. Future fathers who
leave their children father-less.
For blood, for reason, for a cause.
Now a crowd has gathered. Two boys
fighting in the yard. No one
interferes, even the woman who
is a grandmother keeps rhythm
to their blows cane-by-cane.
I look up beyond the horizon where
a storm has gathered; its fistful
of clouds, threatening to throw
the first stone.



They say this life
is dangerous. Cross over
to the other life,
the one unbroken.

Here, the ancient ways,
the bitter ways evolve
into the sweetest blossom;
in love's leisure

the head is bowed, hands
are folded, lips are moving.
Then, like tails of star,
we hurry across the nightsky,

briefly, then burn out.

The Useful-ness of Flesh

We can't get enough,
even when its had
enough of us. Are you
looking for more?

First, a system of
measure: how red is
red; how sand-colored
is the limestone?

Next, a way to dissect:
cut along the outside
of the vein. Move aside
the body's organs.

Then, the uterus,
how much life has it
given; how flabby are
its muscles now?

Last, not least,
the issue of worthiness:
wool, steel or flesh,
which is more useful?


The Bus

The boy's face is hidden in
his mother's lap. His chest
moves in and out like a little bird.
The mother stares at the window
as if she's worried, as if she needs
to gather up her courage before
the bus stops.


Take your pills. Sleep
on the couch because your bedroom
smells like something dead. Sometimes
we have to use our imagination to stay
alive. Paint a picture, study the birds,
take a pill or two or three. No one knows
the true definition of gravity. Not really.


The Screaming Woods

Some people believe
pleasure is immoral.
The heart enjoys
its measure until
its threads run thin.
Skin maintains resiliency
then falls away. Out
in the woods, the pine trees
shed their bark. You can hear
them screaming.


In a small garden, an old lady
reads poetry. The roses are crisp
and bright, bees are bathing in
pollen. Suddenly, a bird falls dead
and she looks up, over the rims
of her glasses.

The X

Another morning, we start
to think we'll never die.
What is your name? Who will
remember? And then, anxiety
returns like an ex-boyfriend.

The Dead Know Better

I'm not buying the whole
ghost thing. Why would anyone
want to haunt the living?
It seems to me there are better
places to visit. Like Waikiki.

What Stars Sound Like

If I stop writing, I cease
to exist, the brain shrinks
inside its bones. The silence
at night is like a tiger sitting
on its mark, like the moon falling
on a sparrow, a body hanging from
its noose. If you listen closely,
you can hear the stars.


Everything is being ripped
apart. An overdue bill, a paper
napkin during dinner, the universe
and all its molecules. The edges
are becoming more uneven, serrated
and irreparable. A Japanese man
carefully folds his origami horse
as if his life depended on it,
the surgeon pulls his sutures tight,
a word Amen completes the prayer,
a child embraces her father.

Latte with Eric

One syllable. Male.
He doesn't cross his legs
while drinking coffee.
He leans back as if
life is good. The cafe
is trimmed in deep, mahogany
wood. He shifts his weight
as if each cell in his body
is coming loose, the steel
in his eyes is liquid. Two
syllables. Woman. A woman
walks by and he becomes
a pit bull.

Reaching Nowhere

Today, we are going
nowhere. We've been here
before. If you drain the earth
of water, all the continents
stick together. If you draw
a circle without lifting the pencil,
you keep going round and round.

Where have we been, really?

Repetition is a human ailment;
it's in our genes. That double
thread that twists and twists
and multiplies.


Someone should have seen it.
Meaning, the lumber in the eye,
the dead dog under the porch,
a blue planet falling apart.

A clot in the artery.

These are things which cannot
be ignored. You with dark glasses
and bruised cheek. Those of us who
hide needle-marks under our sleeves.

Everyday a piece of us disappears.

Perhaps, a shocking word will
bring the skeleton into the light
or a small child's hand protruding
out of a mass grave.

A Cold Dark

Blue light of midnight-
heaviness. What calls
to us from the darkness?

The answer is: the child
you never were.

How abandoned you are
by history, the coldness
of fear; the nothing-ness

asking for nothing. In return
it gives us extinction.

Walk slowly through the blackness,
the life your living. There is
no way home.



My hands are changing, the skin
transparent over veins. More mortal,
less invincible. But these are maps,
my hands, to where I've been, to where
I'm going, how to pray, what to hold.
Like fraternal twins, identical yet
different. During the day, they do
their chores; in the evening, so quiet
and cradle the soul.


At a certain time of evening,
the moth flies directly into
any light regardless of its origon.
Even at their most wonderful,
stars will dim. Tell me why
you are ashamed. Strong currents,
strong winds increase the probability
of disappearing. In a thunderstorm,
the horses are nervous, flies hide
inside the tiny cracks of wood,
an ambivalent father turns a child to

The Soul's Nature

We're trying extremely hard
to survive. Flexing our muscles.
Searching for food. Day to day
life is worrisome. Nature knows
no charity. What your body needs,
your soul will decompose.

Who Knows What's Going to Happen

You can't judge
the incomplete.
Without glasses
the words mean
nothing. I'd rather
be killed by a slash
to the throat, than
a knife to the back.

The wider the space,
more difficult to dread.
There is a reason for
the marking of wolves,
a growl from the bear.
But in the end, loneliness
will kill you.

Angels Fly

She's pacing again, the black
goddess, Persephone. She anticipates
violence as if she creates it. What guilt
beauty holds for its own kidnapping.

How bitter are the grapes of death?
What snake lies basking on the heated
rock? Now, skin peels back and thin
falls away.

She sits and stares into darkness,
a skyless, black room. Does the addict
fall in love with the drug or does it
kill them? An invisible wound.

The sound of sunlight, a singing
bird reminds the soul of where
it started. With wings fashioned out
of paper she flies up through flame.


I thought I saw you
in the park. My love
is like fingernails and hair
growing after death. You are
a stranger to my eyes, the heart,
the heart gets lost forever.
Shadow in the doorway, a secret
spider in its web, someone watching
from a window then disappears.

Ring Leader

Absurdity is tapping on
the fragility of Life.
The clowns are let in,
hideous and holding flowers.
The bull lowers his head,
gores the red cloth.
A gruesome, black masked
man collects the souls.


I am not alone. I am
alone. My mother's body
far from me, the moon glows
but you can't reach it.
I am floating in a molecule-less
sky. Nothing to grab onto.
The soul becomes a panicked thing
and forgets who made it.


Inanimate things talk. Dead things
tell stories. You have to be patient
to hear them. Even stones need
companionship, their smooth faces
touching. And water, how it clings
together like roots dig into soil or
that first kiss lingering a minute more.


Because we are women,
endlessly earth, flesh
and womb, we unfasten
ourselves, split the walls
and forget our pains.
So like the chrysalis,
lucent green, dots of gold
rips apart and is finally
blown away by winds.

What Have You Seen?

What have you seen, more
than me? Kings and Queens
and roses? This is my heart,
here is the bunion on my little
toe. Have you seen my long brown
hair? Forget the stars, forget
the mountains, leave the moon
to fable and song. Have you
seen God?


My Country

Look at the night, unsheathed
and cold. The stones glowing
purple. The wolves are quiet,
sleeping in their fist. And
not a star to see or wish tucked
above coal-colored clouds.
The only sound a desperate cow
calling for her calf and one
lone whipperwill whistling back.


When I'm sad, I go to
the ocean. It whispers
"stay faithful, stay faithful."
I know out there are creatures
more desolate than me.
Here, at my feet, transparent,
frilly jellyfish beautiful
as a star and dead-er than
a cellophane bag you'd wrap
a sandwich in. I know somewhere
further out is some lone whale
singing its heart out.

Open Your Eyes

I notice the moon
is pale tonight.
It needs a blood

Lightening-bugs swarm
through trees like
glowing embers, making
popping noises.

I must learn to
admire this world
for being in it

and not for what
it gives to me.

See the wild barn owl
watching me as if
he's never seen

eyes as wide
as mine.


I've tried to explain
to you what poetry is,
what art is, what black holes
are and how they influence
the shape of the universe.
You say in return, "useless
as spit." I'm not convinced
we're from the same gene pool.

The Crooked Spine

Have you ever been part of
a family? I am the black sheep,
the un-hatched egg, the broken
umbrella, the twisted spine.
To understand love, you have to
know history, dig into the vein.
According to my sources, I am
more of a danger to myself than
anyone else could ever be.

Area Code First

I have been concerned
for a long time. A whole
lifetime. I have not
eaten well or slept soundly.
I am more than guilty of
a few things. In private,
I sift through my gifts
but they are dull. Do you
have the phone number of
someone who can save me?

Just a Suggestion

Here's an idea: stick your
patoota where the hoo-ha
don't shine. In your own
mind, you feel alone. Too
quiet, too suffering. When
you find yourself discussing
the meaning of the word patoota
you need a vacation.

The Closet

Do you pray- often? Do you
smoke? What brand? In a child's closet
there are tiny dresses. In a man's heart
webs and webs without a spider. Where
are the skeletons? If you look closely,
behind the shoes, you'll find the bones.


Goldfinch: have you ever seen one?
In this world, there is real beauty
and then there are unicorns. I'm trying
my best to stay clear of reality. There is
a higher good, like a higher ground. But
you have to abandon the city to get there.

Workin' It Out

I'm tired of being
a failure. So much
so I've banned the word
from my vocabulary. Instead,
"it just didn't work out."


Not hope, but the dead
come to mind. Some days
are shiny, others are bloody.
Like one small string holding
up a thousand pounds. Don't
walk beneath it.

Landscape and the Train

In the valley,
the train passes.

The she-wolf howls.

Birds fly up
like tiny darts;

cedar-tips shaking.

An artificial cloud
of smoke streams by.

Then, like confetti,
the snow falls down.

My Enemy's Hands

Before you fight back,
you must ask yourself who
are you fighting? Do your
feet burn on the soil when
you travel over holy ground?

In the dream, there are
two mirrors facing eachother.
On one is scrawled love on
the other hatred. Do you know
why you're so sorrowful?

You have two voices.
They terrify me. Like
standing on a cliffside
without a parachute,
your enemy's hands
on your back.


In a Motel Room

For my life, I will give you
sunlight bigger than the trees.
I will dance barefoot with a wolf
in the darkest harbour of forest.
Like no other sacrifice, I will
count the stars and name each one
of them mysterious and horrible.
And we sat down on that dark piano
in the lobby, pieced togethre songs
of stress and strain. Some cowboy
in his dustyboots lies tired & truly
happy in a motel room.


I was never a child. My granmama
told me I had the storm of Egypt
inside my head. She'd stop her rocker,
peer down at me like she'd peered down
at the dead when they lowered the casket.
On Sundays she cut watermelon into shapes
of flowers, and ships and binoculars.
There were so many slippery black seeds
to spit out. She said this was a sign of
death. But the fruit was sweet and pink.
Yes, she said, that's what draws you in,
the ripeness of flesh, how you devour it.
As an adult, I don't eat watermelon. It's
just too creepy.


Indeed, I have memorized
my prayers. There is light
in words. There is light
at the end of evening. Some
faint blush of fire building
inside my body, my heart
a lantern. The winds fan
the flames and I imagine
my death as spitting orange
embers dissolving in night.

While There is Still Rain

Furtively, the man slides
into bed beside his wife.
His hands are words, his breath
is longing. He thinks of her
as a wild, green field and he
is rain and lightening.

To Free the Soul

I take you by the hand
"Follow me." I have
no idea where we're going.

The real story, the true
story is shoved in the cracks
of wood, of glass, of concrete.

Yes, there is blood, how it flows
once traumatically released. No one
believes in Dr. Seuss forever.

Nevertheless, I have seen angels.
Ten feet tall, wings wide and stretched
as points between the stars. Hair milky-white

and curly, toenails like an arctic wolf.
They come for you as if you are a dove,
claws, gold-silk dresses, voices like hawk.

They splay open your body to free the soul.
Once you take away the fear of death
it's amazing what you can do.

Meanwhile, We Believe

How do you lose sight
of the mountain? Where
is love kept in the body?
Deep-freeze or fire?

Did you expect me to tell you?

What I can't set my eyes on
or place my hands upon, when
I hear one thick mosquito
in the night-air
and cannot strike it-

this means I am vulnerable.

Outside my window, there are
bears and tigers. I haven't
seen them but they drop deer
on a patch of reddened clover
ripping through the chest.

Only then, are secrets revealed.


Only When It Rains

No. It's not easy to be.
Sometimes it seems like
a long lifetime. So many
days, so many nights. Then,
suddenly, a rainstorm and you
want to live forever.

Real Joy

Two black dogs
running in the surf.
Who am I? Who are they?
The sand slopes down. White
foam crashes into rocks.
Everything is black and white.
Three animals and joy.

The Dive

I've seen the red-hawk dive.
Death as exhilarating . Twisting
feathers, a downward spiral.
Talons outstretched and poised
to snatch the dove. His perfectly
stationary eyes, the grim reaper.

A Black Vision

Not sound, but light
the bed we share. Some
people are fragile. Others
are brittle like steel.
We love eachother, dearly,
yet, the image in the mirror
is frightening. The slightest
smile, the perfect fear, we were
supposed to be immortal. It seemed
too radiant. And I mourned, and I
mourned and I mourned.

In Thick Fog

This is not the time
to forgive me. Things
that fall: rain, snow, leaves.
Or so the bee, unfaithful
to each flower obeys its nature
completely. Even geese,
in thick fog, lose
their bearing.


Man of darkness
from the silent heart
of your body
clawed through
the deep, black-purple
of your sorrow
a poisonous moth,
half-angel, half-serpent
whose sensible black face
carries your prey
into the jaws
of night.


I give you my hands, my sleep;
with this, loneliness and secrecy.
I take from you the ability to grieve
and tenderness. Even your heartlessness,
I will borrow. We'll call it even.


Always shadows
keep memories,

the shape of

But fire burns
through the heart

until it has

Your body was
to be buried here

in shadow;

our love had caught
the tongue of flame.

Now, to me, you
are but scattered

in the wind.

Of Bone

Ladder of my skin, white pine
circular history of the tree, quiet
columns of my monumental home,
cage around my bird-like heart.

To you I leave the human realm,
to lie immortal in the earth, to press
my image deep into the roots that
hold me like a jealous lover.

Of your purpose, God ordained,
how tall you stood, how confident
your graceful spine! And though
your timbres held a soul divine

I've left you, gladly, in the ground.

And what is left a broken ivory ladder,
whose pieces formed final access to the sky,
Go with confidence and pride, my soul,
as high as joy will take you.



Dear sea, blue-deep
alkali drink, blessed

sea, silk-lined body
that is not body but

a bowl, a basin filled
with foaming, salty milk

and shoreline, heaving
at your tresses, adhesive

soles of sunlight to
the shadows of your feet;

the hearts of men unfastened
struck by fragments of

your beauty, blue-deep,
blessed sea.


You arise, low morning light,
frail-webbed winged, thin boned-

the night behind you, dark
halo-ed corona, a body

and its only gift, mortal
ash-brown slumbering.

This eye fills the room,
a million emptied stars.

Long world, every hour
glowing infinite waking.


Green wood is slow
to crack or burn.

Father chops the blocks
while I gather kindling-

the work between
a man and his daughter.

When it rains, the fire
is moist and green, spitting

tiny, silver sparks.
My life began like this-

two sticks grinding
furiously together

and what was made;
a spark so faint,

so doubtful, they
called it daughter.

Desperate Beautiful

You have lost
the tendency to be
sensible, useful,

desperate beautiful.

Not what you wrote
on a grain of sand
that mimicked God

but what was missing.

Are we more beautiful
when we're searching?

With opened eyes, all
your words are leafless
and I saw a solitary

cloud dissolve in
a bodiless sky.

Dying Love

Here it is again, sadly
she smiled, as if she knew
departures were like

night-birds, so many
of them fly away.

This time, it was
more like dying star,
sparkles of fire & dust

floating out to space.


Clumsy Heart

Here am I in
four-limbed walls,

shadows of my heart
shifting like the tide

rolls smaller stones
further out to sea;

and I, equivalent
to sea confined within

its boundaries. So too,
yellow day turns purple,

brown, then black governed
by the twisting world.

How do we tolerate
the weight of lifting

up our souls when we
are bare and wingless?

How do we suffer
such stunning beauty

knowing it is elusive
and impermanent?

Talking to Bones

Who will tell the bones
the night is here,

their ebony clothes
dissolving like salt

in water?

Beneath the stones,
the little ones, cold,

grey and waiting
to seize the sun;

against their rounded
bellies I whisper

sleep, bones, sleep.

Artery to Heart

You are not the kind
to be un-made like
like a bed or a question.

You were meant to be
made, like early light
on a distant hill,

or a kiss of morning
on the dewy lips of
a long-necked rose.

You were never intended
to be un-done, like
the second button

of a maiden's blouse,
like pinned up hair
released and shaken down

You were put together in
such a way, a seedling carefully
laid & covered in its earthen bed,

an artery sewn to its heart.

The Necklace

What snaps
the cord rends us
in two.

Polished black
beads fall

to floor.

Bird of Pray

We know where
we are going;
gravity travels
through our bodies,
keeps us grounded.

Only shadows with
carved out feathers
break away from heaviness.
Somewhere in a corner,

a great black vulture
is waiting.


The Gardener

Is this what you wanted-
existence without backlash?
An on and off button for guilt
or dying? I can pass swiftly
through you like cold wind,
like a pack of wolves and name
your grievances. I will not carry
them away for you. This world
was not made for the secret
darkness; it is as honest
as a flower mowed down by
the gardener.

Not One Blossom

So far I've said nothing this morning.
I am listening to the sounds of new sun,
wind dancing through excited trees,
each sparrow's flirting song, the voice
of blue sky whispering to its earthly
counterpart. A vehicle of memory, one small
bee deliberatly searches white corners,
sandy ceilings, a wooden chair he must think
of as tree. All his work and not one blossom.

The 50th Morning

In their warm bodies,
young people would not know
knowing if it were
fish in shallow water.

Often, they don't appreciate
rain or the mechanism of feathers
or seldom tolerate grief. Again,
I look at the fiftieth morning,

the weight of meditation,
the glorious gold corrosion
of sun and like a lover
still feel blooming.

Sleep, Changes, Wakens

There is nothing left but
honesty. The stone set
in motion rolls down the hill.
The shiny black night, heavy
with its cloak and curls lies
down, a tired dog between
his master's feet. How quietly
sleepless stars fill their spaces.
How sure the roses of the heart
coil and open.



All light is unfathomable.
Without shadow, unfathomable.
Incineration, then becomes
the sweet yoke of burning -
is this death, is this darkness?
The throat, lungs, stomach
and heart are on fire. Blood
is boiling, hair is singed.
Now, darkness in the shape of
a water-jug spills rain.

Your Cold, Blue Hand

In rain, your eyes half-opened
my drowsy, cloaked angel. Behind you,
dancing, delirious ocean begging
for your attentions. But I built
this world with you in it, beads
of water sliding down, a perfect journey
from leaf to rock. When the mist
surrounds us, a grey-purple smoke-filled
room, you extend your cold, blue hand
and lead me further up the mountain.

Were Given Night

Light was given moon,
the body its death.

Hairy creatures crawling
through the woods were given song.

From a bell-shaped tree,
birds build oval nests, filling

them with eggs. For stars,
their silver, fragile lips,

burning jaws, their strange,
wild eyes were given night.

The Way

Within us, two
sources of dream.

The first, bound
to flesh, closest

to the surface,
luminous, cold.

Addicted to its
nerve and pleasure:

touching flame,
seeing (as desire)

a blood-tinged flower,
breathing in the scent

of violet. The second,
primal, deeper, heated

core. No light passes
through its being;

spreads its wings,
whose purpose is

to hunt the world
for heavenly things.

It cannot use
its senses but

it knows the way.

A Cleansing Rain

You know how difficult
it can be to excavate
what is hiding in your
heart, your brain.

The real man or woman
resides in a house of
silence, a box nailed
tight with metaphor.

My heart accuses me
for what I understand;
my mind, already walking
down the road to home.

And there are so many
people I broke in half
for love or emptiness;
I can no longer find them.

So in my graceful sleep
I pray for rain, the kind
of rain that weeps for days,
a cleansing rain.

Color of Blood

I have a name,
it is blood.

The heart like
a shell stirs it,

a jar of dark, red pearls.

Diseased or abandoned,
these jewels flow to lips,

to eyes, to shadows.
Then the soul absorbs

their sweet, scarlet color.

The Truth about Freedom

All virginal girls keep
their roses burning.
With mouthful of stones
their secrets morph into
deaf, old women who speak
in two languages. Beyond
that one hill, where snakes,
and bulls and coyotes live
is a knife, a blurred fire,
a shifting light that resembles
a door to anywhere.


A Prison Dream

There are those of us who live
in prison. I can't remember
my crime or trial but I have
been here longer than it takes
a heart to slip into nothingness.
Through a small stone window,
lights of ships, the yellow
sulfur rises. I can hear
the bells and sirens singing
from the heaving waters.
Each night, I dream I am a plain
grey moth flutters through
the opened stone into the cold
and salty air. And instantly,
snatched wholly by a seagull.

What I'm Capable Of

I refuse to remember
who I am. They say,
the choices I've made,
have changed my body.
In answer, I drop
a golden leaf and it cracks
the world open.

Crashing into Screen

First it is a feeling
as if each cell has frozen,
it's little wheels and cogs
shudder and stop.

When a child dies
it will be forever,
forever winter, cold
and horrible.

Now, when anything
crashes into a screendoor:
a dove, a moth, a june-bug,
the children knocking

as if they aren't aware
they are not of this world.
When I turn out the kitchen light,
for awhile they purr and flutter

singing with their deathly
voices, folding in and out
their beautiful appendages,
then so suddenly disappear.

The Cathedral Window

Tall, rocket-shaped,
always the shattered yellow
rays eminating from the hands
of martyrs, saints or God Himself
whose expression appears as if
He has other things on his Mind
like the dark-hooded figures
marching down the basement stairs.
And in darkness of these steps
you can almost see God kneeling,
hear His low-thunder like whispering
for the damned to take off their cloak
and follow Him home.



The desert
is opened

tonight, heat
is lost...

tiny lizards
hoard fire

in cup-shaped


Driving Away the Cloud

We were born together.
My heart an egg,
you're anger, the strings
which were desinged to pull
us apart, to let us out.

I am mute, you are raging.
Like a machine whose purpose is
to keep the eyes from knowing.
We are bound in flame and sweetess.

My embryo is frying. Your anger is
a torching inferno. Suddenly, the rain
(all glorious, flashing, torrent).
In this metamorphosis, your heart becames
a rising cloud and I am free
to throw rocks through its nerveless body.

The Weight of Beauty

You know by the time
you read this, things
will have changed. How
perfect the morning glory
fills its trellis, each
purple flower, crinkled
then sprouts, telling us
something. In the heat,
under sun's yellow shine,
light, with its own womb,
subject to gravity, expulsion,
is the cement which holds all
things together, briefly.
Then old Mrs. Bennett, still
dressed in her see-through
sleeping gown, dessimates
the vines. In a pile she
throws the mangled glories
to the goats who have no sense
of beauty or time. And though,
Mrs. Bennet loves her goats
who will forgive her for
feeding beauty to the mouths
of stinky goats?



The other man
might be an arrow.

The other man might
be a shield. The other

man might bring fire,
fish or wool. Who is

our brother, who is
a killer? He hunts

with the body of a lion;
soft and bruised like

fallen fruit. He is
of this world and not

of this world. Entirely
lost and carefully chosen.