Spring Sweep

Cherry blossom suds fizzle
across the street in the past
tense as the maple samaras
loosen their grab and let go
tiny purple red flowers –
Susan sweeps & I hold the shovel.

The scents immense
a pentatonic hair gel sneeze
like a rim shot on a snare
then the squiggly rinse
of liquorice bush fills
the air as at the summer fair.

But what is still future tense
figgily (like a fig fallen ripe)
on a fawn lawn afternoon
for now needs no articles
not a the or a a stammer
waves of breezy sizzle.


No Word

It might have been said,
were there one to say it,
she was the last human,
but then she would not
have been the last one.

She’d been told to keep
by the river, the fresh fish
would grow and multiply.
The weather returned,
the goats and chickens.

She talked to the animals,
but she found life easier
if she kept silent, forgot
words, let go lingo and,
in the end, was no word.

On the Whole of Things

having cut it out [it, all its]
pleasure now without article
embellishment whole
some questions

consider blue hydrangea
yesterday transplanted
from pot to ground
root, stem, leaf, bud

in which will we find
whole plantness
cup without coffee
gives us to mark time

a day without hours
hours without minutes
minutes without seconds
where will we find time

for whole things
words opening
seeds, bulbs
into whole language

grown in pots
root-bound can
but describe
like mathematics
can not be


At the Centinela

We squiggled and danced around
and the radio and the romance
until all the songs blew fuses
and the whole night crashed down.

We could hear that dark fall coming
down in the valley and up on the hill
whistles and the steel rail humming
buttered popcorn and bubble water.

At the Centinela drive-in theatre
in my ’56 Chevy hoping it would start
up again when the twiddle ended
under surveillance during the draft.


A Sign

They looked for a sign
in the skies, the seas
somewhere, anywhere
around the universe.

A sign that might tell
where to go, how to get
there, a range, a stage
or stay the hell put.

But signs are placed
not by the gods
but by you and me
fools to think we

know anything about
directions, instructions
nods, wags, or winks
we live on the brink

where all the signs
say, “Keep away
from the Edge!”
that surrounds us.

It’s Its Own Thing

On our walk last night, birds,
low in the trees and on the ground,
in the grass and all around,
and it started to rain.

Tomorrow, it may be sunny.
It takes many shapes, this thing.
Sometimes it’s an ear ringing,
a particle of physics.

It is not Paris or San Francisco,
certainly not El Paso or Cairo.
It comes and goes like wind,
ubiquitous and protean.

It’s not me, though
I often have it, or not.
That’s just it with it;
you never know for certain.

It is a professional, white-collared
without capital, contained
out of site.
When it decides to rain,

not a thing you can do about it,
except dance or hustle home,
from which you want
to get away from it all.

An Approach to Stylelessness

Language, the dress of thought,
words its buttons.
What are we trying to cover?
Nothing.

The dress interprets
the body,
its own reveal, skin and hair,
apparently lacking

something necessary
to complete the ensemble,
where sound means
stylelessly.

Dress, the body licensed
for use, the slow decay
its words describe,
its missing buttons.

but that’s another story

One story, unfinished, a fragment. The writing cools from a weak plot and flat characterization. The story fills the page we are on, but we may not be on the same page as others reading the same story (based on the assumption there can only be one story), and no one can page backward or forward. That other pages even exist is therefore without proof. Our story has grown since the first word, and continues to expand. The distance from the beginning to the end is therefore immeasurable. We will never have the whole story, but that’s another story.

Postcard

You awake to find yourself in a room the size of a postcard. There is a photo of a pier, people out walking, a boardwalk, a sunny day, blue sky. A bit of a breeze apparently, the women holding their hats, summer dresses flapping, legs akimbo like listing masts, offshore sand flurries. In the distance, atop a shoreline cliff, an ivory tower climbs into the sky like a long slender neck. At the top of the tower, a balcony necklace affords rich views of the ocean, a woman in a blue dress at the wrought iron rail studying a sailboat, a small dinghy, its jib open and full of the onshore breeze, coming in.

Working Class Pub

Where no one knows your real name where indeed you have no name but any number of names but no number but you wear your identification it shows is shown in the red dust around your eyes and there’s a glimmer suggests you’re still alive and at the corners of your lips the moisture of bird feathers and your hands are calloused black and blue and your clothes are stained with oil and grease and chalk and shavings of wood, metal, and paint. This pub plays no music, which you wouldn’t be able to hear clearly anyway. No darts. No pool table. No television sets. No chess board, no backgammon, not even caroms. No playing cards. There’s coffee twenty-four hours a day for those just getting going, first cup free, the swing shift, the night shifts, at the factory, in the warehouse. The oil fields behind the houses. The docks on the bay. Molly brings you your pint, with a little cup of salted peanuts in the shell on the house. Will Molly please text home for you, a bit late, might stay for a second pint tonight, being’s it’s Saturday night, and you’re walking, or was when you got here.

Furies

The furies fly in from the desert, weave like wasps from their cool eve nests, disturbed and attracted by bile, envy, and insolence. One lands in the ear canal: “Erinyes, erinyes,” echoes from one side of the head to the other. She stirs the wax and lays her eggs. It’s a cuckoo wasp, emerald and gold. She’s got hold of your thoughts her young will eat away, furious and urbane.