Twenty Love Poems: 12

at sunset suddenly dawns on us
we might toss our favorite images
into moon river and lucky old sun
is so lonesome he could cry

peacocks strut round the curves
of Sunset Strip up on iridescent
displays of monolithic cardboard
billboards crackling in summer

1968 and I’m late to the summer
of love on the Peace Truck radio
from the beach cities up to your
place in Los Feliz not to make

love or blow a number and go see
2001: A Space Odyssey at Pacific
or to protest a war or hear Johnny
Rivers at the Whiskey but to visit

the Children’s Hospital on Sunset
at sunset the shifts changing
the night coming on like a drug
a dire psychedelic experience

but nothing expands in fact
we shrink into a dim distant
past when our own singularities
merge to form a celestial duo

of one we don’t know what
happened before that nor
what comes next we have
one memory and each other

shivering great balls of grief
we drive up to the park
walk around the observatory
the city of wilderness below

ostrich features of orange
gold drift across the basin
and I whisper I will turn
stones into bread for you

Summer of Love

Mid-June we sat out exposed to one another’s musical ups
and downers, refusals, kissing eye dews until the moon
falls down, waves turned around, and the air like steam
foam swept in drafts up the beach and over the hot strand.

We walk down 42nd to the water rolling papers, smoking,
and you toss back a couple of star-crossed pills, peace
a far-fetched potion. You look for signs. I read a few poor
poems by Hanshan on ways of being beyond need and want,

the beach our Cold Mountain. Make-ready teens for war
learn early love is not free, our children’s prayers said
on red plastic rosary yo-yo beads, putty explosives,
headbands turned into tourniquets, floral wreaths

into olive drab steel pots. It takes courage to work out
the hackneyed stereotypes future fighters might come
to know. What is written is artificial intelligence.
We might still be surfing were we better swimmers.

We would be one were we better lovers, more open to fall
and quail, but Summer of Love, a stone wall
around my heart built, inscribed with three names:
Kevin Mulhern, Gary Grubbs, Robert Shea – mistaken.