Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Watery Grave

The Watery Grave

The Watery Grave

The Watery Grave

Taxonomy of Loss: bodies of water as states

Taxonomy of Loss: Bodies of Water as states


relentless rain, the cistern overflows
the distillation and
collection of all the sadness of the left behind.

water, the dissipation in
swirls and ebbs, eddies and whorls
of blackness into light
and back to black
of water. (the long night)

the all encompassing ocean
is the drop of rain
concentrated as essential loss.

1. Containment and Release

a. volcanic crater:

a lake purpled by altitude,
a granite bowl of ink,
against the sky turned dull and listless by comparison.

drowsy with color,
drifting in all directions;
trunks in silhouette
gnarled by the short light of the long summer morning;

in a car, nearly 45 years ago,
with my parents and my sister.

b. the stagnant puddle

teams with larvae and pollywogs
losing tails to gain legs


A spent and smashed battery,
a clot of leaves,
runs the rivulet in the gutter.

outside of Woodland,
in Yolo County,
after too much beer
and too many reds,
Cookie Del Rio wrapped her Rambler
around a light post.

where would she be
30 odd years gone down?

chasing after Mexican boys
In Winters?
Or reformed, working her program
and swimming laps at the local Y?


an oak table
in a green room,
the glass vase holds
daisy water days gone.

that room was your bedroom
and is no longer.
there was a time
whenever I passed the room
I was reminded.


The ocean keeps getting deeper
15 years falling
into the end
that never ends.

cold fingers of memory
rescind the real and move it darker,
into another sadness that is
the ocean getting deeper.

15 year passed
and gone still, and utterly forever:

water over rocks
in sun.
fishing for trout
on the South Fork of the American River
past Placerville, Strawberry and Lover's Leap
past Tamarack and up the hill and at the Bridge,

or in the secret spot
down by the red cabin.

Salmon eggs
on a hook
on an afternoon in 1963.

two rocks hanging onto the side of the bank
a rainbow trout skitters under

there is the scent of queen anne's lace,
shocks of lupine across the bend
there is the glint of the hook as it splashes
into the darkness.
the current carries the bait under the rocks.
a slight tug
and the hook is snagged.

the slow hum of Highway 50.
The South Fork of the American River
flows through Sacramento, through Courtland and
Rio Vista and Antioch and Martinez
to the Bay and
out the Golden Gate.

(bridge to bridge)
(mountains to oceans)

2. Streams of Arrested Desire


did he save or sell his soul?
did she walk to work?
did he try to get better?
did she ever really feel connected?
did he want for affection?

did he ever want to jump from a bridge
into a frigid lake
under a titanium cloud cover
in a wasteland of discarded furniture and bric-a-brac?

did he ever love a man in a cabin by a beach
on a churning night
in a summer
in the forties?
did he ever ford a stream
with his heart full for another?

did she fill his heart or
did it ever,
does it ever?


Was it parenting in absentia?
under a spring moon,
on the cascading wisteria,
blossoms drift through the breeze.
birdsong trails into a quartet.

did you ever sing for him?
did you ever reach under his arms and lift himfrom behind?
did you ever sit silently
Did you talk about the watery weather?

under the bridge


how much is memory?
how much is what was heard?
or some combination of
memory and having been told

about being washed in the concrete sink.
Happy singing in her cage
hanging over the raised floor above the basement door?
Sansaveria in a ceramic opt in the high window sill
the scent of cleanser and linoleum.

out the screen door,
a shrimp plants and carnations
and metal lawn furniture painted silver.
the ballerino's house was beyond the hedge
through a gate.


So will there be some kind of a bookend
on either side?
a neat package
of banality and revelation
a final gift before
what is left of life leaks out.

Will it be reflected in the pond outside the window of a hospice
where just within hearing are red winged blackbirds and pheasants in the reeds.

4. sparkle

bounces off the shimmering waves
elevates the quivering motes
into a rippling and roiling current.

dappled iridescence elicits
slinking charcoal and coral burst of
slipping into an aqueous sunset.

Sunday, May 21, 2006