Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bela Bartok: String Quartet 2


You never know where it will lead
and yet, again
you follow around a bend,
along a wall.

you never know who you might see
or not,
or which animal will cross your path,
or which plant will blossom and wither
without bearing fruit.

there is a point where
it becomes clear
that it isn't going to be the way you
want it to be
it never is that arrangement of eggplant, tango and seafoam green

in the florist's window.

there is a whiff of taint.
there is a tremendous pressure.
there is a kind of disquiet , mink and copper plate etchings.
did you remember?
Did you ever remember?

What is difficult just might be.

walking on a sidewalk of keys,
stepping gingerly as to not disturb,
it may turn out to be something completely and utterly different.

skateboard wheels on concrete.
shut up bitch.
the 21.

variegated flax,
recessive flux,
one never knows.

one never really has to question it.
the light reflected from the crystals of the chandelier
is still light passing through and carrying us through time.

Allegro molto capriccioso

you've got me going.
there it is.
there it is.
there is a pounding beat that
runs from the high tone into the
nether region of civilized discourse.

the thing is,
the thing is,

they followed us up the street.
they shouted our names
and defamed our intentions.
we have been called out by the bitches.

the way we ran, it didn't make sense.
it became performance art
it became an excursion
into the possibility that
time is some sorry-assed excuse for a game.
they never told you about that.

they never called and straightened out the rent.
I can and will tell you
that the light shifted from whiter to gray green,
from gray green to something of a violet.

something of a rose,
something of
a cat tearing into the carcass of a sparrow,
tossing and clutching
this gift
this offering to you.
we will.
we certainly will.

post our quarterly profits.
we will declare our assets.
we will proclaim our brand superiority.

we will claim our brand's supremacy
in that critical demographic.

we will.
we will slither and slink
through the garden
chasing a ball with a stick.
where will it lead us?
he will never know.


it just isn't completely right.
it never is.
i could have told you
but you wouldn't listen.

you never really did.

we regret to inform you
that your credit report will post this loss of standing.

it isn't even sunset and the light
has faded and dissipated into this pre-night.

Nobody knows the whole story.
Why wouldn't we?

Is it fair to expect resolution?

Not so sure about that,
Someone might beg to differ.
I have the right.

You have a right to agree to disagree.
nothing is easy.
i fear and i must commend you.

i wouldn't bring it up,
don't do tell.
there is nothing you can tell me that will make me feel differently.

i tried to tell you.
I finally realized
we couldn't know,

nor could you have anticipated,
nor would you have appreciated,
nor should you have been held responsible.

when I leave the ground behind
I become unsure.
creature of habit,


into a place where
it all stops for twenty minutes a day.

leave it
leave it behind and
let it pass
a heron landing in an oak.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

PIT #4

Andate sostenuto - Moderato con anima

A grand address on the effects of repression of feelings
that there is
doubt floating through the alley.
Spectral doubt
ebbing, and rising without ever
going under the surface.

I see dancing and wonder why I have not been asked to dance
It puts me in a spin and then
I rack,
I rail,
I get a grip.

He can work through this.
He can confront
if quietly and dignified.
One must, at all times, be dignified.
You know I never should have been so rash.

He has moments of quieter contemplation.
He has
the possession of his emotions for a moment.
Where does it come from

It returns in an blast,
at once glorious
and filled
in the golden glimmer of these

Realize that black is the new black
Vine creeps up the wall
Leaves flutter in the evening breeze.
The grass is damp
and slippery on his bare feet.
Realize that black is the new black.

Don't ever let him kiss you.

It will bring black and white keys
rushing in some montage
of horses and trains
on the steppes.
His carriage veers in another direction.
You'll never know.

Is this a seduction
I want to dance with him spinning
and spinning in grander arcs
spinning and spinning in wider ranges.
and passion
laugh at your protestations

Spin me again
Take me into the circle

where doubt may be vanquished
and our ardor revealed
as a message in a bottle .
As a message bottled

bursting forth I am.

Andantino in modo di canzona

Dream melody
Dream variations,
you know the way.
Falling to the bed
I begin to undress him.
I caress his neck.
kiss the hollow of his shoulder.
Mouths come together
all becomes details of delight
There is return.
There are variation
There is the light that streams under the door that glows on your face.

Which and whose hand is this ?
Where is this line between his
and mine?

This baptism of congress,
this peculiar fascination,
this scent,
odd and warm
Please, don't stop.

Whenever mouths touch,
there are garlands of spit
that crown the night.

It is all in a kind of passing.

Scherzo (Pizzicato ostinato)

Engaged and penetrated,
the barriers dissolve and become a jig
around the village.

I so long to hold his ass in my hands,
to touch the furthest reach of taint
and pull back to the underneath.

Heartbeats in this dance,
Heartbeats in these quick
flashes of light,
these silken kisses,
being inside of his lips

You may have to call the police.


You are not getting it out of me.
are not.
The pussy jumped in the well
and fell through the other side
into China
He popped a bottle of champagne
and poured it sip by sip into my mouth.
Snowballs chance,
chance of snowballs.

These recurrent sequences and terrifying close encounters
bring us to a precipice
and show us the consequences of repression.

But just a moment,
I might show him instead of telling

there is nothing reasonable about feelings.
None of this is your responsibility.
I proclaim myself
guardian of my own chastity.

i let my guard down for one minute.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rosamunde (after FS)

1. Allegro ma non troppo

Questions in the wake from a passing boat.
The surface, once calm, is broken
and each ripple announces another variation
of a ripple that is a question.

The cottonwood casts the initial shadow into the water.
Reflected and absorbed
as shadows breaking through cascades of light
and bits of cotton
announce shadows of answers.
Sparkling waves of heat rise into the atmosphere.

Dotted dark and light,
annotated and inconsequential,
forming and reforming the
silhouettes of the leaves flouncing
against a sky going pink.
The boat pulls into the dock.

The question is
what is it that swims
with red ear turtles and sturgeon?

As it is below it is
not always the same above.

The idea of desire
(not a fish coming to the surface and
breaking into the air,
catching a midge)
is not always in the heart.

The heart is the reflection of a red ear turtle
passing through the shadow of cottonwood leaves
and the interplay of
light and shade on cotton dust
floating down the river.
A sunflower drifts by in the reflection of a cloudless sky.

Sometimes it can take an afternoon to see reason.
And, can only bring more.

Another day in a different light,
(Is the question light or dark?)
silence is the space between notes
(of a score)()
and the space between breaths
(held, silent and inhaled)
becomes a kind of deep fried,
a kind of silken,
(cream puff dick)
a once and a while spin,
(I do not know where to go with this.
I do not know where this is going.
I do not know.)
a once in a moon some time,
(the moon comes up behind the levee
and wakes up above the trees)
once in a lifetime when
I place my feet at the edge of the boat
and dive into the river
coldly and knowing.

2. Andante

That you do is understood.
Dancing into the space between
the possibility
and the day
that the rays of light
fell onto the wall
through the Venetian blinds.
Lines from a song
yet to be written.

to others
than tell to others.
Listen to the light
and shadow on the sandbar
at the confluence of the Feather and Sacramento rivers
on a Sunday afternoon in July.
The sun burned a wife beater
on my shoulders.

The one thing
that i need is,
the one thing I hear is
the slice of zucchini on a grill.
All morning
the hummingbirds
vied for territory and
red sugar water.

Do I want red sugar water?

A red ear turtle
on the reflection
of the memory of touch
on an old iron bed
is the bed
reflected in the mirror
above the rust stained sink
in a hotel room near Termini.

The light and dark reflections of
one afternoon in Rome.
You are standing at the window
looking out into all this bright sparkle.

3. Minuetto, Allegretto

Do I want to dance?
I do
want to dance between
the lips and the rest.

I want to play the violin?
Instead, I play maracas in the church choir
at the Altadena church
of Ecstatic Revelation
in the Holy Spirit of Understanding the Body,
(the heavenly and holy body
in which my soul resides).
But, do I want to dance?
I do
and lower myself
to my knees.

Dancing is a prayer
in praise
of this story

trudging knee deep up river
into current.
Pushing enough to propel forward
and knocked back a little sometimes,
we are wading
and moving towards a log.

It was very slow going.
We persisted and delivered ourselves one step further.
One never knows.
The flow is stronger
until we release our feet,

floating away into the current
I feel hope when
I forget how it is all put together
and trust love
from ghosts and the grieving,
from births and rejoicings.
I feel hope when
I can touch my feet to the earth.

4 Allegro moderato

I never thought it would be
the interior of Ste. Chapelle,
cool stone and glitter glass stories.

I never thought it would be
the first Vatrushka
or merguez,
or store bought butter in France.

That balcony overlooked the rooftops of the Marais.
Those interior walls were covered with grass cloth
and foil backed wallpaper.
The double glass door in the bedroom
opened out over the courtyard four floors below.
Covered with ivy,
The sky was perpetually gray
off the rue St. Paul.

I never thought it would be
walking down the rue de l'Odeon
between Sylvia and Adrienne,
when I knew you would die before me.
I knew I would be bereft
and that I would walk into
the Memorial to the Deportation
and each light would
flicker, one by one
into thousands.
I knew I would take your ashes
and released them into the Seine.

But, did I know
that one day I would
see that you are always here.

It comes and goes.
The river rises and bends.
The leaves rustle in a breeze.
The heron flies across the sky and lands in that oak.

You are and are.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The River

Refreshing, not icy,
plunging into the water,
not shocking.

I am floating on my back.
Above, a turkey vulture flies
from one shore to the other.

Puffs of cottonwood,
a light snow, bob on the
wake of a ski boat long past.

Buoyant, my arms outstretched,
eyes closed, I see him floating
into my welcoming arms.

Two partially submerged logs form a V above the water.
Two red eared turtles lounge in the afternoon sun.
The dog approaches and the turtles dive into the water.

I jump off the side of the boat
seeking him in the clear water
and come up to find a sunflower floating down the river.

The yellow petals take me back to the porch
where moments after sex we sat together
quietly looking at a bouquet of hydrangea and sunflowers.

The flow of the water,
the change in temperature
from cool to cooler surrounds and passes.

The contrasting temperatures
of the water and the air
bring touch

and images of his mouth on mine,
his hand brushing the inside of my thigh,
his shoulder resting on my chest, in memories

Floating up and through
the water as currents that envelope
and embrace memories of other afternoons.

As memories are liquid,
and touch seemingly solid,
and taste evaporative,

I am floating with time.
I am floating with the hot sun above
and cool water below.

I am floating in time
from when we touched
to when again we will


Sunday, July 20, 2008

In My Mouth

Schubert Quartet No. 6

In furious packing
the switch of two wife beaters, black

In haste, yours joined
me on my journey back.
Mine, for you, was left behind.

I wouldn’t have noticed
if you hadn’t said, but you did
and I did.

Friday morning I put
your black shirt on
and for the day
it brought me the memory
of your skin on mine.

It offered memories of you next to me
and helped alleviate some of
that ceaseless longing
to be again joined to you.

This dance and the memory
of the dance
and the feelings of the memory of the dance
is a particular province
of the insular,
yet benevolent and hopeful …

This dance and the memory
of not one, but two bedrooms in Rhode Island
in the dark of night
under green boughs of maple
and above blue bowers of hydrangea
and in your arms,
and in my mouth,
and in the touch of a finger
to that happiness
that you not once or twice
or thrice or more allowed me…

(In the pleasure of bodies
next to each other
(that I had denied or forgotten.)

You are a gift and a joy and a treasure
and you inhabit a string quartet numbered 6
and sometimes,
of late and oftentimes
guide my hands
and gives voice
to what is within
but has no means
of uttering,
this delight that you brought
and continue to bring…

It brings the touch of my ear on your chest.
It brings your lips to my shoulder.

This simple black piece of cloth
brings the feeling of my hand
at the back of your knee
or my cheek brushing yours.

It brings a feeling of comfort
that led to the wonder
of you and I entwined and enjoined.

This cotton, black
This cloth,
certain on skin,
carries me through the day
with memories of
you standing next to the bed,
taking this shirt off
and putting it in the basket
before you climbed into bed
to kiss me.

And, that feeling of comfort
that led to the wonder
of you or I
or you and I entwined and enjoined

and we will again
and again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Franz Schubert, I am your Bitch

(Schubert: String Quintet In C, D 956)

Do not believe
the old saw.
It is lifting,
not falling.

The lifting took me up,
and up,
and up,
as if on a crane
over a city
over a landscape,
littered with
monuments to the past,
some over hallowed ground and
some over vast territories of rubble and debris.

I thought I could see you across the chasm.
It appeared, at least momentarily, that
you were on a crane of your own.
(I could not be certain because
you are a far more prudent man than I.
I am a man who has always sought flight.)

Lifted by desire, my spirits lifted,
my soul sometimes seemed outside my body.
(And this I mean in a very good way:
I could, at least momentarily,
be away from this it,
and stuff, and just be

with the thought of another person
for whom I might bring comfort and a little joy,
and not be tied to this egotistical fragility
and unending aloneness.)

There were things that I thought I couldn’t say with words.
Being aloft allowed me a kind of voice
I’d never known before.
The thought of you being aloft in another city,
in your life, in your body, the one, your own
unique and wonderful vessel, lifted and going
about your business and the facts of daily
dealings with your children’s cars, programs for youthful offenders,
meeting friends, fixing meals and laundry,
this was somehow a kind of comfort to me,
was somehow a hope, that somehow these cranes
could be maneuvered to come closer,
to bring the possibility that somehow distance and desires aside,
that at least momentarily could allow
for us to meet in our bodies and hearts,
and somehow,
in some miracle of stars and signs
and just plain working the details
it came to pass:

The crane dropped me off in Boston.
You met me there and took me into the countryside,
green and overcast,
mist and humidity to spare.
I could smell the green,
the maple tree in the front yard
and the electric blue hydrangea across the street.

I smell the
first time I held you in the bed upstairs.
I know the scent of holding back because
we did not know where Steve and Joann were,
or when they would return,
and we held each other,
but held back until evening.
We held back until after they had gone to bed,
and Ben had gone to bed,
and even then we held back until the morning.

And even though I told you that
when we were in New York that you led me though a door
and that I could never go back to being the way
I was before,
I can tell you that
being with you
when our bodies actually did
collide and meet that night and morning,
for the second time,
you opened a door and led me through
and I cannot go back.

And so it has been each time
I have touched my body to yours or yours to mine,
each time I have taken you as flesh in me.
Let me tell you that
your flesh in me has opened doors
that led to doors that led
to the very center, that was
and yet no longer is a physical center,
but to the very
heart and soul of me.

Being with you is a prayer
that makes time still.
Being with you is a hymn to the pleasure that can be brought into the
Life of another and the pleasure
the other might and must return.
What it is that you brought me is a
most bittersweet joy,
for in the giving it goes away
and makes me long for
you even and ever more.

So this is the quandary:
I don’t want cranes
I don’t want green landscapes
I just want you.

and your touch and your voice
and the slimmest possibility
of being able to give you
a door opening
to joy
in the way you opened those doors for me.

I truly don’t want the confusion and tears
that has been this day since dawn.
I do not want the ache that it is that
tonight you will not be next to me nor
in the morning wake up in my arms.
I do not want this amputation
that is you so far away.
I cried for the arm and leg of you that are away
from the possibility
of touch.

I know you find me intense
and often obtuse,
but I can and will tell you
that there was a moment I was with you
when I looked at your face on that pillow
and the smile on your face
made me know that we are forever connected.
I knew that in that moment
my touch ceased,
your touch ceased,
and we became one touch.

The axis of the world shifted
to that joining.
The lichen covered branches
and the old stone walls began
at first to turn
ever so slowly,
and the crow from down the road called
and the hydrangea, blue and electric
caught a breeze
and the soft wet breath of you
reached my ear.
The ocean receded
and the morning refrained
and the little township spinned
and spinned like a top.

The universe bowed down in acknowledgment
that the moment was eternal
and must for eternity be acknowledged:
You and I were joined in bliss,
whole and transcendent.
(This is New England after all.)

Do you know
that I love the smell of you?
Do you know I love the
salt and sweet taste of you in the
few moments before you wake up?
Do you know that I love the sight of you
sleeping, and especially waking and being through the day,

That I love sound of you walking down those creaking stairs
and especially I love the touch of you each and every time you offer me
the gift of you brushing my arm
or gracing my lip with the luxurious and saline touch of your
tongue on, or in my mouth or more.

Where does all of this take us?
That I do not know.
But, this I do:
that each tear becomes a diamond
and each diamond is a bit of a veil
And each veil may be moved to reveal

the tears that can reveal joy,

and I pray there is no end.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Where is Franz Schubert?

After all the socializing and merriment
and cocktails and grapes,
(and he wants grapes),
and a view from a deck
as evening recedes into a
gray felt studded with colored lights across the valley
and down the hill
and straight back to that white house,

and more imbibing and verbalizing,
and walking,
and hugging,
around a table
at a counter,
in a rickety plastic chair,
on Mission at 24th
as Rory sings
"Hark the Herald Angel Sings
Glory to the new born king"
on June 27, 2008 at 10:47 p.m.,

May I tell you
feebly, and in a manner insufficient,
and in stutter of second guessing,
and in a sensibility lacking heft,
and in a spirit of utter surrender,

there was a scratch in the earth,
there was a break in the clouds,
there was a rivulet running to form a sea,
there was a ray coming over the horizon,

at that first meeting,
on another day,
in another city,
at a concrete topped table
over different imbibing of martinis manifold
and utterances and reassurances manifest,
when you opened a door for me
and held my hand
and walked me through.

Never as before can be
the man I was before,
can breathe no longer,
can see no longer,
can taste nor smell no longer,
can no longer be in the same body,
can no longer be in the same mind,
has no longer beat in the same heart that you loosened and unmoored
with your touch
and your kiss.

Whatever the days of sun,
Or misty rain,
Or humid thunderstorms
Filled with lightening that
brighten the night
of fervid kissing,
of transcendent couplings
that revel in and reveal a commingled
puddle of the primordial,
that may grow into
a fern,
or a civet cat,
or an new heart in hearts
that brings breathing
that brings sometimes a Brahms Sonata for Violin and Piano
that brings sometimes a Bach partita
that brings sometimes a Beethoven bagatelle
and now
the breathing and beating bring
the precious and breathing and beating that is you.

For this,
ever heartened and
ever humbled,
I will always thank you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

For lack of a better

You may know

that each and every night since we kissed,

that alone in my room

I imagine the night to come

when finally

unbridled by distance,

we may touch night into morning,

we may singe the binding time to ash,

we may sing a vocalise that no longer
waits to find voice

that says from one to the other

this wait,


was merely time and space.

The universe ordains a joining begin,

demands that time and space

reveal their inherent fallaciousness

and innate need for tribute.

The universe decrees a joining begin that

arrests time and compresses space

into the finite between lips

and eyes and ears and hands and all that

may be joined and known and

that time and space are

revealed for their innate fallaciousness

and inherent need for tribute.

When once we finally touch,

all time and space

will fall away.

I am reminded

That touching you

is electric and that kissing you, in

what at this juncture

seems like another epoch,

was transcendent.

Yes, your kisses are revelatory and oracular

and tender and so necessary and

so wanted and so awaited.

The cleansing breath of your kissing

washed away the

uncertainty and childish fear of

abandonment and hurt and just plain sadness.

Sad has a reason.

Sad reminds us that we die,

reminds that because of love,

eternity is present in every breath

and that the quickening breath that is passion

is a blessing and a reminder

that love’s forms are multiple and as

inexplicable as time and space

compiled into The Universal Field Theory of Love.

What I am saying is that

I would like to ask if I may enjoy the taste of you

the touch of you and the

heart and soul of you

on a night soon,

under a moon bright or not

when this longing and desire at last become

revelatory kisses and electric touch

and for lack of a better word

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Marin Headlands

At the red light before
the five minute tunnel,
Does on the lawn
watching over their speckle coated fawns.

Two broods of quail on the roadside,
hens with crests tossing in the ocean breeze
hurrying the chicks
under a tangle of mustard.

One brave chick jumps on a branch,
flopping and fluttering
after some illusive prey.

The two mothers
seriously corral the
wayward chicks
into a quickly moving line.

They hustle down the road
as the light turns green.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


This is dreamtime
where desire becomes
light that comes up from the horizon,
where the light becomes the color that
leads us into the day
where desire becomes the
touch of one on the other.

This is dreamtime
where the light falling on the one and the other
bleeds from gold to rose,
and from rose to a fire that burns in dreamtime.

This is dreamtime without maps
and dreamtime where music is without score
and the novel is without words
and time is without boundaries.
We carry light that comes up over
the horizon that is a known dawning.

This is dreamtime where a new dawn
has not been before on
the touch of one on the other,
where the mist that swirls through the street
before first light
is a dance to a song previously unheard
in a rhythm previously untapped
by the touch of one on the other.

Days and hours and minutes and seconds in dreamtime are
days and hours and minutes and seconds in the swirling mist
that dances through the street before the first light on
the touch of the one on the other.

Days and nights are dreamtime in the
light of the song previously unheard of
the crow calling from the street light as
the bus pulls up to the stop,
as the door opens
and the dream unfolds into a ride
imagining the touch of one on the other
which leads into a walk through
manicured grass and neatly trimmed trees in
the first morning light
imagining the touch of the one on the other.

This is dreamtime crossing the street and opening the door
and alighting steps
and sitting with a cup of milky coffee
imagining the touch of one on the other.

This is dreamtime of
the day looking out on the manicured grass and neatly trimmed trees
and the solicitous squirrels and
simpering students and distant bridge
and through these
images and impulses
that are the imagining of the touch of one on the other.

This is dreamtime
in the most mundane of
grocery stores or public transportation
or in the walk on a well traveled street
in a late afternoon breeze
that caresses the tips of hair that bring
the desire of the touch of the one on the other.

In the dreamtime that you are
in the dreamtime next to another ocean
at a different time of night
in the dreamtime of Schubert’s
miracle of youthful lucidity
to one in late middle age
that is is the desire of the touch the one on the other.

This is dreamtime
where desire for touch is strongest when
light from the horizon is gray and darkens into night.
The light fades from the room
and shadows grow long with longing
for the touch of one on the other
in dreamtime that brings the two into one
in touch as
a song that brings light from
the far horizon of days to come into
a form of

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

060708 goes 060808

What isn't about desire?

Tell me a noble truth and I'll tell you
it is about desire
or the transcendence of such desire
or the experience of the desire
or the reliance on desire to
bring desire into

Have I told you
that I want to lie naked next to you
to hold you in my arms and
caress your face as
we kiss in abandon and ecstatic joining?

Have I told you
that I want to run my hand
down your back
to the crack of your ass
that I want to take all of you
in my mouth,
a carnivore of desire
that I may taste the
length and breadth of you
that I may savor the
heights and depths of you

that in a darkened room
there will be a new kind of light.

Light that is not based on the laws of physics,
nor metaphysics nor theology.
This is a light based on the
light that falls through the imagined window
on to the imagined forms on a bed
on to the imagined coupling
on to the imagined desire that
appears in the light that comes though the imagined
curtain at the imagined window.

I so want to be with you. This is desire
and as I know in my heart
All existence is suffering
and the root of suffering is desire
and on the early Sunday morning
after coming home late
and tired I would tell you
let us suffer our desires together.
Let us offer the other succor and release
let us offer the other the possibility
of release from suffering desire in
the night that comes through an open window.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Forms come to disappear
as damp stones and
a fox running through
a birch filled wood.

The dreamless night, hard and damp as stone
reveals morning and
running through the wood

Stippled with mists and mosses,
the peeling silvery bark on slender trunks,
whisper of acid greens and
the tenderness that is in spring.

What awaits in this day?
What persistent clouds will cover the filtered sky
with dangling questions and lingering doubts?
What fogs will sing initial apprehension
in a minor?
The motif returns in breath, a song.

Neonatal light is a melody
of startling configurations,
Cardinals and Wrens, Finches and Doves
in arpeggios, at first cacophonous
only to resolve singularly, a fiat,
chords in D major.

At the furthest edge before croplands,
the trickle, treacle slow stream
begrassed edges, beflowered grass
the damp stones and birch behind.

The fox follows a fugue of scent
to the den of his mate
gone 40 more days.


The glens and glades are Masonic Avenue and Anza.
The soundtrack is the tingle of James Brown barking and
cajoling Sex Machine.

I am at least
one fourth of the way hard,
laughing at provocative images of entwining.
Please, pass the Three D glasses.

Succulents in brick planters,
Walled Bougainvillea red, pink and magenta and
Junipers pruned and teased into
arrangements of spheres on a line

Offer a tentative respite from the forms
of forty days hence
on the rumpled bed linens.
Late spring morning light
filters through the wafting curtains,
the scene overlays
with reflections of planters
tended to order.


If James Brown is the Bach of Sex,
would Marvin Gaye be Mozart of Seduction?
Would that make Mozart the Marvin Gaye of opera?
and James Brown the Sex machine of the cantata?

(at his organ,
the choir exalts.
as the soloist reaches the crescendo
the space fills in glory
to all above.
Get on up ah.)

If honi soit qi mal y pense,
then does love come to he who thinks joy?

Look upon this as
a methodology,
a calculus for
arranging the momentary
into a semblance of realism.

If Jean Luc Goddard is the Ornette Coleman of film,
then is Ornette Coleman the Jean Luc Goddard of jazz?

Look on this as
A taxonomy, exhaustive
variations on walking Masonic,
from Geary to Hayes
on a theme by Bach
as seen from behind.


Today, I left dishes in the sink.
Today, is to be considered
in scattered images and
Burmese curry on tofu.
Today, is disquiet and determination
to have good posture.
Today, is a laugh from a distance.
Today, is the tiny dog chasing pigeons.
Straining at his green nylon leash as the pearly birds
flutter in disarray,
Today, fog lifted late
and warmth came promptly.

Consider this a phenomenology
of sensations in no particular order
that result in words of foxy non-importance.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Late Self Portrait by Rembrandt at the Frick

Late Self Portrait by Rembrandt at the Frick

Stand before me.
If you let me,
I will tell you what it feels like to age.

Not only will I show you
how flesh looses elasticity,
how lines progress to sags,
I will show you how
doubt creeps into the heart
slowly, like the inches
that come to the waist.

It is only,
it is only,
it is only from the darkness
that there can be light.

It is only from the night
that there may be a new day
when I may don
my golden tunic and my vermilion sash,
take out my sword and black beaver hat

to tell you
Look closely at the wrinkles on my hands.
These will be your wrinkles one day.
Look carefully at the wattles at my throat.
These will follow you into your life one day.

It is only because I have faced
the fear and the fact that
life comes to an end
that I may whisper to you,

Come closer
and you will feel
the approach of your last breath.

Come closer and
you will feel the gasp of fear
as the darkness takes over
and the possibility of light
recedes, like the fading daylight
as I put my brush to the pallet,
and the brush to the canvas,

to tell you, not reassuringly
that it feels like a kind of living hell
to see the ones you have loved
die before you,
to see that all you have accumulated as bounty
is dispersed,

but also to tell you that
for all the fears and pains,
you must stand before me
and quiet your mind,
and listen
as my breath fades from a rattle into
the Endless Silence

Where I pray there is Light.


I would enter your dream
as a Lark
I would enter your dream
in song.
I would enter your dream.

The song is a gift
as small as a kiss.
The song floats up from the
soft wet grass outside your bedroom window.
The song I would send
to enter your heart.

I would enter your dream
as a man.
I would enter your dream
as this man
in this uneven shape
and forlorn form.

I would whisper
the bird’s song into your sleeping ear
and offer a small gift,
as small as a kiss.

As our lips touch,
the Lark will sing to the embrace
As our lips touch,
Imperfections disappear as
I enter your dream.

New York Suite

1. While Waiting: Vuillard

Not lead.
Smoked cotton
Makes green more.

Redbud and dogwood
Filter the skyline.

Lines not crossed
Cease to be lines
And disintegrate
Into women

Forming and reforming
Between black parentheses.

It isn’t about the detail.
He only gives the resemblance
And an indication
Of possible details
That add up into another view.

2. History in the Heart

For Dan and Andrea

There is a shorthand
That functions as
Walking together
From the Upper West Side
To West 57th Street and 10th Avenue

Where histories are enhanced
In chill wind and warm conversation.

The day has gone from green
To a gray mist infused
With neon glow.

It isn’t the glass brick tower
At Fordham or
The slant of the light hitting a
Woman buying toothpaste at Duane Reade,

It is this moment of connection
Through laughter and love
Between friends.

It is the utter strangeness that has
Brought us together on this
Night so far from home.

It is the sheer joy of a shared meal
In a basement taverna,
Tzatziki and deep amethyst wine
From Mount Athos.

It is the touch of a hand to a shoulder
Or the telling of a moment
When a hand is grasped across
The table at the bar
At the Museum of Modern Art.

The accumulation of complexity
And the revelation of simplicity
Bring tears behind a closing door.

The elevator rings and
Floors below on the street,
We will all walk with
This new history in our hearts.

3. Memories of a Thursday Afternoon

In the middle of this
Steel and glass temple of modernity,
Across a table topped with concrete,
Hands meet and
A world of cold with words and complications
Opens into a
World, green and complex with possibility.

Your son, your daughters, your ex-wife,
My dead partner, my ex-lover
My sister
Your father
Combine into a current that
Runs from your hand through mine.
You walk me back to West 57th Street in
A drunken lucidity,
Stopping at corners to wait
For traffic and to lean in for kisses.

Moments ago,
Peonies in the florist’s window
Were tight buds.
Now, as we pass,
The ions and electrons flying
Off our kiss
Have turned these heads into
Pink explosions fit for
An Upper East Side matron’s Sunday hat.

As she sits in her pew,
Reading from The Book of Common Prayer,
She remembers
Kisses withheld, over time may become scars.
She remembers, kisses offered,
Sometimes in lust, sometimes in affection,
And sometimes an admixture of both,
Become, in the heart,
Another kind of prayer
For another new day
Of green or gray complexity.

Years withheld,
The tongue becomes a clapper.
This bell calls all to praise.

For CM, May 4, 2008

Cubism and Its Double

The breeze through an open window
hits the midsection,
causing instant death.

Well, not really death,
but a possibility of rebirth.

Not in the tinkling bell
and incense way,
but in the consciousness
of the recognition of the possibility
of another.

If I place this bottle and this glass
on this wooden table,
if I unfold this newspaper and
set it next to a spoon
holding a cube of sugar,

and then, I am struck by lightening,
Just where am I?
Just what view of me will you see
and What view of you will I see?

Initially, we must restrict to grays and browns.
This process reveals that
all color is gray or brown.

Or, that gray and brown can
stand for any color.

Through this realization,
we allow the window to open
further a crack.
There are leaks from the soul and the body.


Through this window
there is no return.
This leap cannot be reversed and

all Sound, vision, touch,
all smell and taste are reborn,
soft and squalling into orphaned sense
where everything is new.
Even newness itself
has not been patched or darned.

This is the long told mortal coil
housed in a moth eaten sock.
All that remains are rents and gaps
that give this insupportable structure
a lack of heft.

Having slipped through the crack,
we find there are no planes,
no longer walls.
All that is left is in between.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Taxonomy of Loss: Bodies of Water

Taxonomy of Loss: Bodies of Water


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

water, 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. Containments and Releases

a. Volcanic: Crater Lake, Oregon

purpled by altitude,
a granite bowl of ink,
the sky, 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. stagnant puddle

teaming with larvae and polliwogs
losing tails to gain legs


The spent and smashed battery,
the clot of leaves,
runs the gutter.

outside of Woodland,
after too much malt liquor
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
outside of Winters?
Or reformed, working her program
and swimming laps at the Davis Y?


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

that room was your bedroom
and is no longer.
whenever I pass,
I am 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 and deeper.

15 years passed
and gone still, and utterly forever:

water over rocks
in dappled 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.

the scent of Queen Anne's lace,
shocks of lupine across the bend,
the glint of the salmon egg on the hook
as it splashes into the darkness.
the current carries the bait under the rocks.
a slight tug
and the old Rainbow is snagged on the hook.

the slow hum of Highway 50 as
The South Fork of the American River runs and
flows through Sacramento, through Cortland 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 river
under a titanium cloud cover
in a wasteland of discarded furniture and bric-a-brac?

did he ever love a man in a cabin on a beach
on a churning night
in a summer
in the nineteen- forties?

did he ever ford a stream
with his heart full with 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 water,
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 him from behind?
did you ever sit
silently together with your memories
of sad love songs from the radio?

Did you talk about the watery weather?

under the bridge.


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

On the back porch, flush with measles,
being washed in the concrete sink.
Happy sings in her cage
hanging over the raised floor above the basement door.
Sansaveria in a ceramic pot in the high window sill and
the scent of cleanser and linoleum.

Out the screen door,
a shrimp plant and carnations
and metal lawn furniture painted silver.
The ballerino's house was beyond the hedge
through a hidden 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 dun reeds?

e. sparkle

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

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

f. Absence of Love

is Hell

g. presence of the past

20th and G Street
Said yes
and didn't:
a living room on the second floor
a flat above Ali the Pakistani
who beat his wife.

solace, liquid in perpetuity.
it is mostly light now,
speckled and wandering in memory.

a vacuum cleaner is left behind.


Mona, Gavin, Roger He is So White He is Wong,
The Lady Montessa de Rambova and
Dino, who might have been there,
but I am not sure,
one by one
jumping out the first floor window into the hedge.

the dew dampened the back of my shorts.

after, around the table in the dining room,
peaking as Mona talks about Pioche,
I see spheres within spheres,
and hear the sound as they radiate outward and to the side: Spheres;
sounds within (within Spheres)
sounds within (within Spheres)
sounds (within Spheres).

July, midnight blue under street lights and stars night.
You will always remember your wedding cake and
the back of the red couch
and the scent of the disintegrating geometric patterned hotel rug.
Could you forget the drops of light
that sparkle in geometric patterns from every object?

Mona took me to
The psychedelic shack high in the sky.

Behind another house
and up a rail less, steep staircase.

The black walls,
patterned with fragments of broken mirror,
shimmered with reflections of leaves and sky.

The psychedelic shack high in the sky
was more shack and less psychedelic.

3. Currents

pulls out stronger than in.
go under.
and go out further without a raft
into the night.

there are no stars under the water.
phosphorescence is no substitute.

b. Lumahai Beach, Kauai,
with John and Zella and Bob and Chris.
We were the only ones on the beach.

A steep drop from the mangroves to the water,
but just enough room for mats
and places to drift off into the afternoon in the
overarching sun.

Body surfing:
swimming out and waiting
for a wave
to ride back to the beach.

Zella caught in a wave
tumbled to the floor of the ocean,
twisted her shoulder
and had her breath knocked out.
She lost her confidence
around the ocean for a long time.

c. Water Falling On Rocks in the Redwoods

4. Cycles

There are more questions than answers.
questions breed more questions.
answers are mutable.
questions are permanent.

Will there ever be a resolution?
or will the questions become the resolution?

the rain evaporates into the atmosphere as
sadness dissipates,
yet never disappears.
the cycle of grief is not the the cycles of water and weather.

ten years without clouds.
ten years of rain without end.
ten years a reign of something other than joy.
yet, in the joyless sound there is
a tinkling chime that somehow allows it all
to go on.
somewhere there is a glint or glimmer
that plays as a refrain
returning and reminding
that the past is ever present and
the future never arrives.

in the cabinet in the living room
Aunt Cassie and Grandma Nettie are still bickering
so many years after death.
Aunt Edna is ever suffering.
the arbutus in the front yard drops fruit
at once brilliant and bland.

Grandma Lopez is ever present with coffee milk and little fish.
Grandpa's hat is on the lampshade, ever on this side of singe.
It is before he got more mean and before she became a bear.

The living room and dining room are taken over by an amalgamation of tables
that stretch so long
that if you are sitting in the living room
and need something in the kitchen,
you have to go outside and around the house
and go in through the back door
to retrieve what it is that you need.
Mom and Dad and Zella
and Grandma and Grandpa and Grandma Nettie
and Aunt Lollie and Uncle Raymond and Patty
and Aunt Babe and Uncle Tom and Diana and Karl and June in a high chair,
Aunt Vera and Uncle Jack and Johnny and Jimmy and Mickey,
Dick and Jan Ryan and Donna
and sometimes Uncle John and Aunt Dorothy
and sometimes Uncle Buster and Aunt Marianne and Butch and Tommy and Jimmy
(it is before the little Ben) gather to celebrate or mourn
or both.

Most of them are gone now,
but the memory of putting pitted olives over my fingers
and plates of ice cold celery with cheese spread
are as vivid this night as they were
when everyone had gone home
and my Mother was washing dishes at the kitchen sink
and my sister drying the dishes
and my Mother saying that she would never do it again
until the next birthday
or holiday came around
and everyone would be at the table
eating spareribs from Barbecue Heaven or take out from China Palace
or Grandma's awful concoction of chicken in Sacramento brand
tomato sauce with hard boiled eggs.

Disintegrated into energy,
reformed by breath alone

Floating, disembodied,
detritus and ephemera:
the stuff that comes together to form
the veil.

The closet becomes an elevator
the bare light bulb
with a string and chain to pull on and off.

Floor please?

3rd please.

2nd floor - ladies foundations, better dresses and coats
3rd floor - notions and yardage, cafeteria and gift wrap.

It was never my turn to be Miss Universe.
I was always the first runner up,
Miss Venezuela.

In the garage
mixing a potion
of blueing, bleach, and amonia
and painting it
on the three foot dancing doll.
Waiting to see the results
as the fumes wafted out the door
open to the street
across from Mrs. Clark
who lived next door to Wilda
who raised earth worms
in a bathtub
in her back yard.

Wilda lived across from Don and Hazel

Janice wore a makeshift veil to
married her Siamese cat, Charlie,
with a backdrop of pink "Naked Lady" Amaryllis.
Patty officiated as a priest
of the one Holy and Apostolic Church.

I was ring bearer and witness.

at about 4:30 p.m.
in the late Spring
at the side of Aunt Lollie and Uncle Raymond's light green house.
Strawberry guava scent the ceremony.

Twice, we went to Seattle.
The first time I was six
and the second time I was eight.

The first trip was
picking blackberries along the street,
watching Curtis and Rodney and Janice fighting over
chicken hearts and gizzards,

and waterfalls and Puget Sound.

The second trip was
the Seattle World's Fair,
digging for razor back clams
and a kitten caught in the fan belt

We stopped both times
to visit Mrs. Pearsons and Maxine.

On the second trip home,
we stopped in Tillamok
and tasted cheese at the factory.
We stopped at the Tress of Mystery and
posed with the giant Paul Bunyan and
his Blue Ox, Babe.

My Mother and Father would wake us at 2:30 or 3:00 a.m.
Zella and I would be in our pajamas.
Groggy in the backseat
we set off in our Ford
up 99 through the Valley.

Sleeping and dreaming on vacation.
We would stop for breakfast.
Zella and I got dressed in the car.

Hash Browns. I always wanted whatever came with hash browns.

We crossed the Columbia River near dusk.
We crossed the Columbia River in the early morning.

We stopped at a beach in Oregon
and climbed down a steep cliff
and collected colored pebbles.

We stopped at Shasta Dam.

Once, Gordon and Vera
came to Sacramento.
They brought Rodney and Janice and Curtis and Cheryl.

Rodney and Curtis and I slept
in Uncle Carl's and Aunt Lil's house trailer parked
in the driveway.

Rodney and Curtis taught me how to play squirrel.
Go for the nuts.
I wanted to play Squirrel every night.

Another time, older, Rodney returned to Sacramento.
He taught me how to roll cigarettes from butts.
He was a narc.

Cheryl married a black man.

The only time we ever made Grandma Lopez angry
was when Zella sat on the salt shaker and
the little metal ball at the top broke off in her butt.

We all laughed and Grandma scolded us as
she comforted Zella.

The little silver ball is still buried in
Zella's butt.

Afraid of my uncles in this order:

Ted and Lynn were with Peps.
Ted set a church on fire
and ate wax fruit.

Ted put a bean up his nose
and it sprouted.

Lynn doesn't register.

Pep's died of cancer the night
I went with Wade and B Bill to see "Help
at the drive-in.

Ted went to jail
for shooting a man
who had spit
on his car
while cruising K.


Dan and Marianne lived in the projects.
Aunt Lollie and Uncle Raymond did too.
Dan and Marianne lived in a brick house
down by Southside Park and the cemetery.

We took Grandma Nettie to cemeteries.
We cleared the weeds from the graves
and put sweetpeas and carnations
in mason jars.
It was Uncle This and Second Cousin That,
a neighbor and
a child.


5. Bath

Eleven years and forty-seven days gone
and still, when I walk into that room,
you've never left.

It seemed like days were night and
it would never end
and then, it did.

The rattle is real.
Until you've heard it,
you'll never know.

After the rattle ended,
I closed your eyes
and called the doctor and the coroner.

I went into the yard to tell Zella
and called Theresa and Rabih.
They tried to comfort me.

But, I did not know how to accept this comfort
until I had performed
the ritual that I knew I needed to complete.

I put warm water in a basin.
I found a cloth
and I began to wash your lifeless body.

I don't know why I did
I just knew I had to.
I washed the lesions and wounds.

I washed your feet that had not touched the ground in weeks.
I washed your hair and your once beautiful face
I washed your arms that had been so recently connected to the IV.

I washed what had been public
and I washed what had been most private
I dried your body with a soft towel.

At some point while I was performing this last offering for you
I saw your soul fly out of your body and through the open window.
The coroner came, wrapped your body in a bag and took it away.

You were not gone for long.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Who is Entropy?

What was, for 45 minutes in 1988
became a collection of sags and bumps,
wrinkles and soreness.

How does entropy
become optimism?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Next Door on Sunday, February 3, 2008

From the stairway, looking into the neighbor's yard.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

I Am Not Gretel

Hansel and his older brother
led me into the forest behind their house.

Just after we crossed the road
it became darker.

The trees, a canopy of great height
obscured the sky.

We walked through thickets
and brush for what seemed hours.

Along the way, we picked
blackberries and salmon berries.

We ate them and saved
some in a paper sack.

We planned on taking them
home to make a pie.

We crossed a stream, rippling
and cold.

Before us was a ramshackle cabin
covered in vines.

Though it appeared to be abandoned,
there were signs of recent activity.

In a fire pit, there was a pile of cans
and paper charred at the edges.

Hansel told me that a
witch lived here.

His older brother told me that
no one had ever seen her.

We heard a rustling in the brush
a few feet away.

We ran and the sack of berries
fell from Hansel's hands.

Maybe, it was an offering
to the witch.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Some of my favorite movies I saw in 2007

These are some of my favorite movies I saw in 2007:

Year of the Dog
I liked the mix of sadness and humor. Mollie Shannon was just perfect as a woman looking for love and finding it in an unlikely place. Peter Saarsgard was very good as a man who thinks he is doing "right", but is really clueless about his effect on others. Laura Dern was wonderful as the sister. The movie is a right blend of chaos and hopefulness. I liked Mike White's work as an actor and he displays a very fine style as a director.

Amazing Grace
An inspirational film about what one person can do to help bring change and justice to the world. I didn't know much about William Wilberforce before I saw the film, but truly appreciated his quest to end slavery in England. All of the performances were quite strong. Michael Apted is always at least interesting, but here is masterful with a historical epic.

Red Without Blue
This documentary just showed up on Netflix and I took a chance in renting it. I was very moved by this family's search for ways to love each other and their ability to love their differences.

Away From Her
I had admired Sarah Polley as an actress, but she proves to be a remarkable director with this film. Although all of the performances were amazing, Julie Christie gives the performance of her life as the woman sinking into Alzheimer's.

Amy Adams displays a naturalness that at times made me cringe for her and at other times marvel in her character's optimism. Celia Watson was great as the mother and the rest of the cast was without weakness. I liked that the film took me to a part of the country not often seen and made what could have been a bunch of yahoos rounded and moving people.

My favorite film of the year with first time actors delivering heartbreakingly real characters told through song. The music haunts me and brings tears to my eyes every time I hear Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova perform it. I loved the way the characters find love for each other and don't act on it. The mix of humor and sadness is right on the mark.

Looking through this list I realize that these films are all about looking for love and finding in in unlikely ways. From The Boy and The Girl in Once who find each other on the street, to Peggy and her dogs, to Fiona and Aubery paralleled by Grant and Marian in Away From Her, these stories all looked beyond the typical into not only what can be territory for loving, but into the reality of new kinds of love.