Sunday, September 27, 2020



Twist a white shirt
Clockwise tight
Until you stanch
The pulsatile spurt.
First things first;
Stop the bleed,
Worry about the rest later.
Pale then blue then black,
Strangulate the parts
You don't explicitly need.
You'll be ok
If you don't get them back.
Most things are not indispensable.
You can live without your sweater,
By making peace with the shiver.
You don't need this house,
This comfortable suburbia
This cultivated persona.
Life is tolerable without the fine china.
Kill it before it kills you.
Be like the drunks smashing full bottles,
The thinkers who empty their minds
In the quiet woods and listen to trees,
The writers who break their pencils snap,
In half, halt the flow,
A gradual stifling
Of all things serious and trifling;
Suspicious looks, wrong words, misplaced thoughts,
Cap them with purplish dry scabs.
All bleeding, in the end, eventually stops.

It's time to grow up.
First, save the essential
And cling to what is left.
Then shrink into smaller spaces,
Circle the wagons tighter,
Cast your ballast into the sea.
The wounded will heal
With beautiful complex scars.
Fragments re-form like
Silver globs of molten metal
Inexplicably fusing together like desperate lovers.
Time will ultimately grant
A new sense of wholeness
Another day, another step
Even if it's one limb less.


Friday, September 11, 2020


Retention Pond

The fountain in the retention pond
Erupts in shocks of wheat
That peel away and fall back down.

Around and around it goes,

Dissipated mists replaced

By brackish storm drain runoff

Cycled by invisible mechanical pumps.

Yeah I know it’s fake,

That the water isn’t potable.

But it’s still water,

Dutifully following inscrutable orders.

I still see the morning orange glowering 

Behind its arching apical spray.

And close up, down on the benches

Along the kitschy walkway,

The roar of the splashdown crash

Is arguably just as real,

When you close your eyes,

As the dawn Pacific surf.


Sunday, September 6, 2020



Space and time are curved.
Nothing real is ever really straight.
Street maps are lies,
False matrices of intersecting lines,
Hash tags, tic-tac-toe grids sketched
On restaurant place mats to occupy the kids,
Hopscotch boxes chalked on asphalt,
The way sidewalks weave around trees and telephone poles.
The shortest distance between two points actually bends,
It comes in waves that no one sees,
In clouds of probabilities.

I underline the best parts of books
As straight as I can
But the ink always veers
Into the ends of sentences
Smearing the certainty of periods.

Words should be curved 
To fit the formless niches of truth.
They used to teach cursive in school,
That incautious flow of letter into letter;
Not this staccato etching of printing,
Pencils that leave the page, tap tap tapping,
The whir of printers spitting out uniform fonts,
Letters unconnected,
It's all so discursive.

Many save old love letters
For the Proustian effect of forgotten perfumes;
My nose in the nape of your neck,
My hand caressing the arch of your back.
I've always saved them for the script,
Thick ink raised from the page like Braille.
I trace the looping swerve of your signature
Across delicate stationary frail
As ancient artifacts and find 
The truest paths follow the curvature.


Saturday, September 5, 2020


End of Summer

September and the days are getting shorter. 
I hear a smattering of applause from the leaves
As a cool evening breeze wends its way
Through the line of trees behind my house
As if to say: good enough, not bad at all.

But they’ve been clapping hard all summer
Turning themselves to the sun
Celebrating storms and sultry humidity,
Soaking up as much as they can.
Maybe they know the score
And feel the elapse of time
Maybe they know they have arrived
At the end of a designated line

Maybe they’re just tired now.
Maybe they’re just done.

They’d stand for an encore if they could
But they notice the chill as well as me.
Soon begins the yellowing senescence
The lovely forgetfulness just
Before a slow wafting fall.

For now they tremble in the trees.
I hear them even when the air goes dead.
You’d be a little fearful too,
In that moment when you know
The line is actually a circle
That bends back to its beginning
Which means it goes nowhere at all.

This is all projection, of course.
The leaves have always known.
Leaves don’t need the solace of summation.
Instead of projection I’ll write a poem
And say the leaves are just waving goodbye
To the honking geese overhead
Departing in perfect veed formation.