Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dawn is lurking

Dawn is lurking behind the san francisco cloud wall, and though it is night still in the city I know that across the bay oakland has seen the sun and I know that all those mountains' eastern slopes are flecked  with the green rivets of trees whose roots pin the mountains to whichever certain stretch of sky.  But in the city it is only over the shoulders of mist that slight blue light emanates reminding that come noon the last cloudy fingers will disperse entirely their grip forgotten for a moment under the light.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Prayer from Ocean Beach

I'm learning a new language to reverse time. And it needs both negation and reversal, so we say "we silence" and "we unsay".  We regret, cherish, regress.  In morning the sun may rise, or the fog may cloud it, or the whole great earth may stop its spin, knuckling until it takes on english and the sun sets in the east and--if permitted--rises up again to look down on the world from the west and we in America will then all be chinamen looking with wonder on a day out of the Pacific and the Sunset and the Richmond will see the sun for the first time and it will burn all their hanging fog away.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Though brushed, as steel is brushed, not with color but cleaned of it,
still there are lingers.  Fruits of warp and weave withhold and blend, leaving
sanded tree knots in wood, where branches formed and fell, where polished
surface pulled the blades and brushes smoothing it away from intention and
into reality.  As usual.

Unintended whorls are cracking backs in frost, and are making brittle bridges
and not remembering how to connect effect and cause, or how amends are
made, or the chemical components of an apology, or a clash averted.

With the tendency of engines to break down, and memories to leak out into
inconvenient vernal pools and flood the pistons of thought until bubbling
and churning they go dead, or turn strange, or phase away into fantasies
and intentions again.  And damned reality will never conform or rebel but just
insists on being over and over again.  And it will not stop.

Mothers with wombs now withered try always
to nurture and succour and give more and also reclaim that succour and take more
and balance their lives and work and lose or gain enough or wait for each child
to see reason and rejoin the machinists union.

Where lines are measured and marked.
Where the engines are maintained and mastered.
Where in the vernal pools are water wheels and that power thrums through each bridge sprint, and though planks fall and the sugar builders scatter in a wreckage wake, it is still possible to cross, and remember what's forgotten in the frost and brushing and burnish and polish and all that smooths and sours with time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Carrying hunger and empty engines pushing
air with pistons, pushing them without a breath
of gas. There are currents churning without a spark
there are heavy breaths, belabored, bursting in ugly
choruses together, in rhythms staccato and otherwise.

Catalogue this heaving vocabulary:
Structure it into words of rhythm, and their sounds
into words with meaning, heavy meaning that looms
or just forget how meaning is made and throw away
the territory.

Hunger for the cannon fire, and its cracked report.

Or just a bit of moving air.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


The brow of the mountain, furrowed under the wearing centuries, is now cleared.
And the titan there lying opens, tenses his sprawled form, and uncurls momentarily
a distant fist bleached like sandstone in the Arizona desert.  And the cactus flowers
are hurried in their blooming, and sputter out premature.  And the herons shadows
warp and twist with the changing landscape and the snakes do not remember to be
afraid and are eaten, unwary.  But it is not the fullness of time, and the fist curls again
and the brow clouds and the fog rolls in over San Francisco, which hardly felt the
unsteady earth and its briefest quiver in its collected sleep.  But the herons feast and remember
the day, and the cactus flowers litter the desert and dry in wind-blown heaps.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

a difficult thing, without the language of it
don't recall asking how.
how to pour petrol down Euterpe's blouse and burn her into lively action again.

In measured detachment: 1 cup.  Precision poured
to the exact lip, meniscus perched.

Inaction, hunch: the body is a dim-lit catalogue of habitual hurts
admitting through obfuscation
casting nets to lure other fishermen.
learning the stars with private constellations

delete this poem.  fill it up with voids
capture and suture lack
stitch some new whole and when it is voided to perfection

this will be a poem symptomatic of
acne scars and ringworm foot and made, a little, of
pus weeping from a day old burn

Remember to put her out.  Remember water will catch the fiery slick
and spread it

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lessons From The City

The sky is teaching the city
about the smell of urine drying,
about other things:
like compost, and fresh roasted coffee;
like rotted squab; like tobacco.
With every withheld raindrop the
lesson grows and the city learns

The sun is teaching the city heat
and the fog is a tutor for each gray
green, mauve, marble, and white in its
soft pallet. And from the earth, the city
is learning anticipation, and to brace
before a fall.

And each footfall is a lesson in rhythm;
each note another harmony, point,discord,
And the sky is all this time
still teaching, with wind that hums with
horns and bird sounds and shouts and
rattles windows and still bears not one hint
of rain but only of fog, of the clouds descending
to touch and tease and never give up their

And the bay is teaching the city loneliness
and it is teaching the city how to wake up in the
mourning groggy and tousled and the city
is learning.

Is learning from the sun how to bend light, how to
warm and cool in stark and shade.  It is learning
the meaning of labyrinth and of walking away, and
about seeing what can clean and heal
and feeling it, and touching it, and still it will not rain,
it will not.

The city is learning to bend light around them, and
to fill up their bodies with its dust and its clouds
and its tobacco and rot.  And it has learned from music
and discord to hide their sulfurs--each a new shade and
texture--in the collage of other human odors. And it
is passing all its lessons, lessons of how not to see
and how to remember without having been there and
what way to smile when hurting, or doing harm.

And if the rain comes, what lesson will the sky
then teach? Will it teach forgetting or fulfilling?  Will it
teach another softer rhythm, or beat once with thunder
and flood.