Wednesday, December 16, 2009

finding in the floor a hole the girl proceeded to climb right in.

it was dark and it was dim. there were no friends. it led nowhere. there was no sun at the end and there were no sconces on the walls and there was no wine in any of the bottles that hung from the ceiling of the cave with their necks broken, sharp

tears blurred the candle flames into lines of yellow heat. nothing touched her. she shook from within. it was dark and it was dim, she thought, i know not what state i'm in. anymore.

the allowance of sadness can lead to more sadness and when the tear leaked down her cheek she felt herself slip. all was horribly truly bad. time had been wasted. stupid times had. nothing gained. only sad. and foolish as the day is long.

she paused for the flash of eyes as flat and black as the onyx fished out of the river to satiate her lust. eyes that could only be held when apologizing for some devastating breach of trust. i don't believe in modern love.

stolen, she realized. stolen-- each moment from the dark place used to store everything that is never meant to be. stolen from the lesson vault. stolen from hell. snorting lines off of dressers in beautiful bedrooms. setting lovely. deeds depraved. choking hands followed by words in vain. and then climbing up the orange tree, jacques brel singing sadly, Poeme from a tiny bottle weighing the air. humid summer hell 90 degree days.

he did not ask. she changed the record. she curled into her pain. she knew he was, she was insane. and it all drove her all the more insane. she was very beautiful; it did her absolutely no good. she could not stop her mind from reeling. she found some calm in otis redding. existed as a hurricane

and when the tunnel turned it led to more dark and the dark led nowhere at all. it was, as it were, a cell with walls and she felt very nearly locked in. she slumped to her knees. the floor began to roll

be done, she thought. and disappeared beneath a rising tide. the flood took her under and tossed her around in its grasp.

they hid beneath her own brown blankets. said it would last. i don't believe in modern love . more will always come to pass. on all fours on the floor wrapped in brown blanket he baited a cat. morning rain lasted such a short while; arriving and disappearing just as fast

wine and pills and sick in the bathroom, coke-head teenaged misdirected gunshot took a grazing beauty down. songs and songs

the tide bore her downward

songs and songs, all of my beauty she thought. and all of it wrong. a carnelian and a long time gone. wasted

'dont pass me by' played, perilous curves in the highway 1
big sur moss briefly flashing

i smoked so many cigarettes.

the water level slowly begins to lower, even despite

despite despite. those were dark times but more spent driving
driving ceaselessly. highway 1.

cigarette after cigarette, damned scratched c.d. summer mothered me. you create the circumstances, we'll provide the party

at the end.

at the end what remains is simple. first feeling the walls for a door, and, in finding the door, for a lock. if lock is locked, consulting mind which she finds is the gracious bestower of the key

many thanks.

greeted not by light but by thick obscuring grey. fog covered the clouds but did not distract from the landscape

at the end what remains is simple. a single candle. a blue shawl. hematite bracelet that has seen enough but will see even more. record player still revolves. brown blanket keeps her body warm. time slips

slips and is merciful
whole

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

learnings



when i walk no one cares where i go

i’m as free as a ghost here.


i am unconventionally winged and i have been stuck in amber

three thousand years of fog and sun.


i read of a king. the king of ireland when ireland had kings;

named


Anguish.


he proved to be persuadable.


it occurs to me that i have worshipped

vice and called it character


attempted alchemical madness

with dylan thomas as defense


and everything i touched permeated

with poison


hind sight beholds

the time i’ve spent


tried to defy

gravity:


truth

sinks.


there’s nothing to fear any more

(that was not a pretty sight)


what is genuine is much quieter than that


in the middle of the highway it pauses staring

through the night

with wolfish eyes


it’s not nothing.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

i. some stones.

the bloody jasper in my pocket lends a lovely glow. close to me it feels warm as if it was cut from my chest, cut

with a knife made of ancestral bone; warm as a lung.

i keep stones. i could sew them into my hems if the notion bore me from below. return to the river but for all i've grown. these days, knowing more than nothing, i have something worth keeping

worth keeping in stone. long nights i have known
were long days too.

yet every facet sometimes catches a moment of light. can cross a divide and arrive on the other side, guided by something spectral and wild

conjured from memory, someone i knew said:
i carried crystals, hoarded stones

until i learned to keep them in my mind.

now they go wherever he goes and their light is his alone. trailing smoke and cellos,
sharp as a knife of ancestral bone,
warm as night

Saturday, October 17, 2009

(it's a pseudohaiku)


if there's one thing i miss
it's my beloved carnelian
my hand your pocket soon gone
and always gone
the song that plays is history of lovers. i'm bringing it all back home. because i see myself turning slowly to sugar. i see myself turning to water, i see myself turning to vinegar, kept overlong in the cellar

is this decomposition? is it age? am i old or am i young, i think i'm old, i think i'm very very old and tired as that tree over there

bent by the wind. relentlessly driven to shake loose the leaves

i cannot stop myself from contemplating greater things. i don't always like where it all takes me. contemplating a lie. something has taken my past from me

made it seem

like a decimated thing

full of cage and sadly void of free

i'm bringing it all back home. i'm finding the blue car crashed against the pine tree, down the red cliff

across from the old mine

by the look of it

took the turn far too fast

Monday, October 5, 2009

well i've got this new stone and i wear it round my neck on a string. it is a citrine and it lends some strength to me. i have some of my own already but it never hurts to double up on those sorts of things. when you live in berkeley its easy to see the big beauty. if your feet are cold you can warm them up on the street. when it rains it sounds like peace.

things are different but mostly they're the same. i've been spending most of my time with marvin gaye. the band and crosby stills and nash. they seem to know everything that i could think to ask and its all things i've known all along. i am realizing now that its easier than it seems. you just treat yourself with some sensitivity. instead of hating yourself for not being everything or for being things that you cant help but be. i'm finding myself to be much smarter than initially suspected

Thursday, October 1, 2009

that's for sure

today is october first and october first is the first day of the year
this year

i have learned a lot of very interesting things today.

it's all going well. i know who i am. even though i wish i didn't have to give a damn

i'm the girl in the pink kimono
and i always will be. it's what i think of me and what i know myself to be

and i wouldn't have it any other way. i haven't been looking very well these days
but i'm green as leaves
soon it'll all be cleared away and i'll be able to see me again
i'm a bit behind but i've got potential


Friday, August 7, 2009

I.
i can be satisfied. i can be very easily satisfied. i ask for no grail no relic no alchemical magic. cigarettes, filtered, yes. coffee. yes. a beautiful joint. yes. one of those pills that stills the shaking, that frenetic haunting rattle? okay, yes. a glass of what you're having, cabernet sauvignon? oh yes.

an honest tongue. yes. an honest face can satisfy me. i can be satisfied. my curiosity leads me. i follow my hands where they insist on going themselves. i can be satisfied. it's easy.

i can be satisfied; i do not require much technology. a revolving record collecting incense ash. Love, 'forever changes.' oh yes i can be satisfied.

an honest tongue. yes. an honest tongue can satisfy me. finding reflected in someone else my own insistence on the truth. i sleep in my blue slip, in that precarious balance. between my naivete,
folly which dylan thomas would insist i keep, insist that i not grind beauty down to dust, for 'wisdom is folly, love is not", and that determined Keatsian part of my heart that demands, almost petulantly, the truth.

'for beauty is truth, truth beauty, -- that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'


i sleep in the balance, not feeling alone, feeling satisfied





II.

Arthur Lee has taught me a lot about love.





Wednesday, August 5, 2009

i might succumb to the dry cool breeze blowing today unexpectedly from the east. it doesn't bring a wall of sand or air thick with poison or even smoke from the forest, that constantly smouldering forest down the two-lane highway. it makes the limbs of those nectarine trees sway like unsteady drunks, teetering atop high-heels. only knocks off the lightest blooms and barely bothers the roses.

i do not intimately know the wind; i do not know its various names and only occasionally its origins. the wind and i met anonymously, as in the coatroom of a dark restaurant; we recognized one another immediately as strangers of old.

it can be a gentle nurse administering something cool, calming for a fever that seems infinite as space and deep as time. or a punishing hot hand slapping blood into your cheeks, hot hot hot; and nothing before you but more melting asphalt, steam rising into suffocating air. unpredictable wind; i take what i get. so i lay down this day, to hear its news.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

this one...


the man himself, singing in his chains
like the sea...






'...... i want reality to hold
within my palm,
not, as a symbol, stone
speaking or no
but it, reality, whose voice I know
to be the circle not the stair of sound.'


dylan thomas

Saturday, August 1, 2009

all the people at this party, they've got a lot of style. they've got stamps of many countries, they've got passport smiles. some are friendly. some are cutting. some are watching it from the wings. some are standing in the center, giving to get something. one beauty gets attention, and her eyepaint's running down. she's got a rose in her teeth and a lampshade crown. one minute she's so happy, next she's crying on someone's knee, saying laughing and crying, you know it's the same release. i told you met when i met you i was crazy; cry for us all, beauty. cry for eddie in the corner thinking there's nobody. and jack behind his joker and stone-cold grace behind her fan, and me, in my frightened silence, thinking i don't understand. i feel like i'm sleeping; can you wake me? you seem to have a broader sensibility. i'm just living on nerves and feelings, with a weak and a lazy mind, and coming to people's parties; stumbling deaf, dumb and blind. i wish i had more sense of humor, keeping the sadness at bay. throwing the lightness on these things, laughing it all away. laughing it all away. joni mitchell

Thursday, July 30, 2009

all there is to me now is bleached by the sun and wrung pale by the sea. i have become a simpler thing, i aspire to be a simpler thing

each day. open like a nautilus, strong as a square nail. not a relic you'd find in the sand but something surviving dawn to dawn; picking up its feet to drift with the tides and trusting that it won't be ground into the coral or tossed onto a ragged rock.

life in the sea, so precarious, whether you're a seal or a fish. always outswimming the encroaching jaws of something bigger. sometimes predator and sometimes prey, but always attuned to the nature of the moment. porous as a sponge, recieving the wisdom of the split second. it tends to suggest action.







Wednesday, July 29, 2009

time has told me you're a rare rare find. a troubled cure for a troubled mind.
and time has told me not to ask for more. someday our ocean will find its shore.
so I`ll leave the ways that are making me be what I really don't want to be.
leave the ways that are making me love what I really don't want to love.
time has told me you came with the dawn, a soul with no footprint, a rose with no thorn
your tears they tell me, there's really no way of ending your troubles with things you can say.
and time will tell you to stay by my side, to keep on trying 'til there's no more to hide.
so leave the ways that are making you be what you really don't want to be.
leave the ways that are making you love what you really don't want to love.
time has told me you're a rare rare find, a troubled cure for a troubled mind.

.nick drake

Sunday, July 26, 2009

suzanne

suzanne valadon was a painter; henri toulouse-lautrec's lover, her beautiful face

so alive in its preoccupation isn't it? her wheels are turning.

i reach over through time to try to touch her because i understand. her wheels are turning.

no vapid smile. her jaw is clenched, can you tell? she is biting down on the most bitter truth she's been awarded lately i think

still resonant in her strength.

thank god it is not always necessary to paste on your brightest smile for photos.

thank god we always have a choice, between the truth, and a lie. some of us couldn't lie even if we tried. her eyes like glass. if she tried to make them smile she probably couldn't even swing it. even swilling absinthe in montmartre and watching petticoats fly can bring your face to this state of total granite disillusionment. lautrec himself said:

"i have tried to do what is true and not ideal."

and i think this is wise.
very wise.

she must have really loved him. i don't think i could ever ask more of someone, than to try to do what is true and not ideal.

the truth makes us all so beautiful when it illuminates us with that completely encompassing, totally impartial light

the curtains open in one slow creak of cable, dusty red velvet draws back to reveal all our folly. and all our promise, we're not hopeless, not hopeless at making some beauty & happiness, never

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

aid to veterans thrift is where i like best to be. beyond the cluttered main space to the tiny room in back, with the door that has nearly no room to swing. only flick the red switch or the whole place will go darker than one of hell's caverns. herein wait the records. stacked anonymously and covered in dust; rubbing up against my hands, i don't mind, wipe them on the same delapidated shorts with their embroidered dragonfly, slowly disintegrating mauve. i'm looking for someone i know. like paging through a yearbook, i scan the covers for a face beautifully familiar, or beautifully new, to me. from these friends i learn my lessons, so i seek them, pockets full of quarters, keen print-reading eyes.

the kingston trio, sometimes. peter, paul, and mary on their sunny yellow cover, who knew mary was such a babe? joan baez and her luminescent doe eyes. songs about the bombings in hanoi. and cat stevens,

(may all our voices lift in praise)

buddha and the chocolate box. he makes it so easy, to choose the greener path.

Monday, July 20, 2009

i will write myself through this and emerge slightly battered, exhausted, on the other side. or i will crawl through it on my belly like a soldier, smearing mud down my front, wishing i could
give up. just sleep in the mud. just sleep

inching like the living dead toward a blurry dawn with indistinct features; could be a grimace, could be a smile. could be another day at the park. ocean park, its water always the color of the reflected sky. silver sleeping with eyes closed beneath its dense blanket of fog.

perspective is a telescope and i have to jam myself into its center, bones and all, stay forever. make a moment of clarity expand to encompass all time. like a bird in the estuary, diving beneath the surface and then returning to the light. so, a moment of wet and cold.

it's just a moment of wet and cold. the sun'll dry you right off

Saturday, July 18, 2009

when i was thirteen i began listening to billie holiday. and her dust. i was hypnotized by the dust, its sound, how it would never be blown off with a breath. it's been recorded, it is as it was, frozen in time:

stuck in amber; improbable, but true,

immovable, billie locked in her position of grief
then
now
forever

with no possibility of a new beginning. the needle swings its arc, drops on the first song. one more tired revolution around the sun

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


dont fall off the face of my earth;

i am not the strongest

what would be for some a gentle push

might just knock me over and concuss me

i am not

and i am grateful that i am not

a crow

but i might be something smaller

with little sugar spun bones

wounded wing

carry me in your mouth

but don't bite down

be gentle




Tuesday, July 14, 2009

my mind wont sit still, i'm as i ever was :


in a starchy scratchy floral confection, i never would've picked it myself
but there you are


lacey socks on but my legs wont cross
daintily at the ankles
i won't sit still

can't do what i'm told when i simply cant
sit still


and i never believed in being seen but not heard until i knew how it felt to love silence more than words, and knew how it felt to see truth being told without speaking

so my mouth it is closed but my mind never ceases
its reeling

and i dont believe in growing cold in your fear and waiting for disaster to appear so i let myself sink back into the feeling.


and furthur back into the feeling

time is two eyes across from me. when i let myself look it ceases to exist entirely and gets out of my way

to let me live

Monday, July 13, 2009

my pile of stones is growing and
so is this feeling

i'm enamored even with distortion
even distortion sounds sweet

how it pushes me sweetly toward the edge. i'm not afraid
of going over

anymore

Thursday, July 9, 2009

it's all coming down

it's all coming down. pouring from the sky
relentless and wild
on top of me

it's all coming down. it's coming down hard
remember the old adage?

'it's coming down hard'; it truly is coming down hard
on top of me

i open my entreating mouth so that i might fill it up with rain
and never speak a word again but only trickle condensation

feel cloud matter slipping from behind teeth

i think it would be an honest thing to do, an honest thing to be said from me to you:
no words, free of sound

only rain

i might rain all over you and let you stand in the haze, let you ponder the aged old refrain

let you feel the weight that only i draw near to touch, that only i would take the time to introduce myself to

it could all come down on you

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

how provocative

i'm half sleeping, exhausted, a flower between teeth

how provocative

dried and dying carnation
i've been waking up to broken petals in my bed

dark and bloody red against my purple sheets
i dont know where they came from, floating round

snapped stem

in my dreams i speak another language, older than the languages that we together know, mine counting hardly for anything; your coin is worth more than my own to me

this habit will make me poor, i expect
very poor in the long run

but i know i'll wear it willingly
and make it mine

you've never minded my silk scraps anyway
never minded my frayed edges
tired beyond time

in my dreams i speak another language; silence, and eyes. it's easy to be fluent
to be eloquent, in dreams

it's all as mysterious as time
yet unrealized

a bloody flower forming that long line, across a pale mouth
what features
so defined

how provocative

Friday, July 3, 2009

I. summer feels strange, and it feels strange because it is strange. this summer has been touching me strangely. a summer movement caught me in its languid lover's grasp, overwhelmed me with its heat, closed my mouth with its hand

i might have said no had i been able to say no, but most likely not, i rarely say no

cant struggle stifled by my own weight, the weight that i feel especially in summer; a freeing and a dooming responsibility. To do, to say yes, to succumb

be disarmed

open entirely like a lens and receive








II. i am not being made a fool of if my soul is still free, if my heart is still free to me. but my heart isn't free to me, not really, so i am a fool indeed.

this has been my state perpetually. i'm sure it'll continue, i'm very rarely free, there is a weight i have long known and it seeks me

it continually seeks me; i have always known the feeling
of being its prey

but that's my life. i suppose it's okay. I bleed as do you, and as does he. i turn my face to hide my face and close my eyes so as to see

i wish i understood
something

i keep my turquoise in my poison ring, to make me strong, for
it's a wonderful woman that's strong,

but all i can own to is doing the best i can.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

VII.

sometimes i prefer not to speak. i love not to speak. i love not speaking when you are speaking; i love when you are speaking. i like it

that my heart can feel free of that heavy weight that has been pressing down upon it for an inexorably long time, an unspeakably long time

sheets crackle like paper, isn't it lovely how
why begin now why begin now
edith piaf would not stop now, edith piaf singing. there is a morning feeling,
one that no one ever could wish to leave

climbing up the orange tree
and on it grows

my mind seems to love to return to these things.

i do not mind seeing things through a haze if that is what i do. to me i see clearly. i wish to see you clearly which is a novelty to me, to wish but not to know if my own sight is true

i could only dissolve
into the night with you

three steps backward into darkness that is where we're headed to and let's not return
any time soon

correction
correction

let's not return

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I.
I am not going crazy this morning, the ocean to my right, those crumbling cliffs to the left. i am only tired, so tired. Rusting signs nailed to driftwood posts proclaim quarantine statistics, tired. Train tracks run along the bridge, splintering, creaking, tired. In less tiring times, in our youth we'd climb like fugitives up its scaffolding and inch our bodies onto the huge cement blocks that kept it grounded in the sea. a six pack of something cheap in cans suited then wonderfully. the cigarettes were marlboros. Even then I might have seen, my palms foretold it in their lines: tired. The ground shakes with the passing of the train. No passengers, just unidentifiable freight. and an egret suddenly midflight.

Friday, June 26, 2009

from somewhere this sadness rose in me like moss, green life; it broke through the ceiling and surfaced in my chest. it grew quickly and lithely, little purple flower facing the sun

i am proud; my pride won't let myself admit i gave a little bit away
and that the bit i gave left a well in its place. deep dark and blue

but the truth is in my eyes

looking so sad

Thursday, June 25, 2009

i don't ever want to scratch the surface of the comprehensive history of lovers. even when, in the night, i turned toward the window and saw the ghost of
her all in blue, my great grandmother

i knew that she didn't belong and that all must lie after a time
so tired

sleep is what we all have to do, i said to you
you agreed it was true. you were glad it was true

and it all made me glad for you,
so i sit frightened now.

these days i speak a different tongue, i want to sew myself into the hems of silence,
blow my warmth and my wishes into stones;

i never had a tiger's eye til yesterday. this tiger's eye my mouth: now i need to crush it small, pulverize it to dust to set drifting in my blood, i will be strong

summer solstice come and gone yet only just begun. and i must let that wrap me in its long arms, and i must let that make me feel i have a friend

that there is still the best thing left, the only thing
still time. fibrous and foliated and sometimes, on a good day
merciful

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1 train wreck


I know myself to be a train wreck now, a train wreck to the core

and i can be in a roomful of beautiful people but still look toward the door
only wanting to slip away to my room and listen to the night moan

i seek a cold and smooth stone to lay my body down upon

to dissolve into the night
i would adore
to be stronger than my wayward, flailing heart

i've got to try



2 Four minutes

I only have four minutes
four precious minutes, fleeting and incorporeal and green
i've just lost three of them in looking out the window and seeing

not yellow daisies, honeysuckle and dead vines
but a different view entirely, in my folly

the four minutes have passed
yet i remain optimistic:

i no longer care about the time. i care only about the song. i care only about the song: the way it aches in my chest, the physical pain of beauty

very distracting

head full of snow

'When the wind blows and the rain feels cold 
with a head full of snow
In the window there's a face you know
Don't the night pass slow?

Sound of strangers sending nothing to my mind
Just another mad, mad day on the road
I am just living to be lying by your side
But I'm just about a moonlight mile on down the road

Made a rag pile of my shiny clothes
Gonna warm my bones,
I got silence on my radio
Let the air waves flow,
For I am sleeping under strange strange skies
Just another mad, mad day on the road
My dreams is fading down the railway line
I'm just about a moonlight mile down the road'

the rolling stones





the leaves of the trees in your yard screech low like cellos; it is too dark to know where the narrow path leads, creeping as it does to the right and then out of sight, but that's where you go

a head full of snow: have you a head full of snow? is this the origin of your ghostly glow, your emaciated smile ?

your hands are warm anyway

a head full of snow. it's a feeling i've known (we were all clean and young before we were grown but the nights are cold, and through the smoke we only seek the heat

that we need for our own)

your face in the half-light, the shadow of your collarbone

of course i can only close my eyes,
remember a song

stirring up the stations of the radio. my vision adjusts to find you moving slow, your eyes ignited by a lighter's adjustable flame, beautiful mouth, a perfect bow, and

a head full of snow

i shall lay back on this table and watch the stars explode. and i shall not cry because i am too high to remember how.

i have a glass of wine a cigarette and the rolling stones
and i peer through frozen eyes, hear through a wall of snow

(as do we all, i know, because we all have felt the pull. along the narrow path, that's where you go)


to calm a feeling that is stronger than your bones, that threatens to grow darker than your immeasurable black pupils know

a piece of carnelian, cellos, a head full of snow

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

asleep and dreaming

i am asleep and dreaming, like the coyote lying limp on the shoulder of my most beloved
highway 101

a casualty of spring

note my four paws finally come to rest, my full, speckled tail does not wag and
the foolish, rattling pinball machine of my heart stills and ceases those deafening, breathcatching beats

so unruly and reddening to my unsuspecting cheeks!

'how they once plagued me,'
laughs my dreamself

'i was so in love then'

Saturday, June 6, 2009

it's a face i want to turn to me with all the warmth of the sun:

despite various ominous sightings,
of hunting birds, a swoop of vultures, a black cat staring
at me through my window,

my own doom all spelled out for me by candles;

despite all that i know that i'm willingly walking
in the direction that tugs constantly
at my limbs

of course i am
have i any choice?

a rhetorical question,
the answer is no.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

half my heart

set free by love, like aretha
seventeen
by the cigarette in his mouth
by his mouth as he'd sing


driving north on the 1
to his house
in the heat

glasses secured with dental floss
fingers tuning strings

i miss half my heart
tucked in his glove compartment

half my heart
next to a carton of disintegrating chesterfields

half my heart loyal to our love only for the classic
only for each other
only for the summer

my compass points irreversibly toward
his smile

still the north star, still the sun
still the brightest thing i've ever seen

still my best friend, still my only friend
still mine and
still his

the best thing perhaps ever to happen to me
still half my heart
'he's a rebel, and he'll never ever be
any good.'





inclined to make a sketch of him and not for the first time, it is
most cruel

enigmatic from the start, dark eyes like coals, that conscienceless gaze

(a guiltless gaze, so unconcerned ...!)

i'm nearly inclined to pick up a hairbrush
and start singing

of how he was
partly hidden by shadow

absolutely criminal in his first impression
absolutely criminally
bad

leaned back in his chair, arms limp at each side like a junkie, smiling vaguely
as if transcending

immediately recognizable as a night owl

pale, anemic, thin-wristed and mean

a crown of thorns i wear round my chest
every time i move i bleed a little

he's a rebel

Friday, May 29, 2009

dust

I.

summer found me grateful that the river was stronger than me, it quelled my fear and allowed me not to speak:

adrift on my back for the moment of peace it could bring me

i found seventeen to be more acidic than sweet. now i noticed every snakeskin curling on the highway, the wheeling vultures; my heart felt the pain that the prey feels, the signed

sealed, delivered, and doomed

torn to shreds in clear view and borne away by claws, i was the dirt and gravel road beneath your old trucks' tires

the dust on your dashboard, the dust on your mirrors

my surprise,
that first love should feel like death indeed

it certainly felt like death to me




II.


i would have been his wife if i had been so lucky; more likely i would have been his whore:
sam cooke's paramour

it seems a harmless dream til the needle drops
and the crackling and dust give way to him:

a voice known to bear powers incomparable, as persuasive as the sliest teenage lover, sweet and understanding, only he promises

to soothe my soul
if it takes all night long

time doesn't mean much to him; he never wants to sleep
and there is nowhere he would rather be

conjured from dust to stir up the coals in my chest
some smoke then finally a flickering orange light

only those conjured by dust can do it
and sometimes
it takes all night long





III.


a silly girl would play with her hands in the dust, but a wise girl keeps hers clean
and i know what sort of girl i endeavor to be

a heavy gaze from blue eyes cannot move me
i know that behind it lies nothing but ash and nicotine
i know now how it feels to be impossible to please

and i am not unscathed
but who could be

on the table beneath thin fingers only dust
from behind teeth only words
made of dust

i feel so old, my soul sifting away
borne by the wind, dust

Sunday, April 26, 2009

i loved you when i still thought that love was as pure as your heart,
directed like tides by the moon

i loved you when i still thought that you were pure of heart

this theory i now must
disprove:

you are not the boy i was introduced to
years ago, i don't remember by whom
you wore your vietnam vet ensemble

and i began a long history of loving you

now it's all as bitter as the limes
on my grandmother's tree

you're drinking cheap whiskey and
smoking in the heat

only the songs you bring
and not the things you do
are sweet

drudged through the mud and long awoken
from a fleeting reverie

you've always given your love away for free

because the nature of our love was that
it belonged to you and me

exchanged between our lungs like smoke
young pretty things

you gave me smokey robinson

i let myself sing
and so did you

of
the tracks of our tears

Friday, April 24, 2009

the dark, and otis redding--

when i think of a passionate
and long abiding
love

i think of my love for the dark

how it hides and also does not hide
because it obscures the speaker
but gives its words
their own lives

and brings silence with it

the sort of silence that serves as a vast backdrop for
the soft screeching of crickets and maybe the quiet
crash of the cold
but calm
sea

numbing when i dragged my feet through it last night
i was patient because i knew that it was right:
all the stars would arrive

in the darkness everything looks like the sky, like
the record player i hear crackling in my mind

the way it spins itself into a revolving universe of black wax

somehow manages to conjure
otis redding

and i am his fool once more

Thursday, April 16, 2009

spring returns

i doubt we'll meet again
as you are headed that way
and i've been going this way for some time

i doubt we'll meet again in the spring as we once did
pressed upon by the santa anas
nearly naked in the heat

i doubt we'll ever meet that ropeswing again
at least i doubt our hands will curl around it at the same time
our feet wrapped around the knot that trails through the water
as it sways

springs returns
as it has done
as it does despite the fact

that every time i feel the sun touching my shoulders
or my hands

i think i cannot stand it
it is too much like you
too much like the way you touched me when we both could understand

why it shone so bright

Monday, March 30, 2009

the mysterious visitor


he arrived in the springtime
the mysterious visitor
and no one knew for how long
he would stay

even I couldn't say;
he was the mysterious visitor

to me he was a diablero
skulking in the night
head bowed, itching to run

spectral dog
with the eyes of a coyote
smile of a wolf and
the translucent incorporeal body
of a spirit in the dark

Gemini master
of an enamored Leo lover
the mysterious visitor
would sink into moments of
impenetrable narcotic fog

he once sang a song
and it sounded to me
as if he were singing
his own lullaby

(diableros run wild and free
they do not know family)

I always saw him as an orphan boy
until it became apparent
that he was a loved boy and not
a lost one at all

I think he preferred
to be the mysterious visitor

coming and going
appearing and dissolving
back into the panorama

canines glinting
in a smile
of satisfaction
as he slinks away



3/29/09. The First Day of Spring


you are sleeping on the couch
and I am watching your stomach rise
up and down

i like the way your feet are curled
your hands rest one atop the other
over your ribs

and your socks are mismatched

it makes it so easy to see the child in you
i had begun to think no such child existed
in you or in me or in anyone else

but now i see that i was wrong
in your sleeping face
the curl of your eyelashes,
so blond as to catch the light

your freckles form a wonderful topography
so many places I'd like to go--

to the child's place I thought I could no longer see

It feels like the first day of spring

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

born again free

today i thought of pain again
i thought of it all day and
i felt it all day
and i recognized it
and i knew it very well

and i recognize it now, it's the twist in my center, it's the lightheaded panic

panic because i am realizing
all over again as if never before
since the day before
that it's all disappeared
i've known so many boys; but i've only ever known one you

sometimes the guilt
overwhelms me like a huge and freezing wave
but if i let myself fall under it
all the way into it
i would surely never reemerge

memories permeate everything
everything's sodden and sticky with memories
we seem to have touched every fucking street in the city with memories of us together
and that is something that i can do
nothing about

so i'm leaving and thank god
it is so
i want to be born again free
in a different city with
a different life

free from the dregs of our love
i know you would think that an absurd thing to say
but i have to go away because
i really cannot stay
and don't desire to

i want to be born again free
because with this i really wove my own net
i really set my own trap
it's an embarrassing fact
one of many many embarrassing facts

born again free!
beneath a hot spring sun, free!
in the cold ocean at Tajiguas beach, free!
in my own bed at night, free!
in my own mind at last, free

from a calamity of my own design, free

to have a new start, free

free at last

Sunday, March 8, 2009

i am alone,
but not the alone of the women
painted by Vermeer

quiet in spirit, loyally looking
to distant land
or the letter at hand

i am the alone of
a solitary seal
a dark shining smudge on the surface

but also the alone of Isolde,
for Tristan is dead.

And I am the alone of the
child with nothing to hide--

all is now in memories
in runes and incantations
in fables and in old songs
of love & innocence

all is now in ash and rubble
and I am all alone

why bother hiding it








-------------------------------



with two summers gone by
a young lady might take to
reminiscences, cry
perhaps
the oldest tears yet

i might take to my bed of pain

these are not unusual songs,
though they can be very long

we all once knew a child
and now scarcely know a man

we all once knew a girl, became
a woman by her own hand

I've only tried to be brave, and good,
to love the best I can--

we all have killed things
hoping greener shoots would
grow to stand

what I cannot now allow
is to wish or burn or dream

my dickensian boy is smirking along streets i've never seen

and his hair is still as gold, as gold
as it has ever been

no o. henry lying open though that doesn't bother me

I need no such thing

when I cannot let myself
sing or lean upon that song:

i can't believe that you're here
knocking on my door
well it's been so long,
been so long...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

first with a tremor and secondly a shake
the memory of you knocked round the frail beams of my house
like frightened knees, like wintry trees
exhausted by the lonesome cold


my house of cards
of clubs and hearts
of diamonds and of spades
collapsed easy, weak by design

and in times of joy
of reminiscence i find


my heart is fast to flail and contract
to give up, to give in and to be pulled back
into inferior arms made of nothing like love
made of guilt and of half-memorized tunes


aloneness is my lover and i wear him like a cloak
and he understands the desperate need, insists that i must leave
the heart will start to warm in me like the kettle on for tea
all clubs and spades will admit peaceful defeat
free to sing
to sing songs for my family



without singing aloud so as not to be heard
sweet songs of love that don't require words
we are chains of blood and bones and we are
blossoms of spores
i am chained to them by a ribbon as old as earth



if i could hide my house behind a labyrinth hedge
from the storm that drips dismal, heavy in my chest
if i could spin in a teacup beyond here to something surreal




my house sturdy in its peace
and my heart something like healed
oh who can truly know what they would do



if their sweetest and most painful wishes did happen to come true





who could know which way that creek might turn



i wont be the fool that dwells in old spells
when the truth is the ribbon
is old as the earth

Monday, March 2, 2009

the incredible true story of the Morton's Salt girl



When I was a little girl I enjoyed mixing concoctions. My friend Daniel and I thought we had mystical powers; a primitive variety. These genetic gifts of magic could be nurtured by drinking cordials of tap water, food coloring, and confectioner's sugar. "This", I would say, "Is my witches' broth. And it can turn anyone who drinks it into a third grader, old enough to play on the big kid's playground, with the three-story jungle gym."
Fifteen years later I look at the big kid's playground and see dehydrated scrubby grass with a swing set plunked onto it, as if dropped like an anvil from the sky. I see it as a place where I was once harrassed by the City of Lompoc Police for having no shoes on while perched on the swings (it's not illegal, you bastards). Also, upon recollection, the jungle gym is not nearly three stories. It is, in fact, just tall enough for the impact of a fall from it to put you in an L-shaped cast for a couple months. An L-shaped cast that makes ones skin itch so badly that forks are often lost in it, recovered when the cast is cut open with a saw and a scrawny and flaky mouldering arm revealed.
What a joke the big kid's playground was. And yet to Allison, aged five, it was Mecca. I could play kickball or go look for gophers, those most adorable rodents! I could try to track down my leprechaun, whom I had lost the week before behind the 'B' building. I once tasted native California ant sitting on the grass at elementary school. (Spicy, like pepper, but not unpleasant.)
Most days after school Daniel and I would walk back to his house, which stood in a cul-de-sac of houses all stuccoed deplorable shades of mustard and drab fatigue green. The blue houses were not blue like the sky, I noted, or blue like the color of my Roger Rabbit doll's eyes (my favorite shade at the time). They were the blue one would expect a sadistic dentist's scrubs to be.
I always looked forward to going to Daniel's house. He had the most marvelous Zoo Books, for one, and he also had a host of amusing toys. He had lizards and snakes made of plastic so hard one could be concussed by them. He even had a little slot machine that would spit quarters at you in a mesmerizing deluge of wealth. Generally, though, we preferred to play outdoors, for Daniel's backyard was a world of great wonder.
There was an old camping trailer full of rubbish and haphazardly constructed bongs that his father had made from plastic water bottles. There was his panther-like cat, Chang, who was unreliable in terms of personality but sleek and majestic, holding court with the opossums that lurked beneath the house. Chang was a pure Siamese, and his meow resembled the cry an old woman might make while being maced. It had a sort of rolling "r", a MRRRRR-OOO-WL. It was a shocking sound and it frequently pierced our little ears because we frequently tried to employ him in activities he did not wish to be involved in. Daniel and his older brother, Michael, would never have allowed Chang to be dressed, but were not unwilling to throw him in the dilapidated hot tub every once in a while to see if he might swim.
Daniel and I were the same age, five, when we met in kindergarten. Our mothers were somehow friends, although they had little in common besides two children aged eight and five. So it was that Daniel and I kept one another company after school every day, and my sister Hillary whiled away the afternoon hours playing Battleship with Michael, his brother.
Daniel aspired to be an expert on reptiles, knowledgeable of every iguana, monitor lizard, and water snake. He also liked sleek furry animals, like weasels, and greyhounds. He had a keen sense of what was most majestic in the animal world, and it was, he thought, the animals most adept at stealing birds' eggs and running quickly on tracks in large loops. I always thought greyhounds were sort of ugly and sad looking and preferred our labrador-springer spaniel hybrid, Molly. Daniel wanted a dog and Michael sometimes expressed the same sentiment. It never occurred to me that they might be jealous of us for having a dog, although Molly was certainly a pet worth coveting. She was energetic as a young boy on caffeine pills might be, she would run around the backyard in endless circles, leaving chalky dust stirring in her wake, and she could have cleared the five-foot fence in the backyard, had she ever tried to jump over it.
Instead Daniel had his mangy cat whom we all so admired, and myriad random reptiles. He would sometimes have an aquarium full of alligator lizards, their tales long and whip-like. Sometimes these tails would disconnect from the lizard if you picked it up by its' tail and perhaps accidentally swung it around a bit too much. The tail would then wiggle, quite sinister, at the bottom of the aquarium for a few moments before lying lifeless. And the lizard would walk around with a stump for some time.
When there were not lizards or snakes in the house, there were still frogs and toads in the backyard, hopping on the grass, croaking fat-bellied beneath trees, and lounging in the dissolving, mossy interior of the hot tub. The water in there would be anywhere between four and 24 inches deep, I suppose, but always with a layer of bubbling scum and frothy something. It was full of water weeds and green rugs of moss. The frogs were in frog heaven. The toads would soak in the tub like fat old men in a bathhouse.
We would sometimes pick the fat toads up and transport them to the bathtub inside by hand. Then we would set them afloat on chunks of Styrofoam. Daniel and Michael's mother never minded. No animal was too scaly or slimy to bring inside. Sometimes her husband was home during the day as well, fixing himself a snack, scratching his beard, and making funny coarse jokes. Sometimes when I would come home, my mother would make a remark about how he was a lazy conniver, that sat on his ass all day, but I quite enjoyed his presence. He let his sons stay up until ten by the time they were seven, to watch Nash Bridges, which made me believe that self-employed, unwashed fathers were clearly where it was all at.
Occasionally I would make concoctions in the privacy of my own home, from the contents of our spice cabinet, which also contained bouillon cubes and little bottles of food coloring. One day I made a thrillingly green cocktail:
"This," I told my favorite stuffed animals, a turtle and a giraffe, "is my latest refreshment. When I drink this I will tumble through space into a different land, where the swimming pools are filled with orange soda and which is populated by Carebears." My friend Aly and I had visited this land a few times while we were on the swings at school and had found it to be superior to this one by far. I drank a sip of the green water and it tasted divine, with tiny grains of sugar resting in a layer on the bottom of the glass that could not be stirred away.
As I sipped my creation I surveyed the contents of the cupboard a final time. There were the shiny foil cubes of beef bouillon, the bottle of vanilla extract, the baking powder, the cylindrical container of Morton's salt with the little girl on it and the saying, "When it rains it pours".
I had never noticed the Morton's Salt girl before but I noticed her quite clearly now and I could not decide how I felt about her. Wishy-washy, I then concluded. At best.
Is that supposed to be salt falling from the sky? I wondered. Salt doesn't fall from the sky like rain. And who is this girl? She looks like some sort of Red Riding Hood knockoff, but yellow, and with an umbrella.





tbc

Saturday, February 7, 2009

in the evening and again in the morning
i sit and listen to the record spin

i've met a couple sweet talkers
but they dont know the shape i'm in

i used to know her well she was a real woman
and those real women get what they want

i used to know him well he was my friend
and we'd talk as we drove 'round the block

in the evening i'm the only one listening
the house is asleep

he's sitting by the fireplace
playing with a bootlace
and trying to catch a glimpse of the stars

and you're sitting on the staircase
pullin' a face
as you drink the cough syrup that you bought from the drugstore darling.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

my music is
the melancholy circus anthem
the psychedelic carousel tune
(house of mirrors house of mirrors
100 reflected images of
displaced child on mood stabilizers)

neon has long repelled me
is this innocence lost?

the painted ponies
with their saddles ornate
go up and down but
never run free

(of course)

jaded carny stole my bow!
i was but five!

the scrambler spun
i chipped a tooth

I imagine a man
with crackhead talons
a few teeth and no joy
though who am i to judge:

"we are all outlaws
in the eyes of america"

my music is the last and lonely waltz
(i just want to be in big sur)

my music the quiet convergence
of a few little notes

the sort of person
who sits alone a lot
with just their mind
recalling thoughts of
california

and
my music
the crackling record's buzz

the falling duck feather
the sound of a house
settling into warmth after
a long stretch of
having been uninhabited

the creak and groan
of protesting pipes - - -

the wicked and brilliant
carnival's song
the old pond at the mission

my music is a
sentimental little arrangement

(but who could expect

otherwise)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

aztec calendar

stumbling through our days
we approach the end of the aztec calendar
and we're all going down


a brilliant light of
tangerine and pink
the end of the world looks just like a cocktail from the poolside bar

if i could be assured
that what happens here
would stay here

i might stray beyond the lines

it's not as if i believe in a
judgment day
and anyway my crimes are not so great:

piled up across from me
they cannot weigh more than
an orange-beaked finch or a small hand grenade

comparable i assume
to the weight of the deeds
done by every girl in my bracket

ruled more be desire than duty,

these are after all the heady days of my youth meeting their technicolor demise

(high on a monument
all lined up to meet
some vibrantly plumed deity)

i only hope he does not physically pull out my beating heart,

mercy, mercy, from the age old tradition!

i prefer the quick blow, the scalding cacophonous explosion,

i'll go out singing,
disappear into the dissolving panorama...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

life in lompoc?

life in lompoc refuses to thrill
these days


yet colorful characters linger

spoiled sons some, living alone in little houses downtown
payed for by their parents,
key bumps and cannabis plants,
white lines abundant, they try to get me
to vacuum the floor

but i cannot stand to vacuum
especially when high
the drone so loud it could strip paint with its volume,
always seems an angry monster
feared by cats and dogs alike

and so the carpet stays a dusty sea of blue synthetic
and paw prints

life in lompoc is boring as hell

most of the real thinkers have been sifted from the pot and now only the dregs remain
the smart kids either too lazy
fucked up indifferent addicted or disoriented to leave

and i do not count myself among them
but i am

until i go, until i go, until i go!
then i'll be gone then i'l be gone then i'll be gone
and you shant see and you shant see and you shant see
me around these parts no more

life in lompoc continues as if under a microscope's slide
sometimes we drive to the beach and then turn the car around and drive right back
it is a journey without a real destination, drive there turn around drive home
but the sense of direction comforts us

on the gray days with high wind
driving past union sugar avenue
toward the sea

life in lompoc is brutally slow but never fully stops
i wake early and wish i were still asleep
when the room is dark and everything very quiet
and my head pounds a pulsating beat

i make barely a sound

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