Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Channel Islands Part 2: Tuquan

I'm sinking into the sediment of my 
beauty state,

its loomeries of secret birds, scraping
shallows, rip tide only as warm 

as the blood of sharks

Tenderness can be the wildest instinct 
of all:

tenderness and I am
swimming the body of water

and I am content that the water 
should taste like water

and I am content that I tear
flesh from the bone with my bone 

and I am content to wash my body 
with the orange 

stone of soap 

that smells of orange and 
of obscuring steam. 

You are literally a Bishop Pine:

you there, 
angled toward the caliche forest,

feet dug into quartz soil, 
bristly baby 

fed lovingly by the beauty state.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Channel Islands Part I: Cymbals

Silver light crashing like cymbals- 

It's not that I have found life to be a
flat weave, or,

always to be made of manageable angles:

but saltgrass is wavering somewhere,
and there are thirty kinds of sunflowers on the island,

and no one lives there and no one ever will again,
just some mice and little blue crabs.

And my body receives the data of your body,
and wraps it up,
softly adapts

to its weather, its riparian zones,
growing more and more familiar

like the same person come a-knocking on the door
several weeks in a row.

Even rivers have tides sometimes.
It's not unusual to night-bloom.

A new creek courses down my calf. It
bypasses scrubby chaparral-

I could sleep through the whistling Sundowners,
I could sleep through a rattling gale.

I could efface my sunburn with pumice
and lay beneath the solar wave.

I could roll in dust, chew succulents
caress the fault line.

I've been embraced between the wings.

That singular manzanita knows
my coordinates

and I'm collecting records
of your tides

Thursday, March 13, 2014

You Deserve It

You deserve it like the heat of the sun on your face. 
You deserve it like a vision of fish underwater,
of fish in a river,

like the smell of cypress and grass. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I was devastated by the radio song. 
I felt it unbuckle me right down to my heart strings.
Right down to my panties, 


I felt you unbuckle me right down to my 
strange flute, right down to my 
crumpled curly head against a hot chest, 

tell me a little more about the scenery. 

Tell me a little more about your fishing pole. 

As far as the farm goes, I'm confused.
I don't know if my uncle's ghost is brandishing his rifle 
or asleep on the couch, with his tobacco pouch
hanging out his plaid pocket.

Tell me a little more about 

your heart's hammering like a warhorse.

I think I understand the beat

against my low valley sternum

like hoof on sod on lithosphere, 

It's so scary to be alive at all, 
with all the bounty and the freefall. 

I like the reprieve:
the cave of your mouth, 

the dominion of lodgepole pine 
and blue-eyed grass,

I like finding myself with you, balanced 
on that sweet strata, 

environmental phenomenon, you say: 
and everything affecting everything 

right down to the eventual plummet, 
the panty drop, the quaking exhale, 
the opening palm of time

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Add that to the long list

sometimes my heart hurts so hard,
so fierce and bad and strong, 

that I could scream.

Hard fierce bad strong scream.
Hard fierce bad strong scream. 

Add it to the long list
of things I hold between my breasts
like the Sacred heart light:

like the big storm catalyst,
that movement the opposite
of apocalypse:

Nightmares in varied colors
pine needles and red dirt and
Grandma's mastectomy, 
pale as an angel's hem, and
her Mexican opal ring, and
that bike ride up the impossible
hill at the Mission,
that lynx with its bobbed tail
those illustrious whiskers,

And inhaling the liquor 
of a warm night shoulder, 

And the crack in the earth
from the earthquake, 

with all the flotsam of the farm
falling though, 

and those nights, from other lives, of worst abuse,
the kimono the color of watermelon.

The silver hammer I grabbed like a thief
and clutched in case he
tried to kill me.

Sometimes I just want to lie like a dog in the sun because I am tired

Sometimes I just wanna wail on time itself. 

And I wonder how I'm still pure as a glacier lake
given what's been taken 

and all that it takes. 

No one talks about how women are wild animals,
all incisor and ovary, 

and quaking feet and vicious instinct to love 
all hair and nail and screw.

Driven to apply some cobwebs
to that old pulsating side-wound. 

All scar and curling muscle 
and long dark tunnel 

leading somewhere
somewhere good

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dutch Flat, 1877

I used to wake up screaming in the pine-
pitch night, as if someone was kissing my throat
with a Bowie knife,

when all the old ghosts would converge around the cabin.

Maybe some children never are children at all,
we just play dress up in the hats of the dead,

tough it out until the coursing
of time catches up with us.

I slept in a bed where a stove was once,
in a house atop the ashes of a house,

old Chinatown burnt down in 1877,
but Grandpa didn't care.

We spread his ashes among the ashes
and another ghost red-rovered on
into the fray.

I sure loved that copse of hostile trees, 
sure loved those bramble wounds

I sure loved that cramping fear of tetanus 
as we'd wade through the old mine shaft,

beneath its curtain of bats, and out to the searing 
day sun. 

I am as grateful as a dog.

I am as grateful as a dog,
and will you please apply some direct
pressure to my forehead with that

strong square hand?

Even with the cliffs torn as they are
by the old hydraulic method,

the broken acre and the broken china
and the abandoned opium pipe,

still I'm buckled by the sweetness
of your muscles.

You are

as sweet as hot dirt, as sweet as a canyon.
As sweet as noon,

almost smelling of mosquito spray

and I am grateful as a dog
with my eyes of leaves
and my tongue of chalk

I just tremble
I'm gonna break like morning

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