Thursday, April 24, 2014

California Dirge

I've tried my best to be true 
to the nature 
of my beauty state. 

Not to wake the dream of the poem: 
Don't spit bits of broken tooth and disrupt the 
vapors- 

my beauty is for you after all, all of you
this is all for you, all of you, 

my dream translated for your pastime, 
all of you, 

And

I don't want my last refrain to be some
California dirge:

but sometimes it feels like 
all of my little bones are crushed, and 
I think about that sparrow, flying wild
into Grandma's big window

beneath the balcony on Dublin Avenue. 


Here's the truth: 


I am at least a thousand years old. 


And no one I have ever loved,
will ever know,
how deep it goes. 

And no one I have ever loved, 
will ever see,
what all the losing, 
and gaining,

does to me:

what all the fluc-tu-a-ting does to me. 


And I'm sorry Grandma but I can't seem to take it easy. 


The daily billowing and sagging, 
seagulls feasting on trash, 

poison wafting through the city. 

Sometimes this love digs into my side
like the hilt of my own

half-concealed shank 

(all the elders call it a pen knife;
I'm full of 
doubt)

and I do talk to her ghost when I'm grappling 
with the usual procession 
of kindness and kindling,

the loss,
the bereavement,
sweet clarity.

The bare breast struggling like 
a sheet pinned to the line, 

I try to breathe the wind in and it skips me every time-

I see us all standing around, 
palms full of irradiated seashells, chalky 
cage armor. 

I see you sleeping, hugging 
my leg like a bear.

And I wonder if this is 
another relic
I'm going to have to throw into the tar pit.

The translucence of my loneliness
in spring, summer, winter, fall, 
clarity. 

Live, die, lose, gain, reciprocity.

Love, hide, reveal, clench your teeth as you cry
he doesn't want me does he. 

She doesn't want me does she. 

And oh gosh!

There goes the sadness again, 
a low kingfisher sweeping, 

"The scenery without you fails to amaze me. 
the whole panorama fails to faze me." 

And sometimes the tune is so vague 
I can hardly hear it. 

And it doesn't even chink the armor of ignorance. 
And I achieve nothing with my own mind, and feel that
I'm the cyanic heart. 

But when a new morning is gentle, I can almost see 
a more honest anatomy. 

I remember the heron sanctuary,
the blue lungs of the old estuary. 

-I feel a little woozy I think I'm approaching 
the hands of god here.-

They look exactly like my own mind 
when I'm not in my way. 

They look exactly like that fat marine layer on the bay-
the opalescence of familial love

the wish for a softer future

and the earth is giving us an awfully knowing glance,
as it grasps its bleeding side 
in the dirt




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Marine Layer


Marine Layer


I wrote Perry a letter about fear. I said
do you feel safe? I do and do not.
The feeling of time's passage touches me.

Loneliness can make crossing the bridge
such a wrench.

A marine layer obscured the usual view
of nameless hills and their bounty.
All was almost well, and probably well,

but how I hurt, deep in the hope chest.

How I hurt like a tired echo, and the
fabric of my future sometimes
seems shot with today's cringing
failures.

(Though what is in a failure but
a bunch of vowels any way, and a sense
of veracity probably misplaced.)

Perry says our sadnesses reveal us,
but cannot be borne alone, like water
from the well.

Well well well. My sadnesses reveal
a heart as big as anything at all.

The world knows
my heart is

as big as a sun.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Berkeley Marina

At the Berkeley Marina

Love lost is love gained for this flawed vessel,
and if this is bad, this is not so bad
after all.

No one knows it but I'm as vicious as some
animals. I have the vicious will to love my neighbor.

No one knows it but I'm largely obsidian,
largely water. I am unbound and I expand,
like every universe.

Don't see my love as something which falls generously from the sky.

Don't see my love as a resource sucked from the ground and piped through systems.

Don't see my love as a pressure on your uncovered head.

See my love as the deepest lake of the continent.


My love is the deepest
lake of the continent.
It doesn't belong
to anyone at all.
It is entirely earthbound.
I am not even mine.

I think now that it is very hard to be anyone at all, which
I have thought before.

But I can only speak for myself. And

I will live fearlessly and like a child.
Be bitten by dogs.
Put my hands on hot things.
Pet cacti. Bark my knees.
Get burnt by the big sun
on long new days

And if this is bad, this is not
so bad after all.

This is just life. It's a
complicated organism.

And I'm one woman

negotiating an exploding star  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Los Osos

Through photographs, I was almost
there! Wading among the sumac
of my own baby's cradle,

where all the children grow up singing
oh my sweet calamine,

cleaning tar from feet with cooking oil,
trying to negotiate with a faceless wind.

And solitude is a long, indestructible
bone, a dry finger,
stroking madrone,

feeling the bruise of etched initials:

she was here,
he was here, they were there,

Los Osos.

Solitude: it's a heavy sound
on the tongue, has weight
but contains sun: 
see it there: sun. 

There used to be ghosts hunkered down in the dunes.

There used to be European diseases.
There used to be a town called La Panza,
perched on waves of quartz, and
little girls sleeping there

dreamt of bears.

Sometimes I worry
my own heart might become a ghost town.
I rejoice in gentle artifacts still mobile,
bouyant, bristling,

you're so very alive, you there,
phenomenon. 

Both literally and in some larger sense
a bird. 

And didja know, didja:

ten years old in Los Osos,
I walked out in my nightie,
entered a windstorm.

It knocked me over like a sapling,
like a cruel love or hard time-

the crouching oaks all rattled
like diamondbacks,

and somewhere all the diamondbacks were
sleeping, I guess,

beneath rocks, on the waves of quartz,
dreaming of bears.

Time wound sideways through
the sand. Indefatiguable. Oh boy. 

I've heard that some oaks became gunpowder.
I don't know where the bears went,

but there are still bear-crossing signs on the highway.

And the oak moth is still a glutton,
and I am too,

still trying to capture the bounty of
the season,

still almost attempting to apply taxonomy
like all the others passing, mapping,

she was here, he was here,
they were there,

Los Osos

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