To A Mexican Fisherman, A Yogi

15 Minutes To Eden


There Ainít No Accidents In Hellís Kitchen

Fog and Mountain

No Prisoners

Shadows of A Rainbow Man

Boy Man In The City

Caste Party

To A Gesture

The Bigger Back

Courtroom C

Single Again


To A Mexican Fisherman, A Yogi

I donít know your name
but I remember you
magenta trunks slung
low to oblige your belly
sea and sunrise reflected
against your brown body
as it gazed forward
honoring the prayers
of my naked skin

The sun climbed
toward our heads
and side by side
we practiced yoga
even if you called it fishing
me trying to catch
my soul with a Triangle
you content with dinner
for your family

Thank you for the fence
you built around our square of beach
the no trespassing sign
warning the middle-aged frat boys
who swaggered by, sniffing
at me like I was some slab
of prime rib asking to be devoured
I know they felt you
even if they didnít
quite understand the force
that drove them on
the force that doomed
one to give up
the hope in his groin
as he turned his head back
every few steps
till the whole of him
became a speck
of black sand
wondering if the fence
was still there

It was, and like a skull and crossbones
you were there too
making certain
all who passed unaware
saw the danger of crossing
over your silence
your calm face
freeing mine
from defending my territory

Later, when I dove shouting
into the March ocean
you laughed
your eyes telling me
you felt alive already
that this moment was enough
to carry you on
to carry both of us
well past spring
past the bus
waiting to return us
to the asphalt world
past the sleeping faces
the almost moments
all the way
to the next beach
the next smile
the next time
we find yoga again.



15 Minutes To Eden

Over tea with honey
over the newspaper
over my reluctance
I notice
notice how your fingers circle
dwarfing the handle
the space which surrounds it
how they coax me
toward your wrist
as it glides
into forearm

I imagine myself
snaking along
each vein
following their rivers
to your neck
my mouth
at your ear
like a horse
lipping sugar
matting those curl wisps
sweet juice on my tongue
a mingle of us
balmy summertime fruit
ripe with possibility

Yet still you sit
your world threatening
to walk away
before my tea
cools enough to drink
before I get the courage
to look up
leave this page
enter my fear
and pray
pray that you smile back
let your eyes
focus on mine
like that window
see the street dramas
flow through my breath
settle into silence

You know, the place where
they become part of our tale
a story we can tell each
other when we need it
both of us gray
and maybe wise
remembering how close
we came to turning left
or right over that tea
just how close we came.




I see you, I look away
afraid of what I wonít see
when I look again
that the innocence
Iíd imagined would close
leaving me forever adrift in my mind
wondering if Iím chained to the being I was
the one who wonít run but canít stay
the one whoís unlovable.

Iím afraid the laughter I hear in your smile
will turn into smirking
that your tender words will hook me
and I will be left to mop up my blood alone.
Iím certain youíll see me
for what I canít and should be
what I never want to become.
In time you will try to control me
tell me my clothes are wrong
my words too easy

you will withdraw and look like my father
I will become your mother and you will hate me
together we will believe we are children on a milk carton.

I look again
look another time
even smile back
smile knowing Iím crazy
that the warmth at my opening is suicide.
Smile knowing love isnít the end anymore
because I have mourned
lived the death of springtime
broken open
made winter my lover
the bottom ground
where I learned to write
my own name in the snow
surround it with a big heart
watch it dissolve just the same.



There Ainít No Accidents In Hellís Kitchen

Turning the corner
on that almost spring night
I saw you in a cross of city colors:
street-lamp carving of amber
halved at the chest
by uptown strings of red
held in place by a backdrop
of warehouses and unwashed sky

With Jackís arm hooked in mine
I felt the uneven curl of your lip
complicated, nearly dangerous
like my high school memories
of college boys
I sensed the bar-room
that cracked your nose
cleaned you up
made you cautious
in your freedom

I longed for smokes
so Iíd be safe, watching you
through a wall of cigarettes
instead of staring at the ground
walking as Jack hissed
into the heat of my cheek
"Heís brilliant, a genius even, but everyone knows"
my head reaching
above my shoulders
for the decree
" heís crazy"

our eyes building
a horizon of blue
as Jack worked to bend
you into a serial killer
spears of you
entering my marrow
stopping my bones
from pleasing Jack
from passing you
as you were on that sidewalk

It was early for Manhattan
and, like the video store behind you
the neighborhood was empty
cement stairs sagged next door
I sat to breathe you
cool concrete beneath my thighs
ignoring Jack
and his desire to keep me
ignoring the movie
heíd wanted to rent
the pasta and wine
heíd bought
even when he knew
I wouldnít stay

The streetlight went red
green, red again
before Jack forced air
through his tight mouth
and introduced us
in silence I asked
who you were
my mind barely moving
my vision clear enough
to unroof the stars
and emerge as you saw me

I waited
let you and Jack rest
on the edge of my silence
empty as the world planted
your sounds inside me
both of you talking
between Jackís sighs
his play, your movie
acting as if nothing was happening
acting as if you didnít notice
how I smelled on that stoop
didnít notice the video store
pulling at Jackís body
didnít notice his face
as you turned to me and said
"so poet, ya got any poems in that backpack?"



Fog and Mountain

I watched the sky appear
and saw pieces of myself in your eyes
my face a window
carrying murmurs of fog
of humanity
the bench at my back
motioning across the road
outlining your boot prints
as they found mine in the mud
the air underneath
lifting and swallowing
filling clarity with existence

it was there I first imagined you
unrolled the gray
revealed the pictures
holding our time in place
the space of vibration
talking into our pores
breathing our breath

in silence
I asked us to speak
more of roses than thorns
I prayed to remember
the maturing of miracles

I became you
you became me
not as two meeting
but as seven directions
entering our bodies
aligned with the axis of love
earth and sky together
moon cradled between us
light flowing in bone
two voices open
to the round creation
our trust
a mountain moving.



No Prisoners

Give me the key
after you unlock yourself
and I will melt it down
into a medal you can wear
over your heart
let you keep prison
close without
bolting yourself in again
so I wonít rip
every time I watch
the door close behind you
feel you crouched
in that tiny room
with bars on the sky
pouring cement
into your veins

Throw off your chains
and I will share
the combination
that opens from within
a country cabin
with wide windows
that shut tight
when you need them
yet still offer
enough light
to breathe

you donít see
unless you divulge
your naked fields
invite them
to stop by
accept their basket
of backyard tomatoes
gardening tips
handfuls of seed

If you leave your gate unlatched
I promise not to walk on
anything green and tender

I promise to leave the weeding to you.



Shadows of a Rainbow Man

Inside your eyes
I see uncharted territory
vision that disappears
into someone elseís movie
your fatherís stopwatch
his white gloves and guns
the reasons he used them
numbing your cornea
turning our doorway
into a crater of refined lies

ghosts, smaller than big
flicker through your gaze
not fooled by ample glories
stories of errant lightening bolts
cougars and foxes
nestled by your bedside
the blasts of dynamite
you walked away from
illuminating the two year old
forced to murder his rooster
without tears
father telling mother
itíll make the boy a man
his stare already bone dry and dim

on the floor beside your tattered chair
I sit and breathe and speak
greet your wrath against dust and feelings
approach the litany
the chores you do, the ones I donít
your feats, my failures
rub your feet as I admit my fear
of the skeletons in your sockets
speak until ice boils
and your brow pinches
wider gutters into your forehead
willing the memories underground
convincing yourself even less than me
that oceans are bottomless
that poisons can mingle indefinitely
without denying reefs of consciousness
that tobacco is easier than a gun to your head

no matter how much your stories impress me
(and they do impress me)
I know you arenít inoculated
against the USA virus
your sea is mutating
and your soul is a fish sinking
dragged down by a current
of millennium visions
so aware you donít realize
your guru isnít taking you off the road
of small talk and taller tales
the medicine wheels and peace pipes
canít stop the swell of arthritis
breaking you with your joints.

I may not be a Babaji
wire high rises or play chicken with rattlesnakes
but the risks I take are vast
so I will say it until you hear me:
inside my eyes there is a place you donít see
it is warm and alive
as alert as any vagina
it stirs with electricity
paints tulips pink
yet doesnít need bravado
and thanks to your reflection
I explore there more
flash light on the trail
I am here.



Boy-Man In The City

Another man made by Hollywood walks on my sidewalk
Redwood tall, tennis court doll, his whittled cheeks
masked with dry wall. Gorgeous is his uniform
as it looks across the street, away from mine
till distance protects him and I catch him
reassuring his profile in a shop window.
Like me he sees well-manicured flesh
purled arms and Levi legs
their long coarse swell on hold behind five easy buttons.

Twenty to forty, heís like every teenager stuck in an aging body.
A four wheel drive, rough terrain, all purpose guy, he carries
a tread of mud three winters thick around his boy-shaped heart.
He drives fast, skis faster, loves fastest, knowing speed as his ally
since nothing else takes him from one place to another
without catching him in-between.

To him in-between is boredom, or worse, suburbia. Death
and a townhouse overlooking some dogshit greenbelt,
a two-car garage, two kids, two mortgages, a relationship
with a woman who isnít afraid of his fear.

So he looks, he smiles, he gets another phone number
and he sweeps that one off her feet until she falls.

Sometime later he confesses to his surfing bud that sheíd been the one.
He recounts the round of her tits, the vanilla scoop of her ass
the way her tongue curled on him. Her smell, her taste, her noises.
The time they did it in the service kitchen at the Fairmont. Over a beer
he whines about how she married some fuck lawyer and moved to Marin.
If only heíd known, he could have told her. He could have loved her.
He goes home and withdraws from the one he decided
he was falling for a month ago. The balance tipped
since the afternoon she poured coffee into a cup and handed it to him.
Sheíd left a message on his machine. It may have said "I love you".

Sometime later he confesses to a regular at her old cafe that sheíd been the one.
He remembers her cinnamon lips, open and full, the teardrops in her kiss
the stuffed zebra she kept on her dashboard. Her smell, her taste, her noises.
The time they did it under the counter, under her bossís nose. Over a latte
he bitches about how he saw her last Sunday at the Paradise with some poet-fuck.
If only heíd known, he could have said me too. He could have loved her.

That night he meets Monica at the corner of 16th and Valencia for a falafel.
Her empty fingers swing by her side and she asks him whatís the matter.
He says nothing, heís just tired, that heíll call her over the weekend.
He walks her to her bus stop but doesnít wait.

Sometime later he confesses to a bartender...



Caste Party

words litter the room and nobody bothers to clean up
but the host is happy, her trash can is filled with bottles and plastic forks

if we were looking, we wouldnít find each other
but we arenít, so everybody notices the antipasto
Meganís new shoes, the dogís leopard print bow.

a bathroom counter with aspirin, mouthwash and a razor
says everything we canít in all that chewing and gulping and nodding

how can you decide which eyes to avoid?
the still warm ex-lover
the ingenue studying your character
the cameraman watching you watch his wife
the producer watching her husband watch you
the Hollywood director who handles you like a rerun?

how, when, will you decide
that none of it matters
in this nothingness
decide that people need each other
if only for one less moment
to obsess about ourselves
spinning around here far below the sky
wanting more, saying less, yet somehow hoping
hoping the time will be right
that Neptune in Aquarius
or John Lennon on the radio
will bring us together
like lovers who chart every mole
every tongue stroke, caress
somehow remind that something as real
as ourselves will guide us
through the dark sheets of experience
leave behind crumbs
honest enough to swallow



To A Gesture

I ordered a martini and held out a smile
to a Mission Street blond in pony tails
she glared back, her eyes narrowed
the world into two pieces
mine whole enough to ask why
Youíre paranoid she said
dismissing with a voice
colder than the cool disguise
it came from, snickering to her friends
as she invited them to watch
the playground drama scorch my face

Again, it was sixth grade and I was holding up my plaid dress
letting Mrs Jackson in on the secret of my blue shorties
unaware that pajama bottoms at school had stopped being cool
until an eleven-year-old blond sauntered by
six more behind her, their laughter separate from mine
taunting me to trade myself in for dittos and wallabies
knowing I still wouldnít be enough to stop the ball
from crashing into my skull during Greek dodge

I promised myself the bubble gum in my hair
would wash away once I was big
but only the classroom got bigger
the rules bigger, the stakes bigger
the existential questions went from notes asking
"Do you want to go steady?"
with a square for yes and no
to forms insisting
"Have you ever tested positive for HIV?"
Yes or No
my cannery yellow notepads
of history and trigonometry
preparation for the details of love triangles
and other games that hit harder than rubber balls

Itís still the same
I wake up and face them again
at the bank, in the bookstore
around the corner from my red mailbox
and here, this one riding
the post-pubescent gear of smoke and barstools
tattoo lacing her forearm
her school days worn
like a rattlesnake coiled to strike

Have you ever been laughed at till it made you mean?
Yes or no.




The Bigger Back

"The bigger the front, the bigger the back." -----Taoist proverb

Evident or not, shadows fall
dark lingers in sunlight
skulking around the arms of afternoon
when all is warm
when all is inviting

shadows fall, front and back
with friends and lovers
betraying nothing
but blind adoration of light
and the will to consume
what is never possessed

nobody lies beyond their reach
even the sun sacrifices parcels of earth
in its hunt for pure reflection

by day, shadows insinuate comfort, humor
long slow kisses beneath an oak
grass imprinting bare skin
grandmaís squat legs
a giraffe neck
handsome man

later they terrify
the sun hands over its watch
and the legs of midnight kick loose
dimming and slashing
until all day is devoured

the bushes come alive
stalk me with memories
darker than any sky
footsteps inside the fenced yard
silence, twig, snap, snap, snap, silence
tiny woman huddled behind a locked door
lights off
him scratching lightly on the other side
then zipper, jackoff slaps
gasped moan
silence, twig, snap, snap, snap, gate, silence

my left hand over my mouth

to quiet breath
I pray my eyes will open
in the morning
yearn for a body that lets me
touch Buddha
ask Mary if the night was a dream
forget the back long enough
to turn the knob
greet fuchsias and jays
endure the C-U-N-T knife etched in the door
trust my front of sun



Courtroom C

I sat in a row with others like myself
a straight line facing the judge
waited all morning for him to sign a paper
that promised to protect me from a choice
Iíd never really made, from the man
whose shouts still shook my body
whose eyes waited for me in parking lots
behind the bushes of each step
whose hands drove the car
that almost ran me off the road.

Some clutched babies like kleenex
their features dirty and wrinkled like their clothes
others hauled shadows of a life
even more uncertain than before
their black eyes barely eclipsed by black glass
the seamless roots of a fresh dye job
thoughts of a new town, a new start
a place to hide.

Next to them, my kin, I fingered strings of words
the texture of this poem already on my mind
like the places Iíd seen because of him
not The City Club or the swinger motel
but my haunted insides:
the womangirl
who ran barefoot into the middle of the night
escaping up hill not down, kimono ripped open,
breasts striking the frozen air;
the womangirl
who wailed with a voice risen from past dead
screams that only quieted to shield him from jail;
the still victim
trying to escape her memories
scraping across the kitchen floor on all fours
grounding raisins and cheerios into naked limbs
before curling into fetal cower

Looking at them, at myself
I remembered my new home
the one heíd found this morning
wild face in the backyard, briefcase at his feet
hand braced against the glass, pounding.
Like in Hollywood, I had to find the lock
before he did and, when I did
I fell into the role of hysterical woman
the one who makes me jump up mid-scene
and escape to the bathroom
raging at the writer, the director, anyone
who would turn women into such creatures.

I thought of Sheriff Perlow and his careful face
as I described their man: a maniac
wearing a blue suit and purple tie
a madman who tells blue chip companies
how to spend their billions, who now
as much as ever, was deciding

But he would not win
and I had the women
around me to prove it
strong, determined stories
imagining themselves one last time
starlight showing me
I would not need the shotgun
cradled between me, my stick shift and the road.




Single Again

I. Michael
Michael, who makes letters by day, dances by night
wants an earring, heís angry at the woman who stole 19 years
at the men who pinch parts from his business and the women
who hope to marry his segment of the American dream.
He wants to erase my problems with the islands of Greece.

II. Jim
Jim wears rollerblades one moment, a Harley the next
smokes pot, drinks wine, eats sushi, and loves women
his earring matches his grizzled ponytail and time-worn beard
the music doesnít scare him, but the silence does.
He wants to smother my problems in chest fuzz.

III. Gary
Gary lives in LA and sublets his apartment to me
heís closer to the industry now, so he does lunch
(his pilotís almost funded, you know) his is the only dick
I know, because he left pictures in the dresser.
He wants me to take care of his problems instead of my own.

IV. Ted
Ted, who thinks lechery is tantra, offers massage on our first date
selling the idea with his scrapbook of Bali, including snapshots of he and a nude
with expensive boobs, his performance is light, his art invokes mother father god
and his parrot Silver Wing pecks at herself in his mirror.
He wants me to breath out my problems and make more room for myself.

V. Christopher
Christopher is the telephone voice who captured my imagination
he plays drums and roams outdoors, has an alter in his bedroom
but says his girlfriend doesnít turn him on, when we met, his clothes
and car were like mine, later we had the same fever blister without kissing.
I want him and he wants nothing to do with my problems.


BACK to Eveall

BACK to poet trees

or go