breezes (20171024)

not so much voice
as brute force
this dry santa ana
sandblasting smooth edges
off a dead man’s curves
pitting and chipping away
at softness
whatever softness we have left

dust scratches the throat
under the lids when the eyes shut
the eyes of the dead will itch forever
with copper keeping them blind

don’t forget to tip
the ferryman so
when it’s my time to cross
if i have to hang out in hell
at least i won’t be stacking stones
to build a stairway
out of my own prayers

i’ll teach him
to build a sail
and he can lay down his oar
put his hand to his ear
and prognosticate
the direction of the wind

Poem 20151228

i glow
i am a furnace
hot and steel-forging
and the blades i produce
make damascus weep
each word an edge
each word a razor so fine
it slices my tongue as it
leaves my mouth

i quench my blades
my words
in the cool water of you
in the satisfying draughts
of your eyes
of your words
which are sheaths to my own

Poem 20150802

the heat of the sun
lingers long after
i have escaped
to air-conditioned indoors

in spite of a thick
layer of sunscreen
and the hat with that flap
that covers the neck
like i’ve been on safari

it tingles like a memory
that won’t form–
a vague image in the foggy
edges of a dreaming mirror

or a desire that won’t
expose itself to the light
hiding under the skin
to preserve itself
and the skin

Poem 20150725

The Reservoir
Peter’s Canyon Regional Park, Reservoir

we hiked

a trail we had been on before
well, part of it anyway

at a look out
we saw the reservoir
barely a mud pit
the last time we were here

the rains from last week
had left a soft layer of water
like the memory of ice
enough to create a reflection
of the tower
looming over the
otherwise dry bed

we left it

choosing today
to take the steep path
where the people climbing
looked like ants
crawling up a red line
of oxidized dirt

but for a moment
the tower in reverse
in the water
and the largest hill
still ahead of us
and the sun bearing down
hotter than expected

Poem 20150708

if you put me in a crucible
and turned the furnace up to high

(i’m sure forges have settings like
my kitchen stove)

i would catch on fire, melt,
turn into a real mess,

but would i liquefy as my water
boiled away and my elements

freed from their captivity in my organs
would they puddle deep in the bell

their components seeking like to like
what gold and what iron

would be separate from the dross
and would the pearl of my soul

shine like an unbreakable diamond
among the slurry

Poem 20150606

who hid the cloud
when the sun came out

it was here
just a second ago

keeping everything cool
and under a gray light

but now the shadows run
and shrink under our feet

and sweat runs down the
back of my neck

and the unrelenting blue
of the sky is like

a nightlight when
you’re trying to sleep

Poem 20150401

everything starts as a seed
buried in the warmth of earth
buried in the dark of the earth

they say that we struggled out
of the sea
millions of years ago

that may be the truth
but it is much more true
that we break through the crust

of soil, climbing out of darkness
reaching for the yellow light
reaching for the heat
and gazing at the blue expanse