Saturday, August 8, 2009


I could breathe a little again,
In Poland,
Here in its heart, in Warsaw,
After weeks of Russia,
The poverty and punishment
Of camping and traveling.
And of you
Constantly scolding
And demanding~~
Worrying and wearing my soul.

We had crossed over and
Suddenly there was light
And color and music.
The streets of the Old Town
Were amber and amethyst.
Brightly painted carts with
Vendors hawking
Mushroom pierogi
And clothes
And crafts.

And Chopin.
Buskers on corners
Strummed and
Sang Preludes
Chiming and sliding
Off cobblestones.
Shop doors were
Propped open with Etudes.
Window boxes
With Nocturnes.

You even relaxed;
Let loose some
And changed money
On the Black Market.
Lech Walesa
And the Workers
Were in the streets.
Poland was on the brink:
Disaster or a Brilliant Future.

You took me to the finest
Restaurant on the Square,
In the Stare Miasto.
Wrought iron double eagles,
Warm sable balustrades
That led up stairs
To linen and candles,
Tables overflowing,
Dark and lush
With grapes and roses.
Smoked eel and sturgeon,
Tiny pickled vegetables
And caviar.
Borscht in porcelain.
Roasted pheasant.
Crepes with sweet cheese
And black sour cherries.

And, Yes,
The workers were in the streets,
But we were high above
And warm with wine
And plush damask.
Charmed, charmed.

The buffalo grass vodka,
Was brought out,
Liquid vanilla
Threaded with a brace
Of bitterness,
And the music began.

Another Nocturne,
Soft piano
And then the high luring cry
Of the gypsy violin,
Trilling in a minor key.

I was full up
And edging with tears,
As you began in on me again,
Telling me how I was seduced,
As though I were a show,
A story,
Something you had made up.

I could not bear the thought
Of you breaking the spell,
You knew me,
No doubt.
I had no protection.
My soul was bare.
But, I could not have you
Mock my soft, romantic,
Sentimental heart.
You were trying to be tender,
But, your words were too rough
For me,
I could not hold their weight.
As your hand reached for mine,
I begged some little brass groszy
Off you and ran for the refuge
Of the powder room.

The gilt mirrors and the marble.
I could not look.
I knew my face was red
And wrecked with tears.
All around me
It was choking the air itself,
A thick perfume of little lilies.
The longing, the luxury.
Why was every sweetness
Only a moment?

I slipped a coin into
The old woman attendant’s
Flower-ringed dish
As she handed me the gentle towel
With a soft smile.
And there she was,
Small in her small chair,
The old woman who knew,
Who had gathered up the harvest of nights
And days,
Silently in her eyes.
How many songs,
How many lines,
She held in her heart
That hummed
So deeply
Beneath her white blouse,
Her little white sweater.
Quietly, quietly
Telling me
It was all
all right,

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Red Lacquered Box

Christ’s words are crimson
As your paper curls
That spill, quilling
On your opaline neck,
Cathedralled unabashed
In velvet azure.

Milk-glass, you daub
Jeweled fingers into
The marble font,
Coolly ruffling some pool in me.

My mouth, my craft
Is too small to ride
The river that is rising.

The cloth of me too rude
To glide with your satin
Through woodruff and violets,
To trace your eyelets and taste
the warm cakes of coriander
and orange.

I duck behind shadows, edges,
Catching fast my breath
That I might be graced
With the red lacquered box
Of your lips exposing
Such roses . . . . Such roses . . . .

Monday, June 29, 2009

A breeze runs streamlike, spiraling

Palms trace columns,

Sea-washed pylons

Lost so far inland,

Fossiled kelp & acrita-mottled,

Here encircled

Under lindens and solemn birch trees

Hilazon warbler,

You limn brackish manuscripts

And I catch only fringes,

Iridescent distrails~~

Your comings and goings

Through the ether,

The altocumulus featherbeds

You ruffle aloft.

Away, away

Cold rains come

Grey blurring.

Through sleep-smeared fieldglasses I spy you~~

Smiling and languishing,

Turned in and out.

Are those your lips,

Your words,

Salted blue through time?

Come sing to me

Long chains

Of rhyme.

Come sing to me

And untie

The places where I keep drawing lines,

In sands, in skies,

Through hearts and parts.

Bring your hand

And warmly twine with mine

And let us softly

rub them out

over time.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dill & Hollyhocks

Dill & Hollyhocks
You come with the sun.
Waning rift of moon mists
Disperse in your wake.
Red-rimmed, the enamel dipper
You tender aqueous,
Gifts my lips truly

In this light, I crimson warm,
I strawberry fan on your tan
Melon belly.
Swinging open, the gatefold
Welcome of your smile
Is where I hang mine.
Your generous hands &
Your tongue slowly
Catch my drowsing heart.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Inaccessable Areas Exist


I feel the pull of the lowering call

As the tide comes and the fog fills in.

The verdant bloom,

The coral orange and pinks of sky and land

Now blanketed with grey flannel

That wools over unfolded

From the cedar chest

As summer ebbs.

An abalone in a pail

So large and lonely and muted

In its galvanized prison.

Years of tiles labored on.

Bricks mortared up in ardent diligence

Hiding the iridescent glory,

Heaven's own light.

Hauled from its home


By an eager boy who works up the slope

Bright and whistling

Through the serpentine,

The outcrops above the ocean

Where the Mendocino cypress barely cling,

Closed-coned and bending.

A flycatcher lifts and flits


With a quick trilling cry.

So small and then gone

To redwoods high.

Oh, grey-green passerine

Take me with you

On your little barred wings~~

While in rooms below

Buried in the black and white of night,

Ruby slippers gleam

And lustrous sheets glacier up,

Then lushly flow.




The flame I lick

Deepens as it flickers.

I consume whole towns,

Bricks and bridges.

Cloisonné paisleys

Hennaed with Sanskrit

Bead games and barnacles

Threaded with fishnet

Microfiche petticoats

Silica sparked and frayed.

I would take a lifetime,


To explain.


In acquiescence

In acquiescence

Your once fluent saltine sleeve,
Now strangely inarticulate,
Thinly swathes the chair
Just there where the wild ginger
And rosemary fades in the air.

Your eyes close a moment
And I lean in to breathe your honey skin,
But I feel hot tears starting,
Tapering out of me~~
One dripping drop
& you will disappear

A friable onionskin kiss
And gone.
Recalling Shiitake on my tongue,
The buff pleats of your umami
Still unnamed, unknown.

Wood-lorn, I wait on the slope
Where the creek spumes frizzante.
Hands folded until the cream-crescent moons
Of my thumbs adjoin.
I sigh.
My thoughts carom off grey rocks
Falling finally upon a small upturned
Smile of a stone.
And I reflect upon it until the stream
Flows back to where you come~~
Your soft approach,
Your gentle love
Which so lightly rests on my shoulders,

There, where the dun grass mats down,
I reach around your trunk,
Your flinty shagbark,
And feel the warm sharp pant
Of the hart, antler-bound,
Strung up in moss branches,
In acquiescence hanging,

Slowly, slowly



Mesmerized by the lustrous glittering beads,
the sweat on your upper lip,
damselflies alight and rise again,
spiral in a haze,
haloing~~blue green grey.
You keep rowing.

I'm handling diamond-backed snakes
and speaking in tongues to the sun.
You keep spitting out problems,
tricky equations.
Tell me Tell me Tell me
What’s the sum?

I’m trying to reach out, to get there.
Between incessant strokes,
I screw up my eyes to a blackboard,
but decimal points are fluid,
pages in a magazine, fragrant ink motes.

Backwards floating,
Catalpa brushes my neck
and I remember how to breathe
out loud.

Unlocked, your yellow pine wrists
and your green apple pulse twist
through me.  Your sorghum kiss
Drips into my heart
Which opens,




It was neither night nor day.
A rise of rabbits in dusty crates girded the shore~~
Lostland driftwood vigil, mute and grey.
I swung barefoot, sweeping the straw air.
The breeze was warm, but the land was cold.
Glass-eye agape, I spun gold sand in my hands
To green fields that opened, stretching up
Past salt-spit stones to faraway pale,
Where the lilac lilted out,
Spilling crepe trumpets,
Violet tumbled glacéed notes.

Skirt-tucked, I wished to run to the fragrant one,
But, I turned away, unboxing my shoes,
Lacing grommets over canvas tongues.
When done, I rose, But she was gone.
A hundred folks spackled over the field,
Bent on writing their own cribbed works,
Troubling rocks, cuckooing through rills~~
Versifying the earth.

A town came up yellow and brown
And I was looking for you in flat places,
where you might have pressed through:
buttons & books badges & signs
Inhaling your name off the pavement,
Querying letterboxes with my palms.

Heat-seeking, I had come to the end of the world.
I found instead a clear pool
Where a little girl held a turtle~~
Black with carmine-etched lines.
She’d let it swim a few strokes ahead,
Then catch it and laugh as its legs pulsed in vain.

While thousands of miles away
The speckled olive damask of the Pike
Moved unseen below the ice:
Waiting, waiting . . . .