Sunday, February 17, 2013


the scales have fallen
from my eyes and I can see
clearly, once again, the trees.
I can almost inhale fully
and feel the pulse of my body
moving through space
and taste the great vibrations
of life.

For a flickering moment,
I almost
owned myself.

I Don't Know

I don't know if I pray anymore,
if I believe, of it I even need to.
Still, I sometimes think you're useful
in the case of death and divorce,
heartbreak and panic attacks,
after running a red light and frustration
of lost keys. I confess:
I only want the magic and the comfort
the way I look to my horoscope
and catch-phrases on the thin paper tab
of a tea bag. After all,
if I can't find the stars in this city's sky
what do I look for?

God, I don't know how to pray anymore.
But love, I still want you,
ache for you, hope and despair for you.
Love, I don't know if I believe
or if I just need you.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird- Wallace Stevens

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendos,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question...
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

Funeral In Chico

The sun is red this morning
and the smoke hangs heavy in the sky.
The grasslands are burning
and there is nothing to do, but inhale.
My hands and feet are swollen
and the stiffness makes me wonder
is this what it feels like to die, and dry up,
then burn in blue flame and be no more?

The day of the funeral we pack boxes of mementos:
high school yearbook, Navy flags, work overalls-
and carry the things that wont fit- a rod iron bench
lifted from the front yard- and try to reconstruct the story
of a dead man from the hallow remnants.
All day I sweat in my red dress,
perspiration rings my underarms like ripe melons
and the heavy curtain of fabric sticks to my thighs
when I stand and approach the podium.
The microphone is adjusted and readjusted
and all the flat words sound like they come from another mouth.

Do you know the cost of dying?
More than marriage or birth.
Fifty sleepless nights and thousands spent
to eulogize the dead to death.
I cringe at half truths about suffering and salvation
and barely force myself to exchange
pleasantries with the strangers of family.
Even when it's over
it's not over.
All day and night the telephone rings
and the stream of visitors beat against the front door.
I want to crawl into a borrowed grave
and ask for borrowed peace.

I lay in the backroom, under the ceiling fan and listen
to the meaningless ebb and flow of sounds from a distant world.
Sweat soaks through my underwear as I stare,
glassy eyed at the world

hummingbirds dip their delicate beaks
into the nose of blooming flowers,
ripe figs are ready to explode, their purple skin
pulled taught over sweet pink flesh,
and the fertile ground, which so easily yields up
sun ripened tomatoes and sweet basil,
is ready to give itself over and over,
without apology, to the cycle of things.
I wish, more than anything, to forsake
taxing human contrivances,
to rise and fall like the hummingbird,
to be as beautiful and fully consumed
as the grass that was
and is no more.

Finally, I understand, if nothing else,
that all nature desperately years for consolation.
Even these lines are part of the striving.
There is no right way to be helpless
or to try to understand what it all means:
a funeral in Chico, California,
the red sun in the sky,
figs and hummingbirds,
a poem I do not know how to end.

If I Was To Write

If I was to write a poem
I wouldn't start here
or now or ever
because I don't know how
to feel my way through
all the unspeakable territory that is
too near and too far
too dangerous to feel in my mouth
and hear in my ears.

If I was to write a poem
I would feign ignorance, I would
tear it up, burn it
in blue flame
and scatter each hanging letter on the air
kiss the memory into oblivion
and refuse to believe there is any way
to immortality.

If I was to write a poem
I wouldn't start
because I couldn't possibly find
an end.