Tuesday, December 17, 2019

December's Orphans (poetry)

December's Orphans
They opened my tea chest
and discovered I had become
an infamous monster of filmland
There was no excuse
I could see it coming
could have taken a different road
I'd had my run in supernova
went back to being an ordinary star
somehow avoided a black hole
Other planets grow older and more distinct
The crowds are vast and distracted
easy to anger and to lose the point
I'm forced to use retro rockets
tired old conformist tropes
to slow re-entry into daily life
Enormous school of shadowy fish
part ahead of my splashdown
aging backward through my dissent
Pouring Winter rain
in shorts and baby carriage
runs around 7th street corner
How strange the rain a
after its prolonged absence
Puddles in action on a roof
hours later still moving
That it should make this sound
miraculous planet
That drought and desert should be
dangerous planet
That flood or tidal wave
should come down
Darkness in the day
the doors all wash away
My capsule became cracked
I was already post-human
intersecting immaterial world
Bystanders were flooded
with unfamiliar memories
songs and jungle
jingle bells
Outside my window
winter storm on the way
gulls carousel past
Friday 13th
Something odd
will come to pass
you may break
 a drinking glass
Rain in rooftop puddle
the moon has burst a bubble
A world sunk in muddle
image capture by the Hubble
Under the Long Night Moon
Last full moon parade
of this dysphoric decade
Thoughts of a world
not God but man has made
Under a Long Night Moon
Epiphenomenal ice pack
recedes into the general water planet
Moisture invades my cracker barrel


Crisis Climate
We sailed so far and vast
that we reached the edge of the world
without meaning to
without knowing it was near

Five days from it we turned about
by then the cataclysm was unavoidable
some of us said it didn't exist
that it was a mirage of the sea

Product of a devil's idle whim
but the sea itself flowed over the chasm
where did it migrate to?
the world afloat in a shoreless sea

A snow squall vanished
the ship's denouement
we were long past the last longitude
there was no turning about

Libido wants to satisfy itself
That doesn't mean it's evil
The ego wants to gratify itself
Pop goes the evil

How great are the humble
How fatuous are the famous

The yelp of a dog in the manger
kneeling at the foot of the Baby
asleep in the animal feed
You are going to give him
a Christ complex
Seen baby-worship before
but this is ridiculous
He does look great though
Take thee and eat?
 not for dogs

To the Trained Ear
I contrived to lead a life
in which I was exposed only
to naturally occurring noises
Aeolian harp in a glade
to recall the idea of music
brought indoors in Winter
When songbirds are gone
when at night I heard
wind and many wolves

December 2019


Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park


Monday, November 18, 2019

Fade Into November (poetry)


Fade Into November

Whenever I find myself growing grim
about the mouth, whenever it is
a damp, drizzly November in my soul...
I take to a ship

                        Herman Melville

The quicksand in the hour glass
I've had hours of ill repute
Once your feet are buried
they don't return
Trident gate to the casino of loss
Iron fence topped
by playing card symbols
Breech is inevitable
lightning felled the oak
Lawnmower man circles back
tickets inserted in the brim
of his mad hat
All play by surrational rules
internal hallways
Women record countless
subconscious details
intuition as pattern recognition
People become atmospheric
to provide a skeleton for the future
from open-air pauper
  to entombed billionaire
Jailers who jingled the keys
thrown now into solitary
Gradually move out onto a branch
past death row and gas chamber
One maybe granted temporary clemency
Still must eat and sleep
all much earlier though
Edenic garden no clothes
no shame as promised
and as expected
I leave the lights on
so I don't sleep forever
I wish I could say otherwise
If I could I'd go elsewhere
We all have to serve out
our life sentences
I opened my cell door
 before they could lock it
And went out on a spacewalk
in the hallway
in the stairway
in the Milky Way


Onset of the Cold
Unmistakable instinctual
response to cold and dark
first ice in the marshes
Wooden houses on hillsides
howl in the gale
Woodland creatures retreat
into nooks and nests
Rotund bears drowse
on fermented fruit
Armies of starlings
retrieve denuded seeds
Will-o-wisps foxfire frost fairies
Long nights of vagrant stars
each a survival test
 Haunted past--cartons of books
where nobody looks
 the tire chains approach
Bleak days of inverted gray
Rain and wind moves a iron skull
one hundred years closer
to the Canadian falls
Islands not there anymore
Yukon Klondike Bering Strait
move in next door
to the Northern temperate zone
all farther and further away
Blown away by the wind
 in the mountains of madness

Redness in the trees
sleek white clouds are shaped like sharks
train tracks remote cries

Before I awake antlers appear like fungi
everywhere I had slept the night
rolling around on a mossy hillside
Tributaries of the soil emissaries
just as shrubs and trees
breezy though like fluent coral
branches in an ocean current
Nudibranch undulate in the sea
before land-locked cactus
I wave back in return reflex
from my bed in Emeryville
Where I flew to Micronesia
and back in less time than
 the velvet antlers took to grow
Passing clouds leaves ragged patches
on the asymmetrical racks
lungs and viscera
the heads of Easter Island
buried here upside down

After the clock change
dinner in early darkness
poignancy of time

November is the Norway of the Year

in fact is drear
in a country house
newly leafless trees
crowd the lamplight
the clocks turned back
it's twilight time
slow motion amber
tree sap verdigris
the winds hurdy-gurdy
fleshy leaves moist
from phantom rain squall
passed through
 overnight as I slept
midnight view from the loft
November fields blanched
in starlight in moonlight
hallucinatory figure
furtive passage bundled-up
steals diagonal trespass
old stone walls subdivide
flaxen fields into
grave-spilled stones

Notes in English

Shadenfreude for a schizoid
scholarly schmuck
trying to split the schnitzel
without having to spend a lot
on the schmaltz

 One saw end times coming
they came and went
People ask
What happened to
the Apocalypse?
It's here, it's now
It's every minute
all the time


Storm's chaos subsides
jarring cold mundane rain
battlefield of survival strewn
with household casualties
soggy doggy digs
turmoil under the overpasses
bomb cyclone versus
pvc sheets old doors

Sound like fire-crackers
big drops of wind-driven rain
on November's window
first storm a real squall
Throw open the window
Sheets of rain twist and roil
flags whip relentless
rain comes inside on me

People outside huddle
under tarps and flimsy tents
spared this weather
dry and mild
until late in the year
now the landlord is here
wind cold rain all at once
cold clouds twist in the wind


 an alto trumpet
clarion of coffee time
petite tea kettle


November 2019



Saturday, October 19, 2019

October Poem Tome


October Poem Tome
Ad Astra
God sent a self-driving car for me
Its destination was encrypted
I got in I had no choice
I went along for the ride
hazy day no horizon
I whistled a sad air
the limo went past the graveyard
and kept on it didn't stop
I passed by granite cathedrals
outdoor stations-of-the-cross
The vehicle knew where
I did not
The sky resembled a frozen lake
Nightfall and the misty stars
The stars said I was headed north
We never stopped--Water
 apricots nuts cheese and flatbread
had been laid in
The landscape at night was white
Mountainous silhouettes rose and fell
The limo came to a halt
I got out without stopping
Lastly a vast green bar in space
growing larger enveloping the full moon
throwing tentacles of astral color
to all horizons of a trembling earth
Darkness gave way to utter splendor
irrational astonishment
Mind heading heavenward 
on its journey to the stars
Black Apples of Tibet
I conceived of a new planetary system
that revolved around me
a police car gum machine panache
No one would have to know
I'd exist only to those
in my perceptual spectrum
And walk around undersea cities
and forests ablaze
Still stopping at red lights
wearing clothes and passing
for normative
Comets and mystic moons
mine alone to behold
10 seagulls at dusk
harass a strange bird roosting
on the dark tower
100 crows cross
7th street in Chinatown
flocks of October
Hares go forth after dark
except in mating season
happening naturally in march

Tate in 85
I went deep into Blake's light
quiet few people

When a broke grifter in a cheap hotel
notices the Gideon's bible
he sees his next career move

Sometimes I wonder if there is
anyone pervy enough to really dig
my deformity
Punk: Not a mode of music or dress but permanent revolution
a dialectic between mindless positivism
and the great negativistic hand
Urban Nighttime Soundscape
Sirens at bed time
get so you no longer notice
Trains like old memories
fading as they go
Street sleepers may argue
usually just before dark
Weaponized motorcycles
a moving gun show parade
Some with ultra loud music
hostile militarized radio
All audio phenomena embedded
in the highway's toxic whisper
Yacht Club Bench Point
barefoot in clover
marine cloud blankets the coast
bridges at high points only
jeep pulls up with bullhorn
boat anchored fishing
in the marina channel
get lost
other side of the breakwater
saltwater expanse like manifest mind
existence in cleavage in the trees
refracted in all ways
congeals bright fungus like
berkeley cops roll by
 the outskirts on the bay
past the edge of town
In search of the lost papyrus
on which my first poem was read
Nothing to do with Osiris
Nothing to do with the dead
I saw a ship behind the sun
Coming my way
Couldn't make it out in the brilliance
Then behind it three ships
Then another row of five
then nine an armada
fanning out behind
The lead ship of the sun
Against my will
I started to become a monster
I was in farmland a lot
terrible animal husbandry
The old Onanist
who wore out his balls
Hitler gave anti-Semitism
a bad name
I found the backdoor to Hell
Not to get in but to get out
I wrote a long letter to God
to ask for forgiveness again
His métier after all
Imagine the worst person in the world
having the most military might
Would a guillotine be too much?
Special rendition to a secret prison?
Plea bargain for waterboarding at Gitmo
the Art of the Deal
Fate's inexplicable arrow

Haunted by the eccentric
who sleeps in a mummy bag
inside an Egyptic sarcophagus
now afloat in a flooded basement
sand and seawater

 The world to be seen and unseen
so much seen once and not seen again
the finite unspooling of subjective perception
water in a infinite glacial state
all perception exists as one mind
outside of time dreaming in
dreaming the world of time
birth death incidents along the road
mainly monotonous tarmac
some tar pits some mere mirage
Epiphanous amnesties
mild neuronic action out of doors
Tuning forks wind down
Mo more asphalt no more
gas stations no more cows
Wind and weather
scrub the crime scene
sand in the hourglass
cease to add up
the ambiguous incalculable

Great Ohlone rock
cresting the sunlit ridge top
alone not for long

Over three clear nights
never saw the Hunter's moon
cold breeze from the Gate

Devil's Wind

Leaves and debris flags and bags
hurdy gurdy in the wild breeze
the first sun seems wan
The lacuna of the universe
the black hole at the galactic center
indeed a worm hole may be
Life comes back fast
after great extinction events
new aggressive spiders

The Past Thundered Past
 Old Amherst Mass

(memoir of grimoire)

Emily's for Halloween
One more empty haunted edifice
On Pleasant Street was it?
Call it Pleasant Street
The busy little liquor store
The dismal City Hall
restroom open at night
A fountain a church
Sidewalks rolled up and stored
for morning with glad rags strewn
The former Folklore Center
A rustic store for country food in bulk
 a freaked-out peaceful life
Fahey LPs esoteric books
for a conjectural world view
Borderland conjuring
Log's bar eagerly entered
easily forgotten nights
when Sticky Fingers was new
Ramshackle topiary hut out back
Smoke lodge for a fleeting house

The cemetery a stone's throw away
Austere Dickinson plot
Legend hidden by a wrought iron fence
Stars roll upward from burial mounds
The Dickinson estate behind a row of trees
Its garden I spectered alone
on gelatinous nights set in  moonlight
Slept in a drowsy meadow
just down the railroad tracks
Through the Pioneer Valley chilly night
light still on up late
Had a crummy place here one year
How gleeful it was to live
Somewhat poor and young
copious hashish and laughter
Throwing open the bathroom window
in wee wee hours
to watched the train thunder
just below

Mad face paintings a blue guru
white-washed skull mask
Nosferatu skull cap
Bonfire at Erik the Rat's
in feral Belchertown
Sunken eyes and a ruffled shirt
blonde succubus on either arm
New England rocked the cradle
on All Hallow's Eve

Head of the Estuary

Squadron of sea birds
hover high over--shadows
on distant high-rise

The church foyer lit
sunlight on a baptism font
ineffable organ chord

World reassembling
the Cleveland Cascade respite
as the world cascades

So quiet the peace
seven silent geese passed
water turns the page

Three ravens keep
a open eye
waiting for me
to pass by


Monday, June 17, 2019

Rhymes of June

Rhymes of June
Endless game of chance
a crow finds a playing card
flies onto a roof

New World Theology
Jesus summoned the Elder-Father
and distracted the Indians
with a cover wagon train
He summoned unto him
His flying saucer
Promising those left behind
in the desert
To be saints at a later date
their own eventual planet
All of those present swore
certainty that this Man
was Jesus of Nazareth
Jehova's witnesses there
avowed that he looked
a little like Gabby Hayes
Elder-Father Smith
carrier of the golden tablets
was never seen again
in this world

Breezy sunlight here
fog rolls the peninsula
sea birds or jet plane

Electric green moss
tide marks on colorful rocks
tide at eye level

I can't hear the waves
forgot to remove earplugs
only half the grace
Take off my sandals
and walk the water walkway
lonely girl watches
14 kite surfers
not as thrilling or profound
as two pelicans


After the Recent Deluge


My house wasn't always a houseboat
in fact it wasn't always a boat
My home wasn't very close to a river
but it was on a hundred year flood plain
and today it's all water
To my surprise and salvation
it broke away from its foundation
the bottom layer was built watertight
By the eschatologist
 that dreamed-up the place
And my household floated away
My cat and whatever wildlife
  taken refuge from the elements
Swifts and other squatters who nest
in the ornate Victorian woodwork
of the towers the belfry the rooftop
Over the thick downstairs windows
Along for the journey heaved
 Headlong into the gulf below
The garden gate served as a rudder
I set it for a general direction
Dark coast a few lonely street lights
Heat lightning on irreal bayou
toward a crevice in the stars

June 2019


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Au Printemps


For the divine Perdition
of Idleness in Spring 
Au Printemps
In The Outback
A woodpecker and his allies
Storm the woods where I lay sleeping
Crows exchanged themselves with shadows
Three kingfishers from the East
Bearing acorns and fur
A worm for your delectation
A rose to a dog is undistinguished unless
It has been urinated on by another dog
Carpenter ants redo my deck
Trees provide ladders and clocks
The world of birds goes off at once
At dusk and at dawn
A street light in a deep forest
Invites a galactic blizzard of moths
In Spring the wilderness awakens
Males pursue arborial females
Frogs constitute a wall of sound
Thrumming the stubborn heart
That insists on beating
Gulls so high and free
encircle and encircle
downtown high-rise jail

 We never know how high we are
Till we are asked to rise

For a long time I thought
I was going crazy
Madness now no longer
much of a threat
More like arthritis but less so
more like a common cold
contagious unremarkable
ubiquitous at the last
As I cross the street
a crow finds a playing card
flies onto a roof

I extinguished my joint
with whiskey and water
a trace a trace
I've had my fill 

Train Tracks by Emily's Place

The amative Bonobo prefers
food offered by a bully
The frightened mistake
the ruthless for a champion

Arrogance never sees the silent train
of comeuppance and pain

Gone Medieval Posterior

In a tourist cottage
in the Bavarian Alps
three found murdered
with crossbow bolts
The crossbows were left
at the scene of the crime
As if asleep
encircled in
a forest of thorns

The earth is divided
into that which is predominantly water
and that which is not water
and of course a third
air made of gases
water and
particulate matter

And the Sea should part
And show a further Sea--

I sailed beyond the pale
entered a new envelope

I saw beyond the veil
leapt to it as an antelope

I sailed beyond the pale
 it was all all to no avail

behind the railroad tacks
and the wind
behind the traffic rumble
the commonplace gunshots
Chinatown firecrackers
I thought I heard

The rain taps relentlessly
what does it want?
what do you want?

The perfection
the finality
My Savior in my heart
and my perception of reality

With a face on it
translucent plastic bag floats
the estuary

late evening sunlight
the gulls fly purposefully
and inscrutably

My kettle whistles
I'm a little teacup song
come back as a ghost

The survival lust
of the multitude

manifest destiny

I trusted that the epiphany I felt
couldn't help but transform itself
into literature

I sued the future
based on the past

All that was promised
will arrive at last

A cold day in May
on the Blessed Mother's lawn
Mom changes nappy

I do believe
and it do behoove
whenever I see
life is a groove


Valley of the Waterfalls

Great waters flow
across a plateau
no where to go
but down

Circular crater valley
waterfalls surround a lost society
myths and songs unaltered
No longer a way to get out
unnavigable river high cliffs
to an impassable wilderness
When it rains not enough air
Inhabitants get pleurisy die young
Icy rain freezes the temple
Salt corrodes the ancient pillars
 isolated civilization
farms fishing small game
Sugar skulls dissolve in the rain
White noise of the waterfall
at the foot of the bed

Shadow play of leaves
new light on the window frame
the trees they grow tall

Everyday the radio says
it's a mild day
I go out and it's
variations on windy and cold
even when the sun is out
The radio says it's warm
and I go out I go out
dressed in summer clothes
and it's can I make it home
before I fall asleep
in the figurative snow
that desperate
Wind clouds even rain
wind off the bay
the sea beyond
skeletons in the fog
cold that moves through you

Lighting Spring-green trees
late sunlight down seventh
everybody sees

 May 2019

(lines from Emily Dickenson) 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Ghost of Notre-Dame Haunts the Holy Week



The Ghost of Notre Dame
Haunts the Holy Week

My photo of candles years ago
votive chaos theory
demons and prophets
a vertical lobster
from the Cathedral façade
Adam and Eve enstoned
kaleidoscopic window
Reliquary of the Crown of Thorns
Roman noir of a young couple
there at night so far from home
pages flipping in the wind
absorb flame memory smoke
Time spent itself
in la Place de Notre Dame
architectural l'horlage
maze inside the Consiergerie
Ste Chapelle labyrinth of jewels
St Severin metaphysical puzzle box
St Julien le Pauvre secret heart
of the Latin quarter
secrets of the Rue Git-le-coeur
Critical mass of the Holy Ghost
Novena at Notre Dame
How high heaven from here
Filigree spire infused in flame
the gargoyles recoil
Nineteenth century addition implodes
Singed palms of Christ's entryway
leads to actual mental Jerusalem
Fire in the medieval forest above
Eerie parallel to Notre Dame church
Fall River Massachusetts
burned to collapse in the early eighties
when a workman's torch
ignited the roof during renovation
Granite Gothic replica
double-towered facade
Majestic horizon forever gone
People who still remember it
go one by one
 the reservoir, the reservation beyond
the Freetown woods
All as well do go
It won't be water
the fire next time
Black hole at the center
 la Voie Lactee
April 2019


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

April is Poetry Month



Holy Thursday

Duck Season on San Francisco Bay

early for the ferry
this morning the mother duck
with five live hatchlings in close formation
glides in the estuary shallows
first tender day of Spring weather
air still cold over the Bay
moving through it at our clip
face masked with a black cashmere scarf
as if others didn't already
think me different enough
Bay bridge and cinematic city
well up like 3D FX
most of the sparse passengers
de-board downtown stunned or stoned
We who travel on to the Wharf
brace before the chill
of Thrilling Golden Gate
Art farm Sausalito
in a Cezanne light
harbor seals bark
but our barque sails on
Sidewalks bulge but
the deluge is still to come
Decide I'll walk the main drag today
past the brilliant red buildings
 visible from space
Lurid kitsch horror
entertainment billboards
hover overhead
Old tableau a dummy
overhead in a life preserver
gigantic lighthouse prism
revolve the kaleidoscope
of Fisherman's Wharf
outlandish vehicles
megawatt primary colors
the old Fisherman's neon raincoat
Flowers for the Dungeness crab
on Hyde Street Pier
the tall ships renewed and resplendent
Mild enough walk into frigid water
I liberate the small beach
children and others come and go
Alone again two iridescent ducks swim in
Upend themselves finding food
Small wave tosses one out of the water
onto his feet in the sand no problem
soon another wave lifts both out of the water
they poetically turn it into flight
Overhead a sinister silver plane
with a huge surveillance disk
goes out low past the Gate
and comes back again
Leaving the Port of Oakland
several gunboats were seen racing in
endless anxious preparedness

Big flock of black terns
on waters under the bay bridge
shift when the ferry comes
I've lost the butterfly effect
my heart doesn't flutter
into somersaults  of elation
as it once did
yet peace is briefly held
astonishment of topography
sea and sky orchestrations
the feats and stunts of civilization
the ease of an adventure such as mine
the new eastern span sifts
 Mount Tamalpais
Stop at the Alameda side
two perfect ducks in flight
level with me
returning on the mythic path I just came
estuary trail the Bay bridge and Golden Gate
line up in the shimmer
the warmest day this year


metallic full moon
bangs a gong in Chinatown
purple gray light




Easter Outing
In kite-like solitude
rocks on a submarine walkway
high tide waters with creation look
not dirty old Bay
Two geese both in the seawater
preening they double themselves
kick rapid little kicks
flapping up to walk on water
throwing the heads back
to vibrate against wings
Married couple of ducks
on the ramp into the drink
a lone ducks flies over
both recoil instinctually
for a rival duck or a hawk
First kite I watched
flew over to the marina cove
and fell as if off a cliff diving
slender slingshot wings
Past the rocks a fisherman
casts out existentially
 silent sail sound of the waves
ululating a neon green rock
grown heavy in moss
The two ducks of Easter
patrol the rail swimming
then come inside with me
From here I hear all the words
 the water makes
Young Mom with blue green hair
her little girl dangles her feet
 in the restless water
Lady with platinum bob
and a stroller
 attempts to feed the wild ducks
They show no interest in her cookies
Little boy shows up throws stuff
at  the ducks
takes off his shirt splashes about
Down Crab Cove multitudes
of geese on the water
squadrons squawk loudly
as they peel into flight
Heavy birds flying close by me
I raise my arms to help them
navigate away from me
This repeats itself
until the last group takes off
coming right towards me
I wave my heather denim jacket
they elevate without
changing course

bound to the sky
off we go
Earth day three planets
in bright indigo twilight
evening star so near
Easter Mass at last
new life in accidental time
the Cross draped in white
Saints do not appear to the living
Only Jesus and the Virgin Mary
may appear in corporeal form
He ascended
She was assumed in heaven
Elijah rode a chariot into heaven
but hasn't been seen since
Jesus was last on the mount of Olives
Angels can appear in angelic form
which is not physical material
The Holy Ghost manifests
in metaphysical form
God the Creator
 hasn't been seen on Earth
Since Moses and Mount Sinai
where He appeared as a Burning Bush
Egret flies below
I flatten slender grasses
try to do no harm




 April 2019

April 2019