“Plain speaking and clear understanding”

(title spoken by Sidney Greenstreet
in The Maltese Falcon)

We share the being of being alive
Air must be breathable
Water not contaminated
Freedom is the best option
No individual or group
Can claim the truth
One hungry child is criminal
Hate creates suffering
Two wrongs commit a worse wrong
The best seek peace
The base seek power
Farmers are our roots in the earth
Doesn’t matter who is right
It matters we agree

Mathematical Fallacy

for Michael

In my sixtieth autumn, insoluble leaves,
Like more numbers than moonlight can double,
Like migrations unnumbered by time,
Like a windfall of division equal to shade,
Like a rainfall washing out its arithmetic.
In my sixtieth autumn, insoluble leaves,
Like the natural numbers of the sun,
Like the reckoning of the cold,
Like decimals enumerating the wind.
In my sixtieth autumn, the aftermath,
Impossible computations of fate,
False answers and recalculations,
Estimated losses and constant of love
On the road to my own insoluble solution.

Starling Migration

Can’t tell you how many birds
I saw across the highway?
Thousands, hundreds of thousands,
The sky was pixelated with birds.
Every cloud was like a pincushion
Of crammed pinpoints and holes.

From the western sky
Another flock merging with others,
The tail end of that group
Seemed like an endless conduit
Of more and more birds appearing.

To the east, merging flocks
Careen to the right and to the left.
One vast wing made of starlings
Sweeps low across the fields.

Screaming Winds

The earth is screaming in the wind
Like California fires,
Screaming across continents
Like the sun screaming over the horizon,
Like the future is ablaze,
Like the beginning of the end.
The earth is screaming in the wind
Like California fires.

The Mother of Moving Space

In solemn procession the boulevard trees.
The godhead shattered on its altar of leaves.
No tears shed by the mother of moving space.
I meditate upon her ultimate grace.
I contemplate her divine wisdom
To be the unknown light of any kingdom,
To exist in her own existence
Offering distances without resistance,
So deeply buried in transparent time
For her name there is no rhyme.
She who wanes into the future’s past
Denies a glimpse of her original cast.
She who loved with all her senses
Leaves us now without defenses—
The stage stripped, the scene changing,
Actors unmasked in her rearranging.
At the exact moment of any line
It is wind and space that undefine.
At the exact moment of occurrence
Her passing echoes with recurrence.

Old Desire

What one lacks in endurance
You make up for in attention.
Erogenous zones turn inward.
You penetrate mutual happiness.
You are grateful for caresses
And kisses that taste of sweetness
Cultivated over time. After all,
It is time you must fill to the full,
It is time you must love
In each other for the sex
Of decline to gather arousals
From the mingling of spirits
In the flesh that remembers.


Its name is a hood of snails
That have sealed their shells.
It has two eyes fixed on you
Like a saw-whet owl.
It is made of dead cicadas,
An old wind and one drum.
Looked at for a long time
You begin to see falling leaves
In bright blue weather. October
Is a mouthful of wine grapes
Sounding out the burning vine.
Writing it, is to pause with ghosts
In the mist of memory,
Not knowing your own face.