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.

Crow Feather Totem XI

My wife hands me a crow feather
She picked up on the road.
Now she’s part of my totem.
Between her hand and mine
The feather seems to float
Like time in mid-summer.
The feather retains the full sun
That first shone on it in flight.
Thirty years of marriage
Have flown by like a mirage.
I thank her for the feather.
She feeds my spirit with wings.

“The Empty Spirit in Empty Space” Wallace Stevens

for Eugene McNamara

Dear Gene, I regret not seeing you,
Not bringing poetry to your door
Like a “basket of shadows,”
An image of mine you admired.
Looking at your photograph
With all my heart I am sorry
And say a last goodbye, old friend,
With your American poetry
On the tip of your tongue,
Your Dillinger derringer wit
And streetwise Chicago grit
And the branches in the window
Tracing their delicate lines
In the space of our magical changes.

Granada II

Granada, gypsy dream weaver
Strumming guitars
For Claudia La Debla’s dance.
I’ve fallen under her spell,
Her every expression a fantasy,
My song lost in her drama.
Granada, wine-stained stones
Of drunken nights.
Woman that waves the fan
Of her painted hand.
I dream her Flamenco fire
Stamping down roses.
I kiss the death of her mouth.
Pomegranate, her secret destroys me.
Granada, city of adoring poets,
Of ageless sun and blood–
I’d give you everything
For the jasmine drifting
Through Lorca’s door.

Philosophers’ Stone

            for Bob Pinto

The day my professor died
I found this stone.
It stood out from the others.
The stone that others reject
Becomes my cornerstone,
The first matter of all things.
It’s a good stone, full of questions,
A complete mystery,
And sometimes its own answer.

The Gift of Literature

My son says that being home is like a replica of being home. I say Kerouac captures something of that. My son says interminable minutes of nothingness offend him most. I say the best I’ve read about interminable minutes of nothingness is in the arid landscapes of Roberto Bolano. My son says that the baseline of existence is chaos. I say that for Empedocles love was the opposite of chaos. My son says that he feels trapped by language. I say you’re sharing an office with Wittgenstein now. My son says life seems emergent. I say Henri Bergson did some creative thinking. My son says nice talking to you dad. I say nice talking to you son. Between us I think, interminable highways of nothingness, replicas of towns, chaos and something quite emergent between fathers and sons.