Musical Ruins

Listen, you can hear the walls
Collapse base lines of brick and mortar.
You can hear electric wires
Playing last solos of Woodstock light.
Piano keys compose dust into rows
Of musical crescendo and demolition.
Cellos moan like shuddering lumber,
Violins cry panes of splintering glass,
The acoustics rebound into emptiness,
Hours upon hours of practice
Keep tempo now with wind and space
And the young singer I once heard
In full voice behind a closed door,
Shakes like a tree and won’t give way.

Night of the Bay Moon

The bay moon crawls into the room
eight arms full of lunar presence

undulating with its own intelligence
writing visibly from within

it makes our skin all one color
before laying down on our bed

drawing in the tide
with the tenderness of its limbs

until we are the dream lovers
of each other

its reflection on the water
peering into its own distant eye

with a gentle voice that shares voices
with vanishing ink

Fear of Falling Farther

If birds weren’t flying
Would the earth be crying

If hate has a deity
Why any homogeneity

If music can’t unite
Neither can fire ignite

If people are regressing
Discourse is digressing

If global warming isn’t real
To whom should we appeal

If wars are to be fought
Can’t peace be bought

If government is corrupt
Can justice be enough

If honesty is not modesty
So much for polity

If leaves didn’t appear
What shade covers fear

If coastlines recede
Will politicians concede

If ignorance persists
Can civilization resist

Painted Turtle with the Earth on its Back

Just off the highway
my son saved a painted turtle
with the earth on its back.
I was a good father.

I showed my children
the symmetry of snakes
and the quicksilver of fishes.
I put their wings in the sky
and left them beachcombing
on the shores of wonder.

When they held up a stone
it was the birth of creation.
When they examined shells
the book of nature sounded.

The world moves slowly,
one child after one father
towards the good.

Zen Bowls

Cottonwood flying
like a snowfall
like a wilderness
planting all its seeds

Mandevilla flowers
spiral open backwards
transfixing the sun
granting the shaman a glimpse

The blue irises
in Van Gogh’s eyes
flower forever
in the fire of life

Sunflower sunset
level with the lake
at the solstice
from the cemetery

After the long rain
the climbing hydrangea
blossoms with butterflies
like Zen bowls

Written by the Left Hand

Means something grows equal
An equation is coming into being
Parallel lines move off into infinity
And at the vanishing point
It is our contention that things meet

It means when the rich stop lying
To the poor we can talk about politics
It means the end of violence
Can’t begin with violence
It means greed is the flower of death

It means that logarithmic spirals
Begin in black holes
Where the sunflower and seashell
Are repeated into quintessence
And the cosmos enters its fifth element

It means my left brain
Is connected to my right heart
It means my right hemisphere
Creates its own reality
It means I offer what is whole



To be born in flight,
Composed of wings,
Letters whirling in orbit,
Its own echo and rhyme
Flying through time,
Between heart and mind,
Language and landscape,
At the edge of a cliff,
Off the tip of the tongue,
Like a wafer of light,
The first spring wing
Doubles to find night,
Closes to be invisible,
To make art visible
And peace inevitable.
Poetry mirrors its flight.


Salvatore Alas

Alas reincarnation.
Alas eternity, paradise,
Being one with the all,
Waiting for a messiah,
Interrupted at rest.
Alas the Atman—I disown you.
Alas animal vibrations,
Consciousness, an afterlife.
Alas empirical evidence,
Philosophy and history.
Alas food and alamodality,
Friends and community.
Alas the wound not festering,
Recovering, beating odds.
Alas axioms and equality–
Justice, charity and mercy.
Alas music and dance,
Peace and progress,
Alas hope and truth,
Children and happiness,
Alas love, laughter and life.
At last, alas creation.


Salvatore Alalia

His mutism is metaphorical.
His decreased receptive language
Created the condition
For poetic intervention.

Even though his teachers
Suggested he had speech delay,
He was hearing the words
In the spaces between them,
Learning the structure of things unseen.

He was born into a second language
Like a guitar string is changed
And must hurry to catch the tune.
If he is not always fluent
It is because he is like a family
Of Italian poets all speaking at once.


Salvatore Marsala

The wine of intoxication is like his moon,
His sun and moon and cup of light.
Transparent gold pours from his mind.
He holds out his hand and grapes appear.
He casts the image of no image. Sol Invictus.
An old man appears out of a young man.
The young man goes back to the vineyard.
No one knows what becomes of the old man.
The process, like wine, is in perpetuum.
Leafy vines join his body to the earth.
When it’s time to burn the wood
Clouds glow about his head like sunset.