Six Rooms

The first is my window blinds.
Slats with pull cords
Between light and dark.

The second is my carpet.
A magic carpet of wine tracks
Notated by cannabis tacks.

The third is the cigarette tin
In which I keep my addiction
To loose change and nicotine.

Fourth, a few fossils
I found on a beach
In primeval childhood.

Next to last my old pool cue.
I play impossible shots
On imaginary tables.

Finally, a faded photograph
In inexpensive frame
Of someone loved and lost.

Kiwanis Music Finals

The practice area is like an orchard of sound
Where you pick notes as they ripen
And those that fall seed the ground.

You can harvest grapes from this vine
That grows along the staff of time
Following the sun into drums of wine.

The pianos seem near and far
Like conversations behind doors
Or rain on the roof of your car.

The practice area is a paradise
Where even angels clash
And beauty is soundly imprecise.

Please listen to the children play,
Their music is so unaffected
You’ll hear the origins of rhapsody.

Sea Dreams

how the sea learned to walk on so many legs where the seashell began compiling its manual how coral disguised itself in itself how jellyfish learned erudition how the octopus engineered fluidity where the flower was born and the tree where the root went down how branches branch why leaves need to grow how the eye of God became a fossil of meaning where time began work on its museum how the dragonfly was invented how spiders of crystal learned to cooperate in the mineral kingdom when the seed discovered its shape in the word love how birds learned to sing through bone why why is the smallest seashell the faintest star

The Becoming

  Abyssus abyssum invocat

For weeks I felt revenant,
Embraced by vampires,
Leeched and guzzled,
Sapped of blood and spirit,
My shadow was more real.
The sun honed its edge,
Carved out my darkness,
Shaved me to the grave,
Perfecting my disguise
Like a kindred apportation.
All children of millennia
Are superstitious mathematicians
Plussing negative numbers
Minus the undead.
We are fixed to one place,
Our place is next to dust.
Salvation from eternal night?
A wasted incarnate light.
I woke from my anemic trance.
Sunrise in the monster village
And all my strength was back.

The Chinese Masters

How great are the ancient Chinese poets.
They are masters of what they do not say.
They walk on rice paper and leave no step
And move silently through the green bamboo.

When you read the poem of a Chinese master,
You feel as though a Shaolin priest
Has snatched a pebble from your hand.
How much you have yet to learn.

Point Aldophus

Place of massive accord
Nature and time
Whales and whale song
Amplified by deep
Ocean chords
Whale waves
Whale tides
Whale plumes
My breath expelled
My body rising
The animal
Born breaching
Footprint on the water
Weightless mammoth
Holding the breath
Of the world
In whale lungs
Amid humpbacked mountains
Baleen pines
Air swollen with mist
All swarming gulls
Whales trumpeting
Primeval synergy
Flukes flagging
The arc of their dive

Sparkling Coin Laundry

Juneau, Alaska

I washed my heart
At Sparkling Coin Laundry.
It washes people and place,
Forgives trespasses,
Cleans comings and goings
And trades in Indian Head coins.
Sails are washed,
Fishing nets and stars.
Hatchery workers
Rinse brine from their boots;
Mountain dwellers
Dry mountain clouds;
Raven and Eagle people
Shake out the wind.
A student studies his clothes.
All set time tumbling
At different times.
For everything there is a time…
I washed my heart
At Sparkling Coin Laundry.

Chronicles of Man

After the first beheading, hope was severed like a limb.
After the second, love produced a fountain of blood.
After the third, faith changed faces with fear.
After the fifth, knowledge bled to the last drop.
After eight beheadings, God recoiled.
After fifteen, there was no more happiness.
After twenty, it all seemed propaganda.
After thirty-four, more headless people took office.
After fifty-five, a collective body was sworn in.
After ninety-nine, children played with human heads.
After two hundred, there were no more days of peace.
After four hundred, it was hell on earth.
After six hundred, the executioners were put to death.
After a thousand beheadings, they dare not stop.
After fifteen hundred, fate and freedom were indivisible.
After twenty-five hundred, the heads kept singing.
After five thousand, a dialogue began.
After seven, the heads became oracles.
After ten thousand, there were more priests than people.
After fifteen, the books were sealed.
After twenty thousand, it was a total human eclipse…