SANCTUARY

featured in the poetry forum March 4, 2010  :: 0 comments

Dianne makes me stare
at the arch of a church window:

stained glass, leaded glass,
the stories of saints and sinners.

Distracted, I see dust-bunnies
scurry across the floorboards

as the sanctuary door opens
and a stranger’s hand crosses

herself, before taking a knee
at the second pew to invest prayers.

But it is not for the wooden god,
cross-depicted, or the glazed stories

that we are here—the light, darling,
the light—as bright sun dims

into twilight and darkens
into a night that ushers

the spotlights into their business,
as sensors invisibly flick a switch

and the white walls and ceiling
erupt with color.

BENEATH THE COTTONWOOD AT THE RIVERSIDE

March 4, 2010  :: 0 comments

Delphi asks me
about my time before I was born
and after I die.

What strange memories
my grey-matter-ghost refrains.

Delphi asks me
if a butterfly’s wing flap
over the Sahara
spawns hurricanes
in the Caribbean,
what weather is produced
by our politicians’
windy speeches.

What peculiar powers
my words expose through poems.

Delphi tells me
the only laws she obeys
are the laws of physics,
but sometimes
she ignores those, too.

No water droplets
fail to support our bodyweight
as we recross the Acheron.

IT TAKES 2000 YEARS FOR A WAVE TO SWAGGER AROUND THE WORLD*

November 25, 2009  :: 0 comments

The ocean came ashore and walked into
a twenty-four hour convenience store,
pocketed a set of double-A batteries
and a pack of watermelon bubblegum.

A boy, sitting on the parking blocks,
noticed the ocean exiting the store,
recognized it and thanked it for being
the cradle of evolution that, eventually, lead to him.

The ocean foamed a little in satisfaction
and changed its color to a brighter blue,
but couldn’t shake loose these three plastic containers
in its left thigh that some ship dumped off the coast

along with a host of other garbage items
that dissolve into toxic polycarbonates—that over time
drift on the currents to a spot in the pacific
north of Hawaii where the ocean grew up.

On its way back down to the shore
the ocean kicks sand in the faces of other sand pebbles,
writes a poem with its finger, becomes slimmer as
the sun reaches down to take the ocean’s spare tire,

and one stick of watermelon gum, heavenward
to form a cloud and to start assembling
the colors of a rainbow.

*note: title is a line from a Maureen Seaton Poem

WITCHING HOUR ADJUSTS TO DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME

November 25, 2009  :: 0 comments

She arrived all at once to the spot
where she stood for an hour
before anyone noticed her being there
among the peonies.

Someone remarked, with a musical reference, how
Lucy in the sky with Diamonds her night dark dress
appeared under the unnatural black light, until
someone else commented about the absence of stars above.

Her memory spilled over into the punch bowl
and before long everyone who imbibed
knew what it was like for her to suckle
from her mother’s milky breast as a child.

Someone slept, for an hour, in her iris colored iris
and won the hide and seek game
as the wind laughed right out loud
at the notion of ten-thirty in the evening.

She entered into a communal pair of blue jeans
while walking the glass streets of a west coast town,
while the beach cat scratched the works of Shakespeare
out of its ears and kicked all the letters deep into the sand.

Someone, in the guise of a curtain rod, held up
the party’s exquisite corpse and declared it a dandelion
shower head, so the tired could bathe and
ready themselves for bed.

SPELUNKING

featured in the poetry forum November 25, 2009  :: 0 comments

Her heart is quick
with the black void
that resides between stars.

Even though her beauty blinds you,
your love cannot save her
from the emptiness

and the galaxy sized journey
that, at the speed of light,
takes a million years.

Her silence is absolute
in the vacuum of space
and on the barstool next to yours.

She watches the bar-tide mirror
for empty stares, but the other patrons
see only the bottom of their beers.

She closes her ears to the restless din inside
and focuses on the unspoken desire
of the public room’s unaware sybils.

An hour before the bar-time Lotharios
hit the red shift, the blue shift
she removes herself from their gravity,

from this lit space where everyone sees
only the shell, but not the ghost inside
or the depths of heaven.

On her way out, she leans into you,
whispers in your ear, Close your eyes
to see the way out from this midnight cave
.

LITIGATION

July 24, 2009  :: 0 comments

The neighbor’s dog jumps the fence,
then shits in our yard.

Delphi shovels it up with feet set
in a wide stance.

The grass, wet with dew, with rain,
dampens Delphi’s shoes.

She writes notes and places them
in the neighbor’s mail box

as he refuses to open the door
to speak with her.

She makes friends with the beast
of a dog

so being in the yard does not
cause her fear.

Delphi scratches the dog on the belly,
behind the ears,

provides him treats, eventually
a bandana.

The dog still shits in our yard,
but refuses, now, to jump the fence,

sleeps on the old mat by our back door,
eats from a brand new bowl,

growls in such violence at the man
whose yard use to restrain him

that the man backs away
and drops his claim of ownership.

PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT LABOR RELATIONS ACT

featured in the poetry forum July 24, 2009  :: 0 comments

I dust the smoke of a campfire
with an old crow feather. I pull
a smattering of latin out of my pocket
to drape as tinsel on an Bastille day
blue rose. I wash choruses
out of my lorazepam tablets.

xxxxI must stop now.

All my vowels threaten a strike
and suspend the negotiations:
I bent the collective bargaining rules
on the new poetry contract,
insisting the letter “y” choose solely
to be a vowel or a consonant
for consistency’s sake.

OBSCURE CLARITY

July 24, 2009  :: 0 comments

The poem I just wrote is black ink
xxxnot the night dark horse
who approaches the fence
to greet me.

xxxAll this white
is not the falling sky
xxxover a January
xxxxxxpasture.

Right?

May 9, 2009  :: 0 comments

By hand, with nib and ink,
Delphi scribes a new New Testament.

Silently she says to herself,
Once upon a time…,

then begins to write a real story
about Lisa, the girl next door,

and the twelve women who meet
every Wednesday at noon

to discuss poetry and the meanings
written between the lines

and the best way to determine
if a man means I love you

or uses the words as a tool
to pry off a pair of tight jeans.

Delphi mentions the Factory
instead of Babylon, lists the names

of all the girls who take their clothes off
and all the men (& women) who pay

the price of this fidelity to attraction,
stimulation, desire carnal beauty.

She pens no allegory, no revelation,
nothing for the trashy tabloids.

She pens a gospel of her friends
so that they might be remembered,

might remember that they are important
like Abraham, Sarah & Hagar.

FOOTLING

May 9, 2009  :: 0 comments

Early in summer we worked the fields
planted indigo and slavery
jet airplanes and nuclear weaponry
baseball and a hundred meter dash.

It was a dry year with hale storms
and freak snows, a hundred million
pack rats and grasshoppers uncounted,
Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Late in Autumn we worked the fields
harvested mud and snails,
ten penny nails and barbed wire,
a black jack hand and a faro dealer.

It was a wet season with dry lightning
and dust bowls, a hundred million
football fans and ticket sales uncounted,
Hamas and Likud sitting down for tea.