Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Did you hear the one about the owl who married a goat

e  a  r  t  h  q  u  a  k  e
                                           "Did you feel that?"
            a blip on the Richter scale
                                                             tectonic shift
an interglacial hiccup prompting a tsunami warning
bearing down on a
                                         Bikini collision course

          (not the two-piece bathing suit
          but the atoll in the Marshall Islands where
          the United States detonated 23 nuclear devices
          between 1946 & 1958 imagine
          what kind of surf that must have generated)

Nothing out of the ordinary
                                                       Rocking the boat
High seas at low tide
                                                              Calling down the thunder

Friday, July 8, 2016

Mumbo Jumbo

It was a 20,000 Leagues Under the
Sea meets Sailing to Byzantium situation
seen through a Ziggy Starfish prism
on Topanga Beach

Footprints in wet sand

The sound of waves in a bottle cap

but like all the hydraulic lifts & power tools it takes to
fully equip a karma repair shop
& the Dalai Lama drops by to have a beer at closing time
all the angels, demons, hungry ghosts & sad-eyed buddhas
slip out the back door into the lemon light of a midsummer sun-
set filtering down through the abracadabra palm trees that
bow & sway in the parking lot

& you were there pretending you weren't
as the sky tipped back like a bottomless cup of kool-aid
& I almost forgot to breathe

Friday, July 1, 2016

Shiva's Little Grind

Silver-green eucalyptus leaves
shimmering in the wind
like a school of sardines in the shallows

         Another day it might be like the way it felt to
         read Confessions of an English Opium Eater
         in 1822
                              the fog rolling in from the beach
the sun an opaque disk of tarnished 
silver nailed to the sky

         & maybe she walks in beneath it
                  as I reach out to her
                           with two or more hands

Her eyes like dark stretches of intertidal static
raking the dust of Darwinian succession
in blue suede huaraches

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Stepping It Back
Satin & lace.  Seaweed
& foam.  Ripple.  Drip.  Drizzle.  Splash.
Like Venus on a half shell.
Walking tiptoe across the sand.

Behind Closed Doors
A coastal docudrama starring
Odysseus, Ishmael, 27 dancing mermaids
& an octopus named Louie Louie.

Shoes for Industry
You'll be there like water beneath the sea
like a shadow in the shade
like the word "like"
whispered into the wind

Friday, June 17, 2016

What's Your Metaphor?

for Bill Berkson, 1939-2016

I chewed my way thru the refrigerator
into the late & early sunlight
threaded with tinsel mist             a slow mo-
                                                            tion train wreck
                                                                            like divine intervention
all out of proportion
                                            transmitted via a telepathic
                                            call & response system
Streetlights, cars, wet
pavement from here to
ocean's edge
wrapped in a fogmist serape            better described by
                                                                 15 rhyming couplets
                                                                 written in Portuguese
If you keep real still for a moment you can
see your reflection in the
silver-green ripple sound of eucalyptus
                         which serves as a bridge between this world
& the one where you are now

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bleached Chrome

Tropical vines, bamboo palms, Bird
of Paradise

                  big kelp blossoms rocking with the tide

         alongside (parenthetically) Medieval French Verses
                                    & The Principal Upanishads

You were bedazzled by the lurid
                                                             smile of the invalid
& I was wondering who was going to
                           do all of the heavy lifting

The light changes I have my doubts about Western Civilization
high tide, 2.3 ft. at 5:47 a.m., winds light & variable

         burning out a few neurotransmitters

Knossos, Honolua, Oxnard Shores

B  R  E  A  T  H  E  

                           (a great swoosh of palm leaves, pine
                           needles, eucalyptus leaves
                           filling in gaps in the diatonic scale
                           seagulls carving up the fog mist)

Let's wait here a minute
right smack between where we're going
& where we've been
watching iron pipes curling in over the reef

         reflecting the end of not this world
         but the next

                  like a soundproof Malibu
                           in the cradle of Nowhere

or the eucalyptus alleyway
         & the steps to the beach below

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


It's morning & the beach is dark
though the sky is all lit up in
drugstore neon

         VISTA POINT
         The streets awash in a shady gray radiance
                  & damp at first light
                           you weren't the only one to see it

I had a stereophonic reason for being there
spilling the last of the wine
telling you it's in honor of the dead but really just
being clumsy

         The brooding bells of the tinsel mind
                  rhyme with the purloined guitar
                           that was left untuned

( d r u m r o l l )


       1. Ocean dark & swarming

       2. Whisper of sea foam over sand
            between tides

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Different Dynamic

11 heads
2 arms
1 head
1000 arms                   & a mustache
1 head
8 arms
                                                     - Philip Whalen

         "We need something to replace the old gods"
                  she said & I suggested a package of Gauloises

by Kevin Obstacle
         Her faraway eyes haunt my tidewater reckoning

         I was burying sunlight in the wet sand
                  while she performed a suicide tango
                           swaying like a palm tree in the wind

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Tell Tale Signs

MOOD INDIGO (somewhere between
blue & violet
in the visible spectrum
as orchestrated by Duke Ellington)

         Correspondence.  Light & shadow.
         Amalgamated blonde on blonde ambience.

That slight tremor in your hands may mean that you've
had more than your share

         It all depends on who the poet is talking to

Sunlight drifts down thru the Merovingian cloud cover
& an onshore breeze that tastes like sea water
worries the dusty palm trees on Beach Street

         This is springtime on the coast
                  spilling shadows across the pavement

                           Darker when seen from the inside

& I'm following the radiant energy 
         where it goes as the sky shifts from smoked
                  glass to morning glory
                           & the streets plunge into the sea

Descending the broken
         concrete steps I could see drift-
wood & seaweed all tangled in
                  clumps, sand streaked with 
tar & the shorebreak churning
dirty white foam
         as in a lost Homeric hymn
                  found again at low tide
                           & with a drizzle of misdirection
                                    paddling out into the
                                             lo & behold
bending light into colors
         blue, green, orange, red,
                  chrome & turquoise

but with a menthol filter

         streaming neural movies
         that were a hit
         back in the Pleistocene