Sunday, December 1, 2019


There's no place I'd rather be than
half way there
         walking like a Peloponnesian
                  as though it might cure the common yearning
                           love leaves in its wake

         The audio clip ticking like a waterproof watch
         from the T'ang Dynasty

                  A sun tan neatly folded over the
                  balcony of my heart

& sure you can pretend that you see your reflection
in the polished blue mirror of the sky but
it isn't yours
until you give it away

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Cashing in on the 7 Deadly Sins
Trying to build a banjo out of
used car parts & a lost weekend in San Bernadino

Jimmy Reed & Ida Lupino
Listening to the wind skip like a broken needle

Motive & Opportunity
I could swim thru all that you spill I said
but drinking from a puddle
at the bottom of the ocean
wasn't the only way to
express my thirst

Friday, November 1, 2019

You'd Better Have a Plan B

The onshore breeze as articulated by
Big Sur windchimes
         at 4:19 in the after-
         noon the
                  sunlight coming in at an
                                                autumnal slant

         Did you notice? I didn't until just now
                  the surging ocean waves paved for sunset

My troika was pursued by wolves
but I do have an assortment of acrylic paints
& the gravitas of an Obi-Wan Kenobi or
Baba O'Riley

         tripping the light fantastic they used to say
                  practicing eccentric breathing
                           scanning the dial for the sound of gulls
                                    insinuating fate

It will either inspire prophetic dreams
or leave you stranded in a dark corner of yr mind
begging for more like I said to my gal Sappho
the first one's free but I'm seeing double

Friday, October 4, 2019

Where Have All the Payphones Gone?

The Wizard of Oz wasn't a wizard at 
all, but a little guy named Oscar who
had a glass eye & a knack for the short 
         knocked around Venice Beach w/a hunch-
back named Vera
                                 operating in & around a phone 
booth outside the Fox Theater on Lincoln
Blvd circa 1971 or so

A few years later . . . no where to be found

yr guess as good as mine

I moved north to Half Moon Bay in '76
the phone booth went away two decades after that

The Fox Theater was converted to an
indoor swap meet which
is pretty much what it was
any night when the lights went down
& the screen lit up
& a drowsy numbness was dealt out in dime bags

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


What else is enough to make a poem
in this day and age?
                                      In this day and age,
it's dark, a poem needs a small flashlight
and a cordless power drill with which to
remove the screws.
                                    It needs to be a kiss
that stings.

a new book of poems by Duncan McNaughton
available now from Blue Press.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Torching the Pier

You didn't have to follow me there to
                               catch the sky repeating itself
tipping down into the sea like an albatross drumstick
                      marinated in phosphorescent kool-aid

                                            something imaginary & for keeps

A black tar reckoning & the slippery slope
carpe the shit out of this diem

                     the light squaring up between tides
                              copper & steel
                                        morning glory
                                                  Dreamsicle orange

& on a clear day you can see the Great Wall of China
shimmering in the distance
              like the Marquess of Queensberry rules
                                                                   in a space suit

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Down in the Groove

I'm only holding on so that I can
feel it all slip away

Pursuing several
lines of inquiry
not the least of which is
raiding the fridge

It either will or it won't
change the complexion of this
late summer sky
glimpsed thru a rail of mist

like all debts
                             real & imagined
a cocktail olive
                    no bigger than the South China Sea
a flock of electric eels
                            riding in on the tide
Death's big toothy grin

The wreck of the Hesperus makes a cameo appearance here
There's really nothing in the fridge
Leaps & bounds a measured response thick as a brick

Sparrows in the cypress hedge
           conspire w/the wind to
                      distract me & it works

           Subliminal Green Waves
                                           (some assembly required)

Driving north on the PCH the
ocean was there a minute ago
good to the last drop

Thursday, August 15, 2019

X Makes Y Sound Like Z

The cypress whistles from the cliff
            the blue sky turns gray turning pink
                        the ocean performs deep breathing
                                    exercises in the kelp grove

1. Trickle trickle
2. Blink
3, Mumbles                    alongside (parenthetically)
                                              Medieval French Verses
                                                  & The Principal Upanishads

The light the air as yet unbruised

                        & the truth kind of sneaks up on you
                                    like a perfumed cigarette

a long way from the sky garden
                        & its hydraulic chrysanthemums

Friday, August 9, 2019

Black & White & Blue Sky

for Miguel Price

Palm trees grow upsidedown in rain puddles outside the Chevron station on Hwy 1 but the Huichol they wear mirrors around their necks & talk about the bird that came from the underworld to place a cross on the ocean. Even though something may have been lost in the translation I'm sure that they meant every word of it. "That the poem will not abandon you is the one score that counts. Today's Bishop Sheen platitude." -Duncan McNaughton, Bolinas, California, somewhere in Dubai, Santa Cruz, later that same day, San Francisco. "Hope Springs Infernal" was how Philip Whalen said it. I wasn't sure if you knew that. Light / radiance / air. It's all right there. Hanging by a thread.