Monday, February 1, 2016

Hula Girl in a Helium Hat

It all happens somewhere beyond the
post-apocalyptic dog & pony show
dreamed in another language I can't translate
scrawled across the narrow sky

         bending sunlight on a
         flat empty beach no where to hide
                  waves flashing silver blue
                           translucent eucalyptus bulldozer

This place you now inhabit
hit with brushed chrome & darkened mirrors that
deny your reflection as you might gaze out through
windows painted black

         it is the flawed pearl you've learned to treasure

& just as the tides answer to a mythology
older than the gravity that sleeps in every
stone cobbled along the shore

Elvis hath left the building

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"The Poet Laureate of PCH"

Bill Mohr wrote a blog post about my poetry.

You can read the piece at

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Soft Target

The moon is racing thru the clouds
& the piano needs a haircut

Midnight is a sustainable resource

dancing among the deep velvet accessories
assembled here at the bottom of the sea
where you are striding thru the swaying kelp grove
towards me
            every step reinventing the tide pool architecture
as Sirens sing their plaintive doo-wah ditties...

but now we're on the business end of a rainy Thursday
sloshing around in here watching TV with the sound off
I can supply all the dialogue & commentary as needed
or not

            flickering blue light in black & white

            fishtank auras

& not far from here the shoreline is a steel blade
with a serrated edge

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ace of Tentacles

for Micah Ballard

I prefer the laughter of strangers
to the photo op I missed on purpose
as it may be the only remaining evidence
of an inner war of attrition I tend to gloss over

livid with ritual anomalies I could fake but
couldn't explain even if I wanted to

Ceremonies of crushed glass might ignite the
sea-mist in somebody's dream
where I'm feeling conspicuously invisible
as always when I'm holding

but only to sidestep a rendezvous of bad intentions
with braided sunlight knocking on the sheet
music as a shadow might tune the hibiscus
an octave higher

That first cold plunge into salt foam
dealing you a hand from the bottom of the deck
as if haunt & fortune determined in the trim

& though I may strum lost chords you
might find that the tune is vaguely familiar
a midnight sun at high noon folded into a sound

"Love's Apparition & Evanishment"
in 3/4 time

Friday, January 8, 2016

Metaphysical Therapy

for Leweye

"Time's winged chariot" can be a real clunker, you know?
gears grinding, wings creaking
barely avoiding tree branches, telephone poles & other obstacles
                                           (fainting Desdemona of the Andes
                                           for example)

Today the open sky has been shut down for repairs
& the detour takes us thru Pasadena by way of Kathmandu

At least the radio works

We listen to Lightnin' Hopkins singing C.C. Rider thru the wrong end 
of a steel culvert ("Seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-
See Rider
                           see what
                                                   you done
sounding a whole lot like a redwing blackbird 
serenading the 405 at rush hour
in the rain

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Wrong Goodbye

Fire-breathing dragons, leviathans & Godzillas
emerging from the deep
         along w/something that resembles an
                                                  octopus in a leotard?

The setting sun burns a hole in the dark silk sky

                  a wall of fog drifting in off the water...

you thought it looked like Frida Kahlo descending a staircase
         I thought it looked more like Percy Sledge in a limousine

The cypress sighs
                      a breezy whistle
                                            shadows on pebbled glass

The steep fogmist gave me yet another reason
to double back thru the cuts

                     Ape in the rain at Cuernavaca
                                           versus dice games on the ocean floor

There's no equivalent & no disclaimer

silk & neoprene
                                           variations on a theme

from one slippery mind to another

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Telephone Call to a Hospital in Pasadena

for Lewis MacAdams

Nothing happens just off stage
we both keep an eye on it
just in case the light rumbles down

& whether it's fate or karma or dumb luck
you wake up to find a nurse taking care of you

"What the matter? Couldn't the nurse take care of herself?"

"You bet she could but I found that out too late"

Monday, December 14, 2015

ODE, or I Can Drizzle & Quake with the Best of Them

The morning awash in winter sunlight
I can already hear the beach traffic backing up on Ocean Street
9:45 am

Backyard's muddy
fallen leaves (plum & apricot)
grass & weeds all overgrown
flourishing in neglect

The dog sniffs curiously at a praying mantis perched on the back steps

A Buddhist insect
(it bows to the four directions
before taking flight,

Sorting out the terminology of poetic sediment
sifting through mountains of the stuff
there's no excuse & no apology forthcoming

All of it returning me to this endless tidal swamp
my native stomping ground here among
sea urchins, rusted batteries, star fish, anemones,
beer cans encrusted w/barnacles,

It would seem you have motel neon running thru yr veins
along w/seawater, gasoline & a thousand postcard sunsets
shuffled & dealt in the parking lot of yr choice

A tangle of weeds
the grass is still wet
paw prints in the mud
destined for Pakistan
or the temple of Teotihuacan

Winter on the coast has its own kind of light
thrives on neglect
scraps of clouds adorn the edges of the sky

            Was the Feathered Serpent originally a praying mantis?

            If you run the numbers you could probably make it work

                                        Wind jewel talisman
                                        sliced conch shell


the dragon in the waves

Monday, December 7, 2015

Out to Lunch

I can still hear my father saying
"Time & tide wait for no man"

         I had no idea what he meant

         I thought maybe it was some kind of riddle

it left me feeling like an octopus peering thru a telescope

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


"A falling object gathers no moss"

         Makes no difference whether you fell or were pushed

         all that matters is that you stick the landing

                                                              never so tenderly

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Pain, Suffering & the Sickness Unto Death

(a romantic comedy)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I woke up to a parade of ill-mannered dwarves

entering & exiting thru the bedroom window
carrying sledgehammers, axes, harpoons, Frank Sinatra albums, etc

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Please point me in the wrong direction

& I'll take it from there