Thursday, November 29, 2012

Escape Velocity

The phases of the moon as interpreted
by the tides & the bodies of women
Tonight a luminous blade reflected in your
eyes like the sound of waves
convicted by salt mist as the tide draws back
like a slab of concrete lifted by the shifting sand
I’ve thrown the dice there
certain that the numbers will add up
& the light split by a glance back over your shoulder
just in time to catch Superman swooping down
to snatch Jesus from the cross
You see I’ve timed it perfectly
the way shadows eclipse reflected light
grinding their teeth
& you bend like a spoon to the flame
with kisses as smooth & cool as polished stones

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bring Me the Head of Eddie Vedder

Winter late & early it’s close enough
Pacific rattles against the slanted light
blue turquoise green & tinsel
raw beach concrete
A drowsy numbness pains my sense
these dull opiates I swear they’re getting sharper every day
A little blood after
but more the shade of a rusted sunset
mere human sediment
The girl with the crucified seagull
tattooed on her back
said she knew something I didn’t
She told me where it was but I had to find it myself
My skull packed with wet sand
pure as the driven foam

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Be My Guest

Somewhere walking we’re thinking the same thing
so there’s no need to mention it
The Calypso of Eucalyptus the ocean in her hair
all nickels & dimes raining down          purely an observation
& a sound lifted from a decidedly more green-colored
silver rescued from an underwater train wreck

The title (in paraphrase) should read:
To the Revolutionary Cadres of Big Sur, Morro Bay,
Gaviota, and Oxnard Shores (or, Sometimes a Great Ocean)

Long shadows falling across the tone arm we’ll just have to 
haul it all back the next day 
the parts you remember & the parts you forgot
The butterfly valve is a little sticky tap the pedal turn the key

She said The Odyssey is just the story of
Odysseus’ night out with the boys

How many times does it take to get that act down right?

The westward advance of European Civilization stopped at the
San Andrea Fault & so we have had to learn to roll our own here
in pages torn from the tide book soaked in gasoline

Friday, November 23, 2012


The process of dreams without language
to bridge them from the reef to the shore
reflecting stones like clouds etched in glass
& something generic like a rainy day
the phone lines down, the wet pavement
too much like the sky
Waves groom the sand the rocks precisely placed
by tides & time
untouched by human hands
palm trees sliding into view, with bells or
harmonicas scratching deep inside expoding lungs
the snap & shuffle of an ordinary deck of cards
These are the sounds that hold the morning together
bending in the wind against the light
like funhouse mirrors under water

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Some Might Say

“The Buddha’s Dharma is not to be given up
to mere human sentiments”
stagelit streets descending
as in Tangier, or Todos Santos,
or an Albuquerque by the sea
with Jesus Christ riding across the beach
on a crocodile
although he looked more like Keith Richards to me
Meanwhile a sky littered with clouds
at sunset
with vinyl upholstery & tinted windows
transports me to Ryoan-ji
via iambic pentameter
& the Tijuana Sloughs
One step in any direction & everything is changed
(a pattern of damp footprints
suggesting the diagram of
some kind of suicide mambo
but without the music it’s hard to tell

Monday, November 19, 2012

The String Section

I am the servant of a past that
has yet to catch up with me
A thousand books & the sand gravel combed into
wave patterns between stones
Something I heard about Japanese grammar?
the spacing itself is persuasive enough
anybody’s problem

(iron fish.  whalebone hammer.
Thomas Pynchon.  a kind of bird.)

Reading by the light of the plasma screen
doesn’t rule out candles
Some Words For Joanne Elizabeth Kyger:
feathers         clench            torrential
baleen            shreds            encumber
crepuscular Vermeer albacore bottlecaps
antediluvian puddles                     
flesh on the bone
water on the brain
                                         Nov. 19, 2012
                                         JEK’s birthday

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sand in the Vaseline

I think it was a Tuesday, I had to buy some bread
            that is I had to buy a plastic bag with air & bread inside
Ocean to Broadway up Front Street & back

            Sky the color of a sea-stone
            drawn with blue-green T’ang Dynasty crayons

Water beneath the ocean
for the sea urchin, for the abalone,
for the suicide’s bath
not to mention the remorseless passion I’m attempting to
skate through
SUFFERING                         because I want to?
There’s no other reasonable explanation
Cobbled stones, tangled seaweed, tortured beach cypress, wherever
summon the tides & the flames together
& I’m still right here
            I can feel the concrete beneath my sneakers
            as I watch my shadow skipping
                                                to keep in step

the sky & the streets                like me
slanting down into the sea

Friday, November 16, 2012

Radio Remix

The dripping fog greets another morning here in
Santa Cruz
                        although it could just as well be Papua, New Guinea
for all I know
                        The sun a pale neon memory submerged
in surging green-dark water
                                                I’ve seen flames the very same color
burning up out of the wet sand
            cormorants in their feathered robes huddled on the rocks
above tidepools edged in rust & Mexican turquoise

The clawhammer guitar curving against the wind
plays the tune you thought only you knew

            the music & commentary piped in through
speakers nailed to the graywhite sky

I may have been reaching out to you with two or more hands
at that very moment
                                    like a riddle that can only be told in Sanskrit
as 3, no check that, 4
                                    pelicans flying in formation
glide in low over the surf
                                                & disappear into the fog

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Later, Voyager

The kelp grove
                        just this side of the reef
            is swaying between tides

                        & deeper sometimes
            I can hear their leaves
                                    rattling beneath the waves

            & late at night

                        shaking off bubbles that
            sink to the ocean floor
                                    like a formal invitation
                        to death by drowning

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Against the Current

You were balancing a bubble
on the edge of a feather
& I was re-enacting the
history of every ocean
as inscribed on a blade of sand
yet I could never understand the footwork
nor the Telluric currents thrown
against the tumbling mist
offering you this half empty cup
just so you’ll have something to think about
At dawn we contemplate the smoked glass
& the seagulls
            slicing through the air as we stare out
at the ocean
                        China is out there
                                    on the other side
with red tassles dancing in the wind

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reaction Time

She never speaks his name
afraid of what it might mean

The haze of smog that lingers in her veins
makes her feel as though she is dragging a wing
through a sky of crushed glass

& so she receeds into degrees of
silence that are humming
like a tuning fork

held against her spine

Friday, November 2, 2012

Slipping the Glimpse

I’d rather be lying in the sand
on an empty beach in Baja right now
as you do your best Ava Gardner imitation
(Night of the Iguana) beneath a sky
neither of us recognize
but I’m here
listening to dry leaves rattle like empty beer cans
a sound similar to the waves rushing in like a herd of silver ponies
sounds… in advance of a cold breeze off the water
that has knives in it
& a heart-shaped moment later you
lift your head & ask “What did you just say?”
You see I’ve made these careful drawings of your tattoos
I can’t show them to you because they are mine now
& this is how I will love you
True romance is like torching the pier
while half-dressed women painted the color of water
lick their lips
sealing our fate

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Whatever You Say

I could swim thru all that you spill
and still not make it there in time
yr eyes changing color with the sky
“a seduction of light”
Later in the morning the rocks at the
north of the cove will be underwater
& a clean right-break will peel in around the point
You hand me a string of pearls
& a Buddhist road map
“I prefer the scenic route”
seaweed cigarettes at dawn
Bela Lugosi in Island of Lost Souls
Morphine Like Swimming
& the cracked pavement of my native land
I dreamed of a nun weeping at the ticket window
(these things need to be sorted out in the morning)
a light seduction, black and blonde sand, the wet sidewalk
reflectng all of this & neither of us have come this far
to turn back now
At this angle, & in this light, it looks as though there are
sparks flying off the edge of the waves
the sun just rising, the sky still dark