Sunday, November 5, 2017

Zulu as Kono, or The Parable of the Stolen Pipe Truck

Alternate possibilities like
       sunset in a parallel universe
              filthy with your fingerprints

Reasonable Doubt
1. The sky was the color of beach pavement
2. Descriptions should always be misleading

Catch & Release
If I was talking to you
I wouldn't have to say a thing

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Water on Mars

I swore I heard Sweet Jane's kid sister
calling the little red rooster
& the foam
rushing up across the sand
was like a game of Chinese whispers

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Surfing by Candlelight

I tripped over my first bloody nose
& landed here
                       57 years later
beneath a dark sky getting darker
         clabbering up to rain

& I played that clawhammer ukulele 
like a champ
         just so you'd know what it felt like
confessing to crimes I knew
nothing about

It was late summer on the coast
& you were like a brain surgeon
         smuggling a pipe bomb
                  into my most cherished memories

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Steel Pier Freeze-Out

Nothing left now but the
soft caress of a breeze
edging ahead of the fog
rising off the beach

a kind of psychosomatic bait & switch
within the confines of our souls
each to the other

& if my heart is like a 
hand grenade exploding in a field of grass skirts
it's just what some call love

out there beneath the swaying
fortune palms

& following the roach of "whatever"
a late summer bend in the sky might be
just the thing we need to
reverse engineer the ocean haze

but gnawing on a beer can
one step closer to amazement

with that number 4 expression on your face
& those empty swimming pool eyes
like nine pound shadows

Friday, September 1, 2017

Confessing My Tattoo

The ocean shimmers
like a thin line of
bluegreen neon lip gloss
smeared against the sky at sunset
& I'm feeling as responsible as a Hawaiian cocktail
spilled on the sidewalk
in front of the pier
sinking beneath the weight of
pale pink angels who
talk out the side of their mouths
& carry guitars zipped up in body bags

I'd like to trade in those scrap iron halos
for a primer gray belch-fire El Camino
then gun the engine while chasing down the
starlet who wears crooked shoes

I'm burning out the clutch
& she's got black silk eyes

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sound Check

The Sky is Glued Shut
A faded pink nevermind of concrete
& the pearls she wore to remind herself
mementos then of all that brought us here
& all that will drive us away

Brings Us That Much Closer
You had to work to get those lost
empty eyes I know it wasn't easy but
like blue headlights on a deserted 
highway once you're gone

In Advance of a Leadpipe Reckoning
A voice on the radio says
"Accept nothing less"
but it sounded to me like
"Accept nothingness"

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Like Driving to Chinatown for Tacos

Seafoam, Sand & a Sky Crushed with Clouds
Part of the repertoire of a sunset
distantly in which
all I had was yours

Less Than a Mile from Here it All Turns to Glass
A dime bag of silver linings reduced to 3 chords that
rattle in the palm leaves when the wind shifts

A Blue So Pale It Tastes Pure White
Drifted out beyond the point, left in the
backseat of a stolen Corvette, buried
out near the tideflats, translated into
church Latin, tattooed on her shoulder

Shredding the Opulent Ocean Air
You're knocking at the backdoor of my heart
& I'm fading like a sunset in another time zone
my eyes like pins stuck into a pair of voodoo RayBans

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Guide to Underwater Photography

Excavating the protocols of redemption
excluding leadweight epiphanies in the green room

striding through the alakazam beach grass & seaweed
the world in a tidepool diorama

& like an emotional response
set alongside a prophetic socket wrench
the wind spoke a fluent Spanglish
understood by eucalyptus trees above the beach

The real work is done in dreams
the way your eyes change color & you turn your head away
& I'm trying to make sense out of
messages scrawled in lipstick on the pavement

actionable evidence of good intentions gone awry
the dust that never settled & the loaded dice

Monday, May 1, 2017

This space in time, this focus, of articulation & where that might take you

Shady gray radiance
& damp at first light
sidewalks splashed in silver

            as a way to reverse engineer the ocean haze

& like the Ten Commandments in a gorilla suit
            knocking at the screen door
a 12-string seabreeze serenades cypress & eucalyptus
            spent dreaming still so by their restlessness

                        w/all the requisite shadows in place

I had to reach back into my archive of auditory hallucinations
to find the right tone & pitch but the sky wasn't right for
that kind of self-incrimination

Except for the sound of waves the beach was quiet
            & the drumroll sand was like Mexican silk
                        driven beneath the foam

Saturday, April 22, 2017


Michael Dennis in Today's Book of Poetry

Mike Sonksen in Entropy

Elaine Equi on the Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog
(You have to scroll down a bit to find Equi's mini-review)

William Mohr on the Poetry Loves Poetry blog

Thursday, April 20, 2017

This is How We Talk to Each Other Now

Where I am in time I wonder where
you might be         this side of the full moon
or that

Reality is too cumbersome & has been forever
unmasking the existential diatribe

"Excuse me"  "Is that you?"  "Be quiet"  "Don't go"

folded in half now like a blank sheet of paper

& talking to you on the phone in a dream
it was a bad connection I couldn't hear you
static cutting in & out

"That's funny, I can hear you just fine"

The future of one moment vs the future of the next
already packed into the big Cadillac of the past
that never stopped to pick me up that summer afternoon
hitchhiking on the PCH

& later I'm on Agate Beach at dawn
skipping stones across puddles
at the bottom of the sea

                                                                  April 19, 2017

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Raking the Valves & Hinges

"All the vibes hit me different"
- Joanne Kyger, Trip Out & Fall Back

The tide all drizzled in tinsel & mist

It's springtime on the coast

            The seabreeze
                        full of sighs
                                    & accumulated loss

                        the memory of which is
                                    rippling in the eucalyptus

I thought to roll up my 
            sleeves but the light had been
                                    & my tattoo didn't translate...

The hazy blue sky is tilted at a 45 degree angle
which makes sense if you don't think about it

                        & you're tapping at the glass
                                    asking if they can turn up the volume

as a hummingbird pauses
            above the torch aloe

                                    just hovering there like
                                    Eternity         revving its engine

March 29

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Something Joanne Told Me

"There are 4 voices in your poems
            but there should be at least 8
                        & one of them should be mine"

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Joanne Elizabeth Kyger

November 19, 1934 - March 22, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Drinking From Puddles

Riding on the promise of a rusty hinge
in the pale gray light

the lark & seagull sky
falling between shadows
on the pavement

but if like me you're water damaged it's
all a blur

One foot in a tide pool the other
                                         in The Forbidden City
where one might peruse the take-out menu
               if only to search for secret messages that
tend to drift in on the brilliant
                                                         blue gray silver fog

(If you were asked what color it was you'd
have to say "dark"

& situated in that uncertain area between tides
she wanted to know the preliminary
parts of whatever
empty rules of heaven

clang.  wiggle.  crash.  blink.
The Art of the Fugue

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mariachi Night on Squid Row

She steps out of the skintight laundromat
but like Bo Diddley
behind stained-glass Ray-Bans
strumming tombstones in the rain

& I said "You furnish the
delicata & the ocean of pain
I'll handle the employees"

It was a case of what you believe versus
what you set fire to in the backyard

& wading through the knee-high beach grass
nothing adds up but it doesn't matter

x equals delirium which is what it felt like
down at the Discount Karma Store

"You get what you pay for"

at the corner of Easy Street & Kamikaze Blvd

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Revving It Up Between Su Tung-p'o & The Notebooks of Shelley

Knuckle Down
Out on the pier at twilight
with a ballpeen hammer
& a moaning bottle of mariachi

If I could remember that far back
I wouldn't admit it

Million Dollar Bash
I'm down with the mysteries of the universe
"You walk in the front & walk out the back"
Just don't fuck with my car

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Spilling the Kool-Aid

You can count your blessings 
if you have any
or shut down in the neon haze that invades
the parking lot & changes the way you think about
moonlight rusting at the bottom of a rain puddle

even when it hasn't rained

& the way you might say it your voice
trailing off into the ozone 
& how I follow it there
like those who know or those who don't but wish they did

a block from the beach 
          where the sky sometimes is like
                              a polished spoon 
& the tripped-up sidewalk
conversant with eucalyptus leaves & damp footprints
is often swept with a whisper of tar-streaked sand
not to mention misty catalogs of ocean sunsets

embalmed in vaseline

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hostage Drama

Inside a cascading sunset the
            bongo relevance
                        staggers the poor mind
susceptible to the incidental
            revery not to mention hosannas
                                                        & epiphanies
spot-welded to a fender of midwinter beach logistics
            bedded down in a swarm of nasturtiums

& the light
like a borrowed kimono falling onto the sand
as the tuning fork lays down
                                           a weary doo-wop
bending the way the sky does
            above the cypress & eucalyptus
                        that rake the pavement with shadows
                                    articulated by the sea breeze

& as though summoned from 
            the liner notes to a 
                        mariachi version of
                                    The Lankavatara Sutra that
                        washes up on the one fell swoop I forgot
memories of other skies insinuate the uncertainties we've
                          along the way