March 19, 2013
Near the end, no, nothing worked
but those shotgun shells,
the white-capped tubes
of Opana from Eckerd
that hauled you out of hell
for hours. In a cold glade
the stone body gladdened, till nerves
jerked loose like nasty roots
beyond the gardener’s ken—
though you had lived well—
December 12, 2012
Start here, with information,
life that elopes,
cloves, a live apple or a still lemon,
then move to newer shoots;
or speak of mountains cured in the smoke
of leafless branches in their billions;
talk diesel, ridge-and-valley, steeples,
the gray forest scrawny as people
who can’t sleep.
Move to frost, then swift water, then children.
You may start here, here, here.
My fellow travelers, let me be clear.
August 6, 2012
A Painter in California
Dodger Stadium seems to say
buzzing from the den.
I’m on the front steps,
another aspect of the West
toward the interior counties
of the Union’s prize:
rosewater mountains snaggle-backed
and going Irish on their toes
after the winter soak, green fur
of chaparral following last year’s fires.
And down here you blur
into laurel and contorted oaks,
into strawberry strips, curdling surf,
coyote tracks near benches,
the jasmine billow coming on,
bulbs strung over our porches
like scars of frost,
cars burrowing the air (car-surf, car-brush),
ordinary things, groceries, duplexes,
arroyos and driveways and spurge-patched sidewalks,
me out for a night walk
shields-down and breathing,
a translation to elsewhere.
Neighbors in California
Taste local wine and toast your luck,
tucked in the modest garden
where you paint. Outside is a Mazda truck
loaded with tools and brown men,
the two reasons (stuck in painting’s craw)
your garden exists at all.
You see California empty
of all but imagination’s broad promise,
like the first whites, with their rucksack songs
for Eden. My question being,
the fuck would you know of the West
and its beatings?
I’m a deep-cover source
doing dishwater paintings
which also concern our mutual state
and the myriad breakages in it.
Paint that, paint your neighbor
if the neighborhood waits.
July 29, 2012
July 24, 2012
Dawn’s talent for happiness shows
when the sun’s pate attains the world
and a madrone grove’s floor
is mulched with stiff curls
like a prospering carpenter’s shop
where your box of Monarchs got loose,
and dawn stands, and dawn watches the work.
June 26, 2012
- Well met. Survive the break?
- Merely bent.
- What life do you make?
- I temporize, dodge, I invent.
- Still into propositions?
- I’m a series of positions.
- Consider your soul?
- Mine and the air’s, the clumsy whole.
- What makes a heart?
- A hunched, a halting start.
- I’ll tell you something.
- Tell me something.
- A kind man rarely goes single.
- But he’s often free.
- This one remembers to mingle.
- Where does he?
- Under oaks in a transient town.
- Their wind-bespoken arches?
- A sluice of carbon gowns.
- Better music than festival marches.
- For meeting people, for strumming a life.
- One walked out of tune.
- In weather like a new wife.
- Loving not her but all of June.
- So why do they go it alone?
- A chemical inclination.
- They call for lonely at the bone.
- Not hurting is their fixation.
- Others must see it and flock.
- No, old is all it gets.
- We feed on injury. Dinner? Eight o’clock.
- The new place darlings go? Love. Let’s.