This month of your birth
Read more "September Again"
has crept in upon me again,
slipped over the window sill
and into the corner of my room
where a perfect square of moonlight
seems to have up taken residence
and, outside, where the birds,
a whole choir of them, whose names
you never bothered to learn even when
mother recited them over and over again
as she pointed to the secret places
she thought they were hiding
under eaves or in the tangled branches,
are singing their hearts out
as she would always say then
and where now the boisterous cicadas
are joining in that twilight overture
One can never prepare enough
For such surprise visits as this
One that must have flown in
Through a window left open
By mother, or was it me
Or by both our common longing
To see the ones that we missed
At such a time so punctured
By distance and an unquiet kind of silence
Which weighs more than all the burdens
That keep us keeping our lives and loves
Read more "Midnight blackbird"
She’s tethered to me, I’m lashed to you,
you’re snapped onto him, and he’s
gone, all gone.
I suppose we’re all goners
in the Let’s-Make-An-Us game,
no longer able to start a match anew,
toting our baggage along—
or unreal ideals that we steal
from the stories we hear.
The need to pair starts at the atom.
Read more "Atomic Ghosts"
We’re just adhering to nature—
free-radical reactions taking what we need
from what we next rub up against,
The day so far: still searching for that epic.
Seafaring? Great mystery of the shadowy deep?
Cataclysm? The earth opening beneath my feet?
No, just the measured stillness that slides
out of my pencil one word at a time.
The vision of my old friend, fresh from cataract surgery,
saying he can once again enjoy looking
at the stars, “connecting the dots.”
A modest return to wonder, the windows washed,
the old universe swimming into view,
Read more "It Never Ends"
a moment of darkness and silence and the awe
of retracing an old riddle, finding north,
I do not know how it is possible
not to pause, to stop, to listen
when a single bird’s first notes
suddenly rise above the subtle hum
of the city’s opening or to ignore
the wonder when one spring day
descends unexpectedly to revive
this town in the midst of winter.
I do not know how to sing praises
as wholeheartedly as the throng
of crows gathered at the crown
of a leaf-barren tree whose cants
seem like cacophony to me
but must be the joyful noises
that they were made to sing.
I do not know how.
Read more "How"
When I was young I used to drive
with no companion or destination in mind.
Cutting through heavy valley heat on the 101
then curving toward the coast through Topanga Canyon
1969, on an unmarked road by a no trespassing sign,
parked between the boulders, eucalyptus and
sage with four-track off and eyes closed
I’m seventeen and waiting for a
transformation—that wasn’t coming that
Or any time soon.
For every hasty engagement
Read more "Canyons"
there was a Benedict Canyon.
For every cleaving together
there was geography.
In a room
with no books,
on the walls,
with a click
you can look
over the shoulder
of Marc Chagall.
With his brush,
you can glide,
fly a blue horse
through a mackerel sky,
dance over the yard
Read more "Things You Can Do"
in the garb of a bride,
or carry her
supine over Paris.
Once only I use this word –
Read more "Mauve"
as winter white cedes
its clutch on deepest cold
to end-of-day, sun down
low with bare trees
that hold up clouds.
I watch the full moon struggle up the redwood
branch by branch and sympathize. So changeable,
tonight a little mirror on the dark, next week
a sliver of lozenge disappearing in the stars.
A wounded being, not a self-starter,
Read more "February Full Moon"
as the astrophysicists might put it,
just a cold misshapen rock made alluring
by a dose of sunlight and the silent longing
of millions across history, wanting to be—
even three days a month––illumined,
silvering the silent forests, meditating
on the darkened lakes of the Italian Alps,
caressing the high slopes of the Rockies
Read more "Twig"
you are a small thing—
a slight appendage to the astonishments of the universe.
But to me
your slender, silent testimony,
your sheltered winter sap
sticky with promise, your fullness:
they seduce me.
I want to share
your slow, secluded breathing,
breath in my breath;
to search, to caress
your leaf scars,
your lenticels, your shy buds