The Friends (Bird and Hand)

February 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm (Love is Crucial, Poems, The 90s)

Another man his age with this power might use it
but he said he was tired, looked down, walked
to the car and drove home again toward the sea,
legs open as he shifted, right outer thigh just
brushing against the clutch

He’d left her after an hour of standing
in the doorway, talking about the secret lives
of birds and insects, turned over a rock by her
front door to show her the unseen worlds
right below the earth’s surface

And she – she lay awake after he left, staring at the cei-
ling, thinking about the bugs in her front yard,
bird food, how that time in the woods he’d held
out his hand and a swallow landed in it, then as now
her core a wide spanned ache, round as the world,
open as an unfinished sentence, cavernous
as an unanswered question


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The Fraser

August 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm (A Catalogue of the Lost, Bridges, Love is Crucial, Poems)

love can’t survive here, but there

u              u
c       m     l       s                      u
u                      c    l  o      d   s

above them:
are the bridges and

on the surface: tugboats Royal City Motel matches log rafts popped balloon corpses
torn  letters    (see: pieces there and here)   f  l o a t i n g   f  l  o a t i n g
words smearing as they disintegrate and

sinking  sludge

:  bones    planks   hubcaps    socks    empties    fish
coliforms       river weed        plankton     saw chips
empty oil cans  ditch eels  hospital gowns  high heels  reflected clouds  open eyes

a handsaw

a settled grudge


and sinking further downward
covered in silt, floating river dust
: a rotting church organ                       bicycle parts                car bodies mangled with rust

three lawn darts    a knuckleboom loader   a crown royal bag filled with silver
musical instruments     [b flat]                 a fisher’s throwback    a bag of cats

antiques          a paperback of robert’s rules   a locked safety deposit box     green jewels
the bottom keeps shifting, pulling its un-treasure
further down, further south with its stream

pebbles                        skeleton keys              a lost dream

…. all of these secrets, once detected, pull you in and




N …

until even we, even lovers, sink and

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A Friend Who Needs It

August 11, 2010 at 11:43 am (Love is Crucial, Poems, The 90s)

Put your arms down and close your mouth. Don’t
look at me like that. I’m not a bowl of pitless cherries.
I’m not a slice of pie, a piece of something, or worse,
a friend who needs it.

Look again. My eyes are the same. My hair is tied
up with no intention. My unclenched hands are empty,
true, but they are only left free to unlock the door,
let you go, and close it gently behind you.

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Even Feline, Incompatible

August 11, 2010 at 9:10 am (Love is Crucial, Poems, The 90s)

With me you are like the cat buttoned up tight in a miniature three piece suit.
You have no idea how you ended up here like this.
You are nearly hysterical, twisting and clawing your furry way
out of your tiny pin-striped vest, jacket and pants*.

* Unlike the cat, you want out for all the wrong reasons.

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My Heart

February 20, 2009 at 10:34 pm (Love is Crucial, Poems)

My heart is a blood orange.
Peel it and place it inside your mouth
whole. It will bleed like a sunset
as it dissolves.

Swallow and, if you can,
feel no remorse.

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Love/Poison in the Year 2000

August 30, 2008 at 6:11 am (Love is Crucial, Poems)

You write a list of my 23 perfections
in a little card that spells it all out:
Desire is poison

Not just poisonous
But the poison itself
Lava red, dormant only while
capped in its glass amber bottle
marked with an “x” —
harmless until you break the wax seal
and drink
It’s no different than that bottle of beer
destined to be left half empty
in the park behind my apartment
where we sit on the grass
wrap our arms around our knees
and watch Mars defy gravity
night after midsummer night 



After we give in
you write that everything
in the 20th century pales
in comparison
I think of a century of fire
that consumes the dim light
of lovers chancing survival

in a brutal era
Yes, it’s easy to see it now
the 20th century ended
and before that in 1999
before Saturn returned
before anything worth happening 
you give me a card that quotes
George Sand simply:
There is only one happiness in life,

To love and be loved
In the new year we find ourselves
Clinging desperately to our happiness
in my apartment kitchenette
where I ask 
     What if we fall in love?
bent over the sink, washing dishes,
already knowing whether or not
to swallow


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The Return

August 30, 2008 at 5:56 am (Love is Crucial, Poems)

Your return was the visitation of a lanky, unshaven phantom
ink black hair, indigo half moons transparent
beneath your eyes, still light and clear as the Pacific,
You are changed by your travels, still, familiar,
Christ-like, echoing the image of the man
in the painting at the café down the street
from this dim bar where I present myself to you,
moonlight soft, different I suppose,
though as before and always
in love recognizable
I am moved by my spirit which floats to you
filled with the same beauty that is everywhere around us
Everything around us an extension of you
the focal point, the strange attractor,
drawing all that you love into your self
to return it re-formed, refined
to smooth pale moonstones in your hands
You press your hands into mine and I know
You know me
You become the clouded mirror in the dank back room,
the swaying reflection of the Pisces moon in my glass of water,
the blue Jesus painting at the café down the street
in whose exposed, glowing heart I see myself

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Grimms’ Omission

August 25, 2008 at 5:04 am (Love is Crucial, Poems)


No one tells you the moment you kiss

the prince there is, in fact, a 5% risk

of losing more than your self in

the tale: previously alluring

curves, long hair, curled

lashes, the whole form

can morph instantan-

eously into the

shape of an


like crea-

ture  un











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