Variations on a Storm

When the hurricane came

I rushed outside

With a cigarette

With a video camera

My hair was wild

As if I had not slept the night before



When the hurricane came

A bird did also

Stole my video camera

Smoked my cigarette

Down to the butt and the filter

Ran its claws through my hair



When the hurricane comes

Its light will be sharp in autumn

Its clarity will be one-eyed

Like a bird that comes down

Takes me from myself

Casts away my slumber



pictures of you

the ocean is old

my lover is young

swimming is forbidden


open your window

i called to her

“butterflies are fluttering!”


“this wine, too rich

i’ve yet to finish

my second glass”


with drunken breath

she braids

her names


upon my chest

watches them sink

they settle my skin


the next day

our words

make love

“You’ll Never Cease to Amaze Me, Will You?”

“you’ll never cease to amaze me, will you?”

of course i will.  there will come a day when i will cease to amaze you.  i hope you will still like me then, as well, because my many flaws will fill the page, kick out the poetry, leave behind my seal, just me — the petty dictator of my days.  i can be mean.  i can travel in all directions, including down.  i can close all my doors, afraid to be robbed, when the robber has already shot me for my pride and is running down the block with my cell phone.  i can be selfish, worshipping that one planet far off on the edges of the solar system.  i will believe it is the sun, but it is pluto, misnamed, forgotten.

i will be the only one who adores this planet.

there will come a day, when you will cease to be amazed by me.  your affection will depart, either scurrying or leaping, that is unknown.  it could be sudden or it could travel like sand on the tips of people’s thoughts.  your concerns could become greater:  your country, a family, a friend, the desire for something or someone new.  you might wander into a cave and in your meditation you will forget time.  you could forget me in the fall and enter the spring.  the smell of cherry blossoms will distract you.  you could experience a magnetic joy, that pulls you toward the waterfall.  it could be the whispers of divinity that tell you about a quest.

only you can fulfill this quest.

or, one day, we will both cease to amaze each other.  we will choose to be patient.  this is not a necessary choice.  but we might make it.  we will sit in front of an empty fireplace.  we will both think, “how sad this place has become.  how lonely.”  we will hang our heads.  we will say to each other, “amazement will come next season.”  we will look for matches, but the rain has covered all of them.  they are damaged.  we are worried about irreparability.  we might try to be friends.  i might take your hand.  you might take mine.  our lives may be joyful or difficult.  we may or may not speak.  our slim volumes of poetry will collect dust.

one day, when we are not expecting it, a knock will come.  it could be your face or my face at the window.  it doesn’t have to be.  our eyes will meet.  we will remember this time:  when we amazed each other.

we will throw open the door.

dear etta,

is it ever so late?
if i jump

down, fall these
many many
will i land on a
mirror? keep falling
until it is too late
until it is out of my life
i have fallen?
will i wake up
to find my
tears are falling
from somebody else’s
eyes? if that were
the case
i will never
fall to sleep


Certain Places, Certain Times

i am no good at being sad
no good at crying when it could be the appropriate action. i’d rather run
down the street, be running be
narrowing if i stayed this way i know i’d get to never where if i stayed
perhaps i could be sad
but not for sadness’ sake.
i am that one who imagines people in a hospital
or by the train stand or at the departure gate
from san francisco their upturned faces streaked by acid rain
remembering when they were good
so so good at being sad
leaving my chest so close to my feet
i am no good for running.

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