The Ground Shakes

On the balcony across from where I am reclined, a young couple speaks to one another on a checkered couch. The man’s lips move with energetic discussion, the woman’s arms paint the gesture of a vase or the shape of some sensual curve. Their sliding door is open and I can hear the faintest afterthought from the record player in their living room. But even as the distant voices from down the street are carried to me, I cannot hear this couple just a balcony away. They speak in pantomime. Their outlines blur in the sunlight, and now they glimmer. This could be a scene from one of infinite dimensions: a perfect world where a young couple speaks to one another on a checkered couch, oblivious and silent to the other world watching just a balcony away.

* * *

This post might conceivably remind one of a similar scene(s) written a year or many years ago. I might conceivably agree.

Questions to Answers

So goes the month, “I’ve run out of things to say. My mouth moves, makes no sound.”

* * *

60 feet below, frozen and floating through the kelp forests off Point Loma, I am searching for ghosts in a green yellow sky; the shapes of boats overhead condense and coalesce, threats of shadow, maybe rain. The body heaves, entangled by currents. Then, my dive buddy swims to me and gestures there with his hand. A school of fish like a flock of birds, a rapture of souls. If my mouth were to open now, would the whole ocean rush in, fill the cavity with salt and wrecks.

* * *

“Since then, all sunrises have been viewed as if standing at the mouth of a cave bound by high tide.”

“Thus we only need to ascertain when ‘then’ arrived.”

* * *

Dear O.,

If your cat could talk, what would it say. I think I am happy, sometimes. Yesterday more so than today. Tomorrow more so than yesterday. I feel like I am getting somewhere, that this time next year, I will have arrived. What would it say: don’t be sad for what’s been left behind.


* * *

You can’t have contemplation
Without some contempt,

Like this:

In the middle of the night
There is an awakening

The body
Covered with strange dreams,
Skin ablaze;

Do you rise and
Cool yourself by the sea


Beside the sudden hedge
Of darkness,

Do you watch
The ash from your cigarette
Fall on a web, small
And jewel boxed,

The clockwork spider
Struggling to wrap its silk
Around the divine

To make
A tasteless meal
My mouth is never rid.

When Parch Meant Thirst

in these hills
the awakened divine
rouse to chorus

not so unkind
that you cannot lift your legs
and move on

sallied forth to each corner coroner
by every winter wind
unwound beneath the unfurled

to the memory of last night

drunk and standing in front
of a dark, empty house
weighted by bags
and the rain;

if we are alive,
if fortunes are divulged
on tiny scraps of paper
found within a twisted

“today, you will find something you have been looking for”

an implication
that something may have been lost
an implication
that something may have been desired

what does it matter now
if the world is bipolar,
we inhabit the same fault lines
torn by north and a south

only this —

what is remarkable
after nights of clouds
is the moon overhead,
a verging birth


Two dirty shingles over a bending blade, this
House reaches through time and space
Learns to cut again; and it cuts, such divisiveness,
Decisively deceptive
Like the lilt of listing laments, the litany of longing
To be cataloged by librarians,
And spoken: your friend is dying,
Your friend is full of inconsistencies…
And more than once, the uncertain narrator pauses,
Breath taken by a sentence that spans a year,
A home to be remembered, brandished, where
Everything changed, sharper than life itself.
In these times, he wonders when joy devised to be
So fleeting; so he says it, the heart
Can be a poem too, composed of fragments
And so hard.

Sissy Fuss

I am sick of fighting
The last five years of gravitas;
An ill-defined weight
The consistency of sunsets,
A loose and lugubrious bearing
Come undone.

I have clung to the hope
That the gods might intercede,
A sword, a shield, a horse
With wings, and an idea:
Somehow I was meant for more
Than a metaphor
In an intruding myth.

Truth is,
We all carry our own boulders
Up that hill, shoulders
Pressed against grit
And grunt,
The significance
Of impetus — a long awaited
Tumble to resume the cycle
In our private dusks,
Freed from the burden of
Light and moss.

So then,
At zenith’s peak a rolling rock
Comes crashing down,
The strange moss grows,
Sick of fighting
Inertia, desperate to hold on —
How can it
As it clings and gathers
For dear life,
Flung every which way.

the world becomes a little colder

mid april,
the last wind arrives from its forgotten country
beyond the undulating questions of the sea, carries
on jutted shoulders her glacial scent, tundras
and frail purple fragments; your memory of it
— at once heartbreaking and frightful —
is familiar, like an old friend who may have
betrayed you in a previous life.

these days
i am held aloft only by this wind, which is to say
nothing tangible: a junction where two pressures
lead into one or one diverges into two —
the shame of it comes later,
familiar as tropic fruits, their skins
lachrymose and bitter; but still
the wind finagles her entry.

high noon,
just past the sempiternal curvature of morning
these junctions manifest again,
devastatingly metaphorical: two paths into
disparate tunnels like tumors in a cliff —
you are haunted by your old life, as you walk,
as you bite into a pear — the frequency
of junctions disturbs you.

an ending
drone emits from the mountain’s manifold mouths;
shame is the afflatus of the little green
in an inhospitable land, what i lack,
what the morning withheld in its secret heart:
a traveler on a path into darkness, lost
perhaps doomed to exiguous light for
the remainder of his years.

on time
the tunnel swallows you whole, an unmedicated
pill exploding into foolishness: the burrows
are merely overpasses, the daylight
marred only by terrific shadows — yet
you are never certain until the light speaks,
fills you with luminescent relief, just how
much the passage will take.


You think you know what happiness is,
a big train filled with steam

and everybody’s jumping aboard
to some eager and relentless forward;

Or later,
it’s the unexpected return of a relic
from when constellations were
still young
and unaware of their places in the sky.

A waiting game then,
for those pistons to tremble in —
that far-off whistle
a little too far-off,
or that “later” just a little too late.

When you stepped onto the station’s wooded deck
there was the ostentation of finding something,
a destination maybe

But you never stayed.

One starless night
you wandered off those tracks
and there it was:
the better bright
of your own backward ways.

* * *

For those days when we’ve lost the ability to express ourselves in human terms.