Monthly Archives: October 2014

Drum Lesson

left hand walks along a wooden pier
skipping every other board and sounding
the next with a knock thock

right hand slaps the temple of a young disciple
with a light thwap getting his attention
when his gaze wanders to the girl at the bar

left hand skips on the pier
with the sun behind glancing off the ocean

right hand riffles a stack of plates
with the last one coming down harder than the others

left hand riffs on the taxis on Broadway
rumbling uptown–slow drag and repeat

right hand bounces a tennis ball
low against a garage door

a coffeemaker sputters
out the last few drops

the bell on bouy ten
clangs in seven foot swells

thunder in a narrow river canyon

high winds,trees down,
dueling chainsaws

rain thrums
on a corrugated metal roof.

one woodpecker
high up and far away

fog collects a
nd drips off the hemlock trees

a chickadee in a hazel bush

a wren

quiet

stillness

morning

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Realities

“Poetry is the most difficult, the most solitary, the most life affirming thing that one can do in the world.”

–Stanley Kunitz

Mexican Wrestling Pep Talk

All of you luchadores
wrestling in your silvery masks
can lean on a post and take note:
matches are cancelled until further notice.

Hearings will begin Monday
on the differences observed
in cabrones who care
and cabrones who don’t give a shit
and no one is exempt.

I shouldn’t have to say this–
your character is more than your mask.
Cortez was a God to the Aztecs
and he had no mask.
The mighty Cassandro
is Farrah Fawcett’s ugly demon sister who can kick your ass
and he does it with only make-up.

Anyone bringing anything less to the ring
is a chingalosa.

This is lucha libre, not teletubbies.
Comprende?

The Stone Ship

The stone by the front door
where the crows eat—

dropping walnuts on it
from great heights,

prows the yard,
a sunken Japanese ship

surrounded by
scattered gunnery shells.

The widening pond circles
of seasons past

call out around us in soft voices
intelligently like dolphins,

scheduling our appointments
in unseen calendars

while the luminous night air
fills in the empty spaces

around the stone
now a lamp, a teapot, a dragon.

Hanford 1944

We found his body
in an oil drum behind the J&M tavern
left there like a roadkill deer
dressed in denim overalls.

Hardly a week goes by here
somebody doesn’t die–
the work grinds all our skulls
thin as wasp wings.

We poured seven foot thick
concrete walls
so remote controls
can poke the plutonium dragon.
It won’t sleep now until we do.

Still it is beautiful here.
In between the mud
and the dust storms
and the war on the radio–
an angry cloud of hornets
storming through
a broken front screen door
we can’t ever fix now.

Jimi Kiss the Sky

“I am electric religion” — Jimi Hendrix

A tall glass of ice
and purple infused essence,
a hotel room where the windows
showed the street riots
remixed with the flowers,
collapsing worlds and spraying them
day glo on sonic walls,
it hurt to look away from you.

You grew the blues up more crazy loud,
sexy, ugly, wild and beautiful
than your time could hold,
always leaving a mark,
always leaving more for us
than we thought
we could handle.

Van Gogh of street sounds,
Blake with a Stratocaster,
Jimi we hardly knew you.

American Road Song

In the industrial tracts
Where they make methamphetamine in soda jugs
And truckers drink in tight lipped bars,
They have left the jaundice in the skin
And only the tattoos speak of leaving.

Here church comes from the radio
And small town girls earn purple hearts
In the shadows beneath an orange tungsten sky
Dealing approximate love
In a cab over Jimmy or a White,
Calling you Cleveland.

Here morning clanks on like a leaky air gun
When your brain won’t get out of reverse.

Here when roll out to make your mark on the stars
And the Dakotas unfold behind you,
The dotted line rumble strip that leads to your grave
Will growl beneath your wheels.

And if by chance you nod off to glory
At the end of a ninety hour deadhead run
That barely pays for your gas and meals,
You can finally meet St Peter.
In his worn thin Pendleton plaid.
With a twang as rank as a brahma bull
And eyes alive as bull trout
He will ask you only
If you dug a hole in the meadow
Or a hole in the cold cold ground.