A Day in Bay Area January


Disarming day too wonderful to hold
in words or frame within a camera lens,
I walk in loveliness today cajoled
by nature, stunned beyond the scope of men’s
associations, women’s earnest groups.
The carat raindrops bead the sculpted trees,
and air as slick as silk massages loops
of cool upon my face and in my knees.

I’d don the sparkle raindrops if I could,
in patterns on a cape of morning air.
I’d dance beneath the limbs of winter wood
and scatter gems of water everywhere,
but I am bound in cloth and spun in speech;
I paid for shelter with a straitened reach.



Our transport is an armored war machine:
a road unto itself in black and white.
We wheel on inexorably between
the contours of depression and delight.
Anxiety and ecstasy and pain
we ride; we take the valley and the height,
and rattle at each benchmark we attain,
our passage agitated left and right.

The tank of time has bearings in its wheels
and casts its minutes off like clods of earth
that fly away apart, and so reveals
a road in retrospect that starts at birth
and cuts a path through each succeeding day,
that only after passing shows its way.



I think I have to call this mood depressed.
It isn’t that I’m worried – I don’t frown
or shout or cry or even feel too stressed –
but care sits on my head and holds me down
as if a weight were pressing me to earth,
or gravity increased its normal pull.
It seems I’ve lost my leap, misplaced my mirth,
and grown too dense for movement, thick and dull.

If I won’t grin, at least I can produce,
so I intend to toil on today.
This lowness of the spirit must have use
and I’ll engage to figure out a way
to utilize the heavy as a plow,
and overturn the fundament somehow.



She’s hunting in the language of her birth,
encompassing the landscape with a view
to catch the rhythm of the rolling earth,
the heat of rampant life, its form and hue.

Invoking wings for ankles made of clay,
detecting roots of fundamental might
to anchor her and balance her today,
she tosses nets of gossamer in flight
that she will use to pause the fairie phrase,
awake to sense it, borrow it for song,
reverberating as it soundly plays
and ballasting the whispered with the strong.

Ecstatic is the hunter of the heard
among us, resonant with precious word.

Street Work


At both ends of the block are posted signs.
The city workers wave the cars away,
while sewer experts drill through asphalt: lines
investigating how the waters play
that pop the uphill disks for overflow,
precipitating toilet paper curds.
Descending house by house they domino,
as tissues issue littering the curbs.

From 7:10 this morning until 4
o’clock tomorrow afternoon, they mean
to fix a chronic drainage problem, sure
in spite of history that they can clean
what’s clogging, lumping, clumping every week
the toilets flushing uphill from the creek.

On the New Year’s Eve Puzzle


We picked the new year puzzle yesterday:
a comic illustration of a bar
with aliens at drink, at fight, at play.
The thing won’t interlock – most pieces are
designed to lean together and abut.
There’s nothing definite about the fit.
We don’t applaud the way the die has cut,
but we can’t argue with the shapes of it.

The object is to piece the scene together
without the box top, fast as we are able,
for this predicts the months ahead, and whether
we’ll have the use tomorrow of our table.
Of course we don’t know what the year will bring;
we solve and hope it’s surer than this thing.

Infant Wisdom


The zircons in my lunch companion’s ears
are just too big for Saturday at noon.
Transparent as her ego, false as tears
of petulance, each signals like the moon
at dawn: a circle empty as a hole
against a surface pale as dying leaves.
They twinkle as she bites her buttered roll.
They glitter as she knots her sweater sleeves.

She flicks her head to toss her processed hair
and wink her lobes, conversing as she chews
about her daughter. Twisting in her chair
she gasps, “How could that 9 year-old refuse
to live with me?” Confused indignant then,
she agitates her zircon ears again.