Poems

A few poems from my latest book, Gods of Water and Air

Prayers for Everywhere

Prayers for the volcanoes
that need garlands when they erupt
and prayers for the freeways
you never drive them the same twice,
prayers for the buds
that look like babies’ faces
as they open next week and for the blossoms
opening their soft legs to bees.

Prayers for everything the soul
must reluctantly or passionately kiss:
rain-running gutters,
a pebble in the shoe,
the silt gritty on your ocean-washed lips.

Because what is a prayer
but a laugh that can’t be formed
in letters, but only heard
in that place that, praised, lights up.
So prayers for everywhere
that needs them,

Prayers for the worms washed out
of the grass onto driveways,
prayers to step over as they swim
because you can’t pick them up
without damage. So much
of the heart can only be helped
without direct touching.

Prayers for everyone
in the throngs who need well-wishes
to suck on in their sleep
like giant glowing lollipops.
Prayers going to every restless sleeper
on this earth who needs a cool hand on the brow.
Prayers for their own sake,
prayers as beautiful as dolphins
leaping and twisting, prayers
freed from gravity’s pull
to fly glistening into the air.

first appeared in Crab Creek Review


Accept the Invitation

We spend so much time together
in our separate rooms of history,
isolated by imagination
and hair-triggered sensitivities
swooning us into objects
of primary pain.
We should throw our belongings
into the street and make love
on the sandy, swept floor,
feeling its particles with greedy skin
of face, thigh, hand.

I want to disinherit my heart’s ghosts
and hold you in an empty field
of vision. Pure as an offered breast
your true image will form
across months and years.
The million volatile impressions
you are today strung together
on the ribbon of your name
are not enough for me.
I want no careless window-shopping
around your vicinity, but to plumb
the void, make a hair-raising journey
behind personality. To stand together
in the light that streams
from a hidden source in this world
whenever being meets.


Chopin Reigns

Rain can be like Chopin, all piano strings
and syncopated pauses, geometry
of blings under wheels and rubber heels.
Sudden baptism from branches.
Drooled harmonies. On your neck, wet
strings slithering like kisses. Rings
around drops that plop into pools: ting,
ting, ting, ting. Scriabin zithering
loss up your edges, a musical soul-cling,
that cold feathering.

first appeared in Pirene’s Fountain


Monet At Pourville

He hasn’t quite abandoned the shore
for the celestial. He leaves the viewer
a toehold on the sand. He has yet to go sailing
with the gods of water and air.
Confronted by the vast, he answers
with seven sailboats on the horizon,
spaced as evenly as place settings. Tiny
between sky and sea, they float there,
witty as elder aunts. He isn’t choosing
between here and hereafter–just letting the hues
grow full of fire. The boats both approach
and recede, as he plays with their figure-ground.

He hasn’t yet gone into the world of mist,
but an evanescence is growing. I’m mad
about the sea,
he writes. He brushes alight
its hidden prisms. In his umbrella
pastels and wool-tuft clouds, eternity leans
closer. Still, that dark patch of sand
at the lower corner makes us hear the crunch
under Madame Monet’s black shoes
as she comes, calling, and calling him to lunch.