The Ladies Who Lunch

I have made my peace
with the ladies who lunch at
my preferred tearoom.

My first studio,
the Sierra. Lodgepole pines
and screeching jays. I

copied the grasses.
Time passed. Marriage, work, loss
of innocence. Now,

joy of being at all.
The ladies laugh and laugh, tears
and deep silences.

Summer Rain

The trees are full of
rain, and it just keeps coming.
The leaves of summer

seem up to this ex-
cess and hold it gracefully.
For the moment it

saturates the mind
and makes it think the story
of the archaic

flesh of being; our
bodies incorporate the
sound of fresh water.

Song of Good Luck

The sheer poetry
of our daily food and wine
if we are lucky,

the philosopher
sings. God writes straight with crooked
lines. O food and wine!

We exist and hope
to enjoy our daily food
and wine forever.

The Pier on the Pacific

The pier stretched to the
horizon of the ocean
that summer, it seemed.

I did not want to
fish. A family outing.
I threw them back. I

loved being there but
not watching the fishes twitch.
The ocean held its

breath, or so it seemed.
A small boy backlit by choice,
himself or ocean.

Staying Out Late

Summer dusk. Children’s
cries sharpen the softer air
in which we stayed out

beyond bedtime. I
turn on the lamp: being is
pathological,

Aeschylus? Meaning,
wisdom happens to you. We
are all children at

bedtime in summer.
We are the toys of Wisdom,
between day and night.

High Street

A milky hot day.
Cutoffs and T’s for the young,
whites for the aging.

The young like fish flow
and huddle and flow; the rest
of us watch, smiling;

with encouraging
faces we mask memories
of unforgiving

love. I brush pollen
from my chore coat and rise to
go home. If I can

be a widower
in good standing I do not
want to fall in love.

Agnosco Veteris Vestigia Flammae

I love old words—-say,
ecstasy. Often useless
in conversation,

they dwell underground,
only to show up in verse
when I least expect

them. Being beside
myself in the act, old words
call back the old flames.