Love Laughs

My dead wife sometimes
laughs from the grave, or at least
I hear her laughing

spontaneous laughs,
not from the head but from the
innermost person.

Call me crazy, I
hear it when my lover laughs
in her soft belly.


Old age a gutter
of dead metaphors, colored
images fading

fast. The sun comes and
goes. Radiance, darkness a
flow of mystery.

I keep my routine.
Sometimes a woman’s smile makes
a nest of my heart.


I doze in the sand.
An old couple races back
from the rising tide,

their laughter mixing
with the cries of seagulls. I
look: they are dragging

long ropes of kelp from
the ocean and flinging them
back in sleepy arcs.

I wake to their screams
of delight as the bigger
waves knock them over.


We are beachcombers
on the edge of time, stooping
to look more closely.

We move from place to
place, the things we keep for no
good reason —- pine cones,

frosted bits of sea-
glass, wedding rings, cardigans
out at the elbows—-

move with us. They are
us, we think, as we box them
up without thinking.


In youth I lived close
to the gods of poetry
in the Berkeley hills

hidden in euca –
lyptus and beaux arts houses,
Milosz, Nathan, Quinn—-

not even names to
me. Later I’d know better
and publish their book.

Then I’d start the day
with Peet’s coffee, the terraced
hills hidden in fog.


There are times when all
good men simply wait for the
fall of the tyrant.

Women maintain the
essential services.
Men huddle dreading

the fall of the one
man who spoke truth to the true
power of women.


Do poems possess
our bodies? And our children?
No time for poems.

Starve their little selves.
The beat of their hearts grows faint
without the poems.

See that lazy kid
in the corner? A poet.
Send him home. Do not

tolerate poets.
We can only work with kids
whose bodies are free.