When a Bad Poem

When a bad poem

opens its mouth, nor salt nor

sweet nor jism nor

any scent comes out,

only the absence of be-

ing in the soul

of the poet. Sad.

This is personal perhaps.

We’re not all Villon,

have not the patience

of being.  Mortal fear has

spooked love’s ecstasy.

 

Of Bird and Girl

Secret schoolyard flame,

tall blonde broad-shouldered Shelly.

Her name was the name

I chose for my pet

peregrine.  Analogy

of girl and bird right

as rain in desert

Bakersfield, a boy’s eros

all flame and flight.

 

Traveler’s Companion

Follow the sun, see

the Pacific. Now turn back,

Atlantic rim-glow,

17th-century

roads into the woods. Fulfill

yourself just not now.

Pick an island, sit

once more in the late sunshine,

letting it all go.

 

 

Bakersfield Reverie

The espresso machine’s

hollow roar, the snow outside–

claustrophobia,

the past a different

country, and nothing like this.

Mojave foothills,

tumbleweeds still green

in the bright winter landscape.

Enough love, enough

otherness that now

memories pour in and out,

save me from myself .

 

Reading John Burnside in the Snow

This never happens:

snowed-in in Portland. Silence

thick as grief, is it?

Well, that sweet cafe

is open, quiet, The Old

Familiar Places–

Sinatra’s magic —

absorbs the haunted self so

blank in the blank stare

of sun on mounded

snow.  A refill and I turn

the page: more Burnside

 

On Ice: Syllabics

Balancing sixty-

some years of flesh and bone, I

am out in the ice-

storm today. No pride:

I’ve learned to walk like a duck

breathing from my feet.

I’ve learned to relax

the will, to let the kind earth

root me in its love,

paying attention

at the same time to the gleam

of black ice ahead.