These days I’m always
what has been lost
how best to get at what
has been dropped
what is possible to get back,
or hold on to,
what (best) to let go.
Flesh that wiggles more
than it should.
Never sure exactly what
has gotten too difficult
to keep up.
I stare at the soiled runners
on the porch rocker, wondering
how I can get at it to clean.

Can I lift the planter box
after the rain.
Will I be able to get through
the whole of cleaning the porch
exhausting a year ago,
when it seems I was stronger.
Can my pained back bend down
to feed all thirty roses?
Up and down with the hose
so they can have the
slow soak they need.
A different spring,
where I tire easily
and read in the afternoon.
Counting back, trying to
remember, and not wanting to
such recent springs
when I did so much.
Curtains and windows and
Uncertain if this is an
aberration –
a temporary setback
or what has come to be my life.


While you became eighteen

While you became eighteen:

Rattle snake grass shuddered
in the ocean breeze.
Vibrant red spokes
from the coral tree
formed reckless patterns
where the street gave way
to roots.

A friendly nasturtium crept
through a country-feeling fence,
next door to the garden
with lavender and rosemary.

The lady selling flowers
wore a bright floral dress
with a gathered skirt,
as she wrapped your roses.

And somewhere poppies
bright as the sun
bloomed wild
along the roadside.



I watch you walk to the kitchen
to make coffee. Have come to
know the precise moment your
body will bend left to avoid
the corner of the table.

This awful silence I have lived
within, mastering the language
of touch because my hands
can’t lie, never betray.

A low honeysuckle creeps up
the hillside. All over town
lawn chairs are rusting.



Morning glories bloom all day,
bright bougainvillea cover the roof tops
and no one can find a place to park.

A young woman tosses back her hair,
trying to be somebody,
while she waits at the intersection
for her opening in the traffic.

Young men in black and white
Gordon and Smith tee-shirts skateboard
their way into somebody’s heart,
and women surfers go out alone.

Joggers sweat and breathe,
sweat and breathe,
sweat and breathe.

All thought begins here
where the continent runs out of time,
tourists and locals hovering together
on the edge of the earth at sunset,
hoping for a green flash.

We will have Eggs Benedict for breakfast
in a French restaurant, and he will tell me
neurotic has gone out of style and
been replaced with personality defect.


I wanted to leap
over the precipice
into mystery,
but my lover was – well,
more electrical,
his room filled with
amber lights promising
things were turned on.
He laughed when I said
I felt like an appliance,
plugged in when needed.
And slept through my grief,
where I whimpered against
the rough synthetic sheets,
left over from his last



My friend told me
in the mirror
her face reflected
was like an open wound
and I saw the bluish red
of scarred flesh
I thought was healing
now fluid and flaming cranberry.
And I wanted to stop the bleeding.

I brought ice cubes
tore up the bed sheets
made tourniquets
from my petticoats
and she said, “Oh, your clothes
are soiled,”
but I wanted to stop the bleeding.

I ran for hours
soaking, mopping, wiping, pressing
until my back hurt and
my fingers stiffened
and she said, “You never really
seem happy,”
but I wanted to stop the bleeding
and the curtains, the couch covers,
and the clothes I wore
couldn’t absorb any more
and she said, “Did you write a
poem today?”
Nothing I did,
nothing I did
could stop the bleeding.



 for Jana

You are the strongest
person I know. My most
devoted friend. I respect
your opinions. I like your
mind. Your grace and movement
an aesthetic high. Your
yet unseen vision my deepest
inspiration for man. And that
day when I cried in front of
the 7-11 you took my hand,
I said I was glad to have
a friend. You said I always
did and always would. For
the first time I understood
the photo caption, “We two
form a multitude.”



Not much news here,
the trees have been
exceptionally busy
spilling pollen and leaves
on the steps and walkway.
I do what I can
to make my own messes,
sweeping senseless stacks
that I circle and


I thought of your tonight, Daddy,
being Santa, alone.
Smashing my thumb and surprised
to see the blood running
down the toy was my own.

I thought of you being Santa alone,
and the night I saw you packing
away Mama’s china and a life
you could no longer hold together,

I thought of you tonight, Daddy
and all the blood and time
that falls away in silence
and dries up in a vacuum.


for Linda Brown

We talked
the quiet women
the timid ones,
who want not to go public
and do.
I confessed to not
believing in my own myth,
she admitted being tired of hers,
remarking that while she did
indeed have a center
it wasn’t operational.
Quiet women
writing poetry
in empty rooms
to put away in drawers,
talked of dinner
or the movies
and vacations
god yes, vacations,
quiet women searching
down dark corridors
neon flashing.
Our skin’s too transparent, Linda
the blood shows through.