Monthly Archives: August 2014


whatever I've been
         to this faded land

at least I was ready
  when a piece of another land fell through

When the Body Says Run

bow-winged night birds
precambrian silhouettes

venerable experiments
leaving the firmament bone

dusty and receding
above the howl-heavy rain forests

even thunder clouds seem small
by comparison and innocent by design

an orchestration of menace
like a blessing from a fallen god


He wasn’t prepared for the foul smell,
the oily exhaust from the open taxis,
the women washing clothes in the fetid fountains,
open city sores with sandstone steps.

Those hoards of incessant beggars,
the albino who pursued him through the market stalls,
Lucky for you, lucky for me!

He wasn’t prepared to see a child
sitting in the street with a broken arm at ninety degrees,
an old break that was never set.

He sat in the courtyard of his hotel soaking in the quiet,
sipping tea in the alyssum scented evening,
waited on by gentle men in golden kurthas.

He saw himself on a mountainside
looking down on a woman brushing her hair far below him.
The higher he went the more his dreams merged and night became day.

The woman offered herself as the Divine,
the horned tahr with its shimmering brown mantle came with an amulet for him,
the writhing bad gods danced to drums in the firelight.

Later, after the altitude and the notorious rakshi they drank from jeep fuel cans,
home came no nearer, only the mother of all headaches,
like vise grips tightened to breaking on the brain stem.

The morning brought the world back intact,
the slatted light through the hotel windows,
an angry sun that heated each crevice and hallway.

The trip though the city leveled down to the lowest places–
an indifferent royal palace, a wall of littered noise,
and then…a chorten with languid eyes looking down at a movie set,
a movie with interchangeable characters, alive, asleep, alive. 

Long Road Home

The funeral home
where they reduced
my father’s body
to dust is now
a Portland brew pub.

I had
a beer there
on his birthday.

The traffic
would not
slow down.

Later, I walked back
to the car
remembering his wry smile–
Dad was a teetotaler.

The geese
above the river
that day
stitched their sky quilt
In the normal way

and the rain clouds
hung above
the bridges
like the furrowed brows
of ancient sky gods.

The tire slap
on the pavement
on the way home
reminded me
of the ten thousand miles
we traveled in his Volkswagen bus
along roads where everyone’s memories
collect and scatter
like cottonwood seeds.

Making Candy

We made our own candy.
Pulling taffy.
It was a thing.

Temperature was important.
Mom had a special thermometer
to gauge the time to start
stretching the pale sweet mass
with buttered hands

into long ropey strands
to be cut into strips
and laid on wax paper to cool.

I remember thinking it should have color
but ours was the color of summer straw.

I took my piece out onto the porch
and ate it as if the world was an anvil
and the days were made singly,
each hand wrought and smiling
as it cooled from the fire.


both a solid and a vapor
in black pants and tortoise shell rims

chromatic under pressure
pouty lipped, skinned in steel

languid as orchid leaves
except when livid

hears in stereo
reacts in mono

fluent in the vulgate of desire
uses all of the road in tight corners


Each morning,
Crossing the railroad overpass,

A man leaves a single peanut
On the railing for the blue jay

That lives in the tree by the tracks.
The jay is always there waiting for him.

The morning spins the world around
This moment leaking out such promises.