Old Wineskins

i say
i will never go back
to the old ways.

but here,
i am poured out
into “them good ole’ days.”

how i forget
that dry skin –
it cracks.

poetry, Uncategorized

Second Summer

My hometown has five seasons. They are
anything but even. We never stop complaining

about the weather, whatever season we
wear our shorts in (that’s how we know

we’re Californians). The longest one falls
before the leaves die – but it is not summer. Or

it is not really summer. We gnash our teeth, waiting
for the next season – only to wait for the next –

but before autumn is the longest wait.
We wait for sun to wane – wait for leaves

to turn. Though we know they’ll turn
violently, if at all. For we never know

how long we will wait for the fall.
Sometimes, a month – and sometimes

autumn never comes and the leaves
catch frostbite when winter descends.

This has been the longest season. We don’t
remember winter. We are so used to sun.

There is a kind of waiting that tastes
of autumn honey. Viscous hopes stick

in the back of my throat. There is a kind
of waiting that is too comfortable – we

are far too comfortable. We may despise
the waiting – but how we fear the frost.

And when – after centuries – I feel winter
coming on the phantom wings of a magpie, I

freeze. There is a kind of waiting
whose only fruit
is silence.


poetry, Uncategorized

There Are Only Nine Amino Acids Between Humans and Liberation

why has

the human body

not yet evolved

to feed

itself –

i pass by

a food joint and smell

smoked flesh

and i feel


for wanting –

to want

is to feel

guilty – to be

guilty –

i willed myself

to sprout


and crawl

from the ocean –

i carefully



to synapse creating

“a creature

of hyper-intelligence” –

if we

can tear out a heart

from its home

and keep the body


should we not

surly adapt

beyond hunger –

beyond need –

for need

is a shame –

to need is

to feel ashamed –

to be

a shame –


our stomachs

ever hunger

and groan in need

and shatter any hope

of self-

sufficiency –

and we

my good friend

have not eaten in years –

your head

is heavy

with precambrian


of need so you lean

your hungry

sodden body

on my shoulder because

you too

need flesh –

need it as much as i do

for we are all

hunger –

and hungry for –



Thoughts From the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

If I close my eyes
and just listen – listen
for the gulls – I can
make pretend
I’m tasting ocean air.
in quiet February,
in this rainswept winter
wonder, I could believe the green
will last
at least a few eternities.
I watch as feathers
the crystalline stillness.
I watch cattails
but we know it’s a slow decay –
slow enough
that we might see
without seeing –
I watch the birds
out of the sky
by half-lives.
I watch the frog ponds
beginning to boil
until one day,
we will wake up and see
that a forty-day flood
has left in its wake
a desert.
I think
that’s what happened to us…
or at least to you.
I watch my own hands
turn water –
turn vapor –
and I think how you
too may have burned away in the sun –
burned away
as I watched
and did nothing.
I wish
that was true, and that you
couldn’t stop it.
But the birds tell me different.
No… You are still
just on the other side of these sand-flooded plains.
You might as well live
across the ocean.

poetry, Uncategorized

Another Time and Space

It’s quite
the trek – driving to the edge

of the world – where
earthen waterfalls empty into

an ever-hungry
infinity. I’ve longed walk

on the edge
of the world – dipping toes

into seas of stars –
reaching hands out

to budding celestial
lifeforms – tiptoeing

across tightrope

tree branches
that twirl in delicate dance

with Gravity –
I’ve longed to sit on the edge

of the world –
pointing out shapes

in the nebulae –
maybe there, things

will be different
and the sun will be just one

of a billion
suns bursting through

that great black
veil and maybe there, time

will slow
to a stop – and maybe

the line
of horizon

that divides
the darkness from day

will crumble
away just like the time…

But for now,

the clocks
are still ticking.

And still
it is nighttime,

and still,
no suns to guide our way.

And still
we are driving

towards a
horizon that only feels

farther away
the longer we drive…

I can’t quite
make out your eyes

the passenger’s side,

but still
I know it’s you.

the sun will rise tomorrow

Or maybe
it won’t. But if you ever

get tired
in this endless infinity,

I’ll be
here to lean on,

if you ever
need to. You can always

lean on me,
if you ever want to.

poetry, Uncategorized

The Willows

No matter
llllwhere I am, I
llllllllalways find them…

All rivers call
llllfor the ocean –
llllllllall willows follow

a river. In leaves, I
llllfind safety from
llllllllthe windswept

delta nights,
llllthe cries and
llllllllautumn eyes.

I still feel them…
llllremember how
llllllllthe ambers turn

ember in
llllllllI still feel them…

spirits whispering
llllalong the river,
llllllllquiet apparitions

that ask me
llllto weep with
llllllllthe willows.

Suppose I
llllalways found
llllllllsome eerie allure

in the dancing
llllbranches, with dew
lllllllldripping gold. Suppose

I always found
llllsomething mythic
llllllllamong the wails

in the rues.
llllSunrise burns up
llllllllfireflies and turns

weeping willows
lllldry – turns ghosts
llllllllback to shadows.

Wind whispers
llllincantations to
llllllllkeep the sun

at bay… I find my lips
llllspeaking, too. Desire
llllllllis endowed by wisps

or wendigos. In
llllanother lifetime,
llllllllI know the difference.



you swept me out,
I made a home in the rafters.

It never
seemed like
a place to call home.

But spin
enough white
woolen blankets and

can look like Home.

You know,
it’s rather nice
up here. Because

up here,
I can see you
from afar, and much

clearly than
before. Up here,

doesn’t burn
the skin you made

so tender.
Up here, the only
webs that can ensnare

those I spin
myself. I feel a tug

at my
throat. It’s
Growing ever tighter,

still I’ll keep
spinning so that

I will
never be
tempted to crawl

down from
the rafters


JUST BREATHE // just breathe

We don’t
open the
around here.
Out there
is ocean
air – toxic
as the smog.
Fear it
breathe in
gas instead –
gasp – breathe –
gasp – breathe –
what if I
tear these
shutters down
what if
gasp –
breathe –
I breath
in ocean
air –
is it as
toxic as they
say because i
think it’s
drown in
ocean air

* * * * *

It rushes through the windows
in a twister –
it blows through my my lungs
like a sweet, perfect cigarette – but beautiful.
They always said
the air out there was toxic.
And I was so afraid of the wind
and the waves,
and breathing ocean air –
but it blows through,
clearing all this stale silence.
Sweet breath of life
rips through this house, tears down
everything – these walls,
these clogged-up halls – until there is nothing left but
beautiful, explosive, oxygen.
We are not in Kansas anymore:
we are living art-pop technicolor – finally.
we are resuscitated back to a life
we never knew we could have.
there is finally breath of life.
For we have kicked down the windows,
and we are never closing them again.
Finally… finally…
just breathe, right here, right now –
this is freedom.
This Is Gospel


on the longest day of the year

i lift my eyes
up towards invisible stars

and wonder
if stars are still real

or if stars
were ever real

or if some
storyteller told one

too many
tales to keep a hope

alive that
when the sun finally sets

night is
not all darkness.

i think
of how storytellers

are sort of
prophets but sort of liars

and how
constellations are

only made up stories
to make sense
of chaos

and if they
made up the lines

they could
make up the dots too.

i watch
the unwelcome moon

peek her
somber eyes through

the scorching
skies and i wonder

if she too
dreams of stars

but fears
that at the end of this

sunlit nightmare

she will
find herself alone

in the
infinite darkness.

but still
i try to remind myself

if icarus
had only waited

to spread
his tender wings

a little
while longer the sun

may have
fallen instead of him.


The Sound

He swears he seen it.
He swears he seen it rear its awful head,
rear its awful head with those awful yellow eyes.
“I’m tellin’ ya, summin’s not right.
Belie’me. Summin’s not right with that place.”
He shit-talked his wife.
Then poured another drink.

She swears there’s nothing.
She swears there’s nothing in that place,
nothing like the rumors say.
“I’m telling you, don’t listen to them.
Believe me. Don’t listen to a word they say.”
She huffed about her husband.
Then took another drag.

Come on down to the bank of the sound.
Come on down to that sweet, sweet sound.

I’ve never touched water.
I’ve never touched water in all my years alive.
I’ve never gone down to that sweet, sweet sound.
or felt the sand between feet,
or let winds sweep me up
and away –
I’ve only seen it from the hill.
Seen ripples of the moonlight
when there isn’t any wind.

Call it “mermaid.”
Call it “monster.”
Call it “magic.”
But I long to taste water,
whatever they say.
But they still never let me go near…
I’ve still never let me go near…
For “there are shadows here…”

The believers say
that years ago,
something wandered in from the ocean…
Something wonderful… something awful…
They say they heard a voice like Dagon…
“Ancient voice.”
“Unnatural voice.”
“Summin’s not right!”
“Summin’s not right!”

Come on down to the bank of the sound.
Come on down to that sweet, sweet sound.

Do you hear it, too?
The monster calls in the night –
Some voice like Dagon,
some echo unknown.
A song like sirens.
No, a sweet, sweet sound…
Heartbeats bubble, bubble from below.
Look there! Look there! I swear, I see it.
I swear I see it rear its awful head,
rear its awesome head.

Perhaps, I belong to the water,
as always, I’ve wondered…
Don’t go near…
There are shadows here…
Come on down to the bank of the sound.
Don’t go near…
Do not fear…
Listen –
Listen –
The water is calling –
Follow now that sweet, sweet sound…