poetry

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.
Here,
in quiet February,
in this rainswept winter
wonder, I could believe the green
will last
at least a few eternities.
I watch as feathers
cut
the crystalline stillness.
I watch cattails
withering,
but we know it’s a slow decay –
slow enough
that we might see
without seeing –
I watch the birds
fall
out of the sky
by half-lives.
I watch the frog ponds
beginning to boil
away
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
slowly
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
breathing
somewhere,
just on the other side of these sand-flooded plains.
You might as well live
across the ocean.

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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

precariously
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

from
the passenger’s side,

but still
I know it’s you.

Maybe
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

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

endless
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.

poetry

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.”
Call it “BY GOD THERE’S NO SUCH THING!”
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…

poetry

The Museum of Public Shame

is a strangely splendid bit of architecture,
covered in recycled newspaper shards.

The tour guide met me at the entrance
and gave me a badge that read “Just looking!”

We started with a modern piece:
The Jury, it was called. I saw a chorus

of mechanized bluebirds. They turned at me
immediately, and fixed their hollow eyes

upon my lips. They sang so loud I could hear
nothing but “SPEAK” “SPEAK” “SPEAK”
“SPEAK” “SPEAK” “SPEAK” “SPEAK” “SPEAK”
“SPEAK”

Don’t speak, mouthed my guide, slashing a finger
across his throat. We backed away… slowly…

He led me to a room with only Venuses
in various states of decay. Moth-eaten canvas

“No, moth-eaten skin,” he corrected. “Here,
take this,” and handed me a bee suit.

In the corner, I spotted Mona Lisa
in a bed with demons on her chest.

The tour guide chuckled and told me a secret.
He said she was counterfeit – the real one

was called Monica – the real one
was burned up in Rome, in Alexandria,

in Salem, in somewhere. He couldn’t quite
remember. He didn’t seem to care.

I felt my stomach churn as the stench of oil
paintings me made me wonder…

No one asked them if they wanted to hang
on walls, or if they wanted a sentence

in a history book (or several history books).
but don’t speakjust looking… As I left, I asked

how the building stands through time. He said
the frame is made of bones. “But don’t worry.

They aren’t human.”

poetry

The Speed of Light

Disappear with me into the amber grass
that chafes our backs. Last time we looked up
from here, the ice beneath us chiseled out tattoos.
We still have matching ones (at least I do).

Usually, I disappear alone into the weeds
and dream they are flowers. I feel the seasons
spinning around me, but I concentrate on stars
which twirl eternally in their Viennese waltz.

I know that some of them returned to dust
a million years ago. I know that right now,
some are gasping in a vacuum and choking
on dark matter. But I can’t tell from here.

I wonder what you’re thinking. If you long
to return to the sky like I do. If you even
remember all the constellations we made…
or if you care about them, anyway.

You aren’t looking at me, your eyes
are gazing into the depths of dark matter.
At last, I speak. “You see that star?
I think that’s the one we wished on.”

You shrug. “It’s probably
dead already,” you say,
and walk away.

poetry, Uncategorized

Apoptosis

you start off predestined
to die. the gods
in your chromosomes
decree
that you shall live
in this body
a certain number
of days and then return
to stardust.

do you know?
perhaps
there’s something deep
within you
that fears
your judgement day
is coming… soon, you will
break

apart into a thousand
minute stars.
stars… which burn with fury
though they are
lifeless. stars,
like you,
are set in their days.

each day,
i try
to beat your gods,
to protect you
from dying
like trench soldiers…

by thousands…
by millions…
so
i hold fast
to your bodies

even as they rot…
you poison new cells
but you’re all
that i know.

so
i will hold on
as surely

as sun shines
(which is to say

temporarily.)

poetry

Symbiotic

What a thrill –
cried the cat,
his paws
swatting clouds.

His comrade
helped him –
compelled him –
to leap.

If a cat
is a masochist,
a flea
is no parasite.