Flown Birds

Starlings have a better language;
the toss of a lion’s head
is more understood
than our garbled
gestures in love.
Must we piss it forth
as fine lines
on the snow;
these hours spun
in the uncertainty
of how
to touch one another.

What are words,

but surprised
frozen roses caught
round a face;
flown birds.


Unseasonably February

There were birds this morning,
as though the weakened winter sneezed.
The great dial of clicking days
grows unwieldy.
Trees pimple too soon
for the calendar,
bees rustle
in their waxy hollows.

Waiting for the train,
we wearily shoulder
ill-chosen coats,
are pipe-cleaner figures
with overdressed gestures.

The city slides by,
conjured up
through the late March
trompe l’oeil.

My eyes are full
of tortoise shell,
the pomegranate crowds,
searching every face
for love.

Small Hour

I think about you in the small hour,
you are sprinkled in the pinstriped
electricity of the evening,
thin, wavered by the dark.
Your head is an Iris
blossoming out of a collar,
trembling, uneven:
brick wall graffiti
or poetry in charcoal.

I am diving and flown;
a Kingfisher lost in a wintry park.

The starlight on my cheeks.
is only a galaxy’s past-life
catching my upturned face,
significant, weak;
the fly inside a bottle,
necks of shadow cast
beneath a cedar.

I try to imagine
you looking back at me
under skinny crescents
of stingy moons
and flutter there like cash
from a cloud’s hip pocket.


Infectious Youth (A fond tribute)

Eternally bleeding from the knife-edge spaces
in the library stone-steps
with breadcrumb-words and apostrophes; donning academic dress and fraternal order,  bursts the young, firm mind, unkempt in cavalcades of originality, dine and dash texts combined with a self-assured intellectuality sponsored by apple curves and way.

Fenced in the wasteland, calculated by the Pound,
price of admission paid
(for future-former associations).
They come:
emanating spring and
dispersing a repetitive freshness
in the wake of their
passage with devastating
sprays of drive-by stanzas.

Herein they go,
rambunctiously dismissive, pleasantly delusional,
(life inebriated, weaves
and sideswipes experience).
Galloping effortlessly through,
with sweater, letter and currency.
robbing and rhyming
schooled and appealingly fooled.
An infectious energy and worse,
we find ourselves in the
precocious lines of their
reconstituted verse.


Great Basin Plants

Regardless of the hour,
concrete culverts funnel
their noxious fumes upward
in unapologetic clouds.
They canker
the stretch marks
of great basins,
where the Bonneville ranges
heave like hard-rock breasts
and salt flats
rest between them.
They seem
to have absorbed
the curious tears of Lot’s wife
long ago when she harked back
to rough-scrabble elevations.

Even the Bristlecone pine
imperceptibly snake
their chapped roots
down through basalt fissures
and twist into the altitude
in tortured angles,
dismember the eons
before Pony Express riders
galloped across sprawling
high desert vales
beating out
a common time signature,
winding through the Four-winged
dodging the spiny Shadscale.

Alkaline expanses
tickled by the wheeze
of gingham skirts and spun
wagon wheels, easily blanched
the broken frames of the dead
to accommodate
their deserted efforts.

More recently,
salt processing plants and toxic
waste incinerators are long-mile
neighbors up wind
from the army depot,
peppered truck stops
and the copper mine slag-heaps.

Rinsed in a halogen-sapphire light
after the sun gives up the ghost,
monolithic smokestacks bolk
a steady exhaust.
It diagonals
and dissipates in secreted
melancholy burnings
offered up to the isolated
and inhaled by the sparkling
seven sisters, reduced
to semi-precious stones
worn above a vacancy.

Underneath it all,
radioactive wastes
buried inside vinyl-lined landfills
live out their quiet half-lives.



He stands, body of an immense, whitewashed
soup tureen supported by mustard
bamboo limbs jutted
out in twin tangerine webs
of lizard-skin fans.
Heaped hanging dishes of raw
Indonesian black rice along with the white
jasmine variety
against his sides, are folded wings
below his peeled, boiled egg
of a head dotted with opposing eyes.
They swivel, long terminated
on a neck of fat albino-copperhead
almost bent into a figure eight
while he sleeps with his acrobatic
nape against his back.
His bill is an arm-length
by a four-finger width
of a marigold funnel,
intersecting his frontal view
over blizzards of breast feathers.
This concludes in a single-beak talon
sissoring a three gallon collapsible pouch.
All skeletal hollow inner workings are engineered
to absorb the tension hidden in an aquatic surface.
He is unaware of the myths
of self sacrifice assigned to him
and spun by our need to elevate behavior.
Folklore doesn’t affect his flight or fishing
nor does the symbolism of blood and water.



Abeyant limbs stab the ides
with a flimsy shade,
Parked buds tumefy,
eddied in the tepid jetstream.
Lonely gaggle-strays
prematurely return,
stand selfishly straight
and ringnecked on a pond island.
Aviary music swells
beyond its clipped wings; blankets of feathers
break over pimpled birdflesh
in recurrent waves.
Hands of internal clocks sink
to a depth of the tallest hour,
while an unconscious violet
rises with a split clitoral petal.
Snow is razored by the sun
into clean shaven slopes
and intermittent springs
rupture the ground
reminding me
how winters lie.