Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Surfing by Candlelight

I tripped over my first bloody nose
& landed here
                       57 years later
beneath a dark sky getting darker
         clabbering up to rain

& I played that clawhammer ukulele 
like a champ
         just so you'd know what it felt like
confessing to crimes I knew
nothing about

It was late summer on the coast
& you were like a brain surgeon
         smuggling a pipe bomb
                  into my most cherished memories

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Steel Pier Freeze-Out

Nothing left now but the
soft caress of a breeze
edging ahead of the fog
rising off the beach

a kind of psychosomatic bait & switch
within the confines of our souls
each to the other

& if my heart is like a 
hand grenade exploding in a field of grass skirts
it's just what some call love

out there beneath the swaying
fortune palms

& following the roach of "whatever"
a late summer bend in the sky might be
just the thing we need to
reverse engineer the ocean haze

but gnawing on a beer can
one step closer to amazement

with that number 4 expression on your face
& those empty swimming pool eyes
like nine pound shadows

Friday, September 1, 2017

Confessing My Tattoo

The ocean shimmers
like a thin line of
bluegreen neon lip gloss
smeared against the sky at sunset
& I'm feeling as responsible as a Hawaiian cocktail
spilled on the sidewalk
in front of the pier
sinking beneath the weight of
pale pink angels who
talk out the side of their mouths
& carry guitars zipped up in body bags

I'd like to trade in those scrap iron halos
for a primer gray belch-fire El Camino
then gun the engine while chasing down the
starlet who wears crooked shoes

I'm burning out the clutch
& she's got black silk eyes

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sound Check

The Sky is Glued Shut
A faded pink nevermind of concrete
& the pearls she wore to remind herself
mementos then of all that brought us here
& all that will drive us away

Brings Us That Much Closer
You had to work to get those lost
empty eyes I know it wasn't easy but
like blue headlights on a deserted 
highway once you're gone

In Advance of a Leadpipe Reckoning
A voice on the radio says
"Accept nothing less"
but it sounded to me like
"Accept nothingness"

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Like Driving to Chinatown for Tacos

Seafoam, Sand & a Sky Crushed with Clouds
Part of the repertoire of a sunset
distantly in which
all I had was yours

Less Than a Mile from Here it All Turns to Glass
A dime bag of silver linings reduced to 3 chords that
rattle in the palm leaves when the wind shifts

A Blue So Pale It Tastes Pure White
Drifted out beyond the point, left in the
backseat of a stolen Corvette, buried
out near the tideflats, translated into
church Latin, tattooed on her shoulder

Shredding the Opulent Ocean Air
You're knocking at the backdoor of my heart
& I'm fading like a sunset in another time zone
my eyes like pins stuck into a pair of voodoo RayBans

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Guide to Underwater Photography

Excavating the protocols of redemption
excluding leadweight epiphanies in the green room

striding through the alakazam beach grass & seaweed
the world in a tidepool diorama

& like an emotional response
set alongside a prophetic socket wrench
the wind spoke a fluent Spanglish
understood by eucalyptus trees above the beach

The real work is done in dreams
the way your eyes change color & you turn your head away
& I'm trying to make sense out of
messages scrawled in lipstick on the pavement

actionable evidence of good intentions gone awry
the dust that never settled & the loaded dice

Monday, May 1, 2017

This space in time, this focus, of articulation & where that might take you

Shady gray radiance
& damp at first light
sidewalks splashed in silver

            as a way to reverse engineer the ocean haze

& like the Ten Commandments in a gorilla suit
            knocking at the screen door
a 12-string seabreeze serenades cypress & eucalyptus
            spent dreaming still so by their restlessness

                        w/all the requisite shadows in place

I had to reach back into my archive of auditory hallucinations
to find the right tone & pitch but the sky wasn't right for
that kind of self-incrimination

Except for the sound of waves the beach was quiet
            & the drumroll sand was like Mexican silk
                        driven beneath the foam

Saturday, April 22, 2017


Michael Dennis in Today's Book of Poetry

Mike Sonksen in Entropy

Elaine Equi on the Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog
(You have to scroll down a bit to find Equi's mini-review)

William Mohr on the Poetry Loves Poetry blog

Thursday, April 20, 2017

This is How We Talk to Each Other Now

Where I am in time I wonder where
you might be         this side of the full moon
or that

Reality is too cumbersome & has been forever
unmasking the existential diatribe

"Excuse me"  "Is that you?"  "Be quiet"  "Don't go"

folded in half now like a blank sheet of paper

& talking to you on the phone in a dream
it was a bad connection I couldn't hear you
static cutting in & out

"That's funny, I can hear you just fine"

The future of one moment vs the future of the next
already packed into the big Cadillac of the past
that never stopped to pick me up that summer afternoon
hitchhiking on the PCH

& later I'm on Agate Beach at dawn
skipping stones across puddles
at the bottom of the sea

                                                                  April 19, 2017