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August 2018 posts

Tuesday, Green and White


Morning sun through the open kitchen window

spotlights the movement of my own hands 

as the sparrows bicker on the neighbor’s roof.

Slicing fennel on the cutting board: a soft,

clean smell. Clocks on the stove, the wall,

the microwave in harmony with the fridge hum,

the summer solstice. Grass widens the cracks

in the concrete, bit by bit, as I work the bulb,

plan. For my purposes of here, it is July

(or it is July), and so the sun lingers over LA

and gives us all the sweet illusion of more time:

dispensation, so we can know the sparrow’s 

chirp and the smell of fennel better, acquaint

ourselves with the moment of the knife.


Where the Attention Lies


Alighting there, on the aeonium preparing to bloom:

[the sound of the mockingbird mocking the purple finch,

the new Alt+J plays on the radio, an eastbound flight

has left LAX, the neighbor takes the trash out, leafblower

somewhere, distant hiss of noon on Sepulveda, the terror 

of the terriers accross the street spotting the skateboarder

shouting at his cellphone] the eyes can see the sunlight

in a form so precise it can move the mind to silence.


The Too-Literal Realist


The gold finch is dangling from the verdi gris 

branch, a pendant on a tarnished chain.

April already has the warm smell of soil.

This is Spring in the vernacular, the mind alighting,

and everything evoking. The ruby tips

of the sumac leaves, mountain tops at sunset.

But the garden falls off from perfection so fast—

spent blooms plop down and stain the walk

greasy brown, the sage has rot from the rain.

Already the mature color of their summer 

green pushes through the translucent paths 

of river-like veins, resonances and meanings

in the lost leaves below, old feeding new words.


These things make without intention, forgotten 

meanings much the same. Strike the word, and it 

sings, whether or not you hear, even if you don’t

strike it. Did you see the elm, the one by the park, 

taller than last year? And the moon waxing gibbous. 

I know; you didn’t see. That is where the Larger Bear

would be if it were dark / That is where it is.

This is my mythology: Ask me, What time is it?

It’s all in the syntax, the arrangement.

The far cry of meaning is what we imagine:

I am—I feel it—it is a gladness—sourceless—

Useless / as if I am a conduit for some desire

Only the gold finches understand,  the ruby tips unfurling.


The present meaning eats the past, an infinite

feast; the dead leaves feed the soil, an infinite fast.