Love / Time



Time that slides so smoothly, with such ease, 

moments can blend without distinction:

There was dancing: In your apartment,

on many dance floors: Seattle. Baltimore. LA. 

There is music, and laughter, in your apartment.

Then, years and years of music and laughter.


We spoke of oceans, and I have the memories of many

beaches, many skies, and wave upon wave upon wave—

of waiting for you by the ocean, of being with you

in the ocean, of watching the ocean disappear on your skin,

of traveling to watch the ocean disappear on your skin.


There were, even then, tears and the memory of tears.

You were waking me in the middle of the night 

and you told me, then, there was no reason for them now. 

Then we were crying together, such loss. Tears will come,

all the tears before them granting comfort in continuity.


The still-shy embraces in my imagination are wild

with all this, with what you always are to me.



Rain on the Sea



The gulls hush themselves and lower their heads


stand one-leggéd on the shore while the sky fills


round the waves’ rounded edges round more fade


into the fullness of the soft and steady sound of water


is all the same as the light unchanging with sameness


egoless rain disappearing in the sea as the sea disappears


in the rain the face you have forgotten over and over until even the forgetting is forgot.



January, Los Angeles



The ginkgo leaves balance golden

on the tips of the green grass blades.


A bored crow pokes, asks each one

for some redemption: Nothing.


He cocks his head sideways

as another leaf spins down


and the waiting grass presents

it, so he struts over to see, an optimist—-

checking everything for the possible.



After the Solstice



The sun returns, will linger 

each day one minute longer,

will cast weird silhouettes 

on the curtains: The pepper 

tree branches dotted 

with cold, slow-moving

bees, blurred wings on bodies 

in all stages of bee flight

(on the curtains I will see wings—

trasnlucent shadows of bee wings).

But now, the rain. Then 

all the stones will darken,

and all the many small things

washed clean will brighten.



Day and Night



This is like life, the thing we wanted:

The places we know via back routes:

the Los Angeles of short cuts cross town,

taken so often they’re ours: it’s known

when there’s new paint or a new car—

The shy tracing of the scar on your palm,

traveling it back and forth, attachment.

Going, then turning to return, being home.



The Los Angeles River at Daybreak


Watching a spot of slow water moving I come to realize

I am watching the still reflection of a kite hawk, poised

and growing larger so dropping straight down to the  water.

We occupy our different spaces; we gaze in the same place;

it’s the prey she sees; I see her. She is wide of eye and certain 

of purpose, expertly shaping the air and sky with white wings

until the surface is chaos, rippled circles and spinning distinctions.

Only the sky remains behind, the constant sky, where I see in it 

only the water-without-the-hawk. These meetings unlikely:

The hawk and reflection, the slow city river and the blank sky, 

on our separate seekings, leaving out the crucial invisibles

that allow us both to see some blindnesses are necessary.




The Santa Anas Arrive


The shift in the wind a pivot, and I opened my eyes: 

the waves became soft, curved walls resisting

the change so slightly, as much as they could. East

of here, the old hills line up waiting for houses

to come and go; on the shore, the sand remembers

the hills. In midst of all this memory, I make 

a sound like “shhhh!” that the waves ignore. A gull

seems circumspect, looks at me askance, but calls

anyway. . .In the hush between the breaking waves,

under the smoothing hand of the offshore air, clarity;

I find what I’m seeking in the persistent absence 

of peace, the insistence of sound of air shoving water, 

the silence at the moment of arrival: the noise after.




The moonlight dispersed by the curtain—

That’s moonlight! Not the same as realizing

the cell phone tower’s posing as palm;

not the same as that's a cell tower.

Finding the old teacup broken in the bottom

of the box, you know at once what it meant.


(You know you drove home because you are home.

Where have you been? It’s Wednesday already, 

withholding meaning. 


Looking at these hands,

seeing also what they were. Remembering her, 

decades ago, turning them over in her own,

looking then as mine do now, saying with such

grief, self-pity, “They’re so lovely, your hands.”

My hands. Her hands.)


                    Finishing the thought,

I see my face in the look you are giving me now

and know I will always know.




(Like) the desire for something lost; 

the ever-shifting shadows the birds cast; 

leaf-shaped space on the branch (

the fallen ginkgo leaf): Winter’s gone, but light

lays low, foreshortened on the grass, fading—

causing the grass to fade: Within, it brightens,

even as without it fades (knowledge/the body)—

These lines don’t run parallel, but thread like thoughts

through us, constant inequities: Knowing this, 

held together by the possibilities

                                 of consonants and  vowels (aspirant

vows): Making words that believe

what’s gained is hidden in what’s lost: 

a kind of metaphorical momentum: Not like. Equal to.



The Object of the Possible


There’s a sense of concordance, this place 

and this version of me. Causes questioning.—: Do 

you know, the effortless art in the gull 

banking made me ask, Is there any one

thing I do without effort? and then: How 

do I know the gull? Me: presuming. 

The invisible line in this visible line

comes similarly, the laws of mental physics, 

like air flowing over the passage of wings 

in the blue-white sky, the gull grants grace

to my philosophy, an object of the possible.