Choosing to Hear


The mockingbird sings all night

with an imperative that penetrates

the window panes, the walls, and by

midnight has soaked the whole house

in its intense variations. Sleep seems

unworthy: I sense an infinitive need: 

To witness. It’s roosted in the Silver Sheen,

a tree also sleep-less, night-blooming.

On the floor, beneath the song

and the tree, I reach up and open

the window, saturated by the sound

and the silence that surrounds it,

helpless and afraid: What am I?

Stupid and mute, and not the first

to lose my mind while being washed 

by complex beast-music: A will beyond 

me works that spell. . .I know too much.

But at least I know enough to stay 

silent, wait to say it until morning.



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.





(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.



Equals Sign


I put the mirror on the ground and at once the ground

became mirror-shaped sky. Then I was both places (at once), 

like the ever-line where the sky feeds the sea, wandering

in a kind of exile—exile: an old word—from myself.

The mind forms a metaphor; the metaphor, a form of mind.


The mirror (is) on the ground: the ground is infinite there:

My love is a red, red rose. My love is the cello’s long-held

note in a minor key. My love is your fast-fleeting laughter falling

off into silence. The half-moon seen between the high rises.

The sky searching in the mirror (on the ground) for its image.