5 On the Edge of Hollywood

On the Edge of Hollywood

trees are planted four

new fruit bearing wonders

a southern California hassle

as everything here is no one

actually does real and simple

work you’d think maybe Mexican

gardeners, most gardeners are Mexican

might be simple workers, but they have

formed into California made small businesses

that feed from the bottom and act like the top

molded by the numb ways of those who sit

in traffic everyday or if they’re poor wait for busses

never getting much of a glimpse of our mother

though she is here is such glory sometimes it makes

me cry living here in wealth and poverty

i wonder what it would have been like

to come here half dead from the trip over her mountains

and see this garden of Eden laden with fruit and warmth

her ocean sending sustenance over inland dry miles to keep

things moist and growing, her Chumash children living abundantly

from the waters and the land what a place to live and move and have

your being still the Hollywood promised land where homeless people

act on street corners tired and dirty hoping still through a fog of alcohol

hoping for the next audition when life here used to be carefree and abundant.


Not Soon Enough

My boy asks me tonight, Is it still light

somewhere? I tell him, Yes, the other side

of Earth is in the sun. I lay beside

him on the bed. He curls his thin limbs tight

to mine. But mom, what if the sun goes out?

What good is logic in the night? The bones

want something warm and near, well known—

stiff facts alone cannot ease nagging doubt.

My love, I tell him, if the sun is gone

then I’ll still be here with you. And I trace

his cheekbones with my thumbs until the hushed

luff of his breath subsides to sleep. O yawn

of knowledge, pompous truth, the night’s no place

for you. O sun, please rise. O dawn, come soon.

4 The Road to Recovery

The Road to Recovery

everyone but the government

and a few experts know we are

not recovering anything that may

have been lost and maybe they’re the

only ones who want it back the back-

breaking toil of hundreds of worker bees

maybe we like unemployment except for

losing our houses maybe we like losing those

mortgages, isn’t mort-French for dead-gages of

our lives used up for nothing  we might love doing

what we love, living simply again, a small plot of

land with fruit and veggies, walking to the store makes us

feel great a lot better than paying to sweat at the gym

running like guinea pigs in a cage because we ride everywhere

in our cars  perhaps we could enjoy

living lightly on the earth, the communion of each other

maybe we’d like to discover our community of trees and

animals and friends instead of recovering those financial

sins carrying some greed-imposed burden back on our backs

maybe there’s another path, a road to love instead of recovery

The Living

“I have travelled.  Now I can be

the path, and you can

walk over me…”

—Peter Heller, “Malvine”

Not just any path, but one that wheels

around these mountainsides. Those are

cliffs that were her thighs. These braiding

creeklets, skeins of melt, these clefts

of sheer and vaulted lips, they’re yours.

Not so much woman as loam, these bones

I bring, more precipice than limb.

God, I’ve wanted to be your meadow,

your spires, your cirques for squandering days in.

The deckle of dawn as it flushes the stars.

Your hollow. Your lowland fen. The place

where you wade, where you rest, where you

climb and climb again. Again. Walk over me.

I want to give you everything. These

empty bowls. This wind-rung face.

These pitches all acrumble. These slopes

unsloping. These tiny blue bells.

This absence of hope. This earthing.

And So Lash It Down Again

He did not mean to catch her fingers in the bathroom door.

It was boyish vigor. Flash mistake. Something more.

I’ve seen it, tried to not see it before, the thrill in him when she cries.

Rook callousness, a cruel shaft. I cringe. I wish its black wings gone.

I want to kiss his forehead, smooth his hair, as if with mother touch

I could unhinge each landing place in him where malice curls its talons.

As if. As if I didn’t have it, too, shoved down as far as I can leash.

Clever jackdaw. Murder of one. Passed on. Passed on. Empty lash.

Flutter. Spasm. Passerine flaw. Comber of carrion. Caw. Caw.

Everywhere I Look I Am Lifted Up

In one breath try to reckon

the distance of the universe

with the daily chain of the weather,

snow, as it is, the first white of winter,

and fact braids with future and faith.

What is: The sibilance of snow as it sifts,

as its weight shifts through branches and

glitter, oh radiant flash glimmer shine.

All stipple, the stars tonight as it clears,

and the sky, oh,  there’s never enough of it here

in the canyon. The eyes try to disassemble

horizon and harvest more stars, more light.

Write me a poem about how the angels

disintegrate, write me an epic about endless loss.

Write me a letter that says, everywhere that I look

I am lifted up. I’m uplifted by luster, uplifted

by rabbitbrush, by apples simmering on the stove,

uplifted by gravity, distance, space,

all things unruly, given, unknown.

Here my hands. Here my eyes.

Here my praise. Here my voice.

Here my steady vessel. My hymn. My poem.