matte with stars

“Don’t Trust Nobody a Ding Dang It”


Are you an angel? A two dollar genius?


Walk down to the creek

Paste mud growing up between your toes

Skittering bugs on the water 

Dark limbs hiding darker life in shadows 


The horse

Shiny ebony like a beetle shell

Stands in a moonless night 

Cold, broad pasture 

Warm breath ghosting to steam 

Only vapor visible to absent eyes


Sit on the edge of your bed

Sheets folded tight against the mattress 

The head of a drum 

Hear a creak from the floor below

Wait, unbreathing, for the next sound.


No genius. No angel. 

Just the beating heart unseen. 


matte with stars

say yes

“get yourself to the show”

Obsidian hair under street lamps

and worn denim and black, black,

everything black.


In tenderer years

They thought themselves flinty

They thought themselves inviolable

In tenderer years


And the fog, it slinks and bleeds

(Those nights and now)

The fog glides silent and coats them.


Those years live still:

cigar boxes of Polaroids

folded papers preserved in French volumes

medical bracelets and bail forms

pins and matchbooks.

Preserved and crisp.


There is both an unkindness and a succor

to time, that opening out and unfolding.

Loving and cruel,

it’s all there is and it is painfully complex


the heart swings open and stays that way

and past meets present meets future meets past

under some street lamp on the old corner

or remembered in syrupy dreams.


The years were tender,

but now they are wise.

say yes

this bud’s for you

“Native Daughter of the Golden West”

In the Morcom Rose Garden

they call it something else now

It is 1937 again

It is 1937 always

Lines are sleek and features grand, dramatic.

Everything in its right place.

“Thought upon the living tree”

It says so on that plaque.

I memorized it once.

It’s gone from me like so much else.


The living tree so secret in winter,

A stubborn machine working under leafless cover of gray skin.

The living tree so alive in spring,

So alive with fragrance and colors obscene

So alive to draw a heart from inside a chest

Send it soaring

Send it up

Send it back and forth in time or understanding.

These fucking roses. All these fucking roses.

From one to almost eight thousand.

The own-root, the bud union, the ramblers.

The sweet rotting mulch of protective decay.

The spray I want pinned in my hair.

The sucker to be ripped away.

The sucker to be ripped away.

When the benches are cold, like

Cliché tombstones

When the sky is coated

In the dense gray flannel of fog

And the roses

The roses

Run riot underneath,

Electric eddied current in acres of cupped earth all its own.

When this happens

Almost every day

When this happens

I’ll put your hand in mine

Wait patient

For electric current to show itself

Go leafless to plush jagged green

Wait patient for our basal break

Our growth determined.

I’ll wait.

this bud’s for you

old af

“bay leaf floribunda meyer lemon foxglove blues”

I’ve lived a life
I’ve lived a life
I’ve lived a life.

I could stack them like old newspapers,
yellowed records of moments proud and shamed.
No need to categorize or order;
I’ve lived a life a jumble.

I’ve been busted up like others,
nothing new or special.
I’ve kept secrets.
I’ve earned praise.
It’s all the stuff of the everyperson
But oh, I’ve lived a life.

Some stack glass to mosaics,
pieced and stained and illuminating.
I am moving my stack from a precarious tilt
to a terrifying scene,
a darker Bosch,
something to leave you as stomach-churned as I.
Something to mark this life,
this life.

Hold on —
May our jagged edges match
May this darkness bring about light
May the road rise to meet you
May all your wishes come true
May you live in interesting times
May the force be with you

And also with you.

I’ve pressed myself into a should be,
as ink between the hard strike of a typewriter key and the pillowed possibility of fine bond cotton.
I’ve shredded myself
slips and slashes
catch and release.
My, I’ve lived a life.

I am staring down the second half
(if I’m lucky).
I am being here and being now.

I’ve lived a life
I’ve lived a life
I’ve lived a life.

old af

old dog, old tricks

Not all, but a terrible few

When he says desire, he lies.

When she hears the words, 

she wants them

to be true.

The slim subset 

of addicts and egos,

so enchanting and delicious:

each crafted sweetness,

each subtle insult.


Cut it out like a cancer.

The tumor, a bulb:

daffodil, narcissus.

Halt it before it blooms,

belladonna, nightshade. 

An honest love

doesn’t feel this bad. 

The surgery is painful

the recovery slow

the life thereafter euphoric. 

old dog, old tricks

feel electric

It Means Living without Fear


The heart

the metaphorical heart

(not the bloody engine racing and braking in its cage)

The heart

isn’t the shape of those candies,

those satin boxes of waxy chocolates,

those doodles in junior high spiral notebooks.


It is circular.

It is a circular magnet.

I don’t know if this is scientifically possible;

I don’t care.

Metaphors exist beyond all this,

beyond reason.

Reason is overrated.




The heart is a circular magnet.

It is open.

The open heart cannot break

because the good stuff is metal,

heavy fucking metal and micro-rolled shavings.

It sticks.

The good stuff runs at you and slams into your heart

and stays there.

Stays there.

Makes you strong.

Makes you vibrate higher than before.

Each bit adds up.
The bad stuff

(the negatives, the pain, the slings and arrows)

are not metaphorically metallic.

They flow right through, straight in and out.

That pain comes at you,

the headlights bearing down in the dark,

paralyzing and making you

think you belong in the dirt, the tarmac, the grit.

That pain makes you believe things that simply are not true.

No, but.

That garbage slips right through you and continues on its horrible way,

a way that isn’t your concern.


Your open heart is full,

full of loving metal shavings,

full of reflective elements.




feel electric