Friday, April 15, 1983



I know a child who prays nights
to the sun of beauty
so fish will swim in a stream
filled with light.

Hollow masks: air through eye sockets.
We are afraid to look.

This light: the crisp edges of the sand dunes
spend little time shaving stars
from the night sky.

He proposed, I'll keep your books
until you're eighty before I return them.

Lately, I've been receiving anonymous postcards
filled with cryptic messages:
this poetry by which we live.

(Most nights I sleep alone.)

Last rainstorm, the Alta Mira
almost slid back into the sea.
Close your eyes. Listen to the rain
on my roof.
The cat's voracious yawn
disturbs the air as you turn.

My car breaks down
the third time this month.
You ask me just what I plan to do

And tell me about the babies
you want to have before its too late.
We both sleep alone.

In the hot tub, we drink your first wine
and sing love songs in the downpour.
A neighbor throws both of his shoes.
How many times do we torture ourselves
before we realize we've had enough?

Use commas before.
use commas after.
Use commas to separate.
After a word separate
this language.

Alienation—there is enough reason
to be frightened. Turn down the music.
I'll try to speak more softly
and not sing when you do.

Another postcard arrives unsigned.
Birds fly together. Don't they know
the sky is an arena for thought?

These tiny competitions between us.
Another wedge driven home.
Bird wings. Clipped feathers:

At night thin men imagine golden birds
flying across the sky.
The sky is filled with blackbirds
obliterating the stars.

The window is open.
An indecipherable melody
rides the nightair on tiny hooves.
These words fly softly west,
away from the dawn birds.

Loosened from the lassos of the sun
we are small unchartered islands
and sinking
at will.

4/ 83

Friday, April 1, 1983



Sparrows dip in the evening sky 
for insects as the warmth of the sun 
slips from the dusty cheeks of the aged. 
The sky assumes its night position 
and masquerades as a bed of quartz 
as if the light of the stars could comfort 
the old ones for the loss of the sun. 
Fog clings to the hillsides like late apples 
on a branch in November. Another false night 
for those still hungry for the light of day.

April 1983?
added 9/15/2016


                          (Saguaro Arms)

Off the crisp edges of dunes,
a fine spray of sand forms into rivulets.
Rocks glisten in manganese hues
dressed in eons of desert varnish.

In that arid landscape of the heart,
opuntia, beavertail, cereus.
Saguaro arms reach for cerulean
dreams of desert sky.

The yucca's pale scent
attracts the moth.
In the desert, a blossom lives
throughout the night
and into the cool dawn hours
before it withers and dies.

The only rhythm of the desert
is the slow heartbeat 
of the saguaro after rain.

Spring 1983
rev. 10/15

Parade, 1955

Early childhood memory

I drag my new patent leather leather shoes on the sidewalk. My aunt yells at me and jerked my arm. Sonorous traffic like an angry hive of bees, charges as the light turns green. Exhaust curls around my white socks and thin ankles. My starched dress hangs over my body like a crinoline cloud. I hold onto my grandmother’s hand, and run the other hand along the white picket fence. The crowd stares at beautiful ladies in evening dresses and long white gloves, riding on the tops of convertibles, smiling and waving at us. The light turns yellow. Horses clatter by, dancing sideways, leaving steaming masses of manure. A man follows them, busily sweeping it up. Where are they all going? Why does the light keep turning from green to yellow to red like an angry eye changing moods, as the parade sweeps by? Those corpulent men all waving, fat cigars in their mouths, and gold rings and the endless clicking of traffic street lights.

Year? 4/83 This sounds like it was the St. Patrick’s Day parade in San Francisco, in which case it’s either 1954 or 1955.