Gloaming

The ruddy alder saturate in the evening window—
reminiscent of boyhood when the day
was yearned to pass
and the night held to as a hand
on its deathbed; now
our thought is entirely mine—
though, what isn’t shared in memory cannot
be trusted. I’m starting to lose it,
the way you cried for me,
pain or ecstasy.
And to think I’ve looked through so many others,
windows onto driveways lit by my night procession.
There is too much heartache at this juncture.
This golden hour never a keeper of its name.

– Oakland, CA

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Taken in Long Beach, CA

Insipid

flakes trickling, filling divots along ivory acres—
mounds yet untouched.
the sky is pregnant, downcast;
clouds glower down,
the dour fields dearth of verdure.

and still the chapped wood bears wolves;
a body defeated lies still, indelibly imprinted—
his path less traveled by the minute
as the air scathes as a scythe.
from the thicket they’ve run, drawn near
like storm troops through a thick gas horizon.
imminence is smooth snow; you can feel it
coming.

– Oakland, CA

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Taken somewhere in California

Silhouette

Two flowers on a wet headstone: we lie
on the covers under the covered black sky.
The salt dying down your jaw line
is mine—blank eyes,
the kill you for a prize
type,
the cannibal holding you
tonight. You would hate getting it out of me; takes infinity—bored
I’d look up: above the bed
frame a framed ocean line, a sun I can stare at.
Introduce you to the void; we’ve been driving on the earth’s casket. Stitch
the memory to the dream like my process
captures that crimson egg but begets a blurry sunset.
Ephemeral blue room, black digits
on the nightstand lighting my eyes.
A few seconds, and then nothing.

– Long Beach, CA

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Taken in Long Beach, CA

Lights

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Taken in San Francisco, CA

From the sixth floor
the traffic comes together, clotting the lanes,
brake lights like blood cells
rushing through the vein.

The earth is sick; I forgot again
October’s liminal pangs, the insidious gnawing of the passing
seasons starting to break skin. There are no more shadows—
the city churns in the steel blue
sunless dusk.

I am under the weather. Above all else
the sky is dirty like street gutter slush;
in my head are the Christmas lights
around your wooden fence, when I sat
in your car while you ran in for a coat.
In my skin is the rum from that year
warming my cheeks and eyes
in the rooms of your party.
I can still smell the sweet milk dried
around your breast in the morning.

Wake up. The lights
are turning off one by one.
I hurry to grab my jacket and step out
into the cold.

It always ends in winter.

– Long Beach, CA

Asclepius

There we are,
through the wormhole
like a snake coiled on a pole—
come down, see us move slow against the changing seasons;
watch me smile while we walk down sidewalks in the snow
we walk down sun-flecked trails
we walked to each other at night;
hand caressing the desert road air,
the same hand grabs mine when I leave it
in the red of your bedroom light.
Leaves falling now, look at me in the process of healing;
promise to start running when the rain stops.

– Long Beach, CA

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Taken in Seattle, WA

Atavism

Someone’s wearing heels upstairs;
lying in the heat below, the knock
could be anything. In the beginning
our portions were given; in the end
our darkness is balanced again.
We were gray matter put in motion, disseminating,
trading our sins around like stocks
and they piled up on me.
Now it’s dark and I hear footsteps,
now the dogs have started up
and a car alarm is stuck.
My thoughts are I’ve taken too much—
the stomps are a gavel, they could be the clock.
A mutt’s mind sees a wolf
but the mirror shows what’s happened—
what’s happened here is my cup ran over
and this is retribution.

– Long Beach, CA

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Taken in Venice, CA

Stoop to Conquer

The door opens,
the suburb streets empty except
for something in the trees
watching like a jungle cat;
the leaves hiss,
the breeze tumbles through
like a wave pool kicking up
squealing children.
A long loud hushing –
the ocean’s constant
crashing: I run like prey
programmed to think it can live.

Silence is what separates;
silence is mistaken
for ignorance and
ignorance will make you bite your tongue
like it sinned with the rest
of your body.

Listen when I tell you
god is a troubled couple
redecorating their home.
I have their picture hanging
on the wall like American Gothic.
He has the face of failure; she,
the face of dependence.
We are in the other room giggling,
moving pawns on a board game
we forget we’re playing.
He picks at them
like a label on a beer can
and she puts them back.

I remember my piece now:
the mindless coal miner picking
at the void, living like it lost someone yesterday –
karma coming back like cicadas and I’m running
down the street.

– Long Beach, CA

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Taken in Long Beach, CA