A tidal bore rolls west toward
the docks fingering eastward,
the bay lolling in full sight from this landing
as you point it out to me,
tickled by the solitary wave.
I stay to watch it crash
but it goes under, melting
into the careless flow.
You are behind me now with arms around,
rocking me to your silent song
as the sun sinks into the horizon.
At night I picture the ships
and feel the loneliness of thinking
about life passing. I want to be an older version,
younger and still the boy version of her —
my first and only, the guilt tide ripping me
through the rest.
It was the wayside inn – the decision to abandon,
and now looking back for a signal;
but there is only the dark distance
between here and what I miss(ed),
and a silence, like sound without a wave
to move through.

– Oakland, CA

Taken in San Francisco, CA


Have I fought it lately: never say no.
I can’t quit the lady; she lies
at my side and asks why
I need her; she knows—
the ennui is on me like lice gnawing
a yawning mind; just hang me from the awning:
a tawdry line on offing my sorry life—
So there’s another pest for the red death,
and the rest you already know:
the ether, the hell of nothing,
nothing cutting like the coke rock crumbling,
and the copulating not cutting it either.
And hell I thought these would beat her,
but they only pile on.
A user as useful as Giles in the Crucible,
just more weight on something hard to kill.

– Cincinnati, OH


Taken in Amsterdam


Carousel, around and down—
get shuffled out; I’m the only constant.
The song sounds like a constant shrug
and the visual: the sunny field we called the commons,
the dotted trees hunched in the ominous gusts.
August motel room:
cartoons playing on silent for days
while I smoke trees until my mind is quiet.
In my dreams it runs like a faucet; awake I’m exhausted—
I lost it when I tossed you aside; you thought I ran
but I stayed behind, even now still as you found me.

– Oakland, CA


Taken in Oakland, CA


The state of things now: a black cloud hanging.
It’s not the heart anymore; that blacked out
panging like a self-saboteur.
The brain is crowded, lush, a drug connoisseur;
my life is garbage, crushed under the boredom.

I sleep on the backseat,
or up in the attic on concrete,
a fiend at it again, hitting Ativan,
inhalants and the weed pen;
been stale since that heathen
satan stole my cadence, his old eye credence
describing Jesus as a shill. Higher on pills,
I read Tyler Mills, sense I’m living in hell
and pray the fire fills the heavens.

Addiction and anxiety, no piety—
kill all desire to be around; still I’ve found a breath
or two—breathe,
and the wait continues like a midsummer tree.

– Oakland, CA


Taken in San Francisco, CA


These days couldn’t be counted. Lechery,
satiety and lechery
and the age-old itch for inebriation—we played
asphyxiation on the hard school floor.

Hold it in, hold it in;
tonight you’ll be as livestock
with nothing in your dreams—mine was standing
at the back of a train, watching the truncated earth repeat.

It passes in retrospect, a looping spectrum from
green to gray—I caught myself staring
when the alarm tolled in as a cathedral tower.

Bored with the same lesson
but the learning doesn’t end—body of addiction, walking in,
I swim farther to feel.

– Oakland, CA

Taken in Half-Moon Bay, CA


The old serpent striking:
the desperate one,
the spirit who knows those watching me —
look in the rear-view mirror;
over your shoulder like nostalgia,
no, not behind you, inside
but still
out of reach. Rise
to the maker when you kill creation too.

Look down: cliff coast
and a white crest current during
the only moment that’s mattered.
Let go, feel the fall for awhile
and forget the reason; feeling the nothing at all,
you continue to change and be the same,
and that is the only ache in the world.

– Oakland, CA

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Taken in Santa Cruz, CA

Black Maria

The piano starts in
behind the vinyl static; slow,
those three notes climb and fall.
Grain filter: a silent film starting
with a headshot of me,
unsmiling like a suspect in line.
Doleful percussion –
she moves inside a scene;
a shot of starlings leaving trees;
I’m smoking, cut to screaming quietly
then back to the abandoned evergreens.
The keys keep stirring the beat –
the silent moment of me
looking back: I fold my hands around my jacket,
and the frame flicks until the light burns through.

– Oakland, CA


Taken in Painted Rock, MT