Tiger

The napalm line in the passive trees,
it moves like a cracked whip
arching up and forward;
the metal bird up and forward.

Simmered in our aftermath,
I’ve shaped her as my own heart
and swaddle it with assurance
like a negligent father
hugging his grown son.
She loves me desperately. She is me,
and I am you
telling me what I had wanted to hear.
But then I leave in the dark, back to the dark
car parked in the empty lot.
I’m high and hiding.
I lie to spite you.

Hacking through it
like a grunt in the elephant grass,
hurriedly lighting the hamlets
as the hellish whispers of the jungle night wax.
It does not want me here, the jungle;
it smells of oil and malaria.
My girl is a fever too, slowly coming down
and she will not want me back.
Her enemy is mine.
Her enemy is me.

– Los Angeles, CA

Taken in Los Angeles, CA

Mise en Scène

Our love’s in autumn now, everything falling
and glowing like embers, amber expressions
as a sinking sun
or a heretic on the stake.
The naked Ash baring its veins
stiff with rigor mortis
and the hard ground ages
from nursery to cemetery.

It’s either destruction or lunacy,
what you want or what you should be –
keep knocking it down
or take up drinking with the happy people,
their eyes the same as a hostage
among corpses; is it my fault
I can’t ever choose,
maybe won’t choose in time.
What’s at stake:
You’re supine in the cabin;
the mice act at random above
and the rain piles on
outside the incandescent room,
keeping us from escaping
into the dormant night
as the faucet drips
and the pines lie motionless.

– Los Angeles, CA

Taken in Grass Valley, CA

Penrose

Another’s coin flip,
my double-sided life…
This melody bookends its constant change;
Imagine hearing it when I’m 40.
80.

White tents in the yellow light,
the night closed around thick
like an iris in a sunbeam.
Ice is agitated, breaking with grace
in polished glass. Linens and lace,
no wrist bare, no hair shapeless.
We would debate our favorite island
and where to take the wife,
the latest Apple device,
electric versus hybrid.

But an honest poem from me
is a poem about vices
and the future being a bank account –
always less than you think.
My road to recovery is like the Penrose staircase;
I sit on the ledge,
and the tune plays as it has
in every chapter I pass through
like a gurney hitting swing doors.

– Los Angeles, CA

Taken in Los Angeles, CA

In dreams

Now you wait in the rippling air,
twisting my second self harder than my first,
who waits for you like the Second Coming,
or an apparition, if only you’d appear
and give shape to shapeless thought,
tempest waters between mind and heart.

Buried pain laid plainly on dreamy canvas:
You look different, but speak the same.
A Polaroid bleeds into a flame –
how can you say things aren’t so bad?
I say it’s almost over
and feel how boring I’ve become
and lose you
as San Francisco becomes a prairie
and the stars fall into our shower
where we sit like children
and I look at the faded tattoos you don’t have.
That song plays, I’m stuck in that cold space in Oakland,
stuck on you, old love
in an old city, forgotten and for good.

– Los Angeles, CA

Taken in Oakland, CA

Marked

Into Eden, a familiar prison
seen again like remnants
of death camps said to be fiction.

A distant knoll fixed against seared nimbus plumes;
under its tree, The One Who Speaks
appears and the current through the leaves ceases:
The code of Christ
was written
too small for beasts.

Hell is below our vision in the
hot blood of human skin.
Tell me the properties of carbon;
imagine the absence of pain
xeroxed until it is the absence of good
and wonder—to whom does paradise pander: you or god.

Incipient scapegoat pitying slaves,
I know it was you in the garden,
that brief encounter
among the stamp of all imprints;
and I just give myself away
like a blood stain fading into
white, the presence of the monad
forever losing and finding itself.
Earth is now a heaven
as depictions of life are better than living
and hell must be those memories survived.
. . .
Her voice: something must remain of us
tracing her breasts with cubes of ice
watching the areola bumps rise;
shattered water beating her backside
as I stare through the steam, tapping her
clitoris as if milking drops from a leaking faucet.

– Los Angeles, CA

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Taken in Oakland, CA

Theodicy

I am the monad of death left
in the negative and the ego
has burrowed into darkness, continually tossed
into the realm of dichotomy with the tension
of unsettled business.
I am the transparency, the soul is the light
projecting the damage through a laminate lens.

mature soul waiting to age—
another phase goes by, inside of me
there’s a special smile
possessed by your presence;
I love only Beauty herself
and she doesn’t care at all. She is like a summer
breeze, the present second
washing over without passing.

I know why my mother is like
a child; God cast us
into a world of opposites to let our free half wild,
to return to the slavery of essence
like a dog tied to a moving car;
I’ve stopped running, drag me to heaven
to learn the value of death like Jesus:
To be is to be parted. I greet it now,
the peak from anticipating to reflecting.

– Los Angeles, CA

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Taken in Oakland, CA

anna – Beauty

Palm trees behind tinted glass; gusts
encumbering still life; the stems
pendulums into the sky, kinetic
like tendons connecting typist fingers.
I’m staring as if at my own becoming
of the decrepit pedestrians I’ve hurried past,
eyes vacant as a hooked marlin on the dock,
and you are gone like yesterday.

I had simulated a life without you, the fear of it
rolling in like a dark horizon, an extinguished sun
hung over tungsten city lights. You had already begun
brushing cement onto brick layers; the preparation
is what makes these deaths romantic.
My heart is an injured racehorse
and my mind has a shotgun
in the way all 60 billion of us have always had a weapon.
When my memory speaks of you
it is with the softness of collusion,
a palm on my jaw turning my vision – but
I cannot return to watching shadows dance.
The sun is dead; it remains dead.
And I’ll never be the same.

– Los Angeles, CA

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Taken in Los Angeles, CA