cloud forest

my baby taught me what’s good about being alone:
the magnetic pull of grace—

wisteria, cafe molido, sky laced with western gulls
every morning with the windows gaping
spores of spring sneaking up flesh sleeves
brushed tin percolator brim boiling to the
temperature, despite the altitude, of my own
heightened senses right now
swinging clocks and quiet trees at work
we learned how to break time when we challenged the sound barrier
but i just want to enjoy right now this moment
to salivate a memory

right now, how do i get back to that place
must i faint at the fringes
(is there no other way?)
must i always need like rock’n’roll
cups of steam, herb-stained teeth
slithering into a black dress in the essential mountain fog
mistaken for someone else only for the night
candle burning between me and a serious man
downed our drinks and steeped our bodies in the harbor
thick tannin made for muddy water
we couldn’t sludge out of—

(that was years ago.)

right now, i toe-grip the sand near world’s end
alone
but not lonely,
thinking how you’d enjoy the view.

april tanka

   round red pomo-naut
   you are the apple growing my belly
       and the cyanide tumoring my brain
            wet slice of cantaloupe
                ripe black opium
                    static stalking radio pollen
                        cadet blue overalls
                            creamy sweaters sway
                                plum sap showers ooze (on the lettered keys)
you make my sensor tendrils sticky—

I wish I could convince your scent
                                your taste your feel
                                    to stay
                                        to come closer
                                            to turn into touch
pale winter hands reaching for
                                        shy rosebuds
                                                                shattering pale pink globes
                                                    of ice

escape from jersey city

peppermint chamomile dreamin’

half-tea fuzzy sleepwalking to

where logic and yogic converge

climbing up the palisades

spiked hands on abstracts

tourniquet in fever-sheets

strands of hair caught in knots

like bark splitting gums from teeth

killing metropolis, called the cops

off the grid, no river too wide to cross—

you know where you’re going,

but do you know where you’ve been?

float, 5 minutes

soak your body in salt
to reverse its course:

while you are dreaming
does time flow fast or flow slow;

can you decipher your currents
from the ocean’s own;

I’m wavelengths away
~~~barely~~~
a profession muffled
an underwater echo;

if you succumb to the depths,
do you think you could hear me?

two rubber soles

ashes tryna burn through cotton
pierced a perfect circle in her canvas shoes
sketched a portrait of a hidden hemisphere
glossed 180 degrees behind his eyes
it smolders there longer than it should
peach fuzz sizzles on a hot grill
seared tinge of dna syrup sweeter
than lingering in bed on winter mornings

there’s skin underneath more than silver
& bones cauldron of flowers simmering
when she blushes she blooms sighs out
a house on fire drowns within itself
tried to save her once but the pain feels better
watching embers melt oil landscapes off walls
tried to save her twice but joint her instead
evidence in feeling crossed legs in bed

ashes burned through cotton:
two rubber soles
remain

white paint

i wish i could write epitaphs for all the dead peacemakers
musicians and philosophers
but, logistically, i can’t

i don’t know how anyone expects me to write for these people
and their admirers
for the people who need to be written for — not about
can anyone else speak a couplet on it,
and not sound like white paint on stripped fences?

“i’m nervous
i’m not in denial;
t r u sssss ttt  m eee, i feeeeeel itt too
it’ ss jusss tt harrr dddd to capppp turrr e”

i can only be empathic when the sun in me is shining
i will only love you on good days
when i love myself
when my hair is lightest, skinny gut

i will always write love to the wrong lovers —
     prized voyeurism, invisible man for whom i kick open the door
     a handsome jaguar or screeching bluejay —
and for the wrong causes — solitude in sadness
     there’s a whole world out there, babygirl
     you only need to want it badly

i love you, but i want to love people more
i want to be brought to knees
in contrast and saturated color
though my upbringing, through the—

     concrete bricks
     i slid my back down
     when the 3x-held-back boys
     ripped the seams of my levis
     called me blondie and
     revealed my pink florals
     stole my cotton candies
     so i bruised myself and cried
     my mom picked me up early
     the nurse called alligator tears and
     i’m still that same salty blur

while no one is watching and
when i know you are watching most closely,
i write for you and
try not to let the keys spill out my pockets
a jangling noise expanding guilt
onto the floor