Into Mud, Slipping


into mud, slipping
into clouds, flying
into mystery dancing
into fire, burning up
when cold night comes
I keep hopping about like this
though the owls just keep singing
waterdrops just keep kissing my face
and the redwood trees just stand there
as if they’ve seen it all

Poems’ll Cut Your Head Off

IMG_6958He thinks poems are angels.
You think poems are angels?
You think poems are angels?!

Maybe an angel with a sword

tuck you into bed at night,
cut your head off with a golden scimitar

Sweet things they are not:

“Don’t let the amber color of my beautiful words fool you”
she didn’t say,

but her eyes gleam it,
diamond serious

Lumps of Poems Lurking In My Pillow


I just stepped on one this morning,
wasn’t looking where I was going.

Ran into tree-
the last remaining old growth.

Or was it that I was only
looking where I was going?

That’s a good way to miss where you need to go.

One jumped out at me on the bus
and from the eviction signs at Here There
on the border
between everything
singing, “just let me live!”

I tipped my coffee cup and found
one clinging to the rim,
asking for a drink.

so addicted, these poems are
to being heard.

that they’ll even drop in on your conversation
with a friend
and interject their opinion, whether you want it or not:
“…..Loves Fear!!”

and shout at you for a 3 AM feeding.

“What’s so important that it can’t wait until morning, like a reasonable person?” I ask.

It responds, “I’ll tell you, how much time you got?”

“Ok, OK! I’m all ears,”

It starts reciting before I can get even in a yawn.

Turns out it’s just something about life and death and love and rabbits and nostalgia
and moon and grandfathers and imprisoned people and bows and arrows
and pain and plastic shit-bags and teachers and wind
and fear and dancing and watersheds
and eagles and reciprocity
and justice.

Nothing much.

I go back to sleep,
but I can feel the lumps of poems
lurking in my pillow.

They’ll just have to wait until morning, I think.

But dawn arrives, and they’re no longer here.

Oh well, the poems hiding in the sky and mud and streets await.

The First Syllable

IMG_6045In the middle of the forest
in the part
of the darkness
you ordinarily avoid
an old live oak lives
with limbs covered in lichen
–fern green, pumpkin orange, gold–
a cozy jacket ember warm

ki* has a name (See Note 1)
but it cannot be told

among the roots
a beating heart
within ki’s chambers
blood bright as stars
flowing beyond sight

within the blood
a flurry of birds
singing “Yes!” in all the languages–the first syllable

when a herd of deer steps out
of the bird’s mouth
you will peer into the buzzing light
of each other’s eyes

suddenly you know that they know
that they are you

and they will go back to grazing
and forgetful

as you will too

whose blood is it?
whose heart beats?
the Great Oak, the One Star, the Ancient Stone, the Blessed Dark, the One Beat, the Cosmic Eye?
Who knows?

the Great Circulation
on and on and on

Note (1): Ki is a proposed alternative pronoun by Robin Wall Kimmerer to refer to people of the earth, to avoid objectification that comes with using “it” in the English language. See her exposition in Yes Magazine or in her brilliant and beautiful book, Braiding Sweetgrass.

Your Darkness is Shining

IMG_6903I. soil

in humble black gold
like downtrodden lifting all
seeds dreaming green
sleep like sparks
in the womb of the dark

II. sky

in the longest night
when tulips aren’t even on the tip of a dream
cold creeps towards the center
of a hibernating winter heart
where a lowly sun is born
whispering secrets

III. silhouette

in the stretched pregnant hour
before the dance of the day
this hushed unrushed
unseen hanging chill
clings like damp cloak
skin tight on fog face hymn of owl
while stars sing soliloquies

IV. soul

in pitch black
sacred wound
that sharp deep ancient ache
your darkness shines
like gorgeous throbbing face
–a lighthouse calling
you to the shoreline
of homecoming





“If we have become incapable of denying ourselves anything, then all that we have will be taken from us” – Wendell Berry, Leavings

all but the one redwood

took only 15 years

an entire forest
of giants vanished
in a single breath

hills scraped clean
like a quick shave

leaving stubbled hills
to build the places
we love
called Oakland
Martinez, Benicia, Lafayette
San Francisco cable cars

circle around the
little ones
compared to the mighty ones

32 feet in diameter
bigger than any ever known

but one remains
a reminder?
a ghost?
a dream?