Cloud Cuckoo Land

Up in cloud cuckoo land
days beyond neat rows and old news

the world does its slow bop
through the blue and white
ribbon-bowl of perfection

Silence is queen
in her cerulean realm
and for all I know
everybody went back to their home planets
or drowned desperately
trying to catch sight of their mermaids

but not me–
I brought all my stars and mermaids
up with me

keek-aboot peekaboo
stars stuttering hella huge
got me dancing hallelujah
ready or not here I come

taste all these clouds
this lupine quartz-lily sand sage
these sparkling dragonfly flanks
marinated in a breeze
from the spine of the sea mage

grasshoppers are clicking up a symphony
which reminds me
I too can kick up a dust storm
when I want to
but I’m pleased to say
that the ol’ sun and I
are taking it easy

I’ll close my eyes when he does
then I’ll become Guardian Moonman
watching over the Queen’s Silence

up here in cloud cuckoo land
everything is spun grandiferous


Don’t Be Quiet About Beauty

rootsmy friend,
don’t be quiet about beauty
don’t be silent about love
don’t seal your lips quite yet,
my love

even the ones who think it’s quaint
and queer, this talk unconstrained
even the ones loudest and preening
ache for love and beauty
through a mile of debris

oh, everyone talk of roots

but I say, grow past the ones they gave you
past the names that call you
past the farthest sideways glance

let them follow their own trajectory
like lonely reckless heroes
seeking the sacred well
let them dig, my friend
so you can fly

keep digging,
and seize your true name
from the center of the earth

then rise up north by northwest
until the secret
shakes itself out—
clean and heroic green
finally yelling

yes, yes,
I want that too

and sing the beauty of the whole mystery


IMG_2210The sign says they’re decoys
not real ducks—
but when I hear a rustling sound
that pulls me from my slumber
I open my eyes and all I see
are the flurried wings of two ducks over me.

So life-like!

We are on summer schedule now
and mechanical mallards moving
over me are my alarm clock

They seem so real to me—
When one approaches
clucking with curiosity
and tilts her head to find the meaning of my words,
“You’re so beautiful. Are you two a couple?”
I hope she didn’t think I was hitting on her.

It’s just I don’t know much
about the mating habits of birds,
especially fake ducks like these decoys.

And they’re not the only fakes on the lake—
On one end a very convincing squirrel
climbed through a fake wild plum tree
onto an imposter willow tree
overhanging its mirrored reflection
in the very life-like water
and on the other end
a very realistic-looking man sat
playing an instrument.

They didn’t do as good a job
with him though
because they forgot to put shoes on him
and he seemed to be shaped in a very unnatural posture—
reclining and relaxed–
different than the quickly moving real flesh and blood
humans who don’t get entangled
by all these decoys.

But I’ve never seen such realistic re-creations
of bats and swallows
dare-deviling at dusk
at the invisible insect buffet.

Their painted white bellies
and blue wings
were as good as the real thing.

Well done, parks district!

And when they put out the white egret
soaring so suavely across the face of the water
and it landed on a log at the edge
I forgot it was just a robotic device.

I was so utterly convinced
that I was taken aback
by its beauty
and goosebumps crawled
up and down my body—
That’s how real it seemed.

Not Here to Catch Anything

IMG_2121Not here to catch anything
says the poem
pretending to be an inkspot
of a man on an island
on a river
on the back of beetle

Nor to catch up on anything
or to be caught

and I try to believe it,
thinking to myself
it knows better.

I’m just in it for the convergence.

Don’t let your eyes settle
too long on this word
amaranthine river bed
placed here just for your convenience

Yez, why NOT for my convenience, you devil!?

“You’re really here, aren’t you?”

It’s not a question, but an observation
hidden as a question
that a different river goddess made
and I wonder in fact if
they are the same.

Yes, I am really here.

And here. And here.

The great blue heron glides by
like a satellite silent and in orbit
around the river.

I’m in its orbit now or he in mine.
Or we in its.

Tell me, where do you mark the center?

Don’t let your ears purchase it too highly
the poem says again.

Sometimes you eddy, but not too long
for it feels too good to join the waves.

Are you just in it for the waves?

The dew on the sunglasses in the sand
that was once a mountain
once cleaned a monk’s robe in Madagascar
once was farmer’s urine
became the peach in a jazz singer’s
breakfast of oatmeal.

THAT orbit became a song.

I’m not saying I know the song
but here we are together—
you, me, the dew, the suns, the moons,
the pulpy memories of past
and future
and the great blue heron

with a song running through it all.

And maybe that was exactly
what she was singing about
in that ditty about love
and the loss of love—
I just hadn’t been born yet
so how could I know?

How could I really know?

The Bee Leaves His Tavern – Seven Spring Haikus

IMG_0646Bee leaves his tavern
flying cross-eyed without care
full of daisy beer

An April morning
A fern dangles from fawn’s mouth—
Relaxed etiquette

Under the alder
Orion’s belt shines brightly
through the new spring leaves

I go and you go
to distant growing meadows—
two springs arriving

A springtime buffet
as for the fennel down there—
I ate most of it

First fruits and spring breeze
her thigh under fushia dress—
mighty writhing snake

Even in my arms
hearing the moon moan above
you long for my hands


The Hand Inside You

IMG_1499This way is not what you think.

It makes some want to grab it
and others hide in caves

Where are those who dare it?

To look in its eyes
and withstand the mighty gaze
without being knocked down?

Or if knocked down,
relish it for what it teaches
teaching itself

It is not what you suppose–
it cannot be grabbed
and it cannot be hid from

Stand in the bright light
and absorb the shadow

There is no secret—
it’s written in blue daylight
as much as the black skies
and green meadows

every rock and cloud spells it

and you find it at the bottom of every eye
and weed
and putrid habit

Hold the hand inside you
to find out

no fear can breathe
when it recognizes itself
from the inside
of all the beautiful things