Some women will draw blood
in the way that you like it

Some women have dark wells
drilled by death
you can’t find the bottom

Some women are made of feathers
always floating
while others eat rocks
and never get off the ground

Some women will want to fuck
your poems
and instead find you

Some women kidnapped themselves–
neither you nor they can find them

Some women will let you eat them
like a grapefruit for breakfast
but won’t let you make them
breakfast in bed

Some women carry a handcrafted knife
and etch their name into everything
including your back

Some women do what they’re told–
stay away from them

Some women can’t look you in the eye
some because of what they did
others because of what you did

Some women are convinced you are
what is wrong with the world

Some women are convinced you are
what is right with the world

Some women let you carry their bags for them
others let you carry their dreams
yet others know how to carry what’s theirs

Some women have a mirror in their pockets
others are a mirror in your pocket

Some women only want your mirror

only want your hands
only want your mind
only want your cock

Yet some women don’t know what they want

Some women are so sweet and innocent
you will love them forever
yet never fall in love with them

Some women will take off all their clothes
and roll in the mud
the sand
the snow
with you, after singing, “I’m alive!”

Some women will let you tie them
to a tree in the backcountry
pretending to be a wolf
under the full moon

and the moon will blush

Some women will kiss you on a volcano
Some women are a volcano.

Some women will use you as a safehouse,
fleeing danger
and others will seek a safehouse
fleeing from you

Some women give their heart out
like pollen to spring bees

Other women’s hearts shift like the moon
waxing and waning
when all you want is the sun

Some women can’t withstand the full sun
of you

Some women want the talons of you
to devour the mouse of them
so they can fly

Some women are made of wild water
and fir tips
and bits of bat’s wings

Other women are made of ideas and microplastic

Some women play hide and seek
and will keep hiding
until both of you forget which closets
you both went in, never to be found

Some women have a good game,
some have several

while some women show you all their cards

Some women know the secret
some want to know the secret
some women think you have the secret

Some women will pee in front of you
and the redwood sorrel

Some women are moths
only coming out at night

Some women are daytime creatures
afraid of the dark labyrinth

and some grab your hand
as you torch the darkness together
and then you know

some women you will never meet,
and will never meet you,
even long after you meet.

(after Kim Addonizio’s The Matter)



Like limbs thrown down and wildly thrashed
a harvest of a mighty breath
the soft cables of our bond
so quickly cut, so soon withdrawn

By what savage gale overthrown
or by what wrenching circuit blown
this force that together drew
now splits us into more than two?

Oh rage that fells the solid spruce
and rips the redwood roots so loose!
Only a dizziness remains
debris from feral hurricane

It is not yet known why we agree
to that first long, unfathomed fall
when a deeper one is guaranteed
and tied to the end of it all

Or why, with that first flirty start
we court our own slow aching heart
Or do we give wind consent
to our own imminent descent?

—Ryan Van Lenning


No Velvet-Covered Love/No Casual Clouds

raincloudI don’t want no velvet-covered love

No cautious clouds
casually passing through each other
untouched and unknown

No uncorrupted alto-cummulus

I want to form extravagant shapes
like gremlins jumping out of the closet
unicorns hammering drywall
howler monkeys stealing guavas
and hurling them down the valley

I want to become a ferocious thunderstorm together
that feeds the earth
and sends bolts down to split trees

Zeus himself will take cover

No tepid love, no gentle creek—
I want a flood over hidden rough rocks
in a deep and crooked arroyo
and cuts canyons so deep
there is no way out
but by digging to China
or drowning

I want our calves to be as strong as our hearts
making the path by walking

Bring a machete, a beating heart, and two strong legs

I hear the rhythm on the horizon:
deep beats, the pulse of thunder

Let’s dance like idiots
and run through a field of fire
play hopscotch on Mars

Then exhausted,
let’s siesta in the sun
beside an alpine lake
dig our feet and souls in the mud
then string a hammock between horizons
and get to know one another

Show me what’s under that boulder
show me where you got bit,
the shadow where no light got lit
take that stone fruit that’s all pit
and throw it down the mountain

Leave me dizzy, a milky way spinning
like a drunk across the cosmos

Then, like cosmic dust, settle
and compose ourselves for the next act

Open Letter to Rocks, From a Geologist of the Heart

0264C498-EE9D-46E6-B7A4-CF17C3D9B591.jpegLove rocks

Yes, I do
Yes, it does.

All unique
beyond compare
I touch each one
like it’s the first rock
I’ve ever seen
rolling it in my hands
feeling the texture
savoring its shape

If I’m bold, taste it

What is it made of?
What colors live in it?
How big or small is it?

Some are smooth
and simple
like sandstone,
layers added gently
over time
things get through
you can scratch
initials in it
bury your fossils
see where you’ve been
form fascinating patterns
exposed to the elements
it can erode over time

Others are complex
and tough
like granite,
an amalgamation
of colored scars
formed from
enormous heat and pressure
pushing material
from deep below

Its quartz are
micro prisms
elements within
wanting to be reflected
in the light of the sun

Some transform
from one to another
like gneiss
banded with stretch marks
from its constant
not sure
what it wants to be
before it reaches the sea

Other rocks begin scorching hot
burning wildly
but cooling rapidly
leaving a shiny surface
with nothing left to do

A trial by fire
an igneous experiment
below the surface
or sometimes out in the open

Some rocks remain a mystery
with elements beyond
the periodic table

Love rocks–a whole collection
rests on my altar
and I pick one up
from time to time
just to admire

But I’m always finding new types
never seen before

Because I’m a geologist of the heart
and the earth
is made of rock and love
and so am I

Widening One Wave At A Time

45D49B59-7F0C-40EB-8135-F226C8136E40On the edge of the west
the sea’s many voices
sibilate across the waves
and through the Sitka spruce

It’s wide sound no one can hear
without also widening hearts

The moon poured herself down
on us pouring ourselves together for the first time
among the sands and hands
discovering some us,
that until autumn’s first moon
had been only a you and a me

In celebration, we became a wild coyote singing back to the sea
then returned to our selves
a wave or two wider

Strange Flavor

B92E2251-43AA-447C-BE60-FCD6FD1EBC96Yes, I had asked to try all the flavors and textures

But when she served up Full Moon Cinnamon Palo Santo Blackberry Italian Sorbet with Sage Coconut Chips
I didn’t quite know what to do with it.

It seemed dangerous.

Consulting the experts is futile
in situations like this because
there are no experts.

And so I do the only thing that seems reasonable—
take two heaping scoops worth
with whip cream and a Salah-berry on top
down to the beach
and gobble it up

And because ice cream likes being worshipped
and my tongue likes worshipping

I enjoy the hell out of it
as if it’s my first time
tasting this strange and exquisite flavor—-
because it is.

And also might be my last.

I’ll worry about the calories later.