Truck stops

Our Francophone waitress refills

our mugs with oilslick coffee

rainbow diaphanous like the diesel

fuel on asphalt outside beneath the

eighteen wheelers, idling.

You're not old till you're dead,

she says, sliding the debit machine

across Formica.







He was a peddler of wonder who gave me kites in summer

concertos and composers and the errant paddling of our

canoe bringing us to a bay where we draw up pike

and have earnest conversations about God.

In lamp light, mellow, we assemble

mystery jigsaw puzzles and he confides he has cut down

his sugar intake to one spoon.

They didn't say how big a spoon;

He winks through bifocals and coats his wheaties

with a soup spoon of brown sugar.

The Mantra

God, for one minute-

I recieve my communion on my waiting tongue, seeking

perforated sheets like a communion wafer-

God for one minute

relieve me of this burden of desire.

Lusting for a more immersive life.

God for one minute

relieve me of this burden; desire

The incessant chant demanding





Let me just let it happen.

God, for just one minute


Let me be free.

God, whom I do not believe in;

'God' as in the cohesive gel of existance

the meaning between the lines

amorphous humor and majesty and coincidence and reason and ridiculousness

the silent knowing of the vast skies-

God relieve me of these humble utterances

My back burner mantra

God relieve me.


An uninhabited hour when bakers rise

leaving their lovers in bed to start the first pots

of coffee and proof their bread

pausing for a cigarette with galaxies

of flour dusted on their aprons.

Inhabiting the strange space between when the world is on

and real and nighttime

the empty stage of dead buildings and quiet dark

hushed in anticipation and false waiting.

Shopping Carts

Shopping carts discarded on lawns

beached like turtles immobile

on their backs in the sand

delineated “bad” neighborhoods in our new city.

We were a thee shopping cart neighborhood

which improved over the years as the city sprawled.

Here was where I learned

not to walk home, alone after dark

or to cross the street if I saw a man

walking alone.

“Do you know that that's called?”

my mother asked, urgently.


The word repeats itself

every time I see a shopping cart,

sinsiter in a dark alley

or a stranger in my periphery

as I walk home alone at night quickening

my steps until I am almost



I have driven until I could see stars,

the florid lights of insomniac apartments and neon strips receding

and slept in the backseat of my car,

remembering what is not mine to keep.

Voyeuristically explored one way streets

populated with ghosts not of my own creating

guilty as a snoop in the house of an absent owner

caught rifling through the drawers.



I have seen you imagined in your old age
having surmounted everything in between troubled youth
and trembling hands, the memories of a young man's strength.
When I meet you in these fields again, I know
we will both be young
and fierce, and wild,
having finally cast off this pall of sadness that we've needlessly carried
for so damn long.
So I taught you, with a well-aimed rocks glass
that shattered along with whatever lies
I'd told myself about happiness,
how to spit in their faces
and tell them to fuck off, even as they twisted
the knife deeper.

Happiness don't come free

Remember when you thought it was love

that would move mountains & divide seas!

& when you learned that it was sorrow working behind the tides

your heart wept a monsoon?

The ways of birds

Bird flying with twig in your beak

where are you going this December day?

Who am I to question the ways of birds?

The bird need not concern herself with me

burdened creature of the land, observing.

I understand the sky as I understand the sea

or space or forest, primeval,

a mystery.


Bébé took me all the way to the ocean without protest

top down unless it was raining

really downpouring like that night in Hearst we went for a walk for darts

then crawled into the backseat to sleep and

woke up stuck to the leather.

It's nightfall when we reach the seawall

yearning to witness the Pacific sprawling

off toward unknown horizons

but I can smell the sea brine and hear the tide

rising and slapping insidiously against stone.

In the predawn gloaming

a woman fishes from the seawall,


casting &reeling.

A newcomer draws up a fish, first try

she glowers and settles deep into her canvas chair


A solitary seal barks amusement then swims

quickly, quickly out if the way of a cruise ship

that in the dawn of the waking city looks confusingly

as if a skyscraper has become unmoored and is drifting through the harbour.


The extent of what I own is my blood and bones

The rest is only borrowed.

I bought a fern to take her turn

in the windowsill parade

dollars spent and heaven sent

a green & quiet room.


I have lived lifetimes while you slept

traversing ranges of linen mountains and valleys of faces.

The church bell chimes eleven times and you say “Swim, you know how,”

the salt is a surprise on my lips as I swim out to sea.



My braid lay in its secret autumnal gold and dusk brunette 

coiled in a shoebox in her closet. 

Furious and confusingly touched I returned it to it’s alter; 

Saint's relics behind a mirrored sliding door. 

The foot of virgin childhood hair intended for wigs and instead, 

hoarded by my mother alongside cast-off teeth 

and indecipherable journal entries 

and Crayola drawings of fantastical horses 

with stiff necks and stand up manes. 


Racing Lads

Spumante foams along the neck of the bottle and flecks our clothes
as the race-worn horses foamed at the iron bits and slathered,

feet dangle from the trunks of Audis that speed, celebratory, up Chalk Lane
remember being suspended above the churn of steel shod hooves at speed.

Languid ponies loose in paddocks on the Downs serve to reenact the starting line-up,
the day's winners urged on to glory in a hundred different retold versions.


You sprung from streets and cities of hot seasons
redolent of tar and fetid waterways, river being a misnomer
for these sluggish grey channels with concrete banks
and chainlink fence scenery-

You didn't know the smell of the sun, only chlorine haze
and burning rubber bodied machinery.

I had inhaled it;
summer dreaming in sweat stained cool sheets of faded paisley
sun dried on the line that divided the lilacs from the hayfield.

The farm! Three years gone and summer with it
Still internally protesting the turn from the highway to town.

I had jumped up to lead you to secret meadows where does hid their fawns
dappled in sun and wild youth, before I remembered.
It was winter anyway and the barn to the trees to the sky
would be uniformly gray.