scratched by sunset claws

her face dissolves in winter clay

scales drop desiccated lashes

cliffs threadbare, roots exposed to sky

sun-withered, kelp drooping on old logs

no child cartwheels across that expanse

different gulls lean against the wind

on the same trajectory

where my mother’s ashes swept away

i slowly fade in her wake


fearing fecundity

adoring concavity

i transgress nature

i decry the shame of a diamond mine

such a perversion of purity

yet i cannot help

excavating your interior chasms

pawing through soiled sheets

for jewels

marvels of chiseled perfection

your abject honesty

the poem i crave


is it safe for me to tell you

the ground i walk on

the ground you worship

is unstable

cracked and fissured

the cloak of compliments you wrap around my shoulders

slips down

my emaciated hollows


a collapsible architecture

except for the bones, fine bones

i am mediocre

one of a dozen

three dozen

a hundred and two

i will never really know the true number

my sins and virtues coincide

on a single day

the day that marks the end and the beginning

until that day

i was special




i’m not afraid of the dark

i don’t have monsters under the bed

but i am awake

longing for the fullness of dreams

to sail me across the trough of the night

dreaded emptiness

the nothingness beyond death

my mother couldn’t comfort me

go to sleep! she said

her voice hard, impatient

wrapped in her soft arms, i obeyed

i didn’t know then it was she i longed to find


an elusive charm but sometimes a nightmare

now you wrap me

in soft words and strong arms

you fill me a boat with dreams  

gently pushed from shore

into the rising sun, this time

i yield


we had a picnic on Sauvie Island

in a bird refuge

asti spumante was exotic then

smoked salmon and halvah

you undressed me on a tree limb

i was drunk and exposed

you ate me up like a ripe kiwi

i might have thanked you

but instead i flew away

flushed from the bush

flocks of the same feather

my ancestors migrated freely



you captured me

hair flying on a saltsea breeze

leaning into a sunset

your eyes

blinded by a rush of love

unguarded moments like these

make me want to go back in time

to you

to walk with you in the palmettos


we could walk among ourselves

before we ever dreamed of life

before life dreamed us into selves

selvas primeval


you will not age gracefully

(as if power were a disgrace)

you get out of jail free

you pass go

you collect your hides and a full quiver

you stomp your boots

though your fur may be fake

your aim is true

you howl a wild night

no man takes you down

you accept this body as your promised land

moonscape of wrinkles, sags and scars

witch, crone, harpy, Janus-faced tooth mother

you kiss the mirror, your immortal twin

you take your place in a pantheon of pleasure

step aside demigods, let the party begin



silks and spices

desserts topping desserts

mink slippers and martini sunsets

silhouettes sliding through sunbeams

impossibly skinny

impeccably chic

cobblestone tourists

soul searching kisses

the chaste desert beyond and behind

its silent fingers tenderly creeping


retaking its territory

in unsuspecting bowels

the denouement a Victorian defeat

but it was fun

I reach for the last teacup


Fingertip tangos unfurling

scrolls of spun sugar

Word confections

Enticing an already layered dessert


Webs shimmering in a forest of vertical emotions

Flattering expectations

Rather than affectation, disarming affection

Of which I am an unlikely object


The ground springs gently underfoot, inviting trust

Time suspended

In a golden hour when the slant of the sun

promises eternal bliss


Here and there still pools, obsidian obscure

with sudden flashes of fire, like opal

and I want to ask you

What is the shadow of effusion?


a demigod, you define the rules

in the hot tub at Everett house

no shoulders blazoned with adventure

ever sluiced water so delicately

into eddies of velvet seduction

the best is yet to come, you say


we too, could migrate

on wings to wilder waterfalls

places unexplored by my ancestors

who, when open land grew scarce

transgressed their boundaries

beyond mountains, mountains

beyond, they came

not so long ago

to forage these forested slopes

now street names

on the lips of latter day seekers

and idle soakers


bitter honey on the rocks

a fire in my place

Balthus pulls back the curtain

he was fourteen and i was ten

(if only i could stay this age forever)

adrift, on a sea of ice in suburbia

what the hell, Siberia

slipping into virtual passages

virginal commerce, shrouded side doors

a stage, in development

a drama, a dream, perhaps

a Freudian interpretation,

child’s play, a simulacrum, or a (mere)



five hard boiled eggs

(i stopped long ago counting

calories, but i still can’t figure

how to indulge

to loosen the impulse to hold back

to relax the forearm, to extend

to take, to take for granted

to let go

to slide down the escarpment

to call up a confidante

a car

a yellow convertible

a white lie

or a fantasy)


or is it defiled?