April flyer

Santa Cruz 

After sunburned foothills and phosphorus

midnight ocean, bitter cherry blossoms

from winter rains. Spring stalls,

then slides: trillium, lily, lupine, mud.

Frogs and bright salamanders awake

to earth gouged by flood.

Egrets flock white

near pesticide fields of artichoke

and strawberry, while ceanothus paints

the highway cut a fairy tale blue.

Summer calls me home.


That time I was unable (a rare clear

morning with heavy dew and an early

frost patch) to seek them myself (just below

ridge line where they reflect sky, once alpine

leaf forsakes steady green for nuance and wild

splash streaked primrose, vermilion, scarlet, plum)

you brought me cerulean cups opened

to harvest sun, long past the bright cusp

in those last days of ripening heat, so

welcome as pressure drops in the storm tropics,

tracked to break water over this

autumnal north.

You picked two gentians brimming blue above

tree line, cradled them down cobalt slopes

shoulder high in monkshood, scented knee deep

with valerian, plunging on through fern

tangle and false hellebore slick, undaunted

by alder sprawl and that salmonberry

snarl of a game-trail, lupine dried to pods

all snap, pop, scatter, even fireweed

subdued in the hue of the bloomed out spike,

before cotton peeks from the split womb,

in that berry time, seed time, time of tall grasses;

that time of puffballs, amanita

and the small red biting fly: that time

of finally home, stuck on bed rest,

my milk coming in, in that season

of her birth.


Rank cow-parsnip and elder,

sharp yarrow and raspberry mix

late blossom with setting fruit, brush

going to seed under august sun.

Sweat drips dusty down skin seeping

between breasts, clinging, in this too

brief season before ripening

and returning night.

Haze screens snow peak horizon past

the swallow bluff, where the colony

flashes metallic on each choral

up-wing, backing a lone dragonfly

darting iridescent solo:

surprising still air as lazy

memories flit from that early

place known as youth.

Peaches coming on in a sultry heat,

Redkist and Jerseyglo; monarchs

in the milkweed, muddy pink between tilled

rows; faint breeze in the green wheat, corn

fat on the tall stalk, silk hanging brown;

bees busy in morning glory; these

tapped breasts then prime, shy belly lithe

above dusky new pelt, summer reaching

long into the nooks and crannies of us

East Village Autumn

Staring from your stark kitchen window

Into streetlight and barbed wire

shadow, I see vacant lots, the green

fields of childhood lost to urban dreams.

Sophistication scorns all color

as the guise of innocence. Sunday strolls,

brunch hangs over champagne rooftops,

while cafes hustle eggs, elegant or humble

with rye toast. Coarse coffee steams in maroon

ringed cups against strips of avenue

sky, geometric blue in crisp weather.

Yellow gingko fans and empty vials underline

the soles of my city feet, cracking,

as my mind’s eye wanders the streets

of my future, dodging ghosts from my mother’s

house that would snare me with memory.

That Woman

She wanted to gather them rosebuds, and make some hay, without

losing prime options on next week, foreseeing a breach in

down-the-road security (given how rocky old roads can get)

and a dwindling pile of pearly moments left for seizing.

She wasted no time on the paradox of cake (the having

and eating of it) knowing how to get more where that came from.

But weather dependence, long-term commitment, and forking paths

paralyzed her.

To go or not to go, to stay or not to stay.

Those were the dilemmas that tossed and turned her, becoming

the slings and arrows of insomniac musing, rooted in

the impossibility of being two places at once,

or of authentically being any place at all always

second guessing, trying to cross-hair ideal convergences

of the time-space continuum, to single out the right move,

thread that needle's eye.

The risks of being tied down to anything resembling

furniture or real estate jangled against cautionary

tales of bottomed out, of nothing left to lose.

Did she really want to go there, even sip that freedom brew?

With regret casting a shadow, within her line of vision,

rain or shine, with past and future pulling contrary causing

a tide rip inside her heart, how could she just keep on keepin'

on? How could she cut her losses and run?

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