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Poetry page

My son, the mountains, and drainpipes

When Jake was three, 

his greatest fear

was swirling down the tub

  

drain. Pain at the needle's eye, trying

to drag your rags, your

boat, and your all-terrains-vehicle

  

through. You can't leave here.

Pine trees rattle like

a rib cage slamming

  

shut. A raven dives into a 

cloud: where does the fear

end. Do we make marks

  

and return to find where we left

off? We tried the seashore, but there

Jake dreamed of going down the Big

  

Drain. The Paradise Canyon Electric 

Company has threatened to cut

off the juice to my 

  

synapses. The optometrist clamps

my head

down.

  

"Tell me when it's

blurred." It was always blurred. 

It would seem our mountain 

  

gods might be drains,

femaie ends, outlets,

receptacles for our

  

overflow. The taproot of a poplar 

will eat into a sewer 

pipe for water. The drains

  

will find us

where we least

expect.

The body takes me down

Like Orpheus I seek,
plunge my eyes
into the underworld
of the body.
It slinks away.

  

A titmouse made its nest
in a deep hole in the fork
of a tree trunk, close
to the roots. Did you know some birds hiss
when threatened?

  

Olympias dreamt of a thunderbolt
that burned the world down
when Alexander was conceived.
“I’m alive,” says that sudden branch that slaps me
to the ground, takes me out
of thought.

  

Every day the body hisses
from the trunk of the forked mind;
it hatches, crashes and collapses.
The keepers of this world
want to pluck the madness
from the bright eyes
of the awakened ones.

  

Every day I look to find
that one thin power line,
that one word stream
the world hangs upon.

How thoughts get from me to you

These words, the bubbles of my thought,
cross the ocean of air that lies
between you and me.

Those bubbles fall into your inner ear,
wind down that deep seashell of your self
and with a wet sigh they give up their secrets,

And my voice becomes your voice,
my words become yours.
The thought-seed that’s nestled in the word-bubble
is alive in your eyes.

It has given birth
to the thought that blends you and me.

This is more real than hammers and anvils
This is the bridge across the deep waters of awareness.

On being deaf

What is it with the human mind
sealing off an Other,
naming and shaping it.
So many enclosures: a sliver
of atmosphere, a country, city,
home, room, brain.
So many walls, so little space,
each entity a thin wash,
a watercolor, seeking permanent status
in vain.

  

Of course, there is no mind,
just thoughts demanding to be…
well just to be, to be,
not to fizzle into not to be.

  

I’m deaf, lately, swimmer’s ear,
the conch shell that sound goes down
drunk with ocean foam.
The messages people send
I must get through other senses.

  

You who speak in soft puffy tongues
from the non-dual bathwater
can never reach me.
I need an archangel on a black horse
with a sword to slice
this darkness open
and set me free.

Techpoem 2: Forty-four love bytes in six nanoseconds

 

First, I open the moonfile
and pour clear memory
milk into our
private RAM cache.

  

Through the liquid pixels
in your eyes I navigate,
searching your microcache,
and tonight,

  

I read the primal
ASCII text of your touch.
Our love signal is cycling
at six hundred and forty-five
megahertz.

  

In a simple software language, I code
and upload
our love
to the motherboard.

  

I watch the tiny corpuscles
sing
in your skin
like wet fruit,
tingling to the hum
of my hard drive.

To my dog, Tera

I look into your eyes with love and sense
the same reflected back
but also pain and fear beneath,
so densely tangled, tightly packed.

When we go for a drive and stop,
you cry and howl, afraid
to be tossed once more
to some dark snarling corner,
with gaping jaws or metal door.

I want you to feel the beauty
I see in you, accept my gift
of soft petals, blankets,
and gentle hands to heal the rift.

When we walk at night,
release the darkness of your past.
Let us howl and ask the orb
that rises in the east
to absorb old memories,
replace them with its emptiness.

You stretched a leash from your eyes
to my heart and cinched it tight.
I feel the tug
when I’m out of your sight.

Dogs don’t do the neti neti dance.
You tell me you are real
when you glare at me,
put your head on my pants.

You herd me, circle my legs,
When I’ve briefly gone away.
“Don’t leave,” you say. I do the same
with my true self, circumnavigate it, beg
it, scold it, as if it might sneak off to Uruguay.

You stretch and leap and bark at ravens,
of late, and I see myself reaching
for that distant haven,
that pure awareness,
that escapes my vision.

There is a field we’ll someday float through,
many miles from all that hurts you.

There is no I, some say

There's a new way of knowing, some say.

No I exists, they say:

The I obscures the clean

empty sky.

But the I-flower breaks

through rock to get here

and won't give in.

It will burst Plato's form

to find the sun.

The "I am" will crack the word

like an egg, bleed out

the gamboge goo of Being,

and that Being

will push the boulder

aside in dead silence,

walk out and breathe 

the golden air.  

Apricot blossom

You are one thin
open page,
one poem,
one receiving,
and one giving.

 

I cannot, in my body,
know what it is to be that ecstatic white,
thin veil, so fine
a slice of something
that slipped like a word into physical form
so imperceptibly, even the wind
can only lightly touch it.

I cut an apricot to eat, today.
I opened up the fruit you forecast,
and a strange astronomy
unfolded from that
innocent act.

 

A dark, textured seed lay there,
so quiet and patient:
the roots, trunk, branches,
and the delicate leaves
packed in this ancient
sleep.

And this evening, when I looked
at your petals again,
they were the same white as the moon,
the same pale translucence.
It was then, in this remote corner
of the universe,
that some lost darkness broke out of me,
and I have returned to a white, empty page.

Losing all the keys

I think I lost them during the flight
somewhere. I was holding onto them tightly at the end
of the journey, but during the descent, it seems
I had to let go of everything.

I don’t always know
when I’m a key,
a doorway,
or when I’m the one passing all the way through.
Sometimes the ripples are endless,
falling head first,
or being twisted.

I look into all my pockets, then
in the pockets of others.
When we leave here,
our tumblers are set
for certain keys to fit.
I’m sure of that.

When we lose the keys, we may find
those dwellings that are open,
like convertibles, birds’ nests, and Buddha.
There need be no keys to climb into them
No doors to step out of.

Techpoem 1: Unix, Eunuchs, and Microfilters

a prose poem with computer commands

I opened a window in the Unix computer platform, climbed in, and couldn't find my way back. I could sense the message my wife sent through the modem. She told me that I was becoming a goddam computer eunuch.

  • Recover a window lost by a system crash.

  • Replace this one, go on to the next.

  • Switch cursor to another window.

The night before my vasectomy, we went to La Ristra. I tenderly forked my huevos rancheros as I sat beneath a painting of a melon with a section cut out. Orange inside, black seeds falling.

  • Split window in two vertically.

  • Delete this window.

  • Delete all other windows.

I entered the parking lot of the medical complex. A dull blade rose, then fell behind me as I crossed the threshold.

  • Killing and deleting

  • Yank back last thing killed.

  • Replace last yank with previous kill.

  • Create a new buffer.

As he tied the knots, I asked the doctor how long I should wait to have sex. "Most people wait a week. But I had to try mind out the next day," he told me.

  • Search forward.

  • Search backward.

  • Scroll help window.

  • Filter region through a shell command.

I thought about the tubes that had been sliced and wondered if the new world would look different--clearer, maybe, more transparent, less substantial; if my sensations would be dimmer, lower voltage.

  • Shrink window shorter.

  • Shrink window narrower.

  • Delete blank lines around a point.

  • Delete all white space around a point.

Lifting the veils in a Desert Inn Hotel

I love those hotels with a wall of windows
and three sets of curtains
holding some things out
but much within. 

After too many stouts

at the Black Sheep Lounge,

that sold inner curtain 

keeps me contained.

I can sleep till noon,

let no one in, please hold 

my calls, just let me unravel

in this little life boat,

rapid eyes darting

through a salty sting

of night sweats

in that ancient sea of sleep.

I wash up on the shore,

throw that darkest layer wide,

the blinding light,

there's not much to hide.

Sunlight bleeds into the earth

Sunlight bleeds into the earth

In Turner’s sunrise
the gamboge explodes.
Light must be broken
and bridled
to become a thing.

 

Could Moses slice open
the ocean of I Am?
Oh these wet and wondrous thoughts
will soon be dried
like yellow leaves.

  

Do you think I ought
to paint a luminous canvas
of madness, celebrate
the unmanifest, that which can’t
be told, or held or framed?

  

I’ve given up so much
to be poured on the open page.
I’d give a kingdom to paint
the apocalyptic horse
that won’t be tamed.

  

The colors bleed into
each other on this river
that delivers us.

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