Friday, January 17, 2020

I Tend to Forget

Pine cone tucked
in the pocket of my coat
Small, compact.
A tightly balled fist, a wooden knot.
I wrap my fingers around it
and squeeze its rough scales
when things get to be too much.
It reminds me of my journey
from the branch to the earth.
It has been a good life. I tend to forget.
I forget the sharp smell of needles and sap.
The first frost.
The sun's gentle embrace
The rain, now a fine mist,
now pounding and pounding like blood.

Tiny Death Song

A white sock

on the gray carpet

outside your door

Monday, January 6, 2020

Rain on Chemeketa St.

A tarp rippling on a clothesline. A St. Barnard sitting on a damp patio. An empty hot tub leaning against the wall behind a muffler shop. Shining ribbons of water in the middle of a field. Painted on the side of a train, the word CUTS in enormous block letters. Houseboats and tent cities and RV lots and fulfillment centers and tract housing and scrapyards and megachurches and a tree splintered by lightning. A corrugated steel Quonset hut. A rusty drawbridge spanning the narrow river. Mallards swimming up the rain-pocked canal, dipping their bills.  Woman crocheting a brown washrag with long, blue needles. Coming out of a shoe repair shop, a piano tuner who lives at the end of West Chemeketa Street. He knew your mother, and is sorry for your loss but he still won't you use his umbrella.

Home

E.T. is on the TV
in my room at the Phoenix Inn
His heart burns through his chest
Love resurrects
I sit on this enormous bed
my sketchbook's pages
spread like wings
across my lap.
When I get too sad
I get up and dance around the room
the way she would,
shaking her little ass and laughing
I wish she was lying next to me
munching popcorn,
doodling through the commercials
The Extra -Terrestrial
ascends to the heavens
in his glowing craft.
I want to lift off too
rise from last year's ashes
to leave this planet
she left me stranded on
and return home
so she can show me
the drawings she did
while I was gone

Friday, January 3, 2020


Its belly flashing white
the frog leaped
from the jaws of the cat

to be swallowed 
with a plunk
by the ravenous creek

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Books of the Dead

A vial filled with crushed bone
in the pocket of my jacket.

A yellow dumpster
with the word LINGER
spray painted in black
across its side

Something crunches beneath my sole
I don't look down
to see what it is

Monday, December 9, 2019

December Song

Walking to work, I looked for the sparrows
that flit in and out of the bushes, twittering.
I looked for the woman who flashes me
a sweet smile as she hurries for the bus.
I looked for that little dog
that wags its tail and places its paws on the gate as I pass.
The sun cut through the mist
but though I looked up to greet it
I felt no warmth. My face
was a cold shadow spreading.
The dog was locked inside. The birds were dead.
The woman was down by the river, out of her head.
I walked to work and mounted the concrete steps
one by one.