Bird and Tree
There, again. See? A small darting thing
with sharp edges and a wide brim
went into the dark arms of the tall one that whispers
constantly, its mouths dangling from tiny handles.
The small one calls out, bragging—or
its brim tucked away,
dagger mouth waving in the air.
It builds a little jail and stabs at it, then
goes in search of a prisoner.
The tall one waits. Where are its eyes?
What It’s Like to Be Adopted
Ah, my pretties, there was a stillness—
think of it as sphere-shaped
a ping-pong ball without the ball—
and perhaps before that grand explosions
around other emptinesses. Our stillness
collapsed, smashed itself white and blue
flew red and purple
out, we say. Flew to what
we call here and there.
Sweet ones, the pieces moved this far and
that far until
divided by now and then we called their changes
speed, their journeys time.
We call our game knowledge
as we hold hands and live its fun and terror
for, dearest listeners, each particle attracts all others
so we know of gravity, love, luminosity,
and the shifts of momentum called history.
We play here
in this tiny history
the balls we toss falling
(where we call down) like the bits
of what we do not know
flying toward the center of another
before they what we call begin
what we call again.
These 3 haiku were published in Haiku Zasshi Zo (June 1989). The photo is from a cornfield after harvesting by both humans and assorted undomesticated animals.
haiku for changing places
moving through the fog
the wary fox approaches
a sunlit hillside
in the hot stone flute
a listening woman walks
where the wind spirals
fleshless cornstalks lean
like cartoon figures begging
in brown unison
I don’t usually explain poems, but I like readers to know that I wanted to write a poem to a heavily tattooed woman but also to address a poem to the whole Earth, and this is the result. It was published in Willow Springs (No. 37, Jan. 1996). The quoted poem at the top is copied exactly as found.
Binoculars on a Tattooed Lady
I’m Jane or
I’m not sure if I’m
Jane or not.
I feel like Jimmie
but I could feel like
Marlena. I’m green
I could be a leaf. If
I were blue I could
poem by a homeless woman
I want to worship at the fins
of those procephalic dolphins caught
at the top of their arc out of the Sea of Cortez
garrisoned in your temple.
I want to smear
on your forehead ashes
from the collection of burned lovers
in the urn on your hip.
an elbow becomes a category,
your ass a pasquinade.
Who says you don’t shoulder your burden
who burden your shoulder with that
I want to soak you like an avocado pit,
pierce your clean body
and see what grows.