Thursday, April 30, 2009


She keeps Earl grey
in her underwear.
She says, “I would like to keep Basil there,”
with uncertainty she says it.

The salt in your hair,
the salt in your bones,
brings me rain,
and salted, the slate wets.

You touch my arm,
tomato leafs in my hand,
I smell their briny dense bouquet.

A white dog licking the salt
in notes off one beautiful thin leg.
Her chest is sunburned apple,
her nose and her brother too.

I liked it when you said you couldn’t listen,
like memory it needs to be burned in.
Here’s where I should have started talking,
I’m guessing an utter would have done.

Such pathetic broken river rocks,
all in the shape of hearts, and hurt lingers
in the forgetful birds,
while under the pear tree
bees dizzy around the ripening
and she’s so lovesick
in her panties.

Sailor’s Blue

The old sailors
down on the long tongues
of the Ballard locks are blue and gray
and sing, way-ee, way-ee
in the cold wind.

Knuckles fisted to their sides,
they tell stories by stones that glide effortlessly
two-feet above the dark bellies
of the rising channels.

Everything rendered in oil,
oil from the leaking Saab,
the swill and sludge from the bailing-out boat,
held up by stilts on land and half-filled with storms of December,
confused, the rainbows toil.

The oil in paint, in shades of leaks
I keep because they are from the Netherlands
and mend metal skies and deep bucket bottoms.
Oil in tubes I squeeze out like grief
onto large plates of glass
and smear into faces
from my past.

Everything remembered in oil,
the twill smell of cadmium red,
the rye that stayed with you
covered you inside,
and dotted your knuckles
you notice them as you eat a sandwich,
as we sip our Torrentes,
through which two dark eyes
are as dark as oil.

Oil as the stingray slices
to a surface that pools
perfectly still, a suffering incision
as quick as sailor seagulls
as cold as belly locks
the oil nighttime
Ballard breathes out.

Don’t Talk

Laughter makes two girls bend in the street.
Two umbrellas open up into white lilies
saying, IloveyouIloveyouIloveyouIloveyou
and a little white terrier rolls over on the sidewalk,
she wants you to rub her belly
with just the back of your hand.

Call me when you get this—
like a whale a thought is swallowing.
Call me, though I probably won’t answer the phone.
I will listen, though, like it’s a letter from
a very far off place.

There is no pity in that
so-pink sky on this side of town,
waiting for the sift of Bob Dylan’s rain.
Until across the neon sign of the pharmacy it finally explodes,
and rain is everywhere and people squint their eyes,
like they are so hurt to the every single
every where.

See Through

Astringent green,
a harbor of sighs.
Tinder, a dory.
Think Winslow Homer,
filled with foreboding,
Now, Voyager.

But life is not the movies.
Nor is its pictures
a resolute pondering.
I’ve never fainted on this burgundy,
not just so across the moth wings
the Persian rug thins.
I have not gone off to battle,
no immortal in lime, the sea air
off the cost near Dorchester.

It is not the same music,
rue, regret and fistfighting,
estranged dialogue—
where is a very attractive
and overcoming hope? My sacrifice?
Where is it, if it is not
my every, singlet,
my everyday?

It’s the pin stiff of wheat,
that takes me to the sprinkle of anise,
and salt everything like March flaking snow.
Let’s eat brooktrout and make stories
by the row-full, let’s now go,

I can tell a fine one,
one about horses, a silvery montage,
once taken to the light,
and truncated abruptly
as life.


“I love this song—don’t you?”
Piano, then whistling the piano.

“Love this song? It’s so sad—”
I start to walk the house with my eyes closed
and wonder what it would be like,
to lose the both of you.

“It brings you to that time—doesn’t it?
Doesn’t it just bring you to that time?”

The answer I see is all red,
and this celestial wandering
brings my nose up close to the kitchen window,
through which a clear warm undressing
has begun of a devastating pair
of such young beech trees.


A slant tender yard;
a fence melds into misshapes of boxwood
where a small Austin Healey convertible
turns slowly a sienna, and sinks
sweetly every five years or so;
seems to bow to an applewood stump
my father chopped and burned
one Christmas 1972.

Looking down through the yard,
I have shaved off my beard
and with it ten solid years
of a different life—the whole west coast
was shaved off from there.

But a certain terror,
a hillside bouquet with a stump
and a sinking car, the sweat work
the very edges of axe swings
September brings.

There are no vineyards here,
although the few young ones,
crabapples in my father’s yard
under a perfect moon have been harvested,
the wine stored in remnant row jars,

and as severe as you can,
the emptiness of changing love,
you can bring it back
to the soft side of your tongue,
a remarkable laughter
in a fistful of regretful grounds.