In which I Consider the Weather

A New York friend says
we have no real seasons in the
Coachella Valley.


Come fall, the death of summer, and we feel like feathers.
Birds prance like runway models on the telephone wires,
leaves toss in the twilight wind.


How they wandered in the desert,
how they bowed their heads to pray,
how they bowed their heads to blend in,
how, robbed of their rings, they sang
and drummed upon their own skin,
until their skin was taken away,


Middle of another night,
my mind colonized by the evening’s headlines.
It seems like the world is losing all its tenderness.

I try to fall asleep by counting my breath.
I imagine myself a wakeful dream, dreaming itself.


The long day softens,

and just as my body begins

to ease its beseeching,

her family arrives—

her mother’s heartless fingernails,

How We Met

Do I have any pets?

“I’ve been wanting to get a dog. I’m kind of an old soul,

and I think dogs also tend to be old souls.”

Psychobabble to convey depth—

I don’t like dogs.

How We Met

She walked behind me at first, then alongside. When I reached home, she simply walked in, sat down, and immediately fell asleep. She woke, as if at the end of a long illness. We ate grilled fish and sat together in silence. She spent the night and the following day, which turned into another, and soon a week had passed. We got along. She came and went as she pleased.


In the thick 

of our holy quarrel

you leaned in 

to whisper 

the most important thing,

but were silent,

The Salt

I set out to attain nothing more

than myself, and before long, 

had no money 

and only one tooth,

Hero Worship

My big brother Harry was something: Leave the crude undamaged beneath the sea, he said, sold his car, and even refused for a time to ride in cars. (Later, he lived in a car.) Immediately after college, Harry changed his name to Harrison Redwood, moved north, and chained himself to an old growth redwood.

At First Blush

At first blush, it appears an unambiguous portrait, the subject a man in meditation— adamantly upright posture, well-cut jacket, background in soft focus. From another angle, one sees a woman with a broad, strong face and red hair. Viewed from a third angle, the subject is a beast,


When she was getting close 

to the end, we cached the hospice morphine 

in the fridge behind the ricotta cheese,

in case.


Acquittal is caused by crime,

tooth decay by Cupid.

Winter causes diligence which causes nuns,

and Popeye is caused by spinach and the ocean.


When she arrived, she did not say 

too much about her journey 

or the mint tea she drank en route.

We did not lament the destruction

of earth or bring up the vegan position

on dandruff.

Table for Two

We dreamed of a life of pâté en croute,

always arriving with a fig mostarda,

a life in which a contralto-green cilantro pesto 

could be counted on to refresh the gamey lamb.

Why should the search for perfect cheese puffs be less important 

than the search for pure black or the sound of one hand?

Notes for Wedding Vows

We’ll watch black and white movies exclusively.

I will not be fat.

There will be acoustic guitar.

It will be feng shui.

I will not smoke indoors.

I promise I’ll stop doing that thing you hate.

Also, the other thing.

Self-Portrait with Tree

I want to have you, I murmur to the photograph in an airport of a tree on a ridge, its frail silver gelatin silhouette leaning against a bright sky. The shadow hovering at the edge of the frame must be me.

Trigger Warnings

I believed I knew the contents  of the firing chamber, knew  the sear surface and hammer materials, until one day at the zoo, as I leaned on a railing watching the gibbons balletic, I saw in the acrylic panel enclosing the cage my own reflection, an unarticulated skeleton in a specimen jar. As snow fell …


I saw Mick Jagger once with his girlfriend at a café two tables away from where my mother and I were eating lunch. “Mick Jagger!” I blurted under my breath, as if I’d just arrived from the sea floor. My mother was eating a wedge of cantaloupe in her manner— first, the silver knife under …

Sword of Glass

It was my father’s father who at last came to dinner from far away, gulped a whiskey, grinned, and said When I have a whiskey,  I feel like I’m a new man & then the new man wants one, too my father pouring another & the new, new man also wanting a whiskey who tucked …

Einstein at the Sink

Einstein at the Sink — Let us imagine a raven flying through the air . . .~Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and General Theory • Einstein stands at the sink, Trims his moustache, imagining The mirror is a window in a traincar. He snips the tip of a moustache hair And watches it drop like …