Pearl

The museum was closing so we ran
down the stairs, through the galleries,
past the guards
to see her one last time.

Her face illuminated by
the pearl at her ear
dripping with light
the silence glowed between us.

I let go of your hand-
“don’t touch me.”
I want this to be mine.

We walked to a park to drink
the gin you bought at the train station,
you watched me picking the seeds
from the lemons with a knife.

You said the moon was her
face turned out to look at someone
over her shoulder.

Santa Cruz

1.
Anna smokes a cigarette,
and pouts,
before going to class.
She’s Russian.


2.
Sunset over the harbor
a 70’s surf poster.
A seagull
barrel rolls overhead.


3.
Surfers wait for waves,
ink blots,
on the horizon.
The moon rises.


4.
Girl in a purple sweatshirt
locks her bike
and walks across
the street.
Wow! A purple sweatshirt.

Two Poems About Foxes

1.
We had watched a fox
loping through the snow
drifts covered
the far field- between the house
and the wood.

He had something
in his mouth-
a bird or rat from
the orchard.
Steadily he trotted to the wood.

The next morning
we went out
to track the fox
his prints like blue clovers
the snow flecked with blood.

2.
Camping in Big Sur
the middle of winter
we put out the fire
to better see the stars
and when we came back
from the bathrooms-
ready for sleep-
a fox was on the picnic table
sniffing the toothpaste
we had left behind.

His wildness-
an electric shock
of red fur
lit by the milky way.

Bonnie & Clyde (Pantoum)

Her skin smells like water, or chlorine, and in

the green light, colored like new love,

she asks, were you a soldier?

I have to say no, but I did once kill a man.

 

The green light, colored like new love,

turns her skin blue and I ask if she is cold-

she says no, but I did once kill a man.

She pulls her blouse over her head-

 

turning her skin blue, I ask if she is cold

as I run a hand up her leg, tracing her-

she pulls her blouse over her head

pushing me away in the process of undressing.

 

I run a hand up her leg, tracing her

skin that is laid over veins and muscle.

She pushes me away in the process of undressing-

explaining what it is like to kill, to watch a man die.

Solo de Piano (Nicanor Parra Translation)

When the life of a man is a distant action

a small piece of pumice to polish the interior of a vase

when the trees resist the wind with their agitation

not the beaches or the plains with perpetual movement

 

When the others have nothing more to serenade

like the gods there is nothing beyond that

when you cannot speak for to feel echoes

there is no demand to speak

and the echo is outside the voices it produces

 

And when no magnolias are given to the chaos

of the garden which buffets the branches in a strange wind

the leaping heads which resolve the answers of death

for to feel resuscitated after a calm

 

When you have used the excesses of women

when again you exist in heaven and in hell

then again you have lost other things

 

I want to find the ruin of you

and I want my heart to feel nothing

Untitled (A Response to Coral Bracho)

The words ask for exploration; the landscape of the body

with the touch of another’s

we share the curiosity of cartographers

in a new land                        mysterious etchings of symbols across skin

                                    blue veins encase the bone.

 

The poem asks for response but the language is unknown

claridad                         -clearly

                        What is the incantation

                        for water           

                        turned into red wine dried at the bottom of a cup?

 

                        aqua

                        vino rojo

 

What makes a word?

Is it the adjective?

Is it the way it is whispered in dark?

 

Back in bed, the lovers explore the echoing

            caves; carrying a magic quality

            an anacoluthia

            the zetetic process of a kiss- an inquiry into taste

            they vellicate at the brush of eyelash against skin.

 

Previously published in Transfer Magazine (SFSU)