Tinderbox

Kerouac sees punks
in his 20th chorus—
all those who would fit
on a page of a breast 

pocket notebook. Leftover
ones dancing on the head
of a pin, I’ll get over this

disdain. I’ll listen again
when amphitheaters begin
to accommodate sleeping 

drunks. I was one
when the longing for nothing
I knew singed the soles 

of my feet. The pain made me
sleepy. Howl that one
at a guitar pick
moon—I dare you.

River Salvation

Three turtles on the back
of a fallen wish bone
branch, I’m looking down 

river 

again. The chain
of lakes does not captivate.
Without an ocean, 

my roots 

go thirsting
for a source deep
in the mud. Home 

is wherever water carries
forth that voice.

Guardian Angel with a Blues Harp

—not a lute. Storms
have passed. Acoustic mass
wraps black
and tangles up inside 

the brick wall. Some of it will seep
through. More will remain the ivy
of darkness outside 

my window. Alone, I risk 

the walk outside at night
toward a museum, fuzzed-out
guitar and drums loop
around a gallery 

on an upper floor. Alone, I imagine 

I will peer over
a cliff, will listen
for human voices amidst the ocean 

roar in Big Sur,
will hope to see an otter,
will hope to hear some small sign
that you’re out there watching 

over me without knowing
that’s what you do. I keep
my distance—solitude
is my drug 

of choice. There’s nothing left to fear.

Cul de Sac

She might choose it
if the other ones prove too 

paved, or too ragged
without sidewalks. She can’t 

be without
sidewalks. Not for very long. He built it— 

he can curve around it
and drive in the opposite direction 

off the grid. She’s caught
in this dance with the dead 

ending. Knows she can find
another way out, take 

a look inside that patch
of sycamore. It wouldn’t be 

a bad time to take up
tree climbing again.

Just So You Know

Always hated fire
works, always
will. I’ll be staying 

away. One bad jump
off a life
guard stand into State 

Beach sand, a twisted
ankle no amount
of eye candy color 

over the ocean
could soothe. Never
mind the explosions. Black 

Market or Black Cat brand,
either way a 500-gram cake
of flame tails awaits 

on the other side. I’ll not be crossing 

the river or state line. I’ll be back
on that beach—super pyro, 

invincible, never mind
the explosions.
Just never mind.

Off Season

Hollow women seek distractions
in you. Numbed
into summer is no way 

to look at the moon
each night. That hill won’t hold
all these heavy

limbs and lids. I’ll be the one
to rebel—I don’t want

to be distracted.  Let me suck
sustenance from soma goblets
before another civil dawn.

Aphasic (Day 2,773)

Numb’s the word.
Just past summer 

solstice, no rain, muck
blows off 

as a dusty burst
of thoughts you may have—but 

they will remain trapped
in a cephalic void. The conversation 

is over.
I’m not ready. 

My jaw aches
from clenching 

teeth against the cruelty
of your disease. Look out, 

I can’t predict when
or where I’ll bite.

Another Scramble

Meet me at the bus stop
where we won’t wait
to see another quarter
moon translate the sky 

into a language for pedestrians
without a bridge. We won’t wait

for anything—we’ll be walking across 

12 lanes of traffic,
all lights with us, headed for
a destination we shouldn’t have
been so eager to meet.

Withholdings

A straight shooter, she
imagines everything becomes visible
on her face. Imagines she casts 

no shadow, is exposed
even when it rains. 

But 

into those blind spots go
whole narratives unfolding
with characters she didn’t invent 

roaming places she’s afraid
to step into—transparencies 

crumpled and torn, dark
rooms boarded up.