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.

Onomatopoeia

She takes the high road
through fog infested woods.
Nothing visible 

but the flight of leaves
as she rounds curves 

and moves on. That whoosh is

the voice of vertigo
she leaves behind when it’s time
to make a new noise.

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.