Monterey Bay

If science is fiction, let no oil
touch her skin under any narrative
current. A miracle

of protection, it remains dry
over a lifetime submerged
in water. She clings

to kelp forests. Air
bubbles are necessary.

Red Wing’s Bay Point

She stands beside the wooden no wake
sign to calm those rumblings
inside, steps on a bed of soft,
overripe crabapples

by accident. Laughter
in the slippage. She’s been to the island no state
wishes to claim across the channel—prefers
it from this side. Terror is

a walk across the High Bridge that ties
Minnesota and Wisconsin together
along Highway 63. A club soda to gulp
in the Harbor Bar outside wooded campgrounds.

Yes, vista rather than destination.

Red Wing

To be plum
with the river, or a bluff

quarried but still projecting
as a barn for the gods,

to be at all

bliss on a high bridge
or barge passing beneath.


“He was BEAT—the root, the soul of Beatific. What was he knowing?”
—Jack Kerouac, On the Road

She packs up her traveling self again, seeks
a lightened load for a one night stand

beside the river and its Red Wing rumblings.
Any way to break

the ceramic cast
to her routine deserves a look. This romantic getaway

has room for only one
on the upper deck of the Empire Builder. First stop

and she’s off
tracks on the trail toward bluffs ahead.


When she who is a cowlick
becomes a main character in high anxiety
drama playing through intersections, it’s time

to remove all straight lines, time
to take the long way home on foot.

Bixby Bridge

The crossing goes by
too fast, the span
and stretch will remain imprinted
on my memory reel as long as

they do. Who’s to say
I will carry this one
with me longer than any other bridge
I’ve committed

to memory. Part of the collection
of true spectaculars, it stands
a chance of rising
often and with force.

Visage Behind a Vista

Distressed fabric, I
did it the hard way.
These creases are real—I
only wish I had smiled more
when these uncloaked
skies came into view.

Minnehaha Falls

Abandoned and crowded, you
are my calm in a steady roar
on a warm Sunday afternoon.

Hidden but no secret, you
remind me to cease
my underestimation

of the middle. Oceans
are my soul edges—today
here lies my heart. Just for today.


My own private alley
is not for parking
ideas unless they’re going

in reverse. New words
to my ears tumble
from your mouth

to tempt me to pretend
to fall from an open window.
You who won’t trespass

against me—will you
catch me on the way


Will the ivy on brick
tie us together
for a moment? I close

all blinds on the east side.

Brown Foams

“What is the Mississippi River?—a washed clod in the rainy night, a soft plopping from drooping Missouri banks, a dissolving, a riding of the tide down the eternal waterbed . . . down along . . . and out.”
—Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Heavy legs won’t lift
the feet so easily over
cobblestoned walkways
on the West Bank. I make believe it’s winding
north, but I’m the one

doing the twisting slowly upward. The water flows
south over falls that used to be
natural spilling below. Louisiana
steam has backwashed against the current
to fill up this Minnesota atmosphere.

It could happen. Anything is possible. Weather is everywhere—
weather is god. I am everywhere
weathering god.