If blank walls are criminal, he’ll obey
the law with a spray can
till he needs a place to sleep. Till walls
become doors that open

onto back alleys
where the sun can’t get in. The spoon
he bends tonight
will be the surface he refuses

to touch at civil dawn. Six degrees
below without hope of a single aubade.

Civil Delusion

Humor me—let’s pretend
you’re not dead. I’m young
enough to think I can still

drink. To believe you
think about me 30 minutes
before dawn, 30 minutes

after dusk. Not all promises
will be broken. You’ll make me laugh
more than cry. And I’ll see

that ridiculous smile,
those chuckling eyes,
when I can’t stop

writing these poems
about a dead man.

Death of Scale Figures

Flip-flopping between Kerouac,
Miller, Jeffers, Ferlinghetti, and me, she
seeks an answer
to her female question: 


It’s a zigzag route—a skyway
network with real weather
leaking in. She takes it
again and again: bank 

to bank, civil
dawn to civil
dusk, Atlantic
to Pacific, instrumental 

to spoken
word, digital
to analog, fold-out
to GPS, root 

cellar to high
rise green
roof, concave 

to convex, at rest
to in motion, addiction
to rejection, black 

butterfly to ancient
barnacle, female
to male—what was she thinking 

asking them to ask me? She should have
left it at the river.  Either side
of the falls would do.

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.

Blue Hour

This cusp between
a tint and the taint
is where I’ll find you 

counting strings
and deeply dug channels
before dawn ruins the light.