Pacific Saudade

This Noguchi sculpture encased
in glass on the departures level inside the San Francisco Airport soothes

my incurable longing
for what those Big Sur rocks would not release. That he could have been

my soul mate doesn’t matter—he’s been gone
since I was a young woman. That this other creator

of darkest beauty could be is
a lie I tell myself

to keep my feet from straying
off the cliff side path. I believe in

an art that mates soul to soul for a moment. And that is enough
to fly home on.

Letter in a Mirror

“Tainted Love” won’t hit you
the way it did in 1982 when you came late
to Studio 54. Always arriving early, 

you miss being
the impact.  Pregnant
new wave singers, punk 

ones already overdosed, your phobia
keeps you clean. You are one
of the dirt eaters.  We can tell 

by the lines on your finger
nails, by the look you give
trees. Your envy is not pretty— 

it’s what you wear
when nothing else seems to fit. The seam
is endless 

around your assumptions.
Your shoe size is not
what you or I think. You would be taller 

if you could give up
the memory of those songs—
the ones that didn’t deliver 

the truth, it turns out. And it is
this—Noguchi is dead. Your soul mate
isn’t yet born. Take a deep breath, 

my dear woman, move on.

Living Tower

Even if it was an option, it’s not 

an option 

to date your guardian angel,
even an accidental one.  You may believe 

you’ve exhausted them all, been pushed
to the edge of the jetty—rocks everywhere 

sounding off a raucous
laugh.  But the one who guides you ashore 

cannot be the one to take you 


to love you in a half lit, half
darkened solar. This is more 

than semantics.  This is
a rule bronzed and embedded 

in each Noguchi sculpture
you hope to see and know you’ll want 

to touch.

Illumination Night

Summer ignites itself
Methodist style. Japanese 

paper lanterns Noguchi might have made
for Martha Graham’s last dance 

alight the campgrounds, set the island aglow
in pinks, oranges, yellows, fire-engine 

red awash. A crowd gathers to mingle, a child
may wander tonight 

in wonder the way gingerbread
cottages welcome her to their wooden railed porches, dare her 

to touch the gossamer skin
on their handmade firefly swarm, cracking paint on their rainbow eaves, beckon 

an unconscious desire to trace a piece
of island history with fingertips. Her grip on home

rice paper thin, she wants to believe
her step across these wooden planks will never end.  But 

as she witnesses this blaze of an island blasting its last August
shouts before a decrescendo toward an autumn whisper 

few hear, fewer comprehend, she knows she must relinquish
the island to return it to those who find 

illumination into night without
a lantern, without a tabernacle song.