Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Notebook pages 1 - 4


Monday, July 02, 2012

The Rain Is Water

The rain is water
from the sea
to the sky.
These rocks will be fossils,
my heart, thistles.
Only the sun consuming itself
will die.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Look! The way the blood rivers spread and run and seep through the holes in the blue-black tar, this is music. The sun gleaming on the red sea and the blood bubbles under the prismed glass is music. The blood which drips, runs like red rain down the silver-white sparkling bumper of the hissing, streaming, still car is music.

Look out your windows at freedom as you go by, this is the inside music.

And here, wind blows light in the leaves of the soft green corn.

We Must Go Far Away

Explosions shatter the sky
but I start awake
to the dark room, my fingers on my lips
too mortal
to close my eyes.
You and I, we must go
far away
to a safer place
where wars are only dust on graves
and I can slow-unwrap from sleep,
and turn to see
your quiet eyes

Stephanie at Santa Cruz

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Stephanie McLintock 1964-1992

Monday, November 21, 2005

Where the Night Water Runs

Once I chased a dream, a bird song,
a peacock feather,
through mindnight down to the lapping water
silver crickets like ear-stars singing
all along the fields where fieldmice hide.
There is no place to go
but down to where the night water runs,
and runs black and slow,
slow like feet running in a dream.
Kind water, sweet and black
whispering, "I take nothing back.
I only go on."
The dream was really a beast
covered by night; I did not know,
and I followed the rank smell far,
too far away,
to find it, large
and turning, white clawed and snorting
too awful for fear,
too awful for running,
the song of my living too awful for fear -
and now to go on,
dawn is near.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Summer night,
so black you cannot see the stars
-- are there stars? --
so still the gnats are too awed to fly.
You blow a thousand bubbles, shot
through the silence-carved brick work,
out, away.
No wind will break the circles
that float to worlds beyond far suns,
for as you hold your breath,
there is no wind.
One, two, three, six,
a million bubbles, little moons
bouncing off the black tree limbs
that can only be seen when they move to speak.
They do not speak,
not now.
Summer night,
thick and warm as melted chocolate,
full of bubbles chanting, singing.
You breathe carelessly,
dare them to burst, dare them to stay.
They spin away.

Friday, October 07, 2005

We Will Be Safe No More

All dark and moving slow,
dream-people drift across the grass,
stand in the field and face the fireworks,
lift their heads and their eyes.
You and I can see our shadows
nodding off and catching each other,
all about the stars explode and rain.
This is how it feels to be alive -
don't forget it, don't forget it.
Fireworks rain brilliant spittle in the night's eyes,
music moves among the shadows,
blood flows from beer cans,
the round shape of a cat licks its tail,
and we will be safe no more.
Having heard the song of time
we will be safe no more.
I think our feet are always running
too fast for us to feel the speed
and just before I fall asleep I wake
and all about the stars explode and rain.
We can sleep no more.
Can you feel your black hair turning grey,
can you feel your wide eyes going blind?
Not yet, not yet.
This is how it feels to be alive -
stay awake and don't forget it,
forgetting is a way of growing old,
never flinch or close your eyes,
you can never die unless you close your eyes -
let them sting and weep.
Death is sleep.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Patience always brings
Mornings with May flowers
a thousand-fold on hill tops
the smell of dew on
lazy apple blossoms
violets in leafy clumps
like blue butterflies,
strong in morning sun
and atop a red-budding maple tree
a robin flutters its feathers and sings –
patience always brings


You and I are perfect,
although I dream deformed –
garbled features, missing fingers
twisted arms, stumps for feet,
hunched backs and warped necks;
I shiver and wake
and see we are perfect.
It is as if we had made each other.

Third Sight

I think I must be made of smoke,
I can’t see or feel myself.
I must not seem to exist at all,
like light or music or breath or love.
So I can hide like a fleeing soul
in cracks and breaks in the outer world,
slip my fingers in the holes
and feel beneath to beating veins.
That is all I know is real
since I no longer trust my eyes.
People, you trot back and forth like dogs
and believe the surface reality you see,
believe the stars are pasted up,
believe in the muteness of forest trees.
There is more.
The trouble with being too solid is
you only see the solid things.
You are afraid to let yourselves
become smoke, become your own dream.
I haven’t been real for a long time now;
the earth wears a mask and I feel it crumbling,
there is something under, beneath, beyond.
I can’t see it yet but my finger tips
touch it, if I twist them down in deep.
You won’t believe, I must sound mad;
the mad are the only ones who see it.
They laugh because no one else can see it.
I would go mad
to see what they see.

Until Forever

If I were here forever
the world would be only green
and blue
with feathers of grass on my nose – the green
and blue sky
and I can lie
forever here
and never know
until the dawn.
All the night the sky will be blue
before the sun spills sun softly to color the sky
then forever will be gone.
But until then I can lie
forever here, under blue skies
and never know anything but green
and blue
only darker blue as the sun steals the light
and when it is night
there will only be blue.
Unless there are stars.

Woodland Mouse

Walls of glass and screen
and floor of wood chips
that smell of my forest far
and smell of freedom.
And only one metal wheel to replace
the forever lost streams
and the rocks and the grass
and stones and wet earth
all gone.

I wish
for my forest again.
I wish that these walls
were really of air.
And still, in my mind
I see the tree trunks wet black
with cool, fine-misted falling rain.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Choice

How can I, can’t I, I cannot follow
what you’re saying, the sky is in my ear!
All is lost, like rings in the sand,
it is I have gone, going to go, will be going mad.
What is there left to try?
One dead end, like the drunk’s end,
like the hooker’s end, like the old man dying,
the dead end, there is nothing
coming after, except more
of the same.
Life should be like a carousel
or the ocean, lovely things,
not a bat cave, black and squeaking
tiny bodies tangled in your hair.
But by choice, my own choosing, I chose this;
grains and particles --
soul, strange time now to be afraid.


You wrap your fingered hands around my skull
and crush – heat grows behind my eyes.
This love hurts. I stand in morning
before the silver sea – it speaks –
love hurts, all beauty hurts
and man is clay. One day
I will leave you, and find another cave
where music is baffled by the stone
and deep back, where I will sit
the music will be a dying sound,
but I may take charcoal in my hands
and run swift lines along the wall –
images of you, words the charcoal feels:
this love hurts. There will be no
going far enough to go. You are where
beauty is, and beauty hurts. I feel
perhaps pain is what makes me real.
When I close my eyes
you drag my feet for miles and wake me
where I am lost and no one knows my name
but all around is beauty, and it hurts.
Only give my knees a place to pray.
I love you, but this love hurts,
and I am only clay.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Edge

She is in love, love with the edge –
where thought falters thin,
where sun browns the feathers,
singes the hair on the head
and the knuckles, white from flapping;
wind dries the sweat and glues the eyes
open, like the eyes
that greet the dead,
meet the dead
over the edge.

At night, chasing the edge –
cut her wrists and drank herself white,
blood dripping
over the edge.
White blindness from headlights of cars,
mad dogs snarling behind the stars,
bloodless the stars sing,
and wind in her ears –
she is in love
she is in love.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Over the green hills the conquerors
are coming.
I see their fires burning, smoke over the trees,
it won’t be long now. I lie on the grass, flower-open,
arms wide,
Come fast, welcome invaders,
you are welcome and welcome
to me
waiting for music to take me over,
blue melodic insanity.
I wait,
and the night comes.

There are cats in the night.
First the black forms are shadows,
blending into the hemlock trees,
then breaking
away from corners,
sliding footless into grey space of moonlight,
blending still at feet tips and tails.
And when they turn,
consciousness explodes from their eyes,
their souls beam out with the force of wind,
demonic, fear-absent,
a billion years
of speechlessness forced through green, silent
portholes of glass,
singing inside, bright inside
with music. It sings out from behind the eyes
but can’t break free.
I could chip around the glass,
pop it out, reach a thumb through,
but the song would fly back
to the tail-tip and stay,
twitching, leaping, captive still.
How does it feel to hold that inside,
how does it feel?
The eyes look away,
the light is gone.
Blackness under the trees absorbs
itself again,
leaves no dent or interruption.
I could stay white and awake like the stars
or I could sleep.

And down inside, the lungs are working,
rhythm, rhythm, like wings beating.
Follow down,
in the middle of body-whispers and drum beats,
and deep where the blood, sticky-thick,
goes slow,
up to the island, the beach where my feet catch on the sand
in my soul.
Pull up, dripping,
and close my eyes lest I see anything
- that would be death, might be Hell –
feel across the floor to find
the other, outer
edge of ledge, stand straight,
firm, fine,
lean over shaking, raise both hands,
fall to my knees and call
the music home.
come back dully,
and water sounds.

I heard a mother call her child at dusk;
across the woods I heard the dogs called in;
on a hilltop a man in grey
lifted his voice to the steam-covered cows;
and if I call the music
it is sure to come.
Stretch and watch the sky. Wait.
It is sure to come.
It is sure to come.

The fog-dam
broke; here
it is waist-deep in mist.
All down the stone street the lamps are on,
fuzzy circles, glowing,
sconces lighting the passage way, and he
is coming.
I stand on the corner under a light.
(What will he sound like when he comes?)
Away so long, his horse may not know
the way.
There will be a harmonica
and the horse hooves from under the mist,
hollow and vibrant,
sweeter than trumpets.
They will be breathing hard.
The horse’s mane may sound like brushing of leaves,
but before that sound,
harmonica and hooves, beating a time –
that is what to listen for.
Morning is grass-pealing,
violet dancing,
wide, wonder-eyed, wistful dew,
edible air, and, west,
the sun’s reflection.
away west – wait –
Horse’s hooves and harmonica down
the street where it curves
into the trees.
Oh, this way, this way!
Twirl round the cool lamp post,
the music is coming,
the music is coming!
Open my mouth to take it in,
fingers out, questioning
(Why were you so long? I waited!) and

The Sea

Beaches in the sun,
almost too much sand to comprehend,
and shells.
Tiger striped porcelain, left by a wave,
tidy wreckage and fragmented bones
of seagulls, clean of flesh, hollow and white.
A rubbing stone,
and wood of an unknown
tree, stripped of bark like everything here,
like me,
stripped of cloth and covered in sand,
I stand
where the water turns dark
the sand of the shore.
Water pulling ground from under my feet,
grabbing at gritty treasures and fleeing
an innocent evil
back out of sight.
Fish swift as night,
so small they leave their shadows behind,
dart through the swell
of incoming tide.
Hear them laughing?
Hermit crabs war and argue for room
in seaweed-swept, sparkling pools,
a thousand islands of world in a rock.
I let them be.
Schools of gulls fly like fish in the air,
and I bare
myself to the sea.


Five years fly back to find us here
still wanderers,
rough with a dream that clings to our hair,
will not wash off in mountain streams
or free-blown wind.
Through brush, swamp elder,
cattails snapping – swooping herons
bring no news of unicorns.
Through forests petrified to stone,
waterfalls, apple orchards,
cracked robins’ eggs, and bits of string –
thrushes, catbirds, crickets sing
no songs of beauty such as this,
give us no hope at all.

Till, there in the lush grass soft to the touch
of steaming hooves, carved ivory,
the unicorn, moonlit white with beaded tail,
braided mane, star-speckled eyes
in a world of mirrored dew.
One moment we have
to catch the wonder that hangs
like silver music in still air,
and then it flies – hooves over moss,
deer-swift, snake-silent,
no rock cloven,
not a branch touched.

When She Died

What did her eyes look like when she died?
Moment of fear frozen to crystal,
like the eyes of the squirrel by the
side of the road, eyes only
moment of pain when the blood stops moving,
cells die quick deaths,
drawn brows and wrinkled nose,
final, animal fear?
Or were the windows closed,
lids locked with eye-spit,
mouth half open and not receiving
visiting wind but only flies,
note saying “we give, take
no info now”?
Or did she look at you with knowing
as if she were God, take your hand,
smile to make you catch your breath,
to see you catch your breath?
And then the eyes
stop recognizing but only stare,
marbles in a marble face?

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Summer is
We will be young forever.
lunatic feet,
follow wild
to the sun-singed edge
of grassy green earth
and leap
into air,
wingless, tearless,
a moment weightless,
then down.
Celebrate the summer –
this will be forever,
we will be young forever,
a thousand mornings come,
a thousand skies turn starless,
the dancing die young.

Bats and Fireflies

In the low field
summer breathed around us like sleep;
we sat on the ground and watched for bats.
In the evening
black forms swept over a purple sky,
returning and dipping wavelike
yet never breaking,
the sky being shoreless
and bats, not as reckless
as the sea.
While we were there,
while the wrinkled wings rustled
all around us, soft
and small,
black bodies of fireflies moved in the glowing night
- fireflies –
and none of them came back again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Message for You

Message for you,
leader of the tribe.
Message for you,
ring of thin warriors.
Put down your spears;
the enemy can't feel them,
and you've lost at last.
Close your eyes.
Slash your backs with surrender.
Throw your young boys
off the bleak mountain
as a sacrifice to defeat.
Carve in your caves
with fingernails, in blood,
flesh worn away to bone,
with fingerbones careve
the story of your battle
you wretchedly lost.
Eat the grey stones.
Drink the grey dust
and stand not before
your conquerors, yelling,
begging to know what became
of your savior,
for I bring you news.
See what I hold?
This grey bird, eyes
blankly glazed,
feet still searching
but without a song.
Brush the dust with your fingers,
blow the dirt off these precious wings.
Gold like the sun.
This is the bird of Eden.
And look to the sky,
shade your face,
muffle your cry,
we are alone,
for, without the music,
God froze to stone.

The New God

Awaken and receive
the new God.
Need not worship, need not pray;
you, too proud to bow your eyes,
do not bow your eyes. Look.
Only lift your hands to the sweet sun,
feel, new, the masterpiece of grass
where the skin is white and
life between your toes.
Do not believe, only do, participate
in the rebuilding of beauty,
you who could not conceive
of, oh, great love for the greatest love.
Sacrifice mediocrity
and build, build on the stumps of beauty,
plunge toward perfection,
dare to bring the power
of creation into your own hands.
Your own hands -- look -- they
are affirmation.
Listen while your new God speaks
now, with delicate woven breath.
Commandment: Be Art,
and you need not listen
for any more; that is all.

Monday, July 11, 2005

To Her Mother (In the next room)

In the next room I hear you crying
and I hate you for making me love you so.
We gather too close like a stand of birches,
we must bend each other when we grow.

To Her Mother (Everybody else is crazy now)

Everybody else is crazy now --
life is simpler when you're mad --
but you and I cling together,
screen out the wind, blow sanity brighter,
keep it between us like silver fire
or a butterfly in a storm.
This is not how I'd like to die
when I die. I'd rather be happy --
I'd rather die mad with a smile on my lips
and flowers on unseeing eyes.
I don't want to be wise.
I don't want to go down fighting. Valor is for God
and you.
You want me to care for sanity.
I think you expect too much of me.

The World We Know

Why is this called the world we know --
what do we know?
Write it down.
We are at the nominal mercy
of everything, and are a part
of the everything that swirls invisible.
When I shout I KNOW, what hears?
Not discovery; nothing is found.
Have you ever tried
to grab at the atoms that must be there,
and then decided they must not be there,
and then not known you did not know?
Perhaps the will next to survival
is knowledge --
and write that down --
but at long last we will not survive,
and knowledge will not be even the sound.

Listen to the Ocean

Listen to the ocean. This is pure music,
not blown or beaten by human hands.
A thousand years bring us no closer
to the true music of singing sand.

The Weight of Dreams

It rains.
The water tastes sweet and
the music's fine.
Just fine.
I held my dreams today to find
they smell like glass
and feel like lava on my eyes,
like monten silver on my eyes,
burned blind.
And we go on.
Erratic stumbling in crazy space,
beaten and kicked
like rotten apples
rolling on a bloody floor.
And what are the dreams
that we snarl and scramble for?
I weighed my dreams today to find
they are sand-grain light
yet the beat my feet flat,
my toes are splayed out,
my spine is crushed.
And it rains.
My tears are sweet
and the music's fine.
Just fine.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

On Horseback

To be here
on your brown, breathing body, the mane in my hands
is all I want in the world.
I thought I'd be afraid
to climb, in footseps of leather
and sit so far off the ground,
to feel the breath and heart-beat beneath,
hear the sound
of hooves, hard hitting the giving grass.
I'm not afraid at all.
We are one, welded and molded like clay.
We stand under the limbs of pine trees
like some forest beast, a devil's child.
We could get ourselves lost together,
we could never come back at all,
we could be one and the same forever;
we could die, you and I
as one.
Be a dream, lift your tambourine feet,

Saturday, July 09, 2005


I think it must fly out of your eyes
like gilded gnats,
splinters of gold.
I look for gold traces on your ears.
You glow so bright, I can't believe
nobody sees it but me.
I must love you.
I try to shelter you from sight,
cover your face with my hands to hide
your screaming beauty; it won't be still.
I'm afraid you'll draw the universe in
if you call.
I keep thinking that looking at you,
talking with you, should be against the law.
Don't look up when the sky is clear.
God might want you if he saw.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Wings of Song

Now, all alone in Eden,
ashamed to claim his creation,
he climbs the grey, wilted trees and weeps
for everything so soon
gone wrong.
He gathers all not dead around him,
the half-wilted remnants
of unequaled beauty --
a violet still blue
a brook not yet dry
as its stone banks crumble
under the weight of his tears.
And from someplace
out and beyond destruction
a bird flies, dandelion yellow,
black-throated and full of song,
perches above him, clasping the branch
with perfect, silver-clawed toes.
This tiny songbird surely
is too sweet to be from invention's hands,
wasn't created this wild from his clay.
It perches on one finger outstretched
and calls for beauty to live and not flee.
The creator speaks softly, rustles the leaves.
"You were right all along.
I give you the world, yellow songbird,
for I couldn't have written your song."

If I Knew a Place

If I knew a better place I'd go there,
and drink up the rain,
hands cupped like open mouths
to starry skies.
If I knew a place where buttercups
still laughed like children,
and ponies ran,
and sands were scattered with silver shells,
and trees forgave the wind --
my feet would fly like wings on fire,
I would not look back once,
would not kiss the iron goodbye
or leave light tracks on stone.
Eyes, find the way
the unicorns have gone.
Follow the butterflies
that lift to the skies like stained-glass milkweed,
more instinct than weight --
lead me stumbling home.
This earth is not mine -- I feel no love
in the touch of maples that don't know my name,
and smothered, blinded earth that cannot
feel the sun.
If I knew a better place I'd go there,
laughing and make it my own,
hold it to my heart by its roots and flowers,
unicorns' horns and butterflies,
eager, blue and hungry skies
that wait for wings,
earth that grows with weight of feet
in speckled springs.

Learning About Spring

I know very well what you're up to , spring,.
You can't hide flowering pussywillows
behind grey rosebush waterfalls,
and nothing you do to the earth can mask
the spreading greenness, the flood of grass.
You can't convince me that maples
are turning red with cold from the snow.
From years of playing this game, I know.
And I can see the flowering hills
and I can smell the daffodils.

It's a Beautiful Day

It's a beautiful day.
Seagulls, steely blue and white,
take to the air from the beach
like mussels given the softness of feathers,
given the grace of flight.
One cynical crab,
legs in a spiral, extending eyes
to watch the world crumble
with each watery day,
skitters, scuttles silent away
with weapons loaded, cocked
and raised at my optimistic fingers:
Who, giant, are you?
I retract myself.
It's a beautiful day.
I'll chase milkweed along the beach
and dodge the spray.


Let me run my twilight fingers
down your nose, down your neck,
that I may never foget your features,
your body closer to me than the rain.
Under the vine-drenched trees,
inside the leaf blades
bathed in sun,
in the stained glass,
fragile grass,
sweaty wind.
Hear the thunder behind our voices.
Thunder sounds like magnified sand
if you listen close enough.
Enough rain. Enough wind.

Old Man

Old Man, look in the mirror.
See the life time has shaken
to its knees,
see the deaths you have taken
and every line of cobweb
will be with you now forever.
You'd give more than your life to erase
the marks in your body and soul,
no longer perfect
or whole.
Stare out the window
from grey eyes
through grey panes,
smoky skies,
not as blue as yesterday
or a million years ago.
The pavement below
is of crushed bones,
sand and stone,
blue, gasping blood,
eons of mud.
And yet a yellow bird still sings
on window sills, in old men,
sings still of beauty
from morning skies,
oblivious to loneliness
and God's great lies.


We woke in the night
to the earth shaking,
pottery rolling across the dirt floor.
The volcano, I whispered, throwing off sheets.
We stood outside in the clearing and listened,
our toes feeling gods moving
under the ground.
Across the black sky
like brilliant birds, fire flow;
I heard the crackling treetops catch,
the dog sneezing from smoke,
and in the warm summer air
flies humming like a song of fear.
We turned and ran inside --
whit will this be when lava curls
among table legs, drips from shelves,
burns the blankets brown?
We grabbed great painted pots by the neck;
I dropped one
and it shattered in pieces like a smashing skull.
Outside, feet ran by our door,
children called, babies wailed, the goats rang their bells,
and the dog, eyes tearing,
whined in at us, wagging his tail.
Then we ran
down to the beach.
In the dark the sand rattled
against the sea,
and the cooking pots in our boat
reflected a different fire on their glazed sides;
the dog ran barking along the beach,
wild, the hair on his back raised.
Looking over the trees I saw the mountain
flaming, fire rippling as though spilling
out of the sun, out of a bowl of fire.
Everything shook, my eeth shook,
the trees
shook, and lava rolled
in glowing tongues licking the ground.
We pushed the boats from the sand,
oars scraping, fish swirling
and a wind blowing
grey ashes into our open mouths.
I saw the dog on the shore,
too large for the boat,
fire glinting from the waves to his eyes, and he waded after us, then swam
silently, his nose expanding wide.
The air was falling.
The sky was morning
and fire striped the trees.
And the dog never turned back.
Soon all we could see
was the ripples that he made.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

As Much as I Loved Your Eyes

Waves wash over our sand castle,
tear down the walls.
Soon waves will suck at the tower,
spit seaweed through cells,
but we will not be there.
Higher up the beach, in gritty grass
we lie, head to toe, head to toe,
tired of blue sea, we watch blue sky.
Did I think I knew you?
Right-side-up I would have known
every expression of your face
to be yours -- definable --
with the wind blowing blood to your ears,
with the rain hanging drips from your nose,
in snowstorms, when you shook your hair
to clear it of the chips of rain.
But I had nvever met your toes.
They were just like mine except they were yours,
carried your soul, spoke your tongue,
and I loved them as much as I loved your eyes.
And I begged you not to give them away --

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Whispers from Rock

It flows through cracks in the earth,
up through cracks in the crumbling ground,
from oil and darkness,
from caves and holes in the walls of rock,
from green water deep down,

filtered like rain round the roots of trees --
trees' tongues live deep,
practicing sound --

bringing up the scents of fires,
flowing round stones, grey, smooth stones, brown,
sucking up scents of births of time,
peering in at sleeping mice --
shut eyes blinking, dreaming of plant stalks,
tail tips curled to nose tips tight
in a ball, waiting for berries and dew --

swirling round brown coccoons, winged fruit,
up to where the earth is soft,
rising toward the chinks of light,
up between chips of sand and grass roots swollen with melted snow,
bringing the blackness up -- sweet peace of depth,
and fires of lava and mole breath musk --
up, out, spraying like water,
growing like blood, gleaming like silver,
reflecting the sun like dripping glass,
sunlight from clouds of dirt rising,
sparking stars, raining fireflies,
winged fireflies,
swamp dragonflies,
blue-bottle flies,
abalone shells,

glinting ground diamond rivers,
windblown tinsel,
desert dawn,
living light released in the air,
rising like fire,
misting to song.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Cat In Flight

Misty blackness sees your eyes,
yellow-green and wide with fear.
Shake your fur of ashes,
lick your blackened paws,
leap through fires red
that smoke and spit
at things shackle-trapped
behind the flames.
For a cat cannot be trapped,
cannot be captive anywhere,
and with singed fur you fly
through the devil's prism'd eye.
The only beast to give you chase,
he with scaly ears, barbed tail,
runs in eagerness of ancient spite,
he, the dog, crashes through the night.
And so the chase continues even here
in this chasm, fire well --
small cat, whispering escape,
and Cerberus, guarder of the gates of Hell.


Scaled bat's wings,
harsh jointed as diamond,
circular sweep through the jagged red evening,
over webbed clouds,
across patched stars.
Wings tear razor blade slits in the night,
teeth grip and sift the sun's gold dust.

The smell of gnomes in green spear grass,
flah of terror
in mirror eyes,
then only the smell
of boiled blood, hiss of steam
teeth coral red,
then locust-spread wings.

And the dread crashes on
through gapping white mountains,
devil tailed, lizard skinned,
sidewinder eyed,
blinded by fire,
scarred by the moon,
a troll's tattoos on ice whetted claws.


I've come from Hell.
And here I lie, skin blistered white,
to talk with you.
For all the flames
I'm still as wild
as a terrifired doe's
moonlit child,
as field mice running swift along
straight rows of yellow, lashing corn.
Weep with me.
We are alike, flowers and I.
With our feet in Hell,
here we lie
on cool green grass that feels
the wind's rain.
Sleep, with peace from demon cries
if we dare to close our eyes.


Pick up pick up your feet and run,
this is the plain, and wide wide
yellow grain grows tall.
Wind blows the grass in waves,
waves of wind and swept-back hair
can feel the time time time
turn it grey.

Waves turn the moon,
drops of grain spray the moon's eyes,
death's eyes, the blink of the eyes
of death, the look look of death --
pounding heels run run and burn,
do not turn.

I turn grey;
slow, grow slow
and kneel on the plain,
and bend like grain,
meet the earth earth,
the feet of the sky,
meet the feet,
where I die.

Turn turn the moon and rain.
I turn to grain.

Wilderness Vision

Stand here,
lonely longing I cannot name,
look out on wilderness all green
and blue and a million yellows and reds
of meadow flowers and birds and sun.
Feel it
grab my heart like a drowning child,
pull me down.
Give anything I ever owned
to never move from this grassy spot,
to lie here picking clover, pulling buttercup petals
into wildly laughing confetti
thrown into the sky.
And let me die.

Never forget
the far-off mountains covered in smoke,
lifting with the drifting breeze.
Always remember
the joy of stillness, standing quiet,
mouth open fish-wide, and gasping for air.
Away from the city, too much purity
to hold in my body, dirty body,
covered with rags and worthlessly small.
Know the longing now,
know it now:
to be part of this vastness -- one flower,
one dragonfly flashing blue-tailed flight,
one frog in the night.

Field Mouse

Sweet clover, ground cover,
world of green and brown, and over
by the spring, the blue of water,
silver minnow, winged-bug watcher,
cricket sings to salamander,
young cat chases green grasshopper;
young cat chases mouse back over
moss, brown leaves, grass and clover,
wild carrot, yarrow, sweet ground cover,
into burrow, down and under,
away from claws and teeth of hunter,
only hearing threats of thunder,

The Blind Owl

That owl
that site on the perch in the cage at the zoo
is blind.
I know.
I studied his eyes,
as yellow as a tiger's
but useless.
He must fear the night
when the rest of the birds are quiet.
He must call
into the dark
for the hope of a friend,
but the bars cannot reply.
Closed within himself,
he, the fearless night hunter,
must fear.
His eyes shine lifeless
into the dark
without sight.
He knows no time, no sun, no day.
To him it is always night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Clock Poem

Evil's heartbeat
that matches mine,
innocent no more than, more than there will be
any more when this runs out, wonders that must
cease some day behind our backs,
some night behind our heads and in our blood
and under our eyes. There will be
no reruns, replays, false starts and
start-agains; starting again is only
finishing faster -- what is fast, the speed of light?
There will be no coming back, or going
back, once we go; once we go,
we are gone and there will be
no more, and after that,
only more
of the same.
This is the countless-beat
heartbeat of evil,
Time, the First Evil,
primeval heart.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


I can see them in my dreams, all the time,
in my dreams,
the train tracks -- witless scarecrow roads
that wait. Time,
time is always late
until it goes.
I don't wish on stars anymore,
I wish on trains.
Listen on any day for the sound of them --
they are like crows; they project their souls,
and if you listen, anywhere,
you can hear a train. I hear them.
Time is not vocal
but I hear it, too. I must have good ears,
at least in my dreams.
The slashing, rhythmical, shrieking steam,
toward, onward, on to, headed for,
headlong, hell-bent, westward, break-neck,
grinding, frozen bolt of night,
blinded, howling at the light --
open your ears when you're in sleep,
or anywhere.
And I see them all the time in dreams,
train tracks, waiting, listening.
One day I'll see the train go by,
reach out to the reckless speed before it's gone.
Maybe catch a handle fast
-- any train may be the last --
hold on. Hold, hold,

Monday, December 13, 2004

Almost Enough

At the very edge we stand
ants on a crumb
and look down.
The jagged rock is vertically segmented,
ledged, harsh and brown,
marbled with marble at random
layer on layer on layer on layer
of time and greatness God cannot change
now, cannot alter in body or soul,
can only admire and fly away
in a dream of dinosaur bones.

To look off the edge is to be a bird,
watching life's continuation below,
spikes of green pines,
lakes and streams,
noises rising to supplement sight,
throwing showers of barbed light
to see the mushrooms
under the trees.
Pine needles and mountains
the grey hawk
and dinosaur bones.

And we were to find existence
from blue wind and height,
hawks' dreams of the speed of sound,
the legend of fright
on the earth's fingertips reaching
to we know not what in the blue
shattered, weeping sky.
It was almost enough, my God,
and all you've done is try
for perfection in blue green imperfect domes,
cliffs, craggy hawks,
dinosaur bones.


This is not a dream.
I can really fly.
The lake of liquid diamond
where I drank the magic potion
that gave me wings
and gave me flight
is now but a spot of silver
a golden pea
a drop of dew.

A gust of warm air
blows me skyward
still more skyward
than before.
Yet in that wind's
a scent of earth
earth smell even in the sky
no matter how far
I can go.

It is not so great
to fly.

Friday, December 10, 2004


I am only migrating
through this country and out again
towards a greater desolation
than that from which I came.
Some days I am a gypsy
lying on sweet green grass or yellow fields
under a sky wide and full of sun;
some days I am a ragged dog
barking in alleys
among trash and empty bottles;
and some days I nearly forget -
but I can feel this body planning,
gathering forces,
signing documents;
all my time is borrowed time.
And one day
this vast stretch of gold and green
corn and sparkiling cities at night,
curving mountain roads and billions
of miles of sky, and even the stars
will exile me,
and even my blood plans
mutiny, and even my bones
wish me gone.

Only the Night Is Blind

Air rishes past the bat's eyes,
short fur blows against brown skin
in sonic dark,
in warm summer skies.
Bones stretch across velvet wings
umbrella-like, curving out,
bending back to finger claws,
moving as wide as oars in thin water
of humid night, without stars.
slippery shapes, hunch in grass
spongy with dew, their skins glistening,
stretching over two back ridges,
down to a point between
inward-folded legs;
unblinking eyes.
Cotton sound of wings
and the diamond mouth of a bat,
too large to understand,
spoon-shaped ears,
thin, sharp teeth;
and the frog's feet
unfold to meet the bat.
Gleam of wet skin kicking space,
pivoting wings, and moving blackness,
mewing frog cry, like a kiss,
and night, changeless
and memoryless.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Blue Alchemy

Spring is more than magic.
And one blue morning I would like
to wake in miles and miles of flowers.
Bluets on Daddy-long-legs stems
and leaves like lady bugs.
And I could wish for nothing bluer
or more magical than bluets,
fields of them, like Dorothy's red poppies,
spread out, carpeting for miles.
I would run my fingers through them,
through a thousand floating flowers.
I would stand and run my hands
over bluets, silky blue,
that sprang from nothing overnight
to live to see the sun.
And because the spring is more than magic
I would touch
every one.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Listen, He Said

Listen, he said,
all my plants are breathing
in the air that we breathe out,
their broad green leaves
suck our breath through a million mouths
and make a sound
just like the wind
across a field of rye grass; can you
You are madder tha I, I told him,
and not many people
are. So I listened
while the green leaves drank my words
serene and soundless.
I can't hear, I told him, but he laughed.
When you leave, he said,
and your blood and heart and bones are not
making their sounds, then I can hear
the plants; and never mind:
the sound you make
when you breathe
is close enough.

The Cat Among Spirits

Once, on a stranger's doorstep
I watched the fog fall from the mountains
and settle on my bare toes, toenails,
lines of dirt between the lines of skin.
I saw the cat come along the sidewalk
walking silent among the ghosts
of the Colorado River, spirits risen,
filling the air with chill and strangeness.
She came to meet my outstretched hand,
rich fur rippling,
eyes shut almost with pleasure,
and purring, leaning into my hand.
Ah, cat,
some cold morning
when burrs stick in the lining of your ears
and the street is strange, and dew
is falling on your fur
making shivers between
the flesh and skin,
I will come
and lift you up
and warm you to make you
purr again.

Monday, October 25, 2004


This is birth day
and again I find myself
inside a fluid-filled machine,
a glass-fragile framework fitted close,
draped over with a million eyes.
Inside this form of bones and skin,
this is where my being spreads.
The interlocking universe
belongs to me.
I will dance if all I have are fingers.
Fingers are gods; they build brilliant worlds.
I will build pyramids with mine.
When I woke, found myself here,
I could not move at first for fear
of the power in each bone.
The carnival swings around my feet;
it takes the breath to know that
this is home. I will leap into life,
and rise,
calliope horses against my eyes.

From the Grey Hawk

Power to me
and long life and sharp sight.
I am melody
in accurate flight.
Feel my steel claws
that cry to fight.
Give me endless room,
infinite night.

Sunday, July 25, 2004


The stars, they are not stars
when you look up;
they are not rocks, but bits of light,
holes in the earth-cloth,
light shining through, like black paper
pin-punched, held up to the sun.
You are not you,
not even a star;
you are a hole through which
I see only shining. I can not guess
the source of the light.
There is a beyond, beyond the cloth-skin,
but so hard to reach,
like touching stars.