Sunday, 24 January 2010


Where did he go, the one willing to work our way
down the strip of cheap eats?
The other ones go for fads
with boys riding in top-down canopies
to Krispy Kreemes, where the theater stood
with cathedral chandeliers
and we saw 2001 as a family
at its opening and later grown
men smearing mud on their mugs,
crawling around in paranoid chiaroscuro
as if they lost their way in the legs of a Caravaggio painting
where a page boy is screaming for help
while the big-wigs have fallen.
Luckily angels have dispatched, light cracks open the corridors
enough to make our way to the water cooler
in the mall security of ready vending machines
and our linoleum sounds ricocheting
the penetration of fluorescence.

(Tacoma 2006; Taipei 2010)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

In Spanaway I Walk a Country Road

I walk with my neighbor who limps in inclement weather.
I limp beside him as if the world were a limping world
so we may not even notice his body breaking down.
Time is washing up again.
The first-growth taken away before even he can remember,
clearings left open to run-off, erosion
cut all the way into the foothills
where the Nisqually pours forth
through the shoulders of Rainier.
Weyerhaeuser left a moonscape of stumps
never replanted, "an honest mistake" overgrown
with buckling Himalayan blackberries
looping high and arching long
to wetlands to soak their dominion of fists
rooted in moist sunlight, vines releasing gnats and flies
worming from tart berries in their forest of thorns.
We talk of the road that leads all the way to the Mountain,
the road neighbors jogged on every afternoon
until passing cars picked them off—
swerved to fast in passing clipped one,
a mother twists backwards to hush kids takes one,
drunken golfers lose it … an ac-ci-dent. Very,
very sorry, they say in a whisper hard to record.

I walk with my neighbor who limps in inclement weather.
He's been around a San Francisco block and outlived it to tell,
says he believes in it, at least
has a hat to hang on, as they say on TV
what only family knew of neighbors:
cross-dressing boy goes on to fashion stardom,
horse-riding girls in love and lost in the mountains,
letters to an army buddy who couldn't let go—
discovered in the afterlife—
the wife left to sort his things, sharing
with us, dying within a year
to track him down for questioning.