Treefall, King’s Canyon, CA, Sep ’19

Treefall came duskly, and with it, adjustment like
The reading of a will.
Nature deeded the grasses prerogative,
And pioneer mosses gathered upon one flank, there to sow in fallow flesh.
The waters of allocation flowed to increasing size, by their love inviting the beetles
An examination, and boring, then the quails who found gaps
To swaddle their young. A bolster of marmots
Erected a hollow, and elk signed grazing rights
In annuity. What's funny is that man shuffled elsewhere,
Unaware. At treefall, Attila sacked Rome and drove home chortling.
Nature set a watchman, who attended an empty proceedings peevishly,
And fifteen centuries later received the latecomers,
Who bore axes and allowed grins to spread over Dirtied profiles.
The watchman relieved, the men unperceived tackled the corpse
In bare awareness of their ethical non-place, and
Hollowed out their cosignatories. What's more,
They did not stop there.

Mockingbirds, Home, Apr ’20

Make of me a new man in your image, mockingbird. I swear 
Fidelity to your cause, constancy in ideology. I want to trill 
The Babel tongues and hear your new stories. Where did you say
I could find your mother, and hers? Chart me a course,
And my own southwestern discovery I will defy,
You and yours honorably to lay to rest. Come down,
Come down O songbird. Come down and pick of my berries. 
They were lashed fast to their masts, and as Siren forwent
Ulysses for his many men, I took to violence upon their mass. 
I reaved, saint. I tore from the ground their mother the roots,
And indiscriminate flung my spoils in this knapsack. 
Come down and make hay of your day, bosom in sunlight. 
When inspiration lacks, command me a new shape and register:
Then I will tilt these sorry tools skyward, and make for you what I can.
Come down, sir!

The Book of Disquiet, after Plath, Home, Apr ’20

I am here now, sixscore pages of gobbledygook that a languorous
Aristocrat of Lisbon spat up goutily. Cheery scholastikoi 
All of a type rescued my mewling corpus, reaffixed a spine
And deeded me even a face, the kind chaps.
So lay I here upon my softwood rock, stealing glances,
Letting the day’s percussive drawer-pulls 
Lullay my monocle shut. My throat scratches after milk. 
When one day the incident ray reveals an inviting touch,
And my flaps are broadened, spine cracked,
Then I realize my calling: for I allow the wildebeest eye the time it needs 
To drink fully. Its breaths come uncertain. 
I pass no judgment on the mistakes it will take from me and my maker,
Thoughtful of the foibles of readers who need
Something external, historical merely to remind themselves 
Of the present’s unslippable grasp. 
When next I receive the ray and resolve
The image of the pronghorn, my own eye
Be moot. 

Untucked, Home, Apr ’20

The pocket my feet came to rest within
Is no longer with us, I probe,
Cul artlessly ripped from sac.
Now my toes obtain cooler air,
Abseiling with unimpeachable trust in their belays. Now
I reshoulder this gleaner's bag and keep picking,
Fearful of the fall.

The blanket, so carefully lain to start the night, 
Is askew. The dog now occupies
No small portion of our pitch, upturned, unawares.

What is required next of me will be some crook in the sinuous form,
An adaptation against the direction of motion,
A fearful plunger bracing himself halfway down the waterfall,
Hoarse, incapable already of what comes next. Did

Those my forefathers unrecognizable 
In any annals of scrivening man
Take themselves to contortion,
Faced with muted, terror-stricken midnight arousals?
Surely. Then why feel I

As though I in dawny manhood must
This trail alone, unaided blaze?

Crater Lake, OR, Dec ’19

As to vector fields and iron filings rustle
The breeze-propell’d wavelets, uncountable
Upon this body so expansive. Perhaps 
You could palpate the troubled surface as
Though it were the leaves of a mille-feuille
Unsheaved like a dealer’s cards. Take a step,

And ponder containing so much,
Extending your consciousness in long fingers
To this face, granite, and the other, basalt. 
Across your drumskin top will swirl eddies of wind,
And laboring ospreys may lance through 
To snarl an unsuspecting bass in your shallows. 

Expulsion, Jan ’20

I spit an Antarctic blubber,
And bubbles, which I take as penguins,
Slide down the sides of the sink 
To join the flows of LA’s sewers. 

I am not one of Carlos’ men, but can
Command the image before me of 
A fearful Jesuit in his own morning routine. 
Matins concluded, face washed, he will turn to his desk
And there read an imperial missive whose 
Import will evict his fraternity from California. In calm repose

He may meander to his goats, and, 
Milking, weep. Separating he and 
I are alone three centuries,
And what rough beast ever thought that span 
Too wide to leap?

Poem on Malibu Beach, CA, March ’20

What is it to look upon a sunset?
Is it to discern among the brilliance of color
(Were the word alone sufficient)
Its constituent components, and thus to gain some insight 
As to the nature of things?
Is it instead to gaze into the world reflected,
The whorling hills which goodly Hermes on his way sends,
The clouds in their bosom brotherliness like another earth?
Is it to gain the sense of an ending,
The only one available to conscious thoughts,
And so to obtain a degree of peace
With it

Regardless, incipient on your tongue ought be
The dispossessed billions of this shale solid,
Arcing towards galactic quietude,
Asking themselves the same in Bahasa or Aymara. You could be a Buendia out of
Macondo, deathless by the grace of your creator,
A sometime docent and latterly magician,
But you are made of solider stuff, and good too. 

Consider the alternative: you could be festooned
With a sense of the criticality of this one,
And careen howling from hawker to hawker,
Kneeling, bawling, tearing at sleeves and your own knotted hair,
Begging, scratching, “Don’t forget, don’t Forget.”

Your partner is already some paces away, 
Bellyful of introspection, and appetite whetted. This happens, after all,
Every day.