unspoken, if you must know


cross your fingers as a sign,
like falling feet first.

I live on an island you know.

it’s not water that surrounds me here.

it’s all of you.       I see faces in the sea.

I’ve been afraid of getting wet.

but water was never really my fear.

I was afraid of faces seeing me.

maybe I was afraid to drown.

yet, to dream in you would be

a different kind of being



more than a haiku is

a shape the river makes

there is a curve,

it’s not what it’s like,

it’s what it is.
already arrived,

the door already closed,

where open once, a moment before.
then someone said, brother,

sister, your moving lips, they are

silent words.
speaking a name I already knew,

a moment before.
your eyes, your cheeks.

across the river I’ve seen,

a curve I recognize.


illusions inside my pocket

       like a rabbit is.

       I am traveling to the future today.   I’ll only
       do it once.   once is enough.

I love the water in the dark.   the moon sitting across the table
from me.   shining sand, wet does due honor the sea.

moon and I, we could talk.   quiet talk.   gentle talk.
but there’s no need.   so we don’t.

I could lay into wet sand.   there would be no cold.
there would be remembering.   and tomorrow, of course.

grain by grain.   water is my gown.

see how we splinter and revive.   maybe you think, what,
is everything stopped.   are the boats all gone.

but just wait for the lanterns.   even if it takes a year.
time is not a measure.   only our breathing is.

by sevens they arrive.   a circle is.

a wedding ring.
MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
please visit and/or support the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
they make the ocean more alive.   us too.

please click header image to see water change.

look away, she said

which is it.   am I waiting for the Sun to rise or night to Fall.

this is the part where I’d say something comforting.   if I could.
beautiful words can be frightening at the same time.

I keep waiting for something to eat me.   maybe being worthwhile, then.
from inside a different belly.   I wonder how prey feel about that sport.

I keep looking for the right kind of surrendering.   not yet.   not yet.

rituals don’t seem to invoke any truth any more.   Fish don’t waste time with thoughts like these.   Swim, just swim.
he said that he liked my allusion, two hands being a bowl that is always our own.   a gift, you see.   is that the best of me.   one observation.

then gone.

    there was a man, most alive in the western desert.   observing, following a mountain lion at a watering hole.   he approached when the cat was gone, observing footprints in the wet mud.   then for no good reason, wondered, what if.   turned and there, circled around, behind him now, the lion had come to look himself.   quiet as unmoving air.   nowhere to run.   the man knew better.  don’t even turn away.   one great leap and lion would be onto him.   lion moved slightly left, slightly right.  yes please, look away, an instant is all I need, said the lion’s patient eyes.

    look away.   look away.   no, I have your eye in mine, thought the man.

    more stubborn was the man.    lion walks away.

write.    don’t think.    write.
the rule of predators.   kill swiftly, take no risk.   not that the prey might win the struggle, but the predator might get injured and thus be less able next time around.   death by starvation that result.

morning meditation, thirds

looking east.

do I ever tire of water.   no.   I don’t.

I refresh my view moment by moment.   all
       the same.   and.   unknown.

just the way your faces are.   to me.

perspective.   that’s what they call, how I see.

how many fish in the bowl.   how many.

       how many are seeing you.

what place calls itself home.   go fish.
there was a place and a time.  it was early night.
       water included.

       boats with lanterns.  one fashion
       to deal with water.   lots of water.

       let’s call it a parade.

lots of us fish, we came to look and see.
I try not to be broken.   you see?

       like water is.
we can be easy to please.

       virtue.   that’s what I call that ability.

       you know.   hand in hand.   feet to feet.   ordinary.

MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
please visit and/or support the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
they make the ocean more alive.   us too.

click to enlarge the header image.   see the water, see the trees.

first light forgiven being bold

I am the sound.   I am not the voice.

I am the empty shell.   wind whistles me.

when you listen to me, you are listening to wind.

I am this much big.   farther now than I can see.

bigger also seems to mean a thinner thread.

I am a fish awash on the beach.   someone will find me soon.

healed or eaten.   either will be sufficient.   next.

I don’t know.   don’t know what face wants finding now.

I know what’s left behind.

I know what never arrived.

I am the dawn with sleeping eyes.   perhaps.

perhaps to know your name.   a river does.
will you know mine, in first light.

a gift of salt

no, please, stay with me.   here, my word.   one face.

I am here for you.   just the way I was imagined to be.   so, I am.
when I’m awake I do just what god asks me to.   we call that fair.

                   when am I awake, you might ask.

zinc can make you fresh.   like a tomato bed.   fast asleep.   but no, awake.
it’s the color red.   it’s the scent of soil.   the way your lips are, close to me.

imagine rusty iron.   imagine the color of skin.   imagine being closer than before.     imagine imagining completely the way it is.
                   like an ocean is.

                   we say master, when the world is the way you say it is.   navigate.

imagine seedless melons.   well, we can say, wrong.   imagine seeds inside.
imagine birth.   mother.   imagine wanting more.
                   imagine bigger.
what makes us this way?    zinc.   a little bit.   some sun.   what you eat.   all of it.   what you breath.   what you touch.   understand?   what you see.   what you say.   feeds back inside.   the price of milk.   bread.   directions to the hospital.   the name you name yourself, inside.   even Tuesday’s do.

a donut or two.   rarely.   like many things.   do, or else.
a taste of shellac.   it’s safe you know.   beetle’s backs.   dark navy blue knee-high socks.   a brush to scrub your back.   there see, there you are again.   the movies you watch.   the stories you tell.   the ones we swallow like food.

salt then.   salt makes bigger than.

sugar, yes.   but not so much as to confuse a life.
plum sauce.   you never know when you will.
two spoons tamari.   there is a way you do that no one else does.
butter.   an ounce.   fat is where ideas take root.

                   cooking pots & pans.   as wise as books.

salt.   given by angels.   given by oceans.

salt.   makes the moment sacred.   in a pinch.

salt alone is a bitterness.   salt with another makes the distance sweet.

tongues will make feast upon summer salt.   nothing lost.

          that’s how we know each other.   taste, one of six.

salt.    evergreen.

the making physical poem

first, please, raise your right arm

like you was waving hello or waving goodbye.

yeah, raise your right arm.   wave it some.   friendly like.
or you tell me, what feeling you felt when you looked

within yourself.   whateveritwas.
appreciation looms.
raise your left and right arms together now.

here, I’ll wait.   oh yes, that looks good.

well done motion is given way.   favored face.

please, tenderly asked, will you stand?

oh, and draw a circle with your body all the way

around.   now we’ve both seen all there is

to see.   thus, a new world joined.

one door a clock, one door as big as deep dark space.

on wings of doubt, here to share.   that’s the choice.

now made real.   please

touch your face.   then.

your heart.       please, did you?


She wears one mask

She wears one mask,
and beneath blue sky’s face, hers
is more calm, a pacific tide dressing
waves that siphon sand from under
my feet.
She wears one mask,
contours her face embosses in the air,
with veiled smile, easy affection, like
some curtain drawn in warm embrace.
Eyes that linger do arrive.
She wears one mask,
and in the twinkle of her eye,
my gaze given way, she lets go
the chrysalis gauze, desire thus
draped, now undone silk by
silken breath.

She wears one mask,
lips like leaves she stirs the wind,
tucks me within hushed embrace,
till begins this apple bloomed,

       Am I leaf or wind?

And behind each mask unmade,
the one who wears us both,


fingers and toes

twenty one days and counting, but only twenty fingers and toes

one day out of reach?   like poems, I never know.

how much you figure, I can fill my own bowl.   wrote about bowls often enough, but now?   one more thing I don’t know.   does my understanding thus decrease?   I look, like a jigsaw puzzle, pieces all seem present, reasonable.   but when I ask, what does it feel like being me?   why like this, being me?   I don’t know.

thunder this morning outside the open door.   loud.   pleasing to me.   I am still in the world and the world in me.   some measure of trade.   rain, it also landed hard, joyed for the thunder I suppose.   didn’t last long.   I wish for more.   more thunder.   more anything.

gone my California blood.   clear by eleven latest.   blue following.

now cool, even cold, pleases me.   and rain?   welcome any day.   love the scent, love that it means staying inside home, where I’d be anyway.   I appreciate the reason why.

I like that bowl.   love?   a classic beauty.   I remember the Japantown shop where we first met and I said, come with me.   I remember where everything came from, the where, the why.   Palo Alto, Monterey, San Jose, Los Altos, Edmonds, the Renaissance Faire at Black Point.   Most of the artists too.   never seemed too much.   but now?   one more spoon I don’t know.

and we’ll not talk about books.   not yet anyway.

it’s an act of faith when I buy a book right now.   twice.

how tedious to elaborate all this personal history.   but then, maybe this is my coin.   when I was this-much-tall I grew up in a small farming town.   large Sunsweet plums-into-prunes processing plant right across the street.   great sport off season when closed down.   dangerous stuff just like small boys adore.   and an abandoned house next to that, that inside smelled of over powering old sweet honey.   a mystery.   half-block west, the main road & highway for that part of the world.   not big.   east, one block, the railroad tracks and beyond, plum orchards all the way to the low eastern valley hills.   their brown summer curves looking like a woman laying down.

how’s that bowl doing?   getting full?

        how do you give your life away?

like ground water seeping up through the foundation, I have this wondering.   all these years, well, I don’t think in years, maybe seasons, days, moments, colors, scents, faces, choices, sometimes lips, touch, feet on gravity’s ground – all of this.   what a history lost when one of us goes away.   such sweetness, such pain.   my new favored phrase – is my life not poem enough?   not meaning only me, certainly, but this is where I feel it by natural course.   details.   which side of the bowl do you place your spoon?  no matter at all.   yet true, it matters.   when was the last cat that sat in your lap?   that image matters to me.

we are the rounded arc of our earth.   one in millions.   but take one away and nothing is the same.   not wrong, put your spoon where you wish, but yea, not the same.   two hands is always how we face any truth.   this and that.

OK mom.   to wed and bed following the end of a war.   happiness like that ain’t always smart.   dad I think was merchant marine.   mom typed it all up, on and off the boats.   but gambling mattered more to him than mom or me.   leastwise that was her story of one ending to family.   unspoken.   don’t discuss.   too uncomfortable?   better not to feel too much.   my excuse.   I was a child.   I swallowed what was put in front of me.   not my fault.   not hers.   but an awful choice that stayed around for decades of years.   kept my mouth closed when it should have spoke.   passion unexpressed.
         call that sin.   call that unripe.

how many folks not loved as they deserved.   wishing is not loving.

is writing medicine?   no.   but it is the natural life I kept at bay.

your nurturing instincts will expand to many people.   so says the fortune cookie.   so the cookie crumbles.   but yea, that’s one rule, no, one intent of everything I write.   no lies.   no complaints about this greater life.  or if failing that, then acknowledge it is only my misunderstanding of truth.

what’s that mean in the pencil box?   well, this is heaven, literally.   but as we notice it don’t last forever.   use it well.   angels, yea, but not like books pretend, no glowing wings, no halo above their heads.   actually, very ordinary.   simply the right person at precisely the right time and place.   maybe you’re lost.   maybe they do or say the right thing to wake you up.   then walk away never knowing who they were for someone else.
        tell me.   is that hard to swallow?

running out of things to do this night.   menu isn’t big.   yes, slight breeze enough, go lay down in bed.   J. already long asleep.   lay down, she’s right next to me.   close my eyes, breathe.   drifting.   in the shallow cup between J. and my back, there’s a cat, no, a kitten, white with brown.   curled asleep.   J. moves closer, so yea, imagination, not a cat.   her arm her hand glances over my shoulder.   fair trade.   no, better, far better than a cat.   her touch puts me more at ease.   but too slight, that appreciation said by me.   she moves more, a little here a little more pressing firm.   some days some nights are easier, some harder.   this was a harder one.   till now, changed.
         maybe I’m the cat.

maybe I should spell out the specifics?   usually shy about detailing disease.   not important in themselves, but just so you understand my wandering my obsessions.   a heart that’s not moving blood so well.   leaves me often feeling short of breath.   waiting waiting, that’s the twenty-one days, till a procedure to help with that.   lots of pills.   then surviving that, is a blood disease.   kinda rare, kinda dangerous.   more details, really just of interest to me.   reading through some months of these journals here you’ll catch some edges of these issues for me.   I try to learn even now, especially now.   thought I was a good student, but here, here’s a very real personal test.

always a choice.   sit here – silently – say nothing about.   like mom might have done.   but newer kinder better me says be visible.   all the more if my experience here is growing short.   be a flawed open me?   more than mere wish.

trimmed my beard earlier.   close.   it pleases me.

here’s where I’d go have a cigarette.   punctuation.   back when I did.