morning water lights

morning lights looking east on Monterey Bay from the southern lip.

a water beacon, close hauled, then far over, Moss Landing, Marina, Seaside.
               is any reason necessary?

patience may bring all that’s needed.    sea lions above and below.    pelicans in imaginary flight.    otters that swim with the seaweed beds, eating and sleeping on their backs.    afloat.    then cold Pacific water finds the shore the rocks the sand, my toes.    I may ask for more at times, but that’s the more I don’t need, being me.

in her French flavored English, genuine, she calls you dear and yes, my sweet when she delivers the food to your table and booth.    maybe she even sits down with you for a bit.    that second floor restaurant right above the beach.    wouldn’t old friends act that way?    maybe she is, exactly that.
another face now.
things change you know.    rowboats moored close ashore, there to reach other boats, deeper away.    a few with motors, most not.    one small blue sailboat with yellow sails. those colors always make my memory smile.    twin gondola boats with swan heads bow and stern.    one long oar to move, fish and crabs and starfish below the glass bottom window pane.
no more, none.

at low tide some gathering of rocks just off the beach.    high enough for dry feet.    but watch the seaweed above the waterline.    slippery.    so bend with care.    abundant small crabs in their shells, sea anemones eager to touch, eager to hold childish fingers, eager to taste.    the rocks remain, but things change.    including me, bigger, more changed, more easy to fall.
                   yet I’m also a rock in that ocean place.
                   you understand?

            please fully enlarge image for best view

MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
please support the Monterey Bay Aquarium

water is

      her face was a river, round.

      her hands and arms, the reach and gathering of tide.

      her two legs the way water begins and ends.

      her hair, the mane of waves in a storm.

      I was there.

      her imagination roams, and now is including me.

      her eyes, lingering, taking a measures worth.

      her lips, oh her lips, sailing, making way to home.

      her voice ever shadows my ears.

      I took comfort there.

      and water, when you look, is all made of threads.

      since the sea was born, till she lays me down,

      I was there.       I still am.

blue water art above by Kerfe.   with permission, thanks.


where I first felt a sea anemone grasp my fingertips.
legs on either side, feet seeking not-slippery-faces
to take roost.   water underneath everywhere.

a ridge top that I had to climb.   up.   then seeing
why.   all flat on the other side, wheat like water
is, like wind, with a rock or two changing shapes.

wind pushing, hard, then by its absence, pulling.
that storm made me smile.   a small roof, a glance
overhead.   horses like waves with frothy manes.

two inches, white, and that first sound.   snow in
a city all alone at night.   except for my two legs.
a destination in mind, not yet arrived.   you?

nature says

that staccato hiss, like from a throat
in the rain.   and there, birds beginning
as rain swallows its breath.   now one
bird a circle right above my head.   then
a second arrives singing, singing.
        I listen even it its not for me.
a church bell moves away.   rain finds
us again.   steady this time.   ducks?
unexpected, yet my ears bounce their
rhythm calls.   or are they geese?
stubborn.   water arrives underfoot, no
surprise.   there, there’s the flight
lighting their way with voices, loud.
by itself, an echo inside.
are you there?   we all ask.
        are you there?
lonely now, grey sky makes a shadow play.
water sets it at ease with another bell,
closer this time.   crickets, oh crickets
and frogs!

your sentences are exactly right.

gone fishing

    Ikebana is an art of space, the space between branches flowers and leaves. This space is a plentiful void projecting tension and energy.

    Sofu Teshigahara, 1900-1979 founder of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana

I can’t speak right now.   I’m in the middle of
        turning blue.   no, just kidding.   making soup.

I’m in the middle of an after-thought, day dreaming
afternoon tea with a cat.   doing my nails, cleaning
the refrigerator – well, having a snack.

I’m in the middle of spelling rhinoceros, playing
my violin, imagination says yep, no lie.   I’m busy
avoiding Tuesdays, using forks on alternate weeks.

I’m in the middle of counting my toes, where’d
that tenth one go?   then reading a magazine,
inflating my tires, catching fish hand over hand.

I’m mid-stride reading Henry Miller, becoming
a pirate part-time, sewing winter’s old shoes,
feeding the cat, learning to swim upstream.

    They ask you, What do you wanna be when you grow up?   Later they ask, What do you do?   Which is just another way of saying, What have you become?   It’s not enough to have a name.   People need something to call you.   So you search.   You look at the roles the world offers you, trying to find the one that reflects who you are.

    Only a lucky few get to play the part they want.   The rest settle for what’s left or struggle with what they’ve been handed.   Then we all learn to embrace our illusions of identity.

    Derek DelGaudio, In & Of Itself

I’m hanging with the river crowd, ignoring
better intentions for buying fish, drawing modern
art in my spare time.   being confused about red.

I’m floating over a porcupine and her pups.
over a trail of ants who’ve found a sugar bowl.
the Puget Sound.   part of the Salish Sea.

I’m swimming through seaweed here.   it grows
feet by the day you know.   harder for the big
fish to find me here.   especially those big teeth.

I can’t speak right now, I’ve been called away.
        sushi is ready to eat.   life is very good.

        nibble nibble, as we say.

being me

will I be here Tuesday?   seems probable.

will I be here Wednesday?   let you know when I wake.

and Thursday, how about then?   remind me about
        about dusting the shelves & books.

Friday, how many fingers am I holding up?
        raise your hand to answer me.   that will do.

Sunday truth says, most answers are question marks.

Monday.   Monday’s a whole new week.
        new weeks are hard to read.

        am I still sitting here?

where’s your finger on the page?   told ya.   see?
told you this part matters to me.   like water does.

I keep seeing water in front of me.

    I am not the center of the universe.
    not even the solitary heart of me alone.

    and look.   a black cat in the garden.
    good fortune, says my book.

    I blink slowly to set her at ease.   you see?


you, say the title here


    this one, born but then borne away,
    some tears, but heaven is just like that.

    here, first undecided, then a face,
    gathers then ignites, becomes a star.

    oh and some, many actually, they buy
    groceries, do laundry, mingle into earth.

    beneath our feet, yes, they glow.

    one who says, imagine this, and she does.
    god says stay with me because I forget

    then lightning arms, except very slow,
    time enough to rewrite everything.

    a glint a sparkle a flicker a shimmer,
    here we are.   is this how it seems to you?

    then a tree an apple a snake,
    we know who you really are.

    one more, not special at all, and
    they loved everyone ever since.

    lucky me.   because I’m one too.


she said

she said, I am the sound of a star up close.

she said, in the silence between the stars,
I am the sound that silence is.

she said, I burn slowly.   I burn for you.
she said, my flames look like words

          like before they were like sky.

she said, you ask me what.   and I say fire.
she said, you ask me how.   I say fire.

she said, I am the salt in sand.
here feel, she said.   my blood is sweet,

          like stars are bright.

said she, my legs are trees that walk.
my arms are feathers rooted in sky.

said she, my thoughts do what windows do.
my feelings are water.   water like clouds.

my fingers are painting curious, she said.

feet define my home, my shoes.
lips thirst for another thirst.
this is how we feel when we feel
everything who is being here.


haikai no ku

up close, when you’re intimate, the ocean is green more than blue.

I’ve leaned over, far as I could, the stone and concrete barrier wall at the cliff edge here.   I’ve stepped down rough slender stairs at low tide, then walked along the narrow sand beach below.   leaning forward, strangers walking by behind me here.   most glance, move on.   I adore.   I am lost.   willingly.

a few fish reflect each wave, moving more near, moving more far.
     effortlessly.   I am fish.   I am water too.

     I have no doubt.   going where water goes.
yet here I am, between water and dirt.   dust on my hands.
I remember standing there sometimes, confused, wondering why I was alone.
not the words, nor even thoughts.   but here, sight itself becomes haiku.
          am I not poem enough?
we don’t move.   the ocean does.

in Japanese, haiku is the contracted form of haikai no ku ‘light verse’.


words in a pocket with dust

absent-minded       amiable

bright     blue     blunt


charming     circumspect

delicate     fervent

hesitant          lithe

ferocious     long-winded


revered     shy

vulnerable     mercurial

          uneaten, so far