He struggled

He struggled to catch the

dream before it drifted

away riding thin ribbons

of smoke up and sucked

quickly out the window

clouds of ideas formed

a ball of words, a soft

block he formed them

like clay into a mold

he added them to boiling

water like bullion to flavor

perfectly the dry pages

he wanted a foundry

to heat the cubed and

balled words to smelt

the tangle of letters and

shadowed dreams in bright

medallions into commerce

that would last millennia

sleeping beneath pale layers of

Pompeii ash or soft pacific silt

an explorer an archaeologist

finding precise meaning the

exact location of each daydream

the masts laying hidden across

forgotten decks raising them

into light giving them cohesiveness

to display hopefully a grandeur

unexpected renewed displayed

graffiti etched on ancient walls

coins and medallions in rotted stores

waiting to testify to the long dark

dream risen into smoky ribbons

offered to quiet gods and

ancestors for passage for

passage from infancy to old age.

16 0604

lightning flashes

lightning flashes

far off

near enough

to light the sky

and fill it with a sharp crack

and rumble

like a train

striking a car

stalled at a crossing


frightened children

cry and howl

joining the dogs chorus

around the neighborhood

in the dark

their tears

catch and reflect

bits of light.

the air is quiet

except near trees or shrubs

where wind hisses

through twigs and leaves


no rain falls

but another bright flash

and long rumble

pushing away the loud

slap in the sky

Litter on the Beach

As the sun appears to kiss the distant horizon, its warm rays begin to fall short. Subtly bright gold shifts to red. Sunlight soon brushes pastel the sand, the pier, and people walking, watching the fiery end of the day. Their awe rises like mist to join the broad washes of color upon distant clouds. A cool sigh rolls over our junction of land and sea, of day and night. When the sun flattens ruddy against the sea, the air becomes still as if the world holds its breath. A single flare rises then quickly disappears. A collective sigh marks the passing of the sun, the onset of night. A subconscious prayer rises, but leaves us each alone in our skins as our transcendental bond drifts like pale ash across shore and sea. Like luminous words in the growing darkness riding the faces of breaking waves, roiling in our dreams, churning emotion laps against sandy memories deposited by retreating surf, giving voice to body and soul.

Rhythm Rises

Errant thoughts glisten like
thick frost that appears long
before the clear indigo sky pales.
Icy air seeps through miniscule
gaps between window and sill,
cascading down the wall, slowly
splashing on and across the floor.
From the churning confluence,
images drift like mist above a
waterfall . He deflects. Reading,
searching, as if scripture
could shield him, could divert
the flood. He needs more than
an echo of his thoughts. More
than a crude, soulless golem,
or a shadowy doppelganger. He
needs essence: common, tangled,
roots that nourish and inspire, to
ground him in time and place.

Long sleepless nights like
this freeze time. Imagination
grips his heart, squeezing
until his chest pounds.
Singers accompany
his drumming heart.
If he looked out the window
he would see steam rising
from the vent as his clothes
tumble dry, as the dryer exhales
moist, hot air. Instead he sees
the breath of singers rising,
matching the rhythm spiraling
from the drum, accompanied by the
thunderous dances of buffalo and
holy chants of Yei-Be-Chai.
Rhythm fills the night.
It rises from his heart.

Night wraps him like
a second skin, a twisting
and pulling wave
charging a sandy beach.
Above thunderous surf
a voice wafts, riding the soft
mist haloing turbulent water
stampeding all around.
His spirit rises. In the powerful
grip of an undertow, his body cannot.
Near the sparkling surface
memory breaks free, breaches,
arching high in the air.
His first death. Murdered
by loving parents. Water
boarded before the CIA
had a name for it. Then a
second. Abandoned, he felt
the suffocation of banishment.
And a third, a forth.
No beacon to the other side.
He lingers.
He follows
the calming voice.

Opaque water undulate as
swells pass beneath the rippled
surface, reflecting the faint light
of stars, scattering the argent
glow spilled by a full moon.
Polaris faintly glimmers and
winks, showing a way,
he breaks the tension
separating ocean from air.
He sees man-shaped kelp
kissing the salty surface,
returning the indifferent
ocean’s kiss of life.

The rise and fall
has no rhythm.
His drum beats.
His blood dances.
The rhythm rises
from his heart.