the first time

the first time i noticed
i wasn’t from here
was before heaven
ever hurt anyone,
and the sun’s
music didn’t
have to break
through dark land
just to get attention

i understood filtered
fingers plucked
our hearts up one
ray at a time
through native
free-range animal clouds
who liked to travel
with us on the way back
from Milford lake

i felt God,
or an angel,
or something I didn’t know
pulling my head
out of the Bronco window
in the heartland of it all
while Cheryl sprinkled
two drops of vanilla
into our Pepsi cans,


for Real Toads


the pink flower, or God knows


my ears get fooled by neighbors
and all the wrong that i hear
and my feet get sore from foxtails
those insidious small devils

and don’t you ever wonder
i mean, doesn’t it ever get to you
how He is still everywhere
and everything no matter what?

and i almost forgot without
this morning when i left
in a huff that i snapped
one picture of a pink mildness

i looked at it once, and now twice
and on the third time viewing
i finally saw its burnt edges

yet i think it cannot detract
from the multiplication of
sympathies He’s given me
in this very continuous moment

as i look and re-look at earth
in this very important flower
don’t you see a prayer?

don’t you see an instruction
to quiet self, to get out,
without the weight of ego
to be only soft and burning, —
an open-fisted body


for Real Toads &after Mary Oliver’s
When the Roses Speak, I Pay Attention

let me be solemn in Yosemite

i have not made the world my home
nor have i considered the egos of nighttime mountains

their bare bones make no difference to me
as i sit in a darkened bus exhaling a ring of fumes,
an open-mouthed wreath gifted to the world

i have never spoken to the brokenness of bridal
veil falls, even though she waits for me ’til morn
like a petulant little sister connected solely by chance

i suppose,
there is something though, beyond all my dumb breathing
beneath all this tumbling, and all-out burning of mother
and father, sister and brother stars

if, and when,
things are as they should be, i will latch onto the musical
strings written expressly for me, and dance holding onto
the hem of your skirt which is not one of the least of these;

thank you,
please, for wildflowers sleeping


17: NaPoWriMo and Real Toads

Act II in four parts

When they say come a little closer

It means pallid butter rum
Cake served with black coffee, – a
Deciduous destruction
A falling

Nervy girl

I strike a match anyway,
Ignoring all the kindling
I know…

I adopt a saloon girl’s name

A certain dark spice, because I’m
A black mark match, and even if a
Spade’s an outright spade, and his
Tongue’s lapping up the dregs,
My heart is gone

It’s turning red-white

My heart I keep to myself; no one believes me
I’m going to marry the preacher man

wrapped in the sweetest beginning i think

i come from nothing, but i’ll find my way of this
as i grow and grasp to close these intangible tabs
reaching for dreamy words to shut up withery skies
straining to clamp oyster eyes together; a stop gap
for saying everyone’s pearls are the same-same.

i come from backlogs, from avocado green couches
from whence sprang some well-grounded whispers;
but i believe in night, and i believe it’s okay to sleep
on heartache as i’ve supposed i’ll be living a long-long
time, so help me God in these nothing-but-nothings.


for Real Toads

The God Curve

Sitting in infinite dark space, I see a great light.
(Calm for the Daily Post)

How Much is a Penny?

Step lively round the hollow men
Hollow men hollow men
Step lively around the hollow men
God knows what time in the morning.

Between the shape and the form,
Between the color and the shade,
Between the gesture and the motion,
The forgotten grail, a shallow dish.

[Borrowing T.S. Eliot’s broodiness
on such a day as this~ for Real Toads]

a great i

so much depends

a great tear-

a great omni-

a great i with clean

{after William Carlos Williams
for  Fireblossom at Real Toads}

thinking about the place where we lived

a church on the corner
reminded us that God
was as close to us as
my little brother’s
stinky friend
Larry McDowell
(the other corner-dweller)

playing it again for MZ at Real Toads

you want the hill country?

you’re discontent
you want greatness

you’ve got to go chop
your own menacing lumber

yesterday’s swing fell short and
yonder lies your strength if you believe
[yes, i believe] you’re greater than the giants

for Real Toads