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Monday, September 20, 2010

Belated Birthday Sonnet

Another trip around the storied sun
that’s all a birthday is, no more—
still, I wish that I had been the one,
there, to celebrate at ten times four.
To count it up, on fingers and on toes.
Paint yours bright—Blushing Bride,
even if that’s not how the story goes.
Yes, our stoic star on another curving ride--
the quiet heart won’t measure time the same.
So much stays, this rushing river in my soul--
Look up, or in, see life past loss and gain,
not knowing what to hold, what to let go—
Take from me now this broken mirror,
hold it just right—what becomes clearer?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Metaphors for California

You’re a valiant pine
growing from a cleft in a rock.
You are an old piano by the beach,
sending your notes flying, singing
with the gulls and pigeons
over hippie kids, bums, tourists
and hustlers in Venice’s scented air.
You are the busker’s upturned hat
and his old-soul voice,
and a skateboard’s hard wheels
drumming the dirty concrete.
You are the crowded and boiling road,
a freeway that is anything but free.
You are the salt on my lips and
the dry air that robs my sweat.
You are a shape-shifting constellation
of jets, circling LAX, low over
the shore at El Segundo, turbine rumble
and wave thunder meeting at
a continent’s wispy edge.
You are a waxing moon over
alpenglow, cacti and Joshua trees,
arms stretching in praise, longing,
mourning, silent in the arid heat—
sprawling, tentacled cities and
their elephant hill desert inverses.

Monday, September 13, 2010

High Desert Study

Long lines of sight,
sharp relief of light,
time measured by the
slant of the sun—
my eyes adjust to
this unfamiliar scale—
mountains leap clearly
through hot air, as
this background makes
my foreground small.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tonight's ride, haiku and tanka


A line of cyclists
in early fall’s sharp light—bees
seeking late honey.


A line of cyclists
in early fall’s fading light—
they hum along while
the sun slowly sinks, shadows
stretch—bees seeking late honey.

A Letter to My Students

I don’t say it enough, but I care about you. Each of you. That’s why I’m here. It’s too much work to do it for the money, so there must be ...