little volcanoes of celebration

1. in the dream
i missed my plane
that 6:30
meant departure time
and when i try to find the phone number of
the ticket sales company
i find nothing
for two hours
text disappearing from page
and then
once i do find some digits
the keypad on my phone
blurring and worn off

2. in the dream
we missed the shuttle bus
to the chicago school art fieldtrip

3. in the dream
i sucked in thick smoke
through a glass tube
stolen from a tincture bottle

4. back seat
window cranked down
face out like a dog
seeking escape from front vent full
blast face-searing heat

5. cool air on cheeks
eyes turned up
taking in palm trees
that whoosh past
against blue sky
i think this city treats me best
when it thinks i am a tourist

6. you read my horoscope aloud
transmitted via satellite
it is about michelangelo
painting the sistine chapel ceiling
when his real love was sculpture
a twist in history as we thought we knew it
a comment on process
a cheer of encouragement
upon entering the lifesuck
of the institution

7. cleaners sign
missing its ‘e’
red plastic letters fastened to
offwhite stucco wall

8. shopping cart convention
at university and vermont
black metal and
gathered around a lamppost

9. bouquet of silver and gold balloons
tied down
bopping back and forth
in pre-sunset wind

10. university and richmond
person coughing on  bus stop bench
lung rattley
leans over to puke
up the same orange color as their
back pack

11. out the door at twelve fifty something
we get half a block down before we hear it
little volcanoes of celebration
from house to house
first a few houses to the west
then fireworks in the east
plus plastic/metallic cardboard party horns
and hap-py new year!!! shouts and bellows
somewhere between us
and the park
blinking back
from crisp sky
into same sky
some southeast
some north
providing maps
locating humanity
strung across neighborhoods
there are people in those houses
the map says
and if nothing else
you have this moment in common
with all of them

something cinematic
in moving
from microworld
[dining room
wine flutes
freebox try-ons
carrot butter and multi-seed baguette]
to macro-world
[echos from other micro worlds
like streetlights switching on
just as dusk gives itself over to night
a sense
of looking down
and for a slice of a moment
seeing that things are good]

12. as if we have secrets
like seedlings
planted inside our ribcages
it is enough
for us
to throw ourselves at the eucaplyptus trees
of balboa park
as if
the trunks are magnetized
and we are made of steel
at which moment, it is only appropriate to yell up
from roughsmooth bark to high hanging leaves
happy new years, tree!

13. and then
at upas and pershing
xmas light installation
which later research informs me costs $2000 a season
in electrical bills
we sidewalk dance to
a techno new years
in the form of electricty
and high kicks

14. turning back towards home
we begin
wishing everything
a happy new years:
happy new year lamp post!
happy new year sidewalk cracks!
happy new year shrub hedge!
happy new year stars and stars we can’t see!
happy new year stop sign!
happy new year electrical box!
happy new year cold air on my cheeks!

happy new year helicopter lights!
happy new year palm tree almost as tall as i am!
happy new year canyon coyote!
happy new year cacti!

happy new year light and shadow!
happy new year texas street roost!
happy new year table and chairs!
happy new year staircase!
and once home
pinkcheeked and hugwrapped:
happy new year friend!
[all this for someone who believes
in the witchy new years
of samhain
at the end of october
as the real new year]

stealth as fog

1. 10:30am
as if it didn’t rain once while i was gone
bright and bleeding through thin red curtains

2. four
ice cream parlor chairs
tucked around
a small square table
newest addition
to our front slab of concrete

3. from here
she tells me
about developmentally delayed brothers
were they born that way
i ask
she says
reminding me
that her father was a violent man

4. it’s difficult to pinpoint
the origin of the delays
she says
but he came down harder on the boys
you know
she says
because they were supposed to
not cry
be ‘real men’

5. that’s how i lost my hearing in my one ear
she says

6. in the kitchen
we discuss
how violence
contrary to popular belief
is the norm
but it’s harder to see the normness
since the norm of not talking about it
slips in first
stealth as fog in the quiet of night

7. and then there’s the fleet foxes
maple syrup for a voice
slipping out the speakers:
i don’t know what i have done
i’m turning myself
into a demon

8. a matchbook
commemorating solstice 2010
slips from a book
to night heat meets
morning heat

9. HUH chooooo
actual sound translation
muffled and rising through the floor

10. at bathtime
he said the name tyler
and the word dada
if i could send links via text messages
i would send you this

11. pad of paper
splayed open
on radiator

freight train in yellows and grays

1. for those of you
waking up
at 3:20 a.m.

cassette tape cued up to
bruce springsteen on fire
freight train in yellows and grays
cued up and rolling along
only the way tons of metal on metal can

you say same diff
as a a plane lowers itself ahead of us
on the highway
and i am transported
to 1988

tsa employee in blue latex gloves
swabs something across my palms
without telling me what it is
while you wait
to wave wildly
across the glass barrier

the shine of wet laid flat
across blacktop tarmac outside
gate 4A, pdx

she says
is the native language of her tribe
heading home
to juneau
hoping to make the tight connection
in seattle

row 14
seat E
tucked in the middle of a germ sandwich
sneezes to the left in 14D
and lungcoughs to the right in 14F

there is no one waiting for me
at the san diego airport
except a van
with the words ‘prime time shuttle’
on its side
is the difference
between san diego
and portland

upon landing
the captain over the loudspeaker:
may god bless you in the year to come
isn’t that illegal?
i wonder

and from our flight attendant
again over the loudspeaker:
and to all of those of you who have served
or are serving in the armed forces
thank you
for protecting our freedom
and our country
a real
‘we’re not in kansas anymore’ moment

when you dream of a house, the house represents your body

1. in the dream
the house was a hostel
the portly danish man wore a mustache
and had red hair
the paintings in the  yard weren’t mine
the hiking path led to our backdoor
the doughnuts were cheap
except for the honey doughnut which came
to a live comb
bees included

2. in the dream
home was a dorm
6 of us sleeping in one room
i rotated my bed
to alleviate the water leak
i fell asleep
comforted by the low buzz
of voices
from the other room

3. candy bears
(yellow, orange, red, blue)
shiny and tangysweet
sugarcrunching in between molars

4. from the second story window
above the bathroom sink
the neighbors soggyleafed yard
the abandoned house with citrus-slice shaped windows
and all of north portland
grayblue and bare-branched
flying low
along the columbia river

5. light
and fading
but you find it out the hallway window
the half of a winter rainbow

6. five pounds of metal
boiled and cooled and warmed up again
gripped in your fist
and coated
in seaweed
we work slowly

7. smell of garlic on my fingers
i’m right here with you
you say
while my ears follow the footsteps
down stairs

8. an ashtray
piled with sunglasses and
huge-faced watches

9. molly, 41
discusses the legacy of distrust
and how she inerhited it
from her native american grandmother
and how she is sewing life-size self portraits
as one way
of taking this apart

10. before dinner
there was a deviled egg
a chocolate chip cookie
and a bowl of homemade chili
passed between the three of us

11. in honor
of an ordinary sunday
thai food on fiesta ware
a short round
of spin the wallet

12. on the ride home
felice reminds us of the dreamtheory
that goes:
when you dream of a house
the house represents your body

13. you
breath deepening into sleep
the weight of your hand
fastening my palm to your chest
to pull away so that i may type this
the cruelest gesture


first sound of the day:
from the other room
cardboard box
in a one-year-old’s hands
every time it is opened
dogs bark jingle bells

two fingers
and then
a whole fist
curled tight

first food of the day:
two clementines
and a slice of pumpkin spice bread
at 7something pm

maybe laundry

1. i want to put samples of
your handwriting
on a timeline lay
them next to each other
to watch the progress

2. small stuffed animal dog
whose purpose is sometimes
to hold down a piece of paper
that reads welcome home
under its front paw

3. when given the choice
between biscuit
or toast
i opt for the croissant

4. small spill of soymilk pooling around
hot sauce
sugar packets
strawberry jam
on yellow formica tabletop
instead of a rag, our server brings
an inch-tall pile of napkins

5. corinne and i stopped on
alberta street overpass
waving to southbound
traffic below
in response:
a peace sign
horn honks
devil horns
and waves coming back at
60some miles per hour
35 years old and this trick still
makes me smile

6. hand-laid mosaic
laura’s kitchen floor
marine blue
maroon red
saturated yellows
mismatched edges
the time it took to set each piece
if only i could take transfusions of this
with me
so that i might survive
the 50year old modern architecture of death

7. do you feel good about yourself now?!
woman in new season’s parking lot yells through her
sedan window
after we slipped into the parking space
she sat waiting for

8. sweat gathering
around light green tshirt collar while
fingers grip teal mat

9. it is in the still moments
heart knocking ribs apart
that we reinhabit
this skin

10. how the wind kicked up after
we pushed ourselves out the studio door
spirits hijacking air

11. as a member of the ordinary saturday club
i will engage in ordinary saturday things
sleeping in
late breakfast
food shopping at whatever store is open
maybe laundry

12. two yoga classes
one acupuncture session
one counseling session
not bad for four days back in pdx
(on the horizon:
old-growth forest hike
plus potluck and fire)

strands of home

1. roxie
the dog who has hair not fur
whining outside the bedroom door
while a house
rises into wake
in a single wave

2. eggs
frying on stovetop
while water
into steam collecting
on windows

3. james and i gather
over burritos as big as our faces
these burritos
never fail
at falling apart

4. ace of base
and exhaust
spilling out car shop
at 15th and alberta
metal door
rolled up to the roof

5. the trainwhistles
the wrapping of fabric layers
the coolwet rainforest air
on the other side of the door
the running into at the co-op
with some of whom
never even knew i left
strands of home
braiding themselves
into knots

6. needles
tucked under skinsurface
for lungs

7. now
that i have seen
the photo of your desk
(half workspace, half altar including typewriter)
in your room on the ranch
in colorado
i understand

8. there was also a bed
from which you could peer over the loft edge
to spy the ponies in training

9. and if that wasn’t enough
there was the other view
from bed
through hayloft doors
flung wide open

10. typing
quiet as i can
to the sound of your
ribcage risefall

11. there is a place
between your bedroom and the bathroom
where the floor
sounds like rusty hinges
giving way
bare feet navigating
the intersection
of two planes

this is the closest to ritual we ever get

1. shannon rises
at least one hour
before me

2. sound of upstairs chairs
legs scraping overhead across floor
wood on wood

3. we write a daylist
fuller than actual time permits

4. for breakfast:
plus tangerine on the edge
sour colliding against pulpy sweet

5. yoga mats rolled under our arms
on a 15 minute walking tour
of neighborhood moss collections

6. heat cranked to 70something
in a room where brick gives way to whitewall
sliding opaque door separates front desk from studio
it isn’t until lilith rockett tells me to soften my heart
that for the first time
i lift up into
crow pose and balance there
knees pushed into upper arms
all the weight of my body
held up by  floorpressed hands

7. salad
on a bed of cold quinoa
dressing whisked together
(tahini, lime, mustard, olive oil, salt)
toasting lunch bowls
like one might toast wine glasses
the best meal
either of us have eaten
in years
harkening back
to cracking open macadamia nuts
between pavement and heavy rocks
in hawaii

8. you
in pinstripe gray suit
offering of tiny lavendar
the hook of your elbow
locking into
the hook of mine

9. 12th annual
portland solstice puppet show
warmth of winterfire
glowing in gut
while passing myself
from hug to hug
is the closest
to ritual
we ever get

10. how quickly
we forget
like the bp oil spill


1. 3something am
i undrape
under the hot weight of down blanket
spill forward
towards ten hours of work

2. collared shirt and overalls
climb back in
two more
warm seconds

3. feet harnessed into pedals
on blue-framed tobe
former warrior of chicago streets

4. scarfwrapped
and braking at 15th dekum
similarly layered
holds neon orange slow sign
calls out
happy holidays
through drops of
almost frozen rain

5. human and bike
into perfect machine

6. soula and i
split salmon hash
and cherry crepes
while shiz
opts for the tuna salad
and home-made tortilla chips
while the unfortunate story of a babyboy

7.  cursive
greek word agape
swirled and looped
into moleskine notebook
because we have been fundamental
in the forward movement
of each others creative process

8. downtownbound
shannon at the wheel
and announcing the approach of stuff day
(that one day
where people buy stuff
to give to other people they know)

9. soula
running towards closed traingate
bags bulging in hands
indiana jones moment
clock: 3:45
train departure: 3:50
it is the smallest

10. juniper
the 90 pound dog
her black white snout
by a one-pint icecream container

11. in dialogue
with language poetry
we announce
the new school
of number poets

12. the comedy of
planning for as much daylight as possible
for roadtrip day #1
on december 21st
winter solstice
day of shortest light
of the year

13. cat people run
and complete double rainbows
while full moon
slips behind gauze clouds
rendering solstice eclipse

14. shannon
blue hoodied and pointing to a full color photo
of a little big burger

gathering momentum towards and army of lovers

1. in your dream
we were at a gay youth retreat
you showing me why bodies are important
sound of meanboys down the hall
in your palmpressed hands

2. wishes
sent along the digital telegraph
may your day be filled
with the opposite
of suburban terror

3. single fingernail scratch
red and disinfected
down  the slope between nose and cheek
and a finger
that points tirelessly
to the truck
the schoolbus
his feet
the moon

4. light switch
pulled away from wall
gray wires looped out

5. strip of purpleorange
pulled across horizon
bare branched trees as silhouettes

6. milwaukee airport dropoff
exhuast and breath visible in air
we’re proud of you for going back to school
furthering your education
and sticking with it even when it’s hard
he says

and maybe this is the only moment
since this whole MFA affair began
i’ve been hoping for

7. sign
hanging from tiled ceiling
just past security checkpoint:
recombobulation area

8. shoeshine stand study
armchairs: blue leather riveted to dark wood
perched on diamond tread pedestal
this one’s for you, sledge

9. no pay per view programming
flight attendant says

thank god i think
better get my book man in 8e says
reaching for overhead bin

10. from aisle seat 12d
through small section of window
orange sequin streetlights
glittering in a grid below

11. slipping through timezones
at 30.000
gathering momentum towards
an army of lovers
in a mossgreen city

12. baggage claim #6
scarfwrapped and pajamalayered

13. bottomburnt peanut butter cookies
platepiled in kitchen counter

14.  it is one thing
for the clock to tell us
what time it is
it is another thing
getting our  tangled bodies
to listen