like the waters of an icemelt river

1. dream:
you called
mom told me who it was before i picked up
answered like the waters of an icemelt river would answer

2. 8something am
silverware drawer initiation
sound of cutlery spilling to terra cotta tile

3. fever-ache
with kidney ache
what it means to inhabit a body
that does not want
to cooperate
what it means to inhabit a body
that might be harboring secrets
what it means to inhabit a body
during this lucky streak of health insurance

4. pressing metal prongs into soil
providing tomato babies
with something
to lean on

5. fingers rake nasturtium seeds
from garden bed
every granule of dirt gathered under fingernails
is real and
worth it

6. skywriter first completes a circle then
goes back
one line at a time
to put an X through it
slow and precise
white cloud writing
same shape as hubcap reflection
outside albertson’s market
several hours later

7. star jasmine scent
lifts along back walkway
rises through second-story curtains

8. i hate going fishing
he says
i can’t sacrifice the worm
and also:
i don’t have any friends
i don’t know what i’m doing with my life
i’m tired of moving around
all while seating on the rickety kitchen stool
perched over a plate of lentils, rice and garbanzo beans

9. it doesn’t matter that this song and i have known
each other for eighteen years
it spins new around me
like astral dust might settle

neighborhood rises up in a wave

1. teething in the car seat
6month old cyler
facecrinkled and spitchoking
his mom a patchwork of apologies and sympathy
there is no substitute for being held

2. seven dollars is steep for a pound of cherries
but they are the sweetest
juiciest/crispest burstingest pound of cherries
i have ever chomped

3. by now
the farmstand worker with the pink swath of hair
and i
should know each others’ names

4. cyler sucks yellow peach flesh
while rachelle holds tight to slippery skin
mango too

5. speaking of wisconsin
i am indignant when i say
everybody else gets to have their partner in crime with them
and i want to have one there too

6. dad explains basic plant biology over speakerphone
how roots take energy in over the winter
and how this energy feeds the plants over the summer
and it reminds me of the leaf photo that emily brought to class
where the veins could double as
roads on a map

7. sleepbound on shipbed at 4:30pm
backpain layered over feverbones
when 35 feels like 89

8. downstairs neighbor buils up the bass
stopstart some kind of backforth
filters up through floorboards

9. david’s running shoes
down the front hallway steps
spilling out into the dark of

10. how the silence of stillness
has the same sharp ring
as bright white walls

11. dream:
red craftsman toolbox on wheels
bought locked at a garage sale
when the buyer eventually teased it open
human bones
in each drawer
neighborhood rises up in a wave of
late night protests
a sea of signs and news crews

memorial >>> wedding

1. tall boots
grey a-line dress
kate’s necklace
star jasmine sprig pinned to piled-up hair
last weekend’s memorial attire
becomes this weekend’s wedding outfit

2. again
the power of collective pasts
how we carry slices of each other
how we become composites

3. white paper cutouts
circular and strung together
a backdrop of delicate movement
rippling in the wind

4. the father in the front row
reaches around for a tissue
kindfaced and laughing at his crying

5. seated in full sun at the kid’s table
john shuffles uno with a 7 year old and emily
cosmo and i have a draw-off
64 crayola colors on plain white
(palm trees, star fish, horses, shells)

6. for the second time this week
sarah and i converse (kilowatt smile to kilowatt smile) over
an array of desserts
when she mentions her 6 year old willa and how fastforward time can move
(meaning the giving away of her daughter to marriage)
i offer another side to the diamond of possibility
something about
how there’s also me
for instance
at 35
unhinged and
roaming free

7. i pass two phrases
across the catered table
to juan of the miho gastrotruck
and thank you

8. rancho guajome adobe wanderings reveal
oil lamps
antique chandeliers
down mattresses
handwoven rugs and
hardwood planks nearly giving way
in the corridor

9. tossing the word special
to felipe

he tosses it right back
and neither of us could be
more right on

10. r.e.m.’s orange crush
comes in over the rear speaker as we
circle for parking
sun-faced and too tired for a jazz fest
we opt for tea and two-hour-old coffee one hour before closing

11. the overwhelming
to come home
to another body
it might have something to do with
just having been at a wedding
but it might have more to do with
what it means
to come home
in this city

12. sometimes i listen to songs
in alphabetical order
it began with halo
and now:
hard to handle

13. you pose the question:
what kind of magic still exists in this world to listen to?

in a halo of light

1. fridge-stowed orangeslices
pretty much the best
of all variations possible
way to start a day

2. i carry water pitcher-full by pitcher-full
offering it to the moats around
the mint
volunteer tomato
sungold tomato
seed-started marigold
whose top two leaves i pinch off
so that it will
grow more stems
of more leaves
for summer eating

3. that warm water
cascading over
my spine
and the pain
radiating out from it

4. woman benchseated and buswaiting
cheers as i pedal past
taking a whole lane
i smile
a blur
headed west

5. two things are free in israel
she (in flowy pantsuit with orange) says
to give birth and
to die

6. every sabbath in jerusalem
orthodox jewish neighborhoods
so vehicle-machines
cannot enter
though i only have a slice of jewish
in my ancestry
and would never qualify as orthodox
i ache
for a sacred
as embodied

7. wen ling kneeling writes
lantern wishes
in a halo of light
fireworks spill silver on one wall and
paper lanterns lift up and away on another
making magic take two

8. while i take knife to onions
did you work in a kitchen?
he can tell by watching

9. friday night nina simone
on cassette
and before we know it
we’re talking about the phenomena
of sterility
in the united states of america
and i’m talking about
tijuana fulfills my aesthetic longing for texture

the inadvertent consumption of a doughnut

1. the inadvertent consumption
of a doughnut
what is no longer wanted is free
and what is free could kill you
but most likely not

2. it’s 9 o’clock in the morning
i sing/declare
in the slump of half-sleep silence

3. wen ling and i
like working with each other
because we like making magic

4. there are some things
we must double back to
like florida
like floorplans, orchestrations,  blueprints of suicide

5. you said forest floor
and i was thinking compost
which means
our psychic link
remains intact

6. there is a story
about a whole foods security officer
who insisted
on handcuffing
who insisted on walking the handcuffed through the store
who said
sit like a real lady
when the handcuffs prevented the handcuffed from sitting
in a straightbacked chair

7. todd
says he feels like the elephant
20 years old and
99.9% sure that we aren’t
todd tries artichoke
for the first time
teeth scraping ‘meat’ from scoop-shaped leaves
todd who boarded a train in the middle of the night
from cleveland ohio to san diego
6 months ago
do your parents know you are ok
i ask

8. david takes a different route
to make us tea

9. we all want to know the name
of the purple-flowering trees
exploding right now

10. today
a flurry of purple buds
lifted into air
by leaf blower
(leaf blower
most definitely a first world
[and incredulously ridiculous]

11. your highness
she says
i do believe you understand
water is approximately 72 per cent of each of our bodies
and therefore a mirror
a night sky full of rotating stars
every grain of sand as thirsty as my cells
a safety in numbers
a pride of lions

this joy is too monumental to let go

1. in the dream i was unexpectedly pregnant
a month or two in
content/blissful/joyous in my body (unexpectedly)
in the dream my family had a secret meeting
in the dream, my sister said
in the midst of my glowing
we’re concerned that you won’t be able to support your child
the weight of money, jobs, resources
i know
i said
but we’re gonna figure it out
this joy is too monumental to let go
in the dream
someone asked me to take over the wheel from the back seat

2. a woman
several seats ahead of me
videochatting while hurtling north at 60some miles an hour  on her
iphone (or some other hand held device)
to someone i presume to be her daughter
we have
the jetsons
and i am still reeling
from the first telephone poles ever pounded into earth

3. a trifecta of transportation:
as if this north-south stretch
were siltstone or shale
and along one layer: the amtrak rolling south on the rails
another layer: path carved between freeway and track, a biker pushing north
and the third: freeway. four or five lanes in each direction. a shuttle bus. in the back seats, me on it. moving forward through morning. forehead nearly pressed to rattling window. feet lightly dangling.

4. those aren’t even real train tracks
nikolai says about the photo on the cover of the magazine
i double over laughing
because i completely agree
but would have never named the failed attempt at achieving some kind of aesthetic urbanism in such a genius way myself
those are trolley tracks.

5. chlorine blue
i alternate the crawl
with backfloat winging and kicking
it is good to get back in this water

6. it’s a bus not a phone booth
some guy on the shuttle says
as we sardine pack
and push towards the back

7. kaya’s grandma’s trick:
hot water (or tea) in a jam/jelly jar
with the last of the un-knife-scrapable jam still in it

first pits, then moats

1. san diego wrapped in gray sky
and drizzles
that most people here mistake for rain

2. first pits
then moats
after the marigolds
the chocolate mint
the lime thyme
have been lowered
into the soil

3. sometimes
the confusion between honoring
where i am at
perpetuating patterns
is indiscernable

4. while you
take queer punkhouse tours (complete with raised beds
and a bike shack)
i am
shuffling through a pile of essays
purple-inked pen in hand

joke sent in along the textlines:
why do anarchists drink herbal tea?
because proper tea is theft.

5. if it were a film
there would be repetitions
of the same self
made of velum
across geography
and along the arc of time
we do not simply become ghosts
only when we pass through
we spend our whole life practicing
peeling our selves apart like mica
depositing the layers like snake skins

6. a woman’s voice sings opera
(the notes and the drum give away
her long black hair)
through the open window
between wake
and sleep
subconscious symphony folllows

the thing about _____ is that we are stories

1. four dollars of cherries from sweet tree
plus mint limeade and two
spinach empenadas

2. a forkful of coconut cake
before the styrofoam blows away

3. gaston likes fashion
kaya says
in her poofed skirt and dress-shirt
while prepping kale salad
which is a good reminder
i take her lead and zip up the knee hi boots
and climb into a dress
(and let it be known
while skirts i do on the daily
dresses are a twice or three times a year
kind of thing)

4. backyard flowercollecting in aformentioned
boots and dress
breeze moves down the channel of sidewalk between houses
carries star jasmine in clouds of scent

5. the thing about memorials
or life in general
is that we are stories
and in the coming together
we get to relive
ourselves/each other
and that by seeing each others faces, speaking the shared memory aloud
there is a validation that those moments and we ourselves
actually exist
that the magic
did indeed happen
we become real through each other

6. victor and i
take plastic spoons to the triple layer
dulce de leche
we get through this

7. first the orphan song
and then
on a table on the balcony overlooking the sunlit street
shot glasses and clove cigarettes
plus three photos
so one might have a drink or a smoke
like sitting down with you at a cafe in barcelona
this is where i leave the backyard bouquet
(tag attached reads: safe journeys/welcome home/we miss you)
this is where we sit
one by one to write you last words
(things we forgot to tell you
things we remember
things we want to send along with you)
in a blank book that will be cremated with you
it isn’t until i sit down at the table myself
do i realize
the power
of this gesture
the ability of words
to travel across bridges that us and those passing on
slateblue tablecloth soaking up cheek-rolling tears

8. chimichurri sauce
some people put it on steak while
i opt for walnut bread

9. nina simone on the boombox
while i dishwash
compost dump
and stovescrub
as if this co-op is an ashram
tonight this work brings me closer
tonight sweeping is nearly the same as
bringing my forehead to the ground

rapture rupture

1. this is stupid
i say
10am kaya at my door
a photographer in our backyard

2. we link arms with the blue scarecrow
we strawberry sample
we gardenkneel
all while he tells us to keep our eye on the camera

3. shovelfull after shovelfull
of compost
bucket-hauled to front  planter
sungold tomato transplant

4. it’s not the photo on the front so much as the
quote from the little prince on the back
that gets me:

“In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . And when your sorrow is comforted,  you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh!’ And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you . . .”

5. natalie and i
shake hands
while her husband jason and i fistbump
(due to car-grease fingers)
everything is 25 cents at their yard sale

6. i slip in
past metal gate
door left open 10-6
let this
be a beginning
towards cottage dreams

7. night flower mission
multi-tool concealed in hand
this will probably be the closest i ever come
to carrying a gun

8. some hot pink geraniums in a windowledge water jar
for your rapture rupture over there
in the lushness
of the rainy side of texas

9. today
the rapture looked like a cloak
rising off the ocean
and moving inland