when everyone carried a chainsaw

walking in the window of sun
passing plants i can name:
alyssum, daffodil, lupine, azaela, wild rose
geranium, clover, ‘sea daisy’, and something like
wild arugula
while joolie sips her jasmine tea
liz her coffe and i break off
pieces of paper-wrapped
peanut butter cookie

the eye of the storm liz calls
the pause between
rain/wind onslaughts


joolie and i pass
lomatium and elecampagne tincture
back and forth:
between passenger and backseat
across the kitchen table
at the counter

las rakas playing while
joolie slices avocado
liz simmers/seasons the beans
and i chop onions and jalapeno
for our breakfast burrito


salt-watered fingers pressed
to forehead, lips, chest while
crouching to touch without
letting it overtake me

painting in hush of wordlessness
(against the background of crest/fall
217’s portable watercolors/brushes and
the tiny booklets she made us
thrashing ocean turning silver under sun glare


it’s a great question to ask i say
over thai food in the next town over
what are ways you like to be cared for
physically/emotionally, etc

how the treeness and oceanness and darkness
become vast and forever-like
when we step out
highway-side lit up
in the flash of hazard lights
glowing into the mist


my official car diagnosis
when we look under the hood in
cell-phone glow: that scraggly end
is all scraggly (referring to some unattached tube
near where the smoke is rising)


second ride with ‘strangers’
in two days because
that’s just how folks do
in this town
will talks about growing up all
back-to-the-land at the end of the
power/electricity service
at the end of the bus line
and how it was in the 70s when everyone
carried a chainsaw in their vehicles
(including the bus driver) so
they could chop up the trees
that fell into the road, and,
trees always fall in the rain/storms


joolie and i laughing obnoxiously
across the table at scattergories
and cards against humanity:
(how i got sticky: autocannibalism.
lifetime channel presents: stray pube –
a story of hope. and
lactation – the musical)

we don’t own the water, the water owns us

in the dream, gold chain and i
were dancing
hands clasped
rocking from left foot to right foot
and the rhythm fit was a thing
i didn’t know i missed


drowned-rat-lookin in our
rain gear we step into
franny’s bakery overwhelmed
by its amelie-perfect offerings

man gesturing
with a chicken (saran-wrapped
on styrofoam) as he talks
about songwriting and troublemakers
at the co-op so small-townish that
folks know we don’t live here


unexpected end-of-the-day
classroom drum semi-circle
how i can’t stop and
the one remaining student
who thanked me for pronouncing her name right
(which wasn’t difficult because
it reminded me of a yoga word)
joins us
banging, clapping, laughing
lulling is the word i use
for last night’s (all night) wind
howlings and window rattlings
and spats of rain against glass-ings


at thrashing ocean cliffside i kiss
my fingers – hold them up to
salt-spray wind followed by
a tap on the ring clasped
around neck


trustfalling into ocean-blast/spray wind
how we howl together
and when it pauses
the layers of frog chorus rise

joolie and i burst into laugh at
kitchen table when the
lights go black- the thickness of it
and when they blink back on
we flick them all off and
sup our soup in candle light
to the tune of wind-whistles


how we pass the painted handwritten
incredible non-edible journies of
miz liz around in candle-glow
reading aloud


creeks diverted into culverts in sf and then
the city floods joolie says
(islus creek, misison creek, etc)
there is a water system
below our water system (rivers)
that holds the sacred mountains together –
we don’t own the water,
the water owns us 217 says

how we three bed-dance to
m.i.a.’s bad girls
whose video marks the end
of a long diva marathon while
tree shadow wall-waves
in wind


joolie and i on boyz II men, beyonce, ciara, m.i.a. loop
(and i’ll take with me these memories
need them bags of that money
bad girls die young live fast i’m out)


i love the light you are made of

if you’re running to look good
you coulda stopped miles ago
the tradesworker announces to me
as i pass him and his two cronies
three-fourths of the way up one of the several
hills on elsie street
and because it sounds like a
stupid pickup punchline joke
(instead of creepy come-on)
i laugh and sorta shake my head
and think about how i do it to feel good
in which case
i couldn’t afford to have stopped miles ago

on the cooldown walk/return
the man with the kindest perhaps
most unexpected smile
hellos me whilst pushing
an impossible sculpture of
can-filled trash bags in
a shopping cart up bryant


spotted on an
avocado-lime errand
a three-for-a-dollar sign in the
pan dulces pastry case
i walk out with
two avocados
one lime
and three pastries

smiling at a text about
how he’s waiting for me
next to the guy
preaching spanish into a microphone
(smiling because
i know that sound having
walked past it last night
and imagining this guy
never leaves just preaches)
and then being told in a non-creepy way
by a bypasser on the sidewalk
that i might have said goodmorning to earlier
that i have a wonderful smile
and then william and i
running towards each other
flailing limbs for a
pickup/swing-around hug
he in leopard print pants
me in sequins

william and i co-counseling
in dolores park, mid session
i laugh-burst and say
if anyone’s even watching/noticing
(referring to our held hands and
my face full of tears)
i wonder how many of them
think we’re breaking up right now

wherein i commit to cultivating/
honoring and celebrating my light
which means recognizing its shine
even when it doesn’t feel like it’s there

we mini-dance-party (seated)
to a beat called i’m sorry i can’t stop dancing (bro)
on the grassy slant of hill


is that a threat i respond
to joolie’s i’m bringing your polar fleece text

what i wanted to tell you
in my voice today is how
much i love your light
(visible no matter where you are
in the updownallaround cycles)
yes. it’s true. i love the light you are
made of

from the water world:

A Hindu devotee gets showered as part of a cleaning ritual before his pilgrimage during the Thaipusam festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. – voice of america, day in photos

Indian Hindu devotees gather on the banks of the river Ganges to take a ‘holy dip’ on the occasion of Maghi Purnima during the annual traditional fair ‘Magh Mela’ in Allahabad. – voice of america, day in photos

affection and affiliation

no one just sits in this city
i say

stuffed dumbo
slightly rumpled
perched atop garbage can dome
on 24th and lucky


billboard on 24th and bryant
with portrait-style drawings
of those murdered by cops
surrounded by the phrases:
hoodies up
hands up don’t shoot
black lives matter
surrounding big letters
that read: no justice no peace

the woman at the corner store
(with impressive earrings and hair)
tells me my total
(for a juice and chocolate bar)
before she hands back change
to the customer before me
and we smile big smiles
when i tell her
she is fast


a return to bernal heights:
not a matter
of getting out/away from the city
but rising above (where traffic
is still audible but more of a lull
down below rather than a racket
that swells around you)


she was slow and

bruised for a week

it shows/takes video
of what you see
(connected or near your eyes)
i supposed you get used to it
not google, but microsoft


6pm bells pealing
in the air down the block accompanied
by car horns


click-click of repaired boot heels
on mission sidewalks
(some gum-stained
some perma-shadowed with leaf stain)
pressing past lollygaggers
on my rendezvousing way
to sound and an old friends’ arms


the door person says
handing my i.d. back
as soon as i saw texas street
i knew exactly where that was
revealing his own san diego affection and affiliation

two-and-a-half song
dance floor reunion
chane and i shake it
that blue light i tell chane
on that fake furry/wooly white coat
(referring to the person on stage
playing the mystery instrument)
will make it into the details –
color/texture combo
powdery and luminescent


HI chane and i joke-laughing
(with kate too) while we
gravelly-shout the word
(imitating aggressive/demanding
audience man) at each other
and out into full moon sky and
at the fences around dolores park
(attempting to collapse them down)


joolie at the kitchen table
breaking down the differences/nuances
of cardinal, fixed and mutable
astrological signs


cross-hatch sunrise (pink and orange
slashed into peach/yellow background) and
thin fog blanket draped
over fields (stawberries?)
whose rows go on forever

this city is such a trip
i text from a bus
as it rolls across the bay bridge
through the financial district
along the wharf
navigating varied streams of
cyclists, pedestrians, cars, other busses, trucks, scooterists
moving past the stillness of parked/overstuffed grocery carts
and sometimes people curled up on the sidewalk
who could be napping but could also be unconsious
though everyone shifts past without
leaning down to check

walking half a mile carrying
roughly 65 pounds of luggage (in three backpacks)
slow but steadily forward i move
squinting to catch glimpse
of each street sign until familiar
bryant reveals itself
some smiles exchanged and how i say
good morning to the woman sliding open
the metal gate of a salon


trumpet player at
the top of bernal heights
bench-parked and
practicing to the
bumpy blanket spread out
below of houses on hills

overheard atop bernal’s great green hill:

someone called in to report
a suspicious package
at 11th and mission which
turned out to be a box of body parts,
what the fuck, and then
they found a suitcase too

at the archery range
watched a hawk
swoop down and grab
a ground squirrel

small backpack as a pillow
i arrange on the west-facing parkbench
after attempting to read pages of
mayodormo:chronicle of an acequia in northern new mexico
as the train-travel-little-sleep weariness
kicks in
slipping in and out of outdoor sleep
in sun-drenched air
under the sky that looks like a sea

the pinch/sting of what
might be sunburn on my cheeks
but ends up, instead, being just a
cellular reawakening


running through rainwet morning
sheen on sidewalk and road
i make my way through
the gigantic trees of columbia park
on the way out and my way through again
on the way back and
feel heart-opening
to take their mighty spirits in

happy february first shiz says
patting my raincoated back and
i pat back saying the same
as we sidewalk home

gina packs a pint of
kraut for my travels while i sing
kraut, kraut, let it all out
these are the things i can
do without c’mon


goodbye shine
in shiz’s eyes to match
the rainwet street/sidewalk glimmer

daphne and some other
first spring richsweet scent
permeating the amtrak parking lot
i pluck a few blooms
and shiz says it’s portland
farewelling me / sending me off

sheen of fresh-shined boots
propped up on backpack
at seat #2 (in the back of the
last car of amtrak’s coast starlight
(train 11) southbound

i say intentional community and my seatmate
shikar says sandhill and i am stupified
at this mutual knowing, which, turns out
doesn’t end there
(amy goodman/that program is my lifeline
she says to the outside world)


this world, i type, (as gauged by
this small stretch of it) is so
wondrous and gorgeousness-laden
i can barely take it, but i do
and feel my ribs cracking open –
a wideness
a space big enough to perhaps let
the giant proportions of beauty in


past dusk (dark but not fully night)
so i can see the suggestion of
a river expanse stretching
north-south and the mountains
that rise beyond and
a thin cloud/fog blanket
stretched across
we are going through the deschutes national forest
i overhear someone say in the back of the car
on a conference call