A Psalm

I’ve been excited by women
in libraries
followed movements with
my eyes as a sail fills
with wind and felt the jolt
like a prow taking
its cut through a wave

I’ve been excited by women
in libraries
whose slow surreptitious movements,
the turn of an ankle
short measured steps in high heels
a twist of mouth
a glance at a book shelf
or through it

I’ve been excited by women
in libraries
whose silent voices echo chapters
of humility and respect
as peasant dresses
and pigtails flow by with ghosts
of Marilyn Monroe movie memories
and placid book cover art

I’ve been excited by women
in libraries
rolling book carts to proper shelves
cataloging history and
time and gossip and art

I’ve been excited by women
in libraries
crossing legs out of terry cloth dresses with
rouged cheeks and
red elevated lips
taking a book inward
with focus and cognition
while red hair
and white thighs exude
auras of creation

I’ve been excited by women
in libraries
as if Sapphos’ lost poems
appeared while I wait for
a tall dark haired woman
to find me here between
stolid wooden shelves
where dreams meet the sea
and hearts have tried
to expose the sky

I’ve been excited by women
in libraries
and have turned pages
of desire toward islands of thought
where there are
rose petaled shores
of sure goodness
and love


was after
dried roses
that ether-death
sickness of after
smell gone
that last warm cold goodness of after
a longtime
meant promise of after
breathing of
toilet flush
padding feet back to
a rustle of covers
of after, after
slamming doors behind
strained voices of
after beginning before
an end of after always
before the bright
deaf rendering thunder
silent dark flashing
shudder of after
& together before



she ordered a cheeseburger
on a French roll with only a
half order of french fries for
she says, a full one was much
too much, now she cleans her glasses
& sips a small coke/ all this
before she had removed two sweaters &
first one comes over her head as
her back arches and breasts arch
almost skywards & the second

likewise overhead & now
down to yellow t-shirt
where both these actions
caught  three
males @ this lunch counter, caused
one poem/ & maybe
has something to do with a breeze
laden palm tree somewhere in
the Society Islands, I stay for
my bacon cheeseburger, faithfully waiting for my wife.

Voyager has left the solar system

red and blue strobe flashing
cruisers making way
for emergency or small sins
against the state
sedate homes fill windows w/light
& inner movement
as if the city & small towns & large ones
were urban box cars riding the slow surge
of the continents past a somewhere
in the midst of words being laid down
foundations–forming parameters
of love–by a ubiquitous universal knowing
that we are transceivers
for us a long ago thought
for us to perceive ourselves amid background noise
in dark light years of emptiness full of something & unending love
while it is we are startled by new ancient wonders since,
volcanoes in Alaska, Washington, Pagan, Philippines
& then we saw several thousand on Io’s fly-by
& while sliding past
Saturn’s Rings we found
beauty of form reaching unsurpassed
& back again–miracles
like morning light on half-visible
breast w/long hair flowing over pillow
& springsmell jasmine, or an unseen
moment before a flower fades
& Voyager has now left the solar system

missing the mark

there are two  men
sitting at a black formica topped
table, in a college cafeteria,

they calmly discuss Armageddon,
how Russia will start it,
where Egypt will move,
what Israels plans and counter plans
will be, they speak of the various
contingencies of this country, they
are adamant about biblical prophecy
that foretells all of this.

their movements are of an inert
manner, with one of the hands
& a self-assured sweep
of the table, crumbs &
Hawaiian islands leave the face of the planet,
a fist pounds down and Baghdad is gone,
the table where they sat
is still very much
intact after they have left

given present technology
& political uncertainty, it is possible;
however is not prophecy in any form the
basic psychic emetic for the doom foretold?

a deep gut wrenching, face straining puke
for the advent of what may be averted
instead of synchphatic applause
for everyone’s untimely funeral?

Independence Day & other Greek words

The sufficient crowd
Where the lean attitudes
The town or the country
The outlying geography
Of containment & submission
The giving in marriage
The man and woman of relation
The public parade of Eros
The missing meal of Agape
The barroom of Philia
It does seem Hollywood only likes adultery

The willful negation of Logos
These tangible criteria,
As if the world were spun anthropicly
On fingertips of our reason, the motion set
The will cocked, of halfwardly so,

The unfathomable bang a
Spot in space and time, not
Realizing there was no space &
Time before

The judgment by ourselves,
Be primarily in ourselves
& may we have the grace to be
Loving & kind & in a weltering rush
& drink before dawn
A dream—the where of now
The here of it,
The breath of is, may this love
Bring us fruit, each & each of who
We’re meant to be & have been all along.

I will continue to seek visions and count on my friends to know everything

I dreamed I was in 1962, in a department store dressing room
w/ Lana Turner,  or someone who said she was, & who told me she had to adjust
her nylon stocking and didn’t mind
if I looked–and I awoke and remembered that year
I had been in a desk behind the cloak room in my
eighth grade English teachers classroom
(who hated me, and whose name I’ve long ago forgotten)
I’d been put there for being a smart ass
& was napping & Joanie & Janet, whom I had known
since they were girls,   came back there, but that year they were no longer girls,
& really did  adjust their stockings & they really  did let me watch,
skirts hiked up & looking athletic &  as they pulled on the
black back seamed nylons on their legs while hitching up garter belts
& I knew at that moment, there was something I had, that wouldn’t go away

The Red Gate

That last time I was to the farm
where running through creeks, chasing
small birds and my imagination,
I had grown up
there was a red gate my Grandfather had built

Much of the paint had blistered and peeled
as its weight had pulled the corner post
forward toward the earth that it also
had leaned for, still functional but barely so

Fashioned with boards and bolts that
had gone through hand augured holes by
brace and bit—I still remember
that tools’ shininess from years of use

The gate separated the farm from
an adjacent well-to do horse ranch
where fine Arabians pawed at the
sawdust in tight functional stalls

North of the gate had been our barn
that burned several winters before the funeral
all the animals had gotten out & though
the gate was only five feet away it stood,
a bit charred still, & latched to the fence

It had swung open mostly for bartered loads
of hay and occasionally for myself, to get closer
to a fox or deer in the next field and sometimes
to deliver Christmas cakes to affluent neighbors

The farm changed hands to distant relations
by marriage; who after the funeral came offering
condolences and money — I stood there looking
at its form as the content of memories, of ghosts,
of the distance of wealth, of long ago laughter
of a presence of sorrow the screeched
like a rusty hinge

The Forester

He twisted his head
his blond hair and blue eyes
underneath the tin hat with
the rain dripping off the back, then
peered down at me and with a
shovel in his hand I got my answer:

“The clearcutting of Douglas Fir
in this particular coastal range is
better for the trees we plant,
better for the soil we plant them in,
better for the animals that live here..”
I shut him off for it was
a company answer, much like
a telephone company recording
that repeats itself, if you
haven’t anything better to do
but go on listening.

I finished planting a tree,
his answer didn’t bother me,
even when I raised up and saw
off to my left, a mud slide that had
been the side of a mountain and now,
was at the bottom of a ravine,
making good time to the Pacific.

The trees that had been there were
of no consequence either,
for as far as you can see
they had been all cut down.

I know a logger that would give
away his chain saw to be able to
confront a Sierra Cub member
while standing on a stump in that exact spot,
and with a gleam in his eye he’d say:
“Yep, that’s the way to do a
logging operation. You cut ’em all down!
Look man! Now you can see!”

His answer meant full bellies
for three children and land payments,
the company man was answering for
people that shuffled lives and papers,
ate in fine restaurants whenever they want,
drove expensive German cars
and ship whole logs to Asia.

I have learned to reconcile all of this,
it’s the way things have been for a long time.
What I could not reconcile was that
later that same day I heard an Elk bugle,
twenty minutes later a cable screamed
dragging a log uphill to a high lead show

and they were in the same key.

a long road

Looking down
a long road where
there could be
a place we all belong
beginning each day again
our lives becoming alive
to each other & it is
where we go
on this way to be,
despite a rampant call of noise,
between laughter we could
be roses, or white white
poppies amidst what we
call to be ourselves, alive
beautiful and blended
with time & sorrow
it should be that our
days are long spinning
turns toward light
and that brightness of
& in only ourselves togethered
& amazed with the day as a point of light
& night’s black rest amid these other points of light…

I Saw Ted Barr Smiling…

I saw Ted Barr smiling
That self-assured smile that Teddy smiled
Full of himself and his friends
I saw Ted Barr smiling down a long shot freeze frame
off the railroad tracks from the back of the Hersey street house
Where you could see half way through this little jumbled up town
I saw Ted Barr smiling at an empty paint spattered easel
And the guitar stand standing now on Union street
But I saw Ted Barr smiling from Clancy’s Pub
In Dublin town and I saw Ted Barr smiling
in the Log Cabin on the Plaza & the “Good” Club &
I saw Ted Barr smiling at the oars in the small row boat
through the morning mist and the glass surface of Immigrant Lake
I saw Ted Barr smiling now a true new immigrant on the shore we have yet to go.
It’s where I saw Ted smiling on his friends that loaded Teddy grin..
I saw that smile on Skidmore street where a brush with death
Brought on an on rush of oil and sweat and sweet fullness and life, lugubrious
Thighs and breast and haunch and thigh and pert cheeked tongued
Women on canvass, I saw Ted Barr smiling on oil and death and long legged
Sex in our life’s dance on pity and blood and the half-light of the last of the last
Summer of a Century of so damn much pain –I saw Ted Barr smiling
Teddy who’d never got caught in the cob web of what ‘ought’ to be
I saw Ted Barr smiling at the piano keyboard on Union street
I saw Teddy smiling the blues, I saw Ted smiling at us
I saw Ted Barr smiling at his one true piece of art— his own Amanda
Proud father he was I saw Ted Barr smiling at us that loaded fat Teddy grin
& I can’t pound these keys hard enough to let you know that howling wolf growl
because I saw Ted Barr smiling…

these days that run

these days
that run to
one another
as ingots
flow to
the mold
are they
for us
the sum total of
our ancestors

these days
that run into
one another
as the river
meets the sea
backing up
to an ebb
then flowing
out on moon’s
are they for us?

these days
that run
to one another
leaving traces
as a wren
leaving a blade
of tall grass
are they
for us,
whose memory
makes so
much of where we’ve been?

these days
that run
the other
with unending
are they
for us?

these days
that run for
one another
steeped in
& unseen
must be
for us..

Love is..

Love is like a changing
flight of small birds
through a snow flurry,
that though it is,
they’ve never paid
the rent two days late,
or had a shut off notice
for a late electric bill
appear on the front door,
yet it is–they know of unseen seeds
amid whiteness and moisture,
there but to be looked for,
unworried in the finding
and its integrity,
as confusion becomes
what the wind whips
and not the wind itself,
so much is taken care of
in the on rush of life,
making doubt and insecurity
a snowflake
dissolving beautifully
on your arm.

Love may be

Love may be a greybearded old man
giving great belly laughs out of
a tobacco stained yellow shirt
while small birds light and perch
& small children play in vacant
lots & an osprey fishes in cold
northwest waters with its aerial
view of trout making headway against
currents & we in complacency
think of all the sane reasons not
to watch the six o’clock news as
three women in Puerto Vallarta wrap
crayfish with cornmeal in husks
to steam into tamales for their
children to sell on the beach, all
for what we have to have..


Sporadic gunfire
in the distance
of the hills,
& the Fall’s hunt
was always
the Octobered drysmell
of chaparral
& that clean mean click
of manzanita breaking
through the drivers,
coming down & out of
far recessed ravines,
where the large
lone black-tail bucks waited
their solitude
for the coming rut,
only to be flushed
out of almost impassable
hiding, & then the high
powered velocity of the crack
of a modern firearm
would deliver the yearly venison
tabled later
in the fall,
perennially seasoned
w/salt & black peppered
for biscuits & gravy,
the crisp taste of the High Cascade,
I remember how,
our bitch border collie shepherd dog
would cower in her corner,
teeth chattering,uncontrollably and shaking,
shaking, at that near& far rifle fire.