Astoria Lamplight

The Angels have the Phone box.

This time, you raise the washcloth,
my blood soaks in. You breathe in.
Glamours renew under the light
of streetlamp flames.
Around us, solid objects move,
statues come to life, all flickering.
Freeze. Our hours … stop.

You, smiling, ease the blood
from above my right eye,
back into its torn skin
compartment, flickering.
If, in another time and room,
a flimsy filter were slotted,
red to green to blue, too blue,
we’d see again our eyes change

Well, that’s over…
you say.

And I say, This lamplight
is in my mind’s head. Astoria
fell into the sea….
It’s the salt of cleansing.
It has the feel of red
dead liquid escaping.
This blood, in the flame light,
slows like statues not moving.

This time, you, ringing out
the washcloth, smile flickering–
soak up spilled wine, a red,
from the hotel room
bedside table–and then, you
run a wet
index finger,
over my misbehaving right

You say,
Blink, love, statues don’t move.
Your dream is ending.

We check out early, sun dawning,
and walk alive into Astoria
lamplight, dimming.



Everything that is left out.
Implied. Inferred.

Like the Saddest Story Ever Written,
Often attributed to Ernest Hemingway.
“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”
An iceberg tip of six words.

Dive deep down and explore,
That submerged mountain of subtext.

Illuminate the ellipsis.

Or don’t.
You probably don’t want to know,
What’s really under there.

Daydream Vision


In a hammock, my field of vision marred by crocheted diamonds of white, blue and green twine, only the uniform movements of black ants — busily running errands — kept my mind from fully giving over to despair. Their whole operation in the business of seeking, gathering, transporting, and delivering goods, leveled me emotionally. And the apparent indifference with which they performed their deterministic actions left me thankfully doleful.

February Evening

You climb up on to the couch next to me
Sweetly, gracelessly
Holding onto the same fistful of cookie
You’ve been holding for half an hour
In that comic book shirt and bare feet
You hand me a red book of poetry
And pick up the crumbs

The orchid I planted in the corner of the room
Is dying
Though “planted” is perhaps generous
“Adopted” more like
The leaves fall off
I don’t move them
Some vain hope that I overwatered
And neglect will be the cure

I take a swig of rum from the bottle
Just me in the glow of the fridge
Counting the calories
Weighing the enjoyment
Against the weight
In my warm thighs
The softness of my belly
The soreness of my feet

The Quiet Area

It’s a quiet room within a place,
That used to be much quieter.
There are about fifteen of us here.
Refugees from the non-quiet part of the library,
With its dozens of overlapping conversations.
A library should not need a quiet study area;
It should be a quiet study area.
Like the libraries of my childhood,
Staffed by stern librarians,
Who would shush you,
If you spoke barely above a whisper.
But libraries are different now, I guess.
When you first walk in the door,
You are greeted by the smell of coffee,
From the cafe on the first floor.
When did they start putting cafes in libraries?
The old brick n mortars tried that gimmick.
It kept people coming in,
And staying in for longer.
It worked for a while,
Until it didn’t work.
But libraries aren’t book shops.
They are quiet areas, to study, to read.
At least they used to be.
That’s what was so appealing about them.
Allow them to visit and chat,
And text and talk,
And drink a coffee.
Then the essential libraryness is gone.
It’s not a library anymore.

By the Onion Fields

This arcade’s collapsing. This lap needs dancing. Where is the pavement warmest? In the vascular troff of a dragon. Or Carlsbad, California at noon.


She, fire on the lake, flare on the lens, bubbles in her bath. She.