just as real
as those signs
in the air
what to do.
watch for them
Everything Thrown Out in the Rain
Piled to the rafters of the sky
dressers and cabinets and
a mattress stacked and leaned
on boxes with broken seams
undone by morning rain
it looks like someone let
their house go out the door.
Then I slow my bicycle
even coast off the road
onto the crackling gravel
when I see the globe.
How could they throw out
I ride up to it
to give it a look.
Australia with a bruise
an orange ring
around the equator
it wasn’t cared for well
but do they own it still?
Anyway, do I have room
to carry the planet
while I pedal to work?
The Barking Little Streetlight
There is nothing
you can hold onto
past this life
the only treasure
Sometimes a poem
on a page
even a prayer
Sunday Morning Movie
The Maltese Falcon upon a telephone wire
the blue sky around it and morning sun
making its black feathers shine.
Meanwhile down below
Bogart and Peter Lorre
scuffle on the sidewalk
fumbling with a ladder.
Basho, the Japanese Poet
He became a clerk
at the waterworks
in a ledger
but his mind
began to wander
and soon after
his body followed
The Shepherd from Iran
He was going to watch our dog for us
but there is too much going on in his life.
He doesn’t know where he’s going
or if he should be here at all.
He doesn’t know what it is,
right now he’s going through a hard time.
These days he goes for long walks
with his setar or a staff in his hand,
or he just sits in his house alone.
He wonders if maybe it has
something to do with his childhood
when his country was at war.
He could sit on the rooftop and
watch the airplanes bombing.
The people would be told to hide
underground. Instead, there was
an uncle who took care of them,
he would lead the children from town
playing his guitar and singing
as they followed in a dusty line
away from the rockets and explosions
into the hills where the citrus trees
were spun with silkworm tapestries
and nobody out there knew
who you were.
The nervousness about this journey
has taken on its own physical form,
a strange and intricate contraption
hung overhead, constructed from
sharp hinged scrap metal and wire
and trembling like an insect,
kept aloft by more thoughts
and worries. I guess leaving
on a long trip away isn’t as easy
as I imagined. Anyway,
in one week we’ll be in Ohio,
the fearful contraption will be
shrunk to the size of a buzzard
and by the time we get back
and everything’s all right,
it will be small enough
to be bound in a little plastic ball
sold in the dome of some 10 cent
14 Species of Woodpecker
I don’t get to my friend’s house often enough
but whenever I do, I have to pass through
the garden full of vaudeville plants and
genuine bric-a-brac lining the path
before I’m at the door. I stand there
and I can’t help but laugh because
I know him and I have to think of
something to say after I knock
and he opens the door.
Last time I was there,
he kept me standing outside
for a while. It was lightly raining.
Finally, after I’d been through
14 species of woodpecker,
he seemed to hear me and
opened the door just a crack
to observe the gray light of day,
the rain and the person on his doorstep.
“You been out there long?” he asked.
“Only since last night,” I replied.
It’s easy to imagine
that’s a little person
with black and yellow
wings attached and a
lifelong love of flowers
1 bald eagle
1 swallowtail butterfly
1 spider in the bathroom
Looking forward to
going to Lake Erie
feet in the sand
then to that beach
the Atlantic pours
The Blue Spoon
I saw it in a dream
on the rim of a well
made of porcelain
writing and drawings