that ginger, that Jack, the ice providing
the shift and melt, an architecture
through which it would filter, dilute,
a conversation like an echo, an alley oop
far down court, and to get it on the
rebound required running ahead of my
own measure–outside the day wore
itself right out, the sun flickering down

and out and the chill rising all the way
up from the ground. I tell you, for
a moment I saw myself at my own end.

but the music, scintillating through
the making of change and the settling
of a tab, organized that, and the ice

flavored itself as ginger, as whiskey,
the thin straw, no black flag, no sign.

Thoughts on Travel

There was that time I went to Thailand on a whim,

I went to Dublin and to Prague and to Madrid.

I wanted to drink Guinness in a pub and then to swim

in the Irish Sea (I failed), but what I did

was to drink vermouth in Granada and furthermore

I toured Alhambra, saw the Prado and

consumed more Rioja than is wise. I swore

that I would dance in Spanish sand

eat paella, drink Cava, learn to speak

the way the Spanish do, with heart and tongue,

but instead I learned to cry and turn a cheek

to the lash of idioms. Oh, I was young,

don’t judge me as you do, I had my fun

but now such days are through.

horoscope haiku

driving west, the sun
blinds you: you will not see your
road, what’s before you

storm yesterday, cloud
Sunday. why weather as the
surest clairvoyant?

advice instead of
a fortune: slip of paper
crushed in my pocket

I need quiet and
hours and untwisted toes, a
tune, a shore, the sea

the card I pick says
change. I put it back. The next
card, dream of water.

rose at the window
rambles     broom buds yellow       rude
rough     wind breathes through both

last night, sleep stuttered
broke settled resumed      the light
a curtain, fluttering

Three Haiku

One haiku tells of

the snail climbing Mt. Fuji

today I am all snail


The rain brings out slugs

who hungrily devour

new leaves on old mint


When will the clouds give

way to sunshine? when the clouds

damn well feels like it

variations on a line from one of my students’ poems

In her villanelle each triplet ended we all die,
a sentiment, a fact, that, without doubt
has been on my mind without ceasing

except when I’m at the movies, or possibly
eating an enchilada, sometimes when I fall
asleep, the last bit of story I read dying

into a thread of dream. I don’t like to be morbid.
Or maybe I do, or maybe it’s just that lately,
endings suffuse my atmosphere, a blue dye,

beautiful and constant and diffusive, a filter
like the window here, where my father naps,
through which I see a storm rise, then pass,

and I think she was right, the poet, her refrain
entirely apt: flash of lightning, thunder roll,
high time I grasp that everyone, omnes morietur.

Driving home in the dark, on the road that crossed from east to west, from one side of town to the other, crossing the proverbial railroad tracks to the other side, my side, where I live. Depending on the block, the light flared at regular intervals, a kind of rhythm, or staggered inconstantly, a bright blaze at an intersection, then, again darkness. I drive for miles, ten at night. The purveyors of fast food have rolled up their drive up windows, but their neon beckons. Earlier, in a sound booth, I spoke into a microphone, headphones like hands covering my ears with my own voice. Now, that conversation is a ghost. What I said, what I didn’t say. The second to last road is an upheaval and a litter of dirt movers and steam shovels, bounded by orange pylons, reflective tape on their middles. A steeplechase in the dark, but so few people on the road, it’s more like schussing a groomed trail. The quiet its own voice. I would not be out so late after such a long day, but I’m nearing home,

the corner school dark:
just hours till these lonely
roads wake up, brighten

Bonneville Elementary

You went to school in what passed for the inner city with the black kids, and Mexicans and maybe a few Greeks. But you were kids and you chased each other across the dangerous blacktop. The slides were hot metal and the monkey bars seemed to be made from old pipes. Often a child fell from the metal dome or from a ladder. You cried and you laughed. This is where you made best friends. This is where a boy wanted to hold your hand, sweaty from square dancing, and later you cried. Not everything made sense the way that math added up to 10, for ten fingers. The building was old and sometimes, during lunch, you answered the phone in the office.