Stream of Consciousness

Coming up blank, nothing here, finished Hillbilly Elegy, decent book, important message, but I find myself more drawn to the lyrical, the spiritual, the poetical, the not so logical words that dart around the page like a mouse in 3am’s bread drawer, that is me though, evader of the legal profession, where my sister and dad took constitutional refuge between the lines on the field, far from where I sit up in stars looking down on fireflies blinking in the long grass, with toads jumping into the pool when my grandma and grandpa are away-summer nights daydreaming about this, rearranging truth into fragments, run-ons like some kind of Kerouac adventure, Ginsberg howling out, making sense of the nonsensical, half-truths are what we grasp at, the beyond where life exists or we imagine it so.

My 9/11/01

the second tower went down
when I was in the car
heard disbelief, NPR like me
unable to stay calm, explaining
the before of white shirts waving for help
specks of humanity jumping out of windows
their hail hit while
I was eating my cereal flakes

at school, televisions on in every room
sirens rushing sound all over screens
the towers falling over and over again
repetition like practice, it happened, it happened

“what does this mean?” I asked my students
as if they knew
“we are going to war,” one said
he wasn’t wrong

I put my classroom flag out in the hall
duct taped it up for all to see
half-staff in my mind
everything in disarray
some TVs stayed on the whole day

kids asked the one teacher from Manhattan
who she knew there
almost excited to hear loss firsthand
like watching people on CNN
holding photos of sisters, mothers, dads
the missing
the forever gone

Termites

drywood, reddish
they swarm toward
warm light, winged sunbathers
wriggling in rays
then dead on the floor

more come each day
invisible, their home is
nowhere and everywhere
we live with them
they live with us

chewing our house
they must be
but all i see are
their bodies strewn about, then
sucked up by vacuum

they will all die
when the big tent comes
mobile gas chamber
insects
enemies

Camp Fire California 2018

all the air isn’t air
ashes, dusty bones, charred remains
houses gone in flames
owners up with wind
Paradise lost

all the air isn’t air
hangs like fog, toxic smog
i can’t see the bridge, they say
san franciscans miles away
Paradise lost

all the air isn’t air
masks they wear masks
white covered faces after
the climate changed
Paradise lost

all the air isn’t air
endless clicking on screens
will the forecast change?
smoke only smoke
Paradise lost

International Flight

Novels tucked in tight seat pockets, cramped legs try to move, little lunges forward, stretching under plastic tray tables.

Some snore, eyes covered like blind pirates, others fixate on movies, their wine breath stale from hours without teeth brushing.

Global travelers, temporary residents sharing armrests, shoulders and knees touching like kids in the back of a station wagon.

Uniformed flight attendants permanently smile as carts collide with elbows, offering tea and coffee to the awake ones, wired from traversing time zones.

Babies cry while parents stare vacantly at lit up red “occupied” signs, waiting for locked body-filled closets that flush.

A map traces the flight, earth flat on a screen. Single white plane over ocean, a planet circling a planet.

Epiphany

when words appear and appear
idea takes form without
prodding, one letter after the next
pelting drops of rain
unabated it continues this
storm, lightning flashes
perfect cliché, but like a sneeze
it happens, a small clearing
breathing in new oxygen
effortless arrival, like it
was there all along

Guayaquil Street Kids

Sweaty fingers, dozens, paw me, arms outstretched, dirt and grime under fingernails. Above crusty noses, brown eyes peer out searching for my soul. I try not to look at their faces staring into me, focus on their tattered shirts. Money they want money, tugging on me like indigenous feral cats. “Just kids,” I tell myself, pace quickening to cross the street, get away, get back to my hotel, get past the security guard, into the air conditioning. For a minute they are with me like pigeons and I’m the bread. We walk together, my unwanted children. Wordless, I’d like to pause, embrace each one, but I quickly close the heavy hotel door.

Summer Beard

Whiskers start in June
mostly black, some gray
pushing through skin
like sunflowers they emerge
carefree, unrestrained by razors
of other seasons
when they are scraped away
like speckled truth
man’s primitive nature hemmed.
Summertime, I let them grow for days
like a backpacker searching
for my lost youth.
Long hours of shadowy sun
my face like time
standing still.

Morning at School

Let peals of laughter
echo off walls, sounds of children
on the stairs and in the halls

Let the whistle sound on playing field
boundless jumping up to run
touch the grass under morning sun

Let minds ponder questions
scientific method, formulas
angles, geometric lines

Let young voices take the stage
sing with power and persuade
light abound in fearless choir

Let us clear the way
for the young to own their day
our tomorrow gleaming bright