Mount Tamalpais

we talk about life
stumbling upward toward East
Peak, the fog slowly
disappearing into blue sky
day on this mountain

where we remember thirty
that age when last
here, ascending together as
if time remains still
but no, five kids

between us, balding heads
failing vision, and all
the rest of middle
age, to think in
another fourteen we will

be sixty, how long
will the mountain remain
ours, before it nudges
us off fire roads, away
from crow filled branches

we look down on
Lake Lagunitas, that water
holding minutes like a
Jim Croce song that
lasts forever, then stops

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

Seeing the Mountain Lion

please let me 
tell the truth
that I saw 
it, the mountain
lion, lithe, yes
springy, legs, twitching
tail, like at 
the zoo but
free on golden
hillside, in California

I had just
eaten a banana
morning at camp
counselor for kids 
with HIV, beautiful

sun peeking through
fog and me
and the young
lion, that I’d
wanted to see
for hundreds of 
miles hiking, camping
hours of night
and nothing, but
longing for wild
but nothing, maybe
a rattlesnake or
coyote, but then

the moment passed
and it moved
down the hill
toward the road

the next day
saw it dead
on the asphalt

I wanted to
take some of
its teeth, save
something, after so
much time waiting
but I let
it rest, sad
it was gone

Noe Valley, San Francisco

Once the Irish, the Germans, the workers pressed together, clustered little Victorians, where they were born, lived, then died. Now babies in strollers, babies pressed against mom, against dad, toddlers wobbling, wide blocks of deconstructed, reconstructed, houses, pasted photos, smiling women and men, realtors, listing, listed, selling, sold. White buses, elevated people, wearing laptops like blankets, heading south to touch more technology. Hilly hills, wisps of fog, oceanic clouds, permanent winter like they say Twain said. Past and present commingle in gusts of wind, September summers, sometimes rain and rainbows.