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

At 80 Years Old

If I wanted, every day could be a funeral.
So simple, just put a name into the computer,

wait for the obituary to pop up. Those older guys
are gone, my coaches, teachers, even that camp

counselor from Pine Island, up in Maine, he
could hold his breath underwater for 2 minutes.

Never thought they’d all go away, but there’s
the little candle, Legacy.com warming the screen

with another smiling photo. I read all the comments,
deeply miss her, sincere condolences, with such

a heavy heart. And I feel the weight of age with my
scrolling fingers, try to remember the last time I

saw him, her. What did we talk about? Maybe I’ll
google their kids, see where they ended up.

Minutes pass and I close the laptop,
pretend they’re all still alive.

Making Sense of Time Passing

Usually the plan is to
read and read and read

the poems of others, until
something strikes my imagination.

This often works, sometimes it is
just a word, like pulsating or

scramble, a pathway to completely
forget that my shoelaces are tied or

that these fingers belong to me.
Lost in the moment, obvious and

unpoetic, then again, also true.
That really so much writing is just

abstract painting, adding color,
a swirl, skip a line, then do it again,

and again, until the crickets outside
sound like laptop keys, and nothing

is lost, not these seconds, not the
clear air of night, not my quiet mind

making sense of time passing,
time passing.

House Says Goodbye

It is only a house, wood, paint, single pane glass windows,
but ten years pass and it is no longer ours, no longer

that two-story blanket that covered us in our laughter,
held our bare feet on floorboards that knew our family’s

groove, from Gangnam Style to I ain’t your mama, no I
ain’t your mama, not anymore. Sold, our Spanish

American War casa, Victorian era, master bedroom in
the San Francisco fog, where I daydreamed through

tree leaves and power lines, pondered this and that, scribbled,
loved and prayed on dark rainy nights. This place held

us in moments, just moments that always go on to the next,
the goodbye was always waiting, we left and it said hello.

Of Time and the Kite

when my daughter was young we flew a kite
from her wooden deck, bedroom balcony
she held the string, I watched wind
invisible thing
nearby leaves rustling, flapping
nylon snapping, waiting for release
to soar or sink, ever the question
on a day such as this
the two of us standing there wondering
what does it mean to fly away?
I let go, her twine wriggled through fingers
up and up it went
sun stopped for seconds
our fabric patch covering time

Gray Hair

I actually want the time to show, let the world know that I’m that much closer to the abyss. Aged ringlets at the borders with brown, blonde before that, when hair was just hair. Above my ears a battleground, the grays sending sentinels, accumulating knowledge for the next attack. I stop and stare like Rembrandt with a ballpoint pen, pluck rogue whites from eyebrows where they grow as if I were a 19th century senator. Better than bald, some say, distinguished, the old compliment the old. Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice, my favorite Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young line. Oh but we do, ointments to push back nature, like pioneers clearcutting ancient redwoods. I look in the mirror again, as if it matters, as if I will be here forever, in wonder over the me I see. This face, this head, these gray hairs, human dust clinging to a self making meaning out of molecules.

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.