July 29

Mid-summer heat, or is it late?

now it is pain to stay in one place
blue cool lakes and the mountain out:

constants, and the constant variable
of going

distinctions of end and beginning lost
in travel, skipped over

as if changing time zones, concepts,
that’s all, nowhere as real as the snowpack

still covering the trail, even now
in almost August, even in this heat wave

a sort of sedition, stamped in place
by the hooves of mountain goats

who could not care less about any
of this, who hover above the tree line

like specks of clouds against
the high cloudless sky.

 

 

July 28

 

We flew into Milan at dawn
our train left early for the coast

shuffled into a compartment
empty except for old upholstery
and stale heat

the lullaby tracks lulled us to sleep
and I’m not sure what woke me
but the gray city had gone

our train was threading
tunnels through a cliff

day and night
night and day

glimpses of the Ligurian Sea
cool green against the damp
morning and how my heart leapt–!

My heart
it was still there
it was there all along

The sea swallows were
returning early that year

thousands of feet above an empty sea
do you think they dreamed of stopping?

 

[The one good thing about moving is finding paper copies of poems you wrote and then lost]

July 27

Last night had teeth

looking through old photos
with not enough to drink

and the largest spider
I have ever seen creeping
down the hallway ceiling

took it out
with a baseball bat

now embedded
in the popcorn ceiling

its leg dangles down
still reaching
and something bit me

as I was trying to sleep
still at some ungodly hour

even in the dark
I could feel the welt rising.

July 25

This old purple sofa a raft
in a sea of cardboard boxes

the expanse of bare
hardwood floor

all other furniture gone
it is my roosting place

and I stay
here till later
than I should

each morning now
waking and wondering
where am I

the angles of light
from different windows

the unexpected ceiling
a wall where it shouldn’t be

the early subconscious
reckoning that I’m not
home anymore

July 23

Today is a veritable catalogue of rains:

the relentless washing rain;
the sudden faucet rain;
the don’t-answer-the-phone rain,
drowsing;

the tree-derived drops;
the sad sloppy drivel
of the overflowing gutter;

the rains of my childhood;
the rains of last April;

the is-it-raining? rain;
the gray verticality of a shock
downpour, splenetic;

the smeary window panes,
pleasant;

rain from a clear blue sky,
the devil beating his wife;
now where did I learn
to say such a thing?;

the fluidity of states;

the phase changes;
and the passing moods;

but the incessancy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 21.1

Velella, called sail-by-the-wind,
thousands of them blown ashore,

jelly gone soft in the heat, wing-like
sails flagging in defeat, a row

of seabirds forming to feast
upon the indigo dead,

seagulls more than willing,
pelicans looking windward

for something better,
trusting in the Pacific’s

strange generosity,
its willing deposition

of curiosities, penchant
for grand gestures,

a low tide that goes out
and out and on and out,

a risky invitation, still,
I cast my bread and wait.

 

July 20

To leave the window open,
to wake to the sound of the ocean,

here, there is peace. Even if
I still wake too early, still

can’t get back to sleep,
I can watch the sun rise,

sunrise a misnomer, really,
here the clouds just get brighter,

shades of gray between night
and day, and even before dawn

the spotlight on the neighbor’s
garage kept flashing on, motion

-sensored. Just after five I walked
down to the beach, discovered

why— A young buck stood
in the tall grass, startled

at sharing the morning, and not
afraid, 
or if he was afraid,

masking it well, with none
of the shell -shocked darting

of a roadside deer, no,
he had a velvety calm

and black eyes that met mine,
astonishingly close.

I had come over the hill just
as he raised 
his head, 

neither of us sure if we should be
concerned, him, five points

big enough, and having
the higher 
ground,

me, deciding if I was
threatened, or threatening

as his eyes tracked me
moving slowly by,

his nostrils opening wide
to smell me, my breath

turning to vapor in the cold
as we stood there quite a while,

two souls in the dreamlike
dawn, the only two awake

for miles, both making careful
passage through the tall, tall grass.