August 27

The first rays of sun
are honey

on the leaves
the back-lit maples

a singing sort of green
but already slipping

into something
more sensible

the beginning’s ending
the first of many

In envy I watch them
palm the breeze

not obliged to leave
not turning away

from the morning’s
kindness

distilling
this suffusion

into sweet
sweet sap

but I have no
alembic

of trunk and leaf
just a few

harried words
and somewhere to be.

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August 26

At the body shop they said 
they could hammer out 
the dents, could stretch
and scrape, apply clear coat,
and no one would know
there was ever a wreck. 
On one hand it seems
that growing harder
makes breaks easier 
to fix, each new hit
an opportunity to
practice gutting 
and replacement. 
But getting softer, 
blows are absorbed 
with no resistance,
all giving wholly–
still it seems easier
to learn one’s own
mechanics than 
to give an inch,
let alone all, 
even if it means
some hidden 
damage, and 
supplemental 
costs.

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August 25

fog

 

We walk in our own world.
Fog opens before us,
fog closes behind us
and sometimes we see
shadowy figures,
sometimes the animist glow
of a truck’s headlights
as it spins an empty
circle on hard-packed sand.

We all leave our mark
here, relative to weight,
this ground is laced
with pulverized shells
and rock crab slaughter,
but the tide is going out now,
now innocuous.

A solo seagull tucks into
itself to sleep, mistaking
poor visibility for safety;
what’s most dangerous
is what might be.
A dog appears,
fighting to free a Frisbee
from the suction of the sand,
somewhere, something
is shrieking, bird or child,
and somewhere off
to the right is water,
it must be.

This, our margin
of safety, despite
the curl of its teeth,
the line by which
we guide ourselves
back through an
opaque morass,
even after it erases
our tracks, again,
again a reminder
that there’s often
very little choice
in what we have
to trust.

 

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August 22

One AM and the night
and the fog and the motel
marquees render the sky
in a liver color.
I would have said purple
but someone’s fighting ugly
in a parking lot nearby,
with a puce sort
of sentimentality.
Sound carries here,
the ocean beyond
the trees coming to rest
beneath the balcony.
No, it’s restless too.
In enough sea haze
we’re all an island
unto ourselves,
the neighbor’s
porchlight barely
dents this brume.
This wine is frankly
a little rough,
or probably it’s me,
come to the coast
with work and not
abandon.
It’s still above 60
but I find myself
quite alone, out here,
wiping moisture from
my screen.
No bells are tolling,
thankfully, just
the thunderous
surf and the runny sky,
drenching the sign
of a Best Western
at least a mile down
the beach until it passes
for a moonrise.

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August 21

Sadness is thick
but more precisely
it is dense.

I do sense danger
in the sea’s laughter,
but also fairness.

Why do I return
to the indifference
of the ocean?

It gives as much as it gets,
doesn’t boast of its
limitlessness.

You wrote a book
of questions, but what
of the ones you didn’t ask?

I have a few I can’t
even bring myself to speak,
instead writing some lines

like you, like this–

Is a sinking feeling 
more acceptable in sand?

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August 20

I.

Robed
in soft blush
the peaches
for the wedding
are ripe
and I will
take them
when I leave
for the seaside
perfumed
with tender flesh
and a heart
of stone.

II.

Often painted
with a stem
and leaf
the tongue
by which
we speak
our hearts
these fruits
shared the sun
equally so
must not be
kindred
a tree
produces
unevenly
at best.

III.

With
clingstones
some cultivars
are made
to be difficult
and it’s no
secret that
work
can be
pleasure
but pleasure
cannot be
worked at.

IV.

Perseverance
in time
the skin
peels clean
with just
a thumb
the stone
falls free
the only
labor here
is patience
the fruits
multiple
a peach
perfected
unequivocally
consummate
a new seed
now bared
the promise
inherent.

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August 19

The fires flowed together here:

blown down dry canyons, antithesis of water
but moving not unlike it—
the confluence in conflagration.

With devastation
sometimes it’s hard to find
the right word, to capture

capricious natures,
fire casting a permanent shadow
with such arbitrary borders—

remaining pines, firs, and hemlock
all shocked prematurely orange—
guilt of the survivor.

Consumed by the Chiwaukum
this land can speak
for itself,

litter and understory erased, 
branches incinerated to generate space,
trunks turned ink-black,

the blank slate hillside stands still 
and staid and states: 
I I I I (was a tree.)

For miles, this repeats.

 

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August 18.1

No breeze.
Stark heat.

The ground still drying,
leaching a mineral scent.

It’s amazing how much noise
one quail can make

and there are at least thirty
in the elderberry tree.

Ninety-three in the shade—
I said I’d get some work done

but the watermelon I cut
is already warm.

Not even the wasps
can muster up interest—

slow in flight, dragging
their legs behind them.

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August 18

We had a gully washer.

Dried silt spilt out,

Rorschach 
on the driveway. 

It’s the way things go

I try to tell the finch

who is giving me 
side-eye. 



Why we lay 
foundations

and not eggs 
is beyond her–

I make a play
 on 
laying an egg
but it’s over 
her head 
and then
 she’s over mine,

my concerns
 about structural

integrity being far 
beneath her.

That said, 
I’ve seen a lot 

more rabbits 
out in the open
darting for higher 
ground
as best 
they can, 



cute pom 
pom tail
masking 
the fact 
that 
they are just

anxiety with fur

(and somewhat closer
to us taxonomically.)

see also

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