Pieces of Everything

At the park
We dip and dodge
The other kids,
Climb ladders
And cross the bridge
That you say wobbles

But I am old and need to rest
So against the fence
I lean and watch
You disappear beneath the lip
Of a tired tunnel

And though I feel
Unfamiliar as a father
I can pick your voice
Out of a hundred others

As you play I shyly smile
At the mothers, the fathers
Aware of those with rings
On their fingers, and those
Who prepared packed lunches

Yeah, I am conscious
Of all my shortcomings
Of the sweat against my chest
One of those side-effects
Of the medicine I take

Still I’m grateful for this

For the moment
I look away and up
And see colors falling
From a sycamore tree
Leaves unevenly loosed
In butterfly patterns.
These pieces of everything
These colors against the sky
They’re everywhere
And everything
As my son
Puts his hand
In mine

the things that we forget

It happened in a moment,
As I was looking for a pen
In the top drawer of my desk.

How long had it been there
Ten years, or maybe less
Since she wore it round her neck?

When I thought it was a rosary
A string of wooden prayer beads
With a pendant at its end.

And though her name escapes me
I remember every pattern
All the freckles on her chest

How she looked over her shoulder
With a question barely whispered,
“Could you please unzip my dress?”

And then she pulled her hair back
So I could free the loose ends
From the knots of her necklace

Next day I found the letter,
By the bed beneath the beads,
The tangled hair and golden clasp

In a word she wrote “remember”
So I buried all those treasures
In the top drawer of my desk

the california drought

California Rain

California needs rain – I know it
I hear it from the talking heads
And spoken from the cracking lips
Of its thirsty citizens
Still, what of it?
It will come, it always does:
Because never is what never does.

But rain’s release will mean everything
To me and to others
And will mirror
In me and in others
Something more profound than the dry
That’s dug deeply underground
Since heaven can’t keep
Or hold deeper mysteries
Than the emotions found
Buried beneath the soul:
With its weather-wild nature
Unpredictably cold
Irrationally hot
And uncontrolled.

Sufferings cycle —
The rains, the drought,
Though the meaning escapes us
Before it comes back around
Like mornings I’m tired
And nights I’m awake
Oh, the cycles suffer,
And though I’m deadly dry
Still I dread the rain.

a fleeting moment

i adore you and you alone
she said, again, again
again I’m drunk
which, ironically, is when
i believe her most
but still I ask
and so she pours
another whiskey ginger
and a fumbled glass
jambs my left thumb

she prefers jameson
so I bought her a liter
my kind of romantic gesture,
a bouquet better
than withering flowers
lined in a civil row
along the balustrade
of her front porch
where we recline
in whicker chairs
smoking cigarettes like soldiers,
flicking ash cavalierly
down the victorian steps

while our long looks grow longer
with each glass of liquor,
we drink quicker and quicker
until my gaze a little longer lingers
on her eyes, her breasts, her lips—
but her eyes, there longest

until she notices
and laughs, what?
nervously? I can’t say
no, it’s nothing
well, that is to say
what I mean is –
well, shit.
words don’t always express
or convey what I wish,
what I want to say.
instead I stumble, mutter
and wonder which end
will come first:
the bottom of the glass,
the snub of a cigarette,
our last laugh perhaps
well, whatever
pour another
gingy whisker