To A Story

We’d become friends after I rented the empty studio
          behind her redwood house in Tiburon

As soon as she asked if I was good with my hands
          I understood she had a few things

The One Who Should Write My Elegy Is Dead

The one who should write my elegy is dead

When we made that bet he said most likely
          I’d be the loser writing his elegy instead

Nothing is as beautiful as nothing he once said

Alexander Blok

One snowy night I was smiled upon by Russian gods
          & found myself at dinner opposite

The Moscow scholars a married couple—he only
          the world’s authority on Pasternak

& she the final word on her beloved Alexandr Blok
          & as we talked the evening gathered

Hot Night In Akron

My downstairs neighbors were out for the night
          seeing The Clash in Cleveland

Which meant it was ok for Jolene to practice her
          flamenco routine on my linoleum

Hungry Ghost

Was a man & not a drug
The degradation was the same

The same wasting of the flesh
The same tapped-out well emptied

From A Bridge

I saw my mother standing there below me
On the narrow bank just looking out over the river

Looking at something just beyond the taut middle rope
Of the braided swirling currents

In The High Country

Some days I am happy to be no one
The shifting grasses

In the May winds are miraculous enough
As they ripple through the meadow of lupine

The field as iridescent as a Renaissance heaven
& do you see that boy with his arms raised


She told me only three stories
In the week before she died


I have always loved the word guitar.

I have no memories of my father on the patio
At dusk, strumming a Spanish tune,
Or my mother draped in that fawn wicker chair
Polishing her flute;


The way a tired Chippewa woman
Who’s lost a child gathers up black feathers,
Black quills & leaves
That she wraps & swaddles in a little bale, a shag