exit music

You called me at work with a suggestion;
let’s go to the beach. dinner. possibilities
I waited for you at 6 pm
on the stairs of the government building,
Sansome and Sacramento, so
excited to see you that
my book lay open, unread
in my lap.

The buses pulled up and away
at reliable intervals for 20 minutes, and then

You screeched to the curb, smiling through
the passenger window, happy and young,
cigarette dangling expertly, carelessly
between two fingers.

I jumped in to hear Exit Music (For a Film), Radiohead,
listening to the possibilities
Where could we go to watch the ocean from inside,
sip wine in a warm-lit room, sheltered from the looming
grey? Let’s find out.

And we stumbled on a haven high above Ocean Beach,
a place to talk and remember how to be,
in a warm-lit room that seemed to float
in the grey
like the calm center
of a sea storm.

The lights from the tankers on the horizon
looked like a floating Mardi Gras.
The busboy brought us water and
we thanked him profusely and our attention turned toward

Mighty surfers communing with Ocean Beach, below
finding perfection in the cold pummeling waves
they rode occasionally but, more often,
diving through or sailing over,
finding a way.

Nearby a whirlpool formed beside a rock jetty,
churning, juxtaposed to the controlled calm
of the surfers who knew exactly how far away to be.
Who could tell how far down that vortex led?
Shiver, sip of wine, I felt protected,
feasting with you.

And even now as you lie, exquisite,
in the other room
i know i love you.

Even though there seems
a sad end to every night, i know
there is life in us yet.

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For Abdul-Rahman Kassig

I imagine there was peace
nestled deep inside your fear
or maybe it was
the other way round
or one eclipsing the other
like the dark figures
hovering above you,
blotting out the blazing sky.

Such sick, sadistic power they brought to bear.

But you had more,
and your power set you free.

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This was a moment (don’t we all have them?)

I shiver at the memory. What I thought I was tangential to
turns out was deeply embedded in the heart.
How joyous is the discovery in that look;
the face, softening in the most beautiful way,
allowing the deepest longings of the soul to surface.
the radiance so moving.
I am locked in and swaying,
in the gaze.

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in memoriam: the emerald softness

The storytelling was exquisite, the truths immense, and the bullshit just fun. Smoke and mirrors I can navigate. I’m resourceful like that. But that doesn’t mean I’m desensitized to the awe on the other side.

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the rest

today a homeless man caught me crying

on the town square

and offered his hand to comfort me.

that’s some serious grace

right there

a gift.

and in the pause of holding hands

with my companion

right there

the gift

the sensation

of moving at different speeds

in the great circle,

some circumferences

a bit more wobbly

than the rest.

It’s difficult to find,

the rest

how does one grope gracefully for

a blissful oblivion right in front of you

but so out of synch you can’t


how far the distance

to the rest.

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for jacqueline

jaqueline taught me how to become a dragonfly

i didn’t imagine
my body could move
like that

my lips and hands form
my private goddesss yogini

oh asana, prana
elevate me, then
send me down
to child’s pose

a pause

the waning moon dissolves
into the shape of a C

Come down now

into the quiet

in the pause

solitary voices can be heard as
audial isolation points, dispersed on the landscape
seeking a union that is in the stars
joining together
joyful noise, fierce harmonies
belted out
by a beautiful circle of co-conspirators

and the singing fades to murmur
and I fold back into child’s pose

come down now

in the depths of a pause
the song still caressing my ears

i return to the breath
oh prana,

in the stillness
the song is the air I breathe.

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ubiquitous disquiet

what is left to do with myself tonight?
I’ve medicated myself
with all the goodness, I have
called upon gods, goddesses
heroes and antiheroes, where are you?

all entities are flawed. perfect imperfections.
i could find solace in that, but…my curiosity demands
a simple truth that won’t come.

what do i do with the sins of my father, the sins
of the world, the sins
of my own doing?

this world is too much with me. if i don’t let go
i feel i might explode. my safe cocoon torn to shreds
by sticks and shards and pointy things. but
if i do let go, what will become of me?

tonight, driving home, i let a man cross
the road with his dog and he met my eye
and said thank you. and i wept all the way home.
that he let me know i made his way easier filled my heart
to bursting.

the exquisite simplicity of kindness exchanged:
that is where i find god.

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