Stray Evening

Dreaming: I walk the city
places I dare not go by day
are nigh roads lit velvet in the mists
which cloak the town;
which cloaks my trek.
This is a city in a dream
fearful but unwinding
I find the roads once closed
to me are open
so such is my mind;
so such is the way.
We go where we mean to
without hesitation
this is the gift of a dream;
this is the burden of dreamers.
A lamplight careless road,
where I can pace the median
and feel no urgency.
Places I have mapped retain their luster
despite their infinite recesses:
our starlit swinging doors.

–ECW

 

 

Mojave 

A desert underneath

The crooked line that makes the shore

Which calms and curls the sand back

To an image of itself.

The winding pull of water still

Remembers every grain of sand

It’s hot rough essence, the quiet still

At the bottom of the current

On the crest of a dune. It calls out

With a winded hush, what matters now 

Is water, what has always been, 

what will never be

Enough. A desert underneath, 

takes time to quench. 

Santa Cruz, 2016

They came to see the death
–even my mother, who turns from the evening news–
shuffled quickly to the edge and bent to better see.
The air was sweet with the prayers of strangers
and yet, they came to see the death
to witness the unyielding bay
which swells on the rocks and tempts
even the bravest to jump,
a dare–perhaps–an urge.
On this day, we stood quietly, hands wrung
while they searched for the swimmer
who was not swimming
who was surely lost.

–ECW

Europe, Summer 1997

we count first on our fingers
in bundles of five,
the places we have seen
the people we would visit
then we count from memory
the houses whose doors are yellow
standing out against rusted drainpipes
taking a second moment before
becoming grey in the passing view.

We watched the compounding skyline
which began as rooftops but became high-rises;
a wooden rendering of our own jourey,
which began on foot and boarded the railcar.
You, looking at me from behind our father’s glasses,
offer up a sigh of relief–we are moving now.
Moving on to something else.
We were young but I remember a sense of longing
an emptiness only time can fill,
following the footpaths of cobbled alleys
knowing a home-land in a place I’d never been.

–ECW

Stations

thoughts before i start a new job

.

.

 Beasts know it true

to guard against the larger

and feast on the lesser

this is not the only rule

rather a lesson of bounty;

of knowing ones station:

what stands before us

always a conflict of weight.

And yet we are burdened

with other means. A look 

in a look in an instant. 

And what we look for 

are cues of weakness, smallness

in another. We are looking 

outward with wide thirsty eyes

when the vital notion is inward,

essential and unknown. 

–ECW

Coracle

for my father whose friend has passed

That silence spoke for itself
an infinity of wide open eyes
and I stood with you at the edge
with my hands on the brim of your
canoe and gave a gentle nudge.
Ours was a bond of time
as much as it was friendship
and after all these years,
my quiet hope for you is peace.
As it is for myself; as it is for my children.
We have seen enough to know
the difference between life and living
the difference between happiness
and the burden of hope. I wish
you carry all this life’s sweetness
with you on your journey, even
the bittersweetness,
which came with time.
–ECW

Shadow Box

It’s the detritus I’m after
the quiet accumulation of time
along the back walls
of the closet
in the underused drawers
of the night stand.
I purge them
only to regret my harsh
judgement of ticket stubs
and tidbits of parcels
it’s a life after all, my every
everyday, and I’ve kept them
for one reason or another,
because I am afraid of forgetting
or that I may never be happy like this
again. But they collect,
the casual evidence of suburbia:
receipts, wrapping paper,
whimsical notes,
until I gather them up
and feast of their sadness…
sad that I kept them
sad that I will
never change.
–ECW

Night dancer

image

Mayflies track false moons
flying sideways and over
one another to catch sight
of language written in
bright lines
spoken to them
in night lies.
The mayfly is papery
floating outward
and down
able to catch only
a moment airside
before gliding under.
Mayflies fall always for light
in a candle or a lantern
believing this to be
their guiding source,
a thunderous ache
for revival, but
things are different
now that ever street corner
has a stoplight
and every home
a well lit number.
–ECW

Odd Donations

Thoughts on cutting off my 20+ inches of hair for Locks of Love

The parts of me that still grow
will grow back again even
when I cut them away
to feel powerful
to change my face.
These are the things
that belong to me
the things that I can
manipulate and curl
the things I have mastered.
Today they are mine
but tomorrow
they are yours;
we can share my hair.
–ECW

irrelevant

Blurry Long Distance Road at Night

These next few moves matter
this I know to be true
that the distance between us
grows stiff with years
and we are different now,
and we have never been this
way—far away; chasing the tail
of our twenties. I am something
in between this and then
and these next few moves speak volumes
thousands of expired encyclopedias
are shouting wait Wait WAIT!
but we are on an airplane
and the wheels are up
and our phones are off
and the last thing I said was I’m sorry
but I can’t remember what for
these next few moves matter
they are the scribble
with which we write our lives
and these are not apologies
as much as manafestos.
and these next few moves
are happening outside my body
a reflex, a habit, a whole.

—ECW