Moving Targets



Poem for Michael O.

appearing at the tops
of towers
over the scrape of shoes
at five in the morning
the drifting moon like an eye

I walk the neon coast
and greet the last angels of night
the ovens like the cheeks
of fat men
and eggs spilling an orbit
of grease and frying meat

light shivers a needle
of cold grinding in the tube
of the lungs
food or air
what matters
is keeping it down
loving it
and in the dark
squat among tallcans
and shit like a river

once at sea
I saw your face
blinded with light
across the sky


Saturdaynite at Winterland

in the night
the king of night
commands his desert
with a lizard eye

a child came suddenly
like a hawk
living from the dead
living from the dead
he said
flexing his wings
in a tangle of wire

I go out
to quiet the dogs
they sense my nervous control
and go into corners like lions
and wait for me to leave

yesterday I counted fifty
lifting into the sky
and drifting
they were like travelers
and did not stop



It’s Christmas. The sky
is thick with snow, and houses
along the streets begin to darken
quickly against the landscape.

The glassed windows are packed
with snow, and only a few shadows
escape from the inside. There
are these moments of silence

which lock people to one
another; and I, alone
with a friend, speak of things
which my father said yesterday.


To Janis

I hunt allnite lots
of stolen cars
swung in a cosmic swoop
along the great hiway
into the fillmore and tenderloin
the gloved hand of the city
black click of heel
and smack

the needle points
a pattern of blackstars
rain echoes a scream
the doors of my veins

to bury you



the alley
grows thin
in the face of the moon
my eyes close
so I can look

the road
pressed between clouds
opens its palm
of flashing rabbits
and deer

my body comes down
hurling like a star



The hands are full the tables empty
Laughter is less all that is secret
The stairs must slumber into heaven
Blue doze of eyes
light the lanterns once more
for gypsy settles the night

And dawn squints over the sea
like a mermaid beached
looking out
over the great desert

before her


Hawaiian Girl

is the night blue moon
and if the moon
cools the sun
in a long breath
will gulls come
and raise the sails

the dark girl
sings without voice
four strings
and naked
invites memory to dance
water chips ice
and winds
into the lower lands

the horse brings no message
I come soon


Polly’s Tavern


along the night
the fiery red bush
simmers like stew
in the reefer head

in July
we trail to watch
the moon first appear
in a yellow coat
and with faint flow
a girl at her mirror
rose to the black curtain
and undressed her full body

to the sea


the door is drifting
the first glow
is Miguel
hunched over thin paper
capturing pinches of dust
he is a cocoon maker

and fingers thumping
over Polly’s white keys
clear guitar
and sweet smell

I am a lost sailor
shivering in the yellow moon
of Polly’s dress
Peppermint Patty smile and cross-legged
above the cold window
the howling whale
and on his way
to Mexico