They come by the hundreds
            to pin their sighs on long sheets
                             of harbor wind.
                                                             They glide
on easy fatigue as the afternoon's stout oaks
rattle shoulders.
                             Cycle clusters whine by;
                                            shiny meteors, crouched heads.
An old clown wears big Florsheim loafers,
            a foil hat, red nose and blowing pants of gold lamé.
The day's woolly light weaves waves on the Lower Bay,
            the gong struck sun shines and shimmers.

                                                        for Ry Cooder

Roadrunners break
             from under brambles
                          head for horizons.
A bleeding Christ dries on the wall.
Far houses in the hills
             pipe small bulbs of chimney smoke.
A dusty window's
             tobacco brown light shines
on a greasy tool box, in a deserted garage.
The silence of a former noise.
A single bolt of juice jolts
             the phone line overhead
its ceramic bells hum and go still.
Out in the street,
             a broken doll with abused hair
             shines in the rain.


Grass wools the hillside green.
Creeping moss on cracked walls
yawns ruin and grace.
This stained glass Francis is a map.
His bald head, his feet, his heart
        in his hands are countries
                    midst brick, Norman brick,
                                but his heart's also
                                                a bird in the yard
                            sweeping down
                    from the tenement trees
                             through the yellow light
                                                bird bright
                     and the tolling bells'
                            buffering gold booms.
Swallows embroider my head's edges.
        Every day
                the world breaks around me
                            falls at my feet
                a glistening wriggle
                            red and wet
a coin through water
        wandered down from the light
The power of praise,
soft orbiting angel's mouth.


The sun floods a filmy light
conveys day from a far off East.
The print of a lip on a tea cup;
        red shadow cast on my heart
        and soft rain on the window
                        gather to my task.
O brain, O delicate light drenched orb
        climb the day, grow richer and rounder
on the rising dog's cheer to the sirens of noon.