Poetry Fictions, 2002

Page Poem Index (+ Five Star Rating)

Japanese Booth Bimbo and Klingon  *****
Cowboy and Indian  ***
Neck Bite *****
Day 11 *****
Breathless **
Disastrous Margaritas on the Floor  ***
Molly Stone's Parking Lot ****
Moments of Awareness   ****
Your Eyes  ***
19th Avenue Miracle  ***
Dutch Elm  ***
Sunshine, Blue Sky  **
Growing Up Publishing  ***
Los Angeles  ***
The Fence  ***
A Thousand Stars Falling On Our Heads *****
The Tennis Racquet: Poem About Love  *****
I Met an American *
Seagull **
The Curving Line  **
How to Visit the Zoo ****
The Fair ***
Socks and Opera *
Superman ***
Lunch ***
Advice to a Friend *****
Sleep Bitch and Dawn *****
Artemis and Beagles in Suburbia ****
Bounce and Motivate ***
Run Silent Run Deep ****
Secret Tales *
Howl of the Hounds ***
Baseball Season *
Half Moons on the Bay *****
Useful Information about Your Septic Tank **
Optical Canon **
Kvetsch **
Flat Out ***
Sunnyvale ****
Eight Roads **

POETRY FICTIONS, poems for 2002

 Japanese Booth Bimbo and Klingon *****
Buried underground in Moscone Center
Sucked the energy from my smile
As the bones resettled in my feet
Protected only by Saint Birkenstock

Down the row
Star Trek bimbos
Male and female
Hovered around their booth
Ready to beam customers in

A wandering Klingon
300 pounds of something large
Came by to visit
Apparently, an appealing look to women
Strapped behind him on his Harley
Or so he said

And I exchanged jokes
With my Japanese colleagues
In between the waves
Of visitors and
Software exhibitionism
Unhealthy men
Large from junk food
Thin from nervousness
Uncomfortable with humans
And daylight
In Brownian motion
Back and forth
From booth to booth
Occasionally consenting to be swiped

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 Cowboy and Indian ***
OK, the evening had a theme
Indian food then Monsoon Wedding
You were spicy,
Delightfully seasoned
I wore Texas cowboy boots
With a walking heel
Ostrich-skin Luchese
If you care

Like any good professional
You wondered about my wanderings
Whether I cared or dared
Loved or played
To determine if I were a cowboy
The speed of my horses
Past courses
We had run
Victories and losses in the race
Building a dating case
Whether or not to care

You probed, you queried
Got me to reveal more than I should have
Or would have;
Revealing much in the asking
Of your
Past trails and towns
Receptions and rejections
Revealed your work
The intricacies of acronyms and telecom
If you care

Case not proven
You seemed
To enjoy the trial
If you care
I do.

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 Neck Bite *****
As he walked out
Of my hospital room
My surgeon's words diminished
Like a Dopplered train:
“Many find the fog of confusion lifts…”

I thought,
Unaware of being confused
Of a surrounding fog
That perhaps a fog is only visible
When lifted

I bought turtlenecks this week
On sale at Macy's at five dollars each
Tired of exposing my neck wounds
For biting comments
Walked to and from the mall
Without pain
Perhaps the fog of pain has lifted
With my new chemistry

How do you feel?
He had asked.
I said
Unsure whose authority
Had stilled my mind
My own
His knife
Drug in line
Or little pill.

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 Day 11 *****
Today, I awoke with laughter on my voice
Smiles upon my face
Bandages curling from my neck
My gentle removal of Day 11
Revealed a cute new scar
Concealed in a wrinkle

Sunshine lit my room
Roses smiled back at me
And green leaves suddenly solid
Laughed above my balcony in the breeze

Two glorious mangos
Exploded in my mouth
A divine gift
Without a stone
All fruit and flavor

Putting on layers to guard against the sun
I checked my tires
And rode off into the morning roads
Seeking bicycle bridges, outdoor cafes
The companionship of outdoor tables
Overlooking sunlit plazas
Beginning a new page
In a new book
Highly recommended

And as the sun set
At gate 28
Ocean Beach
We lit three fires
Against the winds of night
Told tales of holding back the dark
I listened, leaning back in my chair
Unable to remove the smile from my face

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 Breathless **
I seem to have been writing for a month
Planning and scheming
Revising and editing
Practicalities and phases
Stages and steps.

I have been rushing down to Cupertino
Diet Coke
Bottled water
Cell phone
Spread beside me
In the passenger seat

I have been building
Empires in the sun
Wondering whether barons will rebel
Rejecting my religion.
Difficult when you work through a prophet
Teaching how to make a profit

Funny how much fun it is
To be back in the saddle
Attempting to nudge an empire
Into listening
And wearing the shoes of the customer

I will now go for a walk.

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 Disastrous Margaritas on the Floor ***
Some weeks are better
Than others
Some months explode with events
More than a human can handle
Wind and candle

A brother landed
Without help from parachute
In the flat Florida Panhandle
Wind and candle

I listened to stories of
Firings and hirings
Politics and paranioa
Fraud and corruption
Wind and candle

Found my late long awaited check
Lying alone on the lobby floor
When I checked
The check was no longer in the mail
No longer wind

And in Los Altos
A party out of control
A “disastrous amount of margaritas on the floor”
Noah, leading animals
Brandishing a gun
Insisting that the flood
Would get only worse
Ended up arrested
Leaving behind a mess
A ruined floor
And total disaster
Because Garcia could not find the mop
Next time, she vows to bring her own

Partially based upon a story in the Palo Alto Daily News, Tuesday June 25th, 2002. “Man held for wielding gun at a party” p. 25.

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 Molly Stone's Parking Lot ****
`Great red shoes.'
“Why thank you. I got them in Germany.”
`Nice how they match the BMW. Must have been hard finding a man with a red BMW like this one to match the shoes?'
“Yes, very difficult.”
`High maintenance too, I would guess.'
“He is, absolutely.”

Her companion
On the other side
Of the bright red car,
Carrying groceries,
And so does mine.
Explanatory note: Molly Stone's is an upscale supermarket in the Bay Area

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 Moments of Awareness ****
I realize I have not been aware
Have been so accustomed to the drive
I rediscovered the commuter fugue
Did not have to think
In order to arrive

Volleys back and forth
Across the net
Every attention focused.
Ball sent back and forth
In surprising, exhilarating grace
Up and down
Between four rackets
Before falling
And we smile, laugh, look up
A moment you could not program
Cannot recapture

Nine iron
A high precise curve
Over the normally magnetic water
A ball that drops
Almost vertically
Four feet
Away from the flag
And the putt is easy
A birdie
My first ever

All attention on the rhythm
Pursuing smoothness
Increasing the speed
Leaving trails of white parabolic powder
Long graceful curves
Heart pounding
Thighs burning
And the clarity of mountain tops

Forgotten rhythms
Then we synchronized
And arrived together
Rolling half apart
Hearts and legs entwined
Much more than aware!

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 Your Eyes ***
Every time friends visit
I see my town through their eyes

Every time we traveled
I saw with your eyes' assistance
And your hand in mine

Every eye can smile
And laugh
Every eye can cry

Every time we made love
I saw the world anew
Saw you anew

Lasers sliced your eyes
Until they were young
A new world opened up
For your eyes
And my eyes opened too
On our different paths

But I still see your old city, my new city, through your old eyes
With my new eyes

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 19th Avenue Miracle ***
I am not a religious man
Occasionally I am forced to question my beliefs
Take refuge in statistics
Queuing theory.

So, Wednesday night
After dinner with friends
Well marinated
In Marin
I drove home over closed in bridge
Through park and fog
The 19th Avenue way
Where a magic happened
All lights were green
All green
Unbelievably green
To Stoneridge Mall
Where catching a five second red light delay at Ocean
Set me up
For the end of magic
A full red light
Before I roared down the Peninsula
In wonder
Of rare events and blessings
Ten minutes saved
But, oh the pleasure!

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 Dutch Elm ***
The architect died
Shortly after the tree,
A Dutch Elm,
That grew tall
Up the center of her
Careful house.

She inspired
To be strong
To study landscape

Elizabeth wears the broken ring today
Not for her divorce
But for her professional birth
We joke it was Dutch Elm disease that killed her inspiration.

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 Sunshine, Blue Sky **
Blue sky
Cars gleaming

Blue sky
Clouds peeking
Over the edge of the hill
Like a glacier
Ready to fill
The valley

Blue sky
I feel well
But the future is uncertain
What the hell!

Blue sky
Hordes of hikers

Blue sky
How high
Shall I climb?

Blue sky
Left or right?
Up or down?

Blue sky
Work calling
At least
The cell phone isn't ringing

Blue sky.
Let's find somewhere to eat.

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 Growing Up Publishing ***
Adult crime solved by girls and
Boy hero saves universe
For which there is a hitchhiker's guide to
Leaving home and first love confused with
Joy of sex
On Mars and Venus
Pornographic maneuverings with
Senseless sex and gratuitous violence
Harlequin Presents
Harlequin Romance
Family sagas
Bodice rippers
Police procedural with
Lots of plot
Wooden books
Inspired by the movie
Serial killers disgust
Cardboard characters
Let's go, Europe
Back to history
And biography
How to
Evangelical words for making money
The fourfold way of
Management books
But almost never
Not rap
Not strange hand movements at mid body
Nor declamations of emotion for the speaker
No spontaneous inarticulation
Almost never poetry
Crafted, constructed, funny and interesting
Sending a chill of pleasure down the audience's spines
Creating delight
And then passing into the night
Trumpeting humanity

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 Los Angeles ***
First impressions
A carpet of smog
Undifferentiated whiteness
The heat and noise of airport
The new blue van with crayoned Budget logo.

Upgraded to a Lincoln
Lunched in Pasadena
Missed the Norton Simon on my left
Ended up with halibut
Garlic mashed potatoes
At Clearwater Restaurant.

I shot wildly at the Norton Simon
Causing confusion in the guards
Until I pointed out that I had taped the flash
The light residual was official
And OK

Anticipating dinner
Bought a twenty-five dollar bottle of wine
That destressed the evening in time for
Chinois on Main
In Santa Monica
Early reservation at an
Older Wolfgang Puck
With beans to die for.

She rows Saturday morning
So when in Rome
I kayaked Marina del Rey
Without benefit of safety equipment
Admiring boats with middle age names and boasts
Suggesting hate for work

I shot from the dock
As they paddled past
Noone killed
But the light was not good
Too flat
No chiascuro

Breakfast at a dive
With hint that I had eaten there
With her best friend
Many years earlier
When we were an item.

Getty up the hill
Taking the train
We skipped the art
Focused on latte and views
The fascist garden
Of controlled walkways
Discussed demassification
And deconstruction
The contrast of Italian hill village
And pharmaceutical headquarters
Walking down
We reviewed the inadequacy of light rail
Feeling a little threatened
That someone might call us trespassers
And rolled on over into the Valley
For dinner at Paul's Bistro with a defective Alexander Valley twenty five dollar bottle
That had promised much at the store
My Saturday night salmon sizzled as hot could be.

And in Topanga Canyon,
Animal Farm
A musical
Reminded us of corruption in high places
Before we returned to Brentwood
In LA, sin appears to be spelled CYN
And we were in Topanga CYN.

Sunday's hike
Brought drought dust
Brown on my running shoes
Up 1500 feet
Past athletic women
And few men
Perhaps they all had died
Or were watching TV
Remotes clutched to their hangover.

I napped and drove to Venice
Muscle Beach near Tattoo Asylum
At Jiraffe, I recognized a past restaurant
And food to die for
Who would have imagined beets, Bing cherries and nuts with marscapone?

We walked Third Street
Talking to a homeless man she knew
From downtown streets
Until we returned home
Slightly awkward at the intimacy of two
Eating and drinking a lot
Perhaps more sharing than we were ready for
Farewell to cats
But ready for
My Monday morning return
Via oatmeal in Pasadena
An airplane conversation with a lesbian punk drummer
Back from a recording session
To her women's only bike store
Now closing down
And to the much discussed
Wine Club in San Jose
Culminating in buying BBQ for my ride home.

All in all
The secret of my successful weekend
Flonase up my nose

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 The Fence ***
He was short man
Dark haired
So was his wife
Squeezing through the chain link fence
To get to their jobs
At MacDonald's.

It's natural
Not to want to walk
The route of the car
Around the mall;
Unthinking to put the bus stop
At the freeway exit
As if poor people
Were deaf
Could not smell the exhaust
Were immune to exhaustion
And walked as easily as wheels

Six million illegal
Second class citizens
In the home of the free
Braving fences
As forbears braved the Atlantic

Six million
Unvoting and poor
Doing the dangerous jobs
Deprived of rights
Seduced by freedom
A doorway
Squeezing through the fence
Further steps on the ladder
Serving us cheap breakfast

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 A Thousand Stars Falling On Our Heads *****
We are all going to die
But I have lived
One night
When a thousand stars
Streaked orange and blue
White and red
Across my dark sky

We called the incoming
So all could see
The invasion of light
Painting the night
With color
Streaking from left to right
Leaving visions swirling in our heads.

The earth rolled round
Ninety degrees of change
In six hours
As we lay
Wrapped against the cold
Of night
Huddled together under blankets
Sipping from a thermos of coffee
And during the brief fog passing over
In fitful sleep.

Oh, we are both going to die
But we have lived
One night
When a thousand stars
Streaked orange and blue
White and red
Across our dark sky
Bringing in our new dawn.
July 29, 2002, in memory of the Pleiades, last summer.

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 The Tennis Racquet: A Poem About Love *****
It has been suggested
By Greg
That I sleep with the new racquet.
It is untrue.
But I have been tempted

I feel addicted
To the magic of its control
It lets me place the ball anywhere.
I can't get enough.
If this is love, then give me more

But the racquet is demanding
I need to approach the ball just right
Take my arm back
Follow through
Focus upon the ball
And the racquet's sweet center

It almost moans with pleasure
When all goes right
And all the court is mine to measure
Its sound different
Than every other racquet I have owned
High strung
Taking all that I can give
A sweet sweet sound
If this is love, then give me more.

July 31, 2001 Dedicated to a Dunlop 200G
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 I Met an American *
I met an American
In a wealthy garden
Who told me America was the greatest country in the world

I met an American
Standing tall by a private tennis court
Who told me America is the only superpower

I met an American
Standing by the garden swimming pool
Who told me illegal immigrants should be sent home.

I met an American
Standing beneath a palm tree
Who told me we were not spending enough on defense

I met an American
Living in a town with no poor people
Who wanted more missiles to shoot down imaginary missiles
And did not see the possibilities of freight containers
As vehicles for enemies

I met an American
Old and tall, semi-retired and privileged
I thought about good judgment
And open eyes.

I said to the American
If America is good
Then it does not mean other countries are bad
But he did not listen

I said to the American
Perhaps a better question would be to ask
How can we improve by learning from what other countries do well?
But he did not listen

I met an American
Who told me all was good
Except when I asked about healthcare

I met an American
Who told me government was wrong on everything
I did not know what to say
To a mind nailed shut

I met an American
Who thinks foreigners are stupid
Government a failure
Yet wants to spend more
Defending his land
Against yesterday's wars.

I met an American
To whom I am strange.
I am.
I am
A stranger in a strange land
Built by foreigners.

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 The Curving Line **
There is a curious beauty
To the ace
Served down the line
Curving away
From my opponent.

A serve
That appears
When I need it
As if I were a Sampras.

Some part of me
Knows more
That I know
And happens
On my wish
Without my control.

How can I imagine or
Make happen
A serve
To a square inch?
And yet it happens.
I happen

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 Seagull **
Tall, rising up into the dark
Growing like pillars
Out of the stage

Scattered around the glade
Surrounded by islands of blankets
With picnic baskets
And wine

A stage
With doors everywhere
To different plot interpretations
Romance, tragedy and allegory

Sleeping bag and blanket
Emergency space blankets

Sated from dinner
Entertained by Clapton blues
And the curves of Highway 17
Lay back to enjoy

Attractive in cleavage and leather
Spoke delicately
Of joys and pain
Clearly recovered
Warm and humorous
An island in the cold of ocean air

My thoughts rose into the future
Higher than the trees
Soaring like a seagull
On the warm air rising

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 How To Visit the Zoo ****
A zoo is memory
I never had
That might have been
That may never be again

A zoo has favorites
Panda Buddha-like
Stuffing his face
With bamboo
Albino boa
Yellow and white
Sleeping off a meal

A zoo has history
Janie the orangutan
Sitting sad faced
Like a widow
Hand against the forty year glass
The familiar volunteer

A zoo has fear
That can emerge
Walking the narrow canyon trail
Thinking of escape scenarios
For little snakes
And other beasts

The aviary has mothers
Pointing to the fish
For their toddlers
“Fische” they point in German

A zoo serves food
Somehow at cross purposes
With displays,
Perhaps more appropriate

Outside the zoo
Wilder animals
Drive erratically
Past ships of war
The monkeys have gone mad again

A zoo is memory
I never had
That might have been
That may never be again

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 The Fair **
I went to the fair
And learned
There is art in trees
If you remember to look up to the sky

I lunched in redwoods
On top of a ridge
Watched the people walk by

I followed the trail
Soft and dusty
Sprinkled with
Small faded leaves
Up and down to the fair

I circled the fair
Walking on gentle protective bark
Admiring all
Talking and listening
Playing with children

I walked down the hill
To the harp.
Its sounds
Rang clear in the forest

I went to the fair
And learned
There is art in trees and metal
Paper and leather
Cotton and wool
For people who have looked inside

I walked beside trees
I walked through light
I walked through shade
Lucky to walk through my life

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  Socks and Opera *
I felt like a change, she said
And reengineered her hair
Taking out four layers of color
Attempts to cover gray
Going way blond
Fifteen minutes
Before leaving for birthday Dungeness crab
And opera

I have an odd box
Filled with socks
Mainly black
And for the first time
The box is full
I have now moved,
Am in an organizing way

She felt people stared
At intermissions
Enjoyed a first San Francisco opera
But driving home
Decided to pull a Cinderella
Buying new hair
At the 24-hour Safeway
On El Camino Royale
Reverting to golden brown
Before midnight

The subtleties of socks surprise
Texture, ribbing, length of top, stitching at toe
It takes bright light
To unify the orphans

Tosca is a good opera
All the stars die romantically, tragically
Recognition strikes
As arias and duets soar and fall

A few orphans still lie alone
Without black and green, brown and gray mates
They will be cast off

She says, the color still is wrong
Too much red.
Next time, I will not wear the wrong hair
To the opera.

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 Superman ***
From breathing and feeling and walking
A little like death
Traveling frozen through space
But with the disadvantage of awareness
For years on endless end

In hindsight, flying was safer than a horse
If you like to breathe, feel or walk

Superman reports he can move a finger
Leaping upgraded spinal ratings in a single bound
No anti-Kryptonite visible
But giving hope to others
Being Superman and well reported

And our president
Is morally concerned
About research
That might help
Superman to breathe, feel and walk
How kind of him!
Perhaps he would feel differently
If he could not breathe on his own
Walk on his own
Sense the touch of his wife

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 Lunch ***
I read my past
Wondered who it was that wrote
Surely these words are not mine
Must be purloined poems
Yet they seem so familiar
I must have read them many times.
Now independent
Children that have grown up
In whom I see some semblance
Of their parent events and deeds,
Ear and mouth,
Manner of speaking,
Or careful phrase.

I have spawned another work
Careless as drunken fish
Casting young upon the ocean
Ignorant of the future's
Violent intersection
With lunch

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 Advice to a Friend *****
You paint a pretty picture
Hobbling, unable to take a step
A foetus trapped inside the sofa
Deposited by hopeless long departed regret
And love gone wrong

You stopped talking
Except when checking out
Of grocery stores
And life
Say you have no friends
Just faithful dog.
Half lost
To your replacement walker
At the Beach

Your plan -
Money enough for ten more years
Your pet will last seven
And then you'll go
You say

How silly
To give up on life
When every moment is a gift
That could be your last

Down the street
I used to live by the Beach
Close to the Boardwalk
Upstairs from the tango queen
And her carpenter high tech plumber lover,
And ran on to health

Take your pills!
For little could be worse than confinement
On your solitary couch.

One baby step
A journey of a ten thousand miles
Or maybe ten years
Or maybe more
Begins with a baby step

Take risks and fail and fall and laugh and cry!
Falling is no sin
Life demands you climb
Lying down to wait for death
Is no trip
I would want to undertake.

If you are lonely
Darkness is lonelier
Devoid of love.

Take a walk to the Beach!
And cry to the sky:
“I will not fear the past.
I will not apologize for my future,
For I am alive.”

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 Sleep Bitch and Dawn *****
For some the night is long
They await the dawn
And opportunity for revenge

I have this friend
It always begins this way
With secret stories

He tells:
Today, I met Dement's second generation
Sleep Bitch and Dawn
Or did she say Sleep Witch and Stanford coven?
I dozed and almost missed the Sleep Bitch
Dawn came first
Her diagnosis clear
Unlike my breathing in the night

Sleep Bitch laughed
And checked my mouth
For source of jokes
And pronounced her sacrament
I should not drink and drive with histamine
For fear of highway microsleep
I should not place my faith
In the rhythm of the roads' arousal
Those life saving lane bumps.

They threaten that the face of day
Must wear a mask at night
Darth Vader will my night face be
Unless I am sliced by laser surgery
Or burned and shrunk

It is the revenge of the coven:
Punishment for women long kept up at night
By snoring men.
Sleep Bitch and Dawn
Will fit me in their bed
And measure my consistency
In promise that I may be
Apnea free.

I have this friend
In whose secret story
He puts on his Vader mask
Death to his own sawing of logs
Saving a bundle
No new house
No extra room
He gets to keep his wife
Who has this friend.
Note: Dr. William Dement founded the Stanford Sleep Clinic, the first sleep clinic.

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 Artemis and Beagles in Suburbia ****
The dogs walked past
More interested in the smell landscape
Along the flowered sidewalk
Than the white body lying in the driveway

“Must have been a rough Saturday night”
I commented to my Princess
Our response
From a woman sitting concealed further up the driveway
Hiding behind a shield
“It's no way to treat your spouse.”

On the way back
The body was now upright
Being spray painted
“Whose body's inside the papier mache?” I asked
“If we told you, we'd have to kill you.”
One of the three people spraying laughed
Only slightly threatening.

“It's an archer, isn't it?”
“Yes, Artemis” and picked up her bow.
Prince decided to mark the corner bush
And we walked on
The dogs eager for the coolness of home's wooden floor
Finished with their hunting of the day

Climbed the final steps
As if they were his Himalaya
His short legs weary
From altitude sickness.

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 Bounce and Motivate ***
They did not look like much
She, small and initially not very striking
He, tall, sandy haired, dressed in ugly black socks

Bob and I
Playing our regular game
Proud of our recent improvement
In love with the sensation of tennis
Decisions and strategy
Pushing ourselves to our middle aged limits
He running more than I
I, taking refuge in my strokes and serve
To edge him out of victory

And then they began to play
Deep hard shots
Topspin back and forth
Bouncing on their feet
She suddenly looked a whole lot prettier
And he, more handsome
While I, suddenly felt
Twenty years older than I am
Watching them stutter step and dance to set up each new shot
Lunging low
Picking up shots I would have missed with
Energy I had forgotten
I did not have

So I tried to step up my game
But let's be honest
I did not have the bounce
The stutter step
This late in the second set

I guess the good news is
I am now motivated
To lose that weight
Get really fit
I want my bounce back

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 Run Silent Run Deep ****
She whispers
Later on she moans

She whispers
How it feels inside
Giving words
To his sensation

She whispers
Of how good she feels
How good he feels

She whispers
Of wanting more
And then she moans and cries
At pleasure
Everywhere she feels
She whispers
Compliments to her lover
Like a rider
To encourage her horse
To the finish line

Don't want to arrive
She whispers

She whispers
Wonders and pleasures
To her
Horse panting
Until he foams and neighs
Her legs and arms wrapped around

She whispers
He whispers
Ending his silence
Ready to surface
His emotions

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 Secret Tales *
Handsome and gifted
Irresistible to women
International man of mystery
Olympic athlete
Gold medal winner
Winner of an Emmy award
Movie star
Rock star
Rhodes Scholar
Nobel prize nominee
Pulitzer winner and best selling author
World traveler
Gourmet cook
Marathon lover
Artistic genius
He tells himself his secret tales
Growing taller and longer
Checking in
The aroma of fame his pheremone.

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 Howl of the Hounds ***
The bell rings
The hounds howl
Eager to tear their food apart
Their dog cookies
From the large biscotti jar
In the kitchen
Worried about rivals
They retreat to their private lairs
Munching defensively
Willing to be friends
For a fee
That must be delivered
At each visit
To purchase silence

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 Baseball Season *
Ready to pounce
In a ship with nowhere to land
Three thousand Spiderman figures
Bored by the Pacific
Unable to inspire
Video sales
Cast no net
Bring in no dollars
Spin no tales
Stand lifeless
Cannot swing
Strike one.

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 Half Moons on the Bay *****
The sumo wrestlers of the vegetable kingdom
Sat on the beds
Of the pickup trucks
One or two concealed in vans
And U-haul trailers
Guarded by proud parents
The role of genetics
And fertilizer
In pregnancies that all began around May.

Colors ranged
From orange to pink
Grey to green
Those professionally raised
With water-bottles attached to their stems

Turn by turn
The forklifts came by
And burly men
Wrestled sumo vegetables
Onto the five ton scales
Some taking eight men to slide

Banters about wives
Beating husbands
Were popular
But the emotional winner
Seemed about ten
Sitting on top of his 860 pounder
Raising his arms to the sky
Bringing a smile to all

was the magic number
for sumo cum laude
and we all went home
leaving behind
large enough to sail
or attach motors
wondering about
and depleted uranium ballast

Explanatory note: Half Moon Bay, CA has a pumpkin festival every Fall.

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 Useful Information About Your Septic Tank **
Not once
But twice
An email promises me
Useful information
About my septic tank
Mysteries I would rather not plumb

But fortunately
I live in an apartment
In a city.

Are twenty percent
More sensitive to pain
My electronic news announces
Here is information I can use to good effect
I want more pain killers
When you do anything to me, doctor.

But fortunately
Recreational surgery is not my hobby
My tennis game
Is supported by ibuprofen
Or sodium naproxen
The latter being my non-steroidal anti-inflammatory of the year
My personal award system
For tennis excess.

The kaleidoscope of email
Brings new pairings every day
Like an artist
The offensive and the wanted
Promises and fears
Skepticism about useful information about my septic tank

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 Optical Canon **
The building was red
A cheerful color to the Chinese
Less so to accountants;
Expensive panels
Off a suburban freeway
Above the Freemont Fault.

Parking spots were easy to come by
There were no visitors in the visitor stalls
No customers in the customer preferred spots
Close to the lobby
No receptionist
Just a placard
An extension to phone
Answered after bouncing four times

I could have fired a canon
Down the hallway
And not killed anyone.
Seemed to have left
In morgue-like silence,
Erect and abandoned

We spoke in low tones
Frightened to wake the dead
Or recall the departed
The impending death
Of another software company
Subleasing space
In this optical graveyard
The quiet squeak of a balloon deflating
Mixed with the noisy raspberry of regret
For wrong paths taken
And money lost.

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 Kvetsch **
The steel grey, late model, ultimate driving machine
Designed for the autobahn
Was clearly better going in a straight line
Or so I concluded from the driver
Pulling up behind me in the parking lot
Blocking me from pulling out
Too important to twist the steering wheel to park her car
In a parking stall
As she dropped off her movie rental.

I suggested she was lazy
So she told me I should get a better car
Perhaps implying
I would need a Hummer
To drive over her
To get out of my parking spot.
Sometimes you can't tell what people mean

And later on El Camino
She stopped in front of me
Just to annoy
Giving me the finger
Through her sunroof
Demonstrating her ability to use the brakes
Keen to show off
That while parking may have been beneath her
And turning 90 degrees beyond her
She could display other major features of her car
And keen social sensitivity.

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 Flat Out ***
Unlike many
Your hospital's maze
Was pretty easy
To figure out.
Your address
Room 352 Bed 1
As if I would have had difficulty
Recognizing you

My first reaction
As you lay there
Was disappointment
That you were asleep
But immediately
I was grateful
This is the best of times
No pain
Sleep is kind

You lay flat and straight
Not moving
Not quite like the dead
To see you unmoving
Just breathing
A red 45 at your feet
Indicating your heart rate
A nurse commented
Anesthesia slows things down
Reminding me of a five year dream
Of a tube being extracted from my mouth
That seemed to go on forever

I left the flowers
In the champagne bucket
The gold Godiva chocolates
With green ribbon
Beside the bed
Making sure they would not interfere
In your arm's reach and struggle
A little like an altar
To a goddess
Or sleeping princess in a fairy tale

I did not kiss you
There was too much equipment in the way
And I did not want to wake you
To pain
So I let you sleep your drugged sleep
And drove in dark rush hour traffic home

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 Sunnyvale ****
I am not sure what a banshee sounds like
But as I walked the dogs in the rain
Relishing its warm unfamiliarity
Four jets
Two pairs
Flying in tight formation
Five minutes apart
Drove a hole in the sullen sky
Ripping molecules
Promising raw and powerful death
Distant from being human
Brutal in their sound
Flying out of Moffett Field
Over ill-named
At least tonight

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 Eight Roads **
Along the sea
The temptation of sirens
Make me want to leave the winding road
Stretch on beaches
Gambol with whales and walruses
Depart for other climes
Take slow boats to somewhere new

Along the mountain ridge
I am bounded by confusion stretching back to the sea
A wall of fog
And on the other side
The clarity of fog free smoggy valley air
And industry

Up and down the Interstate
Speed obsesses me
Along gracious engineered curves
Flowered medians
Expensive houses on expensive faults

In the foothills
I travel at slower speed
Admiring athletic bicyclists
Wondering at the strange programming of traffic lights
Along research row

On El Camino
I am tempted by the vendors
Of Gasoline Alley
Elongated bazaar

Alma reminds me of trains
And downtowns
The arguments of politics

Middlefield moves though houses
Though stretches of Eichler
Modernist homes
Now being renovated

And 101
Is history
Growing tawdry
Potholes and billboards
Frequent traffic jams

Eight roads and ways to choose
To live
To think
To reach my home
My goals.

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