Bridges

This old train bridge,
smelling of creosote,
says Please Do Not Climb,
but instead my urge
is to lie down in the river,
to let water cold as glaciers
from the white mountains
fill me everywhere
with the clarity
of melted sky.

On the trail, an anomaly
of shredded grass,
a tuft of fur.
What raucous
happened here?

I look for eagles in the tallest tree
and instead I see a robin,
the most regular of birds,
perched on the pinnacle of a branch
where sometimes the eagles are.
Well, I can see those in my own backyard,
and still I am moved
by this morning,
by the thin pane of ice
that barely exists atop the shaded wetlands
stinking of living sulphur.

The cattails are frozen
like rodents roasting on spits,
it’s easy to laugh
at one’s own thoughts,
equal parts frost and sunshine
on a morning in early spring,

I know that water under the bridge
is already a thing,
and also, I would be hard pressed
to say it any better,
standing here on this bridge as I am,
with time passing swiftly underneath
and water, the color of smoke,

and perhaps it is silly
that we say a thing at all,
becoming so focused on the river
that we forget about
the mountain.

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Rabbit Hole

Down from the tawny

mountain, ambling,

as a January afternoon

unrolls toward the black

bricked fireplace where you

will stack logs extracted

from fresh-cut summer

piles, and perhaps discover

the difference between

how a man makes a fire

and how a woman

makes one.  Burgundy

velvet detour, couch

pillows haphazard,

swallow you into the

ceiling patched one

hundred times.  Books

stacked, encyclopedias,

brown and gold backdrop,

a grandfather’s collection

and the new amp tag

hangs over a rainbow

of pastel pedals – reverb,

wah-wah, compression,

orderly perfection

of sweet disarray

to the boot stomp

and the dust cloud

rising, a puff for every

beat.  Mad music upsurge

from the red rug island,

a drummer’s first touch,

punk rock, homemade,

notes inlay in oil paints

on the sequined walls

of this Saturday rabbit

hole, magic, and glad

to follow Alice, one

more song before

we ramble on home.

Finally, Haiku

Fresh snow, overdue
invitation to climb up
into the forest.

Post-holing, we have
the wrong shoes.  We don’t mind.  Sun
between the branches.

Different stages
of freeze and thaw ~ waterfall,
raging stream, our feet.

Ice trail leads into
the belly of a mountain ~
if this cave could talk.

Pre-adolescents
notice the sacred, feel how
large the story is.

By the river that
could carry us away, our
hands in our pockets.

A New Year, San Francisco

You have been here before,
it’s never the same,
and you find your way
like a tree root in the city,
like a park bench,
by the houses stacked
with their secrets on the inside,
those beautiful gardens

where everything grows.
From a late-night diner
to the Starlight Lounge,
all your treasures are vintage
and new, and the city bids you
to build your own broth
and taste along the way,
share a sandwich in the grass,

shake hands with Duncan in the street
who cleans up the trash
four times a day,
on a mission from Market
to Mission, peer in the misty window
of Club Deluxe, find your place
at the Zam Zam, where there is still
a stool waiting, a secret door

and an invitation
to the underground,
honest like the bar goddess
who mixes elixers, nighttime fixers
along the street, for the outstretched
hand, and for the one
who has forgotten
to reach out his hand at all.

You cannot help but look inside
the dark doorways at night
when you take the alleys,
the cans and the needles
and the tiny flame, and the shame
for your own looking.
You have no answers,
but perhaps a new question

for the woman with a walker
who shows you to the top
of Venus, releases the steel genie
from her bottle between
the white marble towers
of Trinity Place, and the ferry lists,
starboard side, from lovers
and from friends, and from a smile so wide

she could swallow the city,
and you would gladly go
to taste her mushroom spoons
on the wooden pier by a thousand stairs,
through eucalyptus
to the home of a Japanese man
who doesn’t know he set
your course one hundred years ago,

between the hills and oysters
and the city parrots making love,
while you dance with strangers
and the ones you have always known,
as all the stories intertwine
above a dance floor. Beneath cork tops,
you rise and fall like bubbles,
like blue balloons,

and we are all the first-time driver,
fresh hands on the wheel,
stuck in Stonehenge in the park,
and every direction
is the right way to return
to the longest beach
where a year goes out like the tide,
so toast to one another,

to the ones we have lost
and to the lost ones,
to the sun that rises
each holy day
over all the shining people,
to the concrete and the resolutions,
and take this taxi to the sea
where the great gray wings

of sunset flap
through the last
orange of evening,
and one feathered lantern
leads your open eyes to the sky,
toward a moonlit ladder
that invites you, again,
to climb.