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.

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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.

Paper Leaves

Last night
the wind came, swept beneath
all thoughts I had
of holding on.

And so it goes,
we all must fall,
the ground looks different
from up here.

You danced across
the window, dear,
behind the pane,
though not alone.

And now it seems
so long ago
I watched you open
toward the sun.

I can’t remember
how it felt
to be so green,
to be so young.

We’re changed,
not what we used to be,
we’re somehow lighter,
paper leaves.

Drive

We drive
to where we are needed.
These cars,
they deliver us
alone
or with the ones we love,
to places
of small miracles ~
to a conversation
that unwinds your memory
on the spool
of an evening,
to a triangle of peak standing black
against the purple dusk
like a secret,
to a pearl wire of headlights,
of which you are now one,
with your music
and your thoughts
and your bags packed with
Monday’s laundry
as you drive toward the sea of city,
or to the river,
one hand out the window,
one hand on the wheel.

When There is Nothing Left to Do

When there is nothing left to do,
let sunshine become your upturned face,
hug her with your cells,

stop to kiss his face,
look into their eyes
for longer

than you would have yesterday.
Listen to music,
make music,

stretch your arms
as high as they will go toward the heavens
and reach your heart

to the sky. Bow,
or pray, or listen,
or simply love.

Share the water.
Soften your voice, open
your ears.

Make tea. Step outside.
Laugh, or cry,
or do whatever

it is that you need to do,
as long as it is
real.  The world needs you

to be real.
Let all of the old you’s walk away
through the open door.  Become

the touch of the lover,
a child’s face,
the teakettle that hums.