To The First Speaker

You—who are kin to all clans;

You—who called the rain       we’ve been drowning in for eons;

      did you flinch to find   a shard of self

                              split off—a passing thought

            unhidden?    Did it feel forbidden?


Or was it like the stone    you raised

     between your hands, and—gauging     its weight against your son’s—

      tossed it        into a river?


Wanda Coleman’s Roar

I don’t smoke weed, I smoke palm
trees. I rise into clouds like

the 110-105 interchange. I take back
airspace from a LAPD chopper, examining

freeways; concrete ribbons, anchoring our smog
and …

Arthropoda Californiae

Three weeks after my husband’s cremation
I cancelled the contract
with the exterminator.

Now, I share a home with arthropods.

They teach me to inhabit
hollow spaces. Their movements expand


You have to remember the Aspen grove;

the white stalks of trees, their stuttering leaves–

the descending quiet. Vesper sparrows.

No one beside you; no one behind you.

But you hear …

every you, every us

Think remember map our
every you every us every night every darkness
lay fear down
lay in sadness
carry this acre
taken from a map

Condominium Song #3

Steve speaks slowly, and because he is the 
Housing Association President,
he also speaks in detail, willing nothing
be missed or wrong. He is old so events
take on …