on some days i am deluged by loss
loss of friends who disappear
loss of those who die and don’t say goodbye
those who say goodbye and cover me
with their ancient, drying tears
the quick fading of family love:
i am sitting at my brothers’ wake
listening to all the comments
which create who he is and was
suddenly i hear my own voice
it takes time for me to speak,
‘he was my hero’
and i look at the casket and weep
i see myself riding a tricycle, i am five
i’m wearing an army uniform
singing bawdy songs
from the second world war
with words i don’t understand
i see myself coming to a stop on larkins way
worrying about my brother’s safety
wondering if i’ll ever see him again
i can’t talk to anyone
they all think i don’t understand
the terror of war
and then, as if years disappear immediately,
he is standing in front of me with a huge smile
wearing civilian clothes, “help me”
i drag in a big, bulky, khaki bag
he pulls the bag open and bottles of liquor
roll everywhere
i looked

at him with a big question mark,
‘didn’t you bring any clothes?’
‘you’re lookin’ at them danny boy’
‘but i did bring you one thing’
he hands me a small japanese flag
‘did you take it from a body?’
‘no, i took it from an ass’
look at it everyday
throw it across the room
watch it slide down the wall.

all of this fades
my brother becomes more himself
and i grow up and become myself
when he dies, we are almost
distant strangers
still joined by love
but covered by confusion
his son helps me pack his apartment
‘what are all these little cans?’
‘pretty much the same–chipped beef ‘
‘is that all he ate?”pretty much—
chipped beef over noodles,
chipped beef over rice,
chipped beef on rye,
eating had become a boring routine. ‘
in the bathroom we were bagging
his personal things,
this doesn’t seem right
he should be doing this
‘Hey, BEN, give us a sign’
and the lights blinked a long blink
‘Whoa, that’s wierd—right on cue’

in the church
where the priest revered my brother
and his wife
my eyes were floating around
looking for Ben with wings
my voice clicked into Schuberts’ Ave Maria
i could see Ben wafting away with me
we were in comfortable lounge chairs
drinking Iron City beer
and throwing confetti
as we flew higher we could hear
his grandson playing taps
the sound disappeared and we were alone


two young lilly lads
were weaving and diving
in the garden, in the fading sun
‘we can do anything,
we’re stronger than anyone’
like the flick of a switch
the sun turned off,
two lilly lads
grumbled and scoffed and giggled,
the wind blew with fierce strength
‘nothing can snap our stems’
the rain became a downpour
every tree and plant shook,
still the braggarts howled
immitated the bluster.
the rain waned
the lillies screamed their victory,
a whisper washed across the calm,
‘next time we’ll really roar
they’ll plead for mercy’

a light brown line began
as more snow was falling
and then a dark, fluttery curve
appeared in the thickening flurry.
it was an animal head
within all these wet flakes,
a very, very, very,
young dear
slowly began to look at
the space and its surroundings.
a young, handsome head darkened
into bright sparkling eyes
as a new borne deer
into the whiteness of snowstorm,
felt its entire body
and became the miracle of Winter,
a new wonder in the universe

noking daniel walked about
on the streets of hungry
looked for food that’s fit to eat
wet and cold and soggy
‘sir i need a glass of wine’
‘mam i need a burger’
let’s all dance to make the heat
let’s all stretch the season

bring me fries and bring me beer
bring me kisses tender
let’s all dance to everywhere
let’s all dance to Berkeley
sir can i hold on to you
help me keep my balance
that feels better, here we go
this is full of lovely

is this berkeley where we are
i think this is Oakland
we will find some tacos here
we can fart to heaven
please go easy on the beans
lots of guacamole
let’s sit down and have our lunch
everyone is jolly

whiteness becoming snow
wind banging into evergreens
into snow trails
where no one walks
only darkness
sweeping into
where the full moon
shall rise
upon a solstice dance

darkness was complete,
there was an unreal
soon only
gentle swishing sounds
like soft brooms
sweeping the skies
sweeping across moonlight.
then a distant, steady beat
a perfect tango tempo,
billions of snowflakes
smiling within the movement.
when we are dancing
and the sky is always
we’re full of beauty
we’re full of beauty
the stars are humming
and we’re twinkling
all together,
we feel the music
in the magic of forever,
when we are dancing
the universe is laughing
we are forever, we are forever,
and after all the music stops
we still are dancing
we want to dance along the milky way

we were a challenge for him
98% vegan
he always looked at us
with a large question mark
what should I feed them?
how can one live without meat?

he always hinted about his latest love
he hadn’t told her yet
but soon she would see how ardent
his eyes were
in her presence

on days when the restaurant wasn’t busy
he would create vegetarian
dishes for us
he would present each dish
with a flourishing smile
it was always like a beautiful painting
and then he would stand there
and watch us eat
watch us
chew each mouthful
this special meal was eaten in silence
and then the questions
would softly flow
how was the balance
did it need more salt
could they taste the
secret ingredient

there was great joy in this ritual
we covered him with admiration.
he was gone so quickly
so many recipes he never created
a magnificent talent
with a life so short—-


just when you think
the world has turned
to ashes
an enormous smile appears
on the horizon
a gigantic smile
that can’t be ignored
an unimaginable smile
floating upon a light
chocolate face

the joy melts and covers everything
and then the smile begins to sing
it is the sound of a hundred angels
it is the scream of a skyful of witches
we are pouring into the hallowed eve

the unthinkable celebration
which comes and
leaves so
but sticks to our souls
through all days

( for Frank and his magic )

a poet died today.
someone in canada asked,
what’s a poet?
it’s a humming bird
that knows
many different languages.
for no reason at all.
it’s tomorrow,
another poet
where did the poet live?
on bourbon street.
what did she do?
she stuffed hot sounds
into a flaming trumpet,
the trumpet burned
every night until morning.
what did the people do?
they danced and jumped and pushed air
out of their bodies until they looked like
clothes with no people.
it’s monday in Zakopane,
another poet died,
the city is covered in polish tears,
poems display unbearable sadness.
everyone is kneeling,
looking into the mountains.
the poems go on and on,
the poets keep running their mouths,
nobody cares about hope and love.
elephants begin to thunder
they don’t know their own worth.
without mouths there is no lionroar,
without phrases ostriches run in endless circles,
without fire there are no stories,
there are only dangerous piannissimos.
everyone is waiting
everyone is waiting
everyone is waiting