The Dogwood Tree

staring through the white plate, completely through the kitchen counter and laminate floor;

i saw the way the tendons in her neck cinched rigid.


a string of rubies pulled too taut: bursting, then an echoing scatter across the cold tile;

maroon, maroon, spilling into the ochre-pallor bathroom
she spills out of control / squeezing her fists so tight, she can feel too clearly when it wrestles out of her fingers / she wants to be (seamless vessel) but she can’t just can’t, she just…

she just spills.
steadying herself in the corner, against the far wall.


smudges of dirt on her Michelangelo cheeks.

a pearl peering out from the cracks of a gritty, crusted oyster.


the Dogwood Tree: branches like tendons reaching to the spring sun,
thinly veiled with their delicate blossoms:

teardrop white opal petals, suspended
in shadow & light;

she dances.

she dances, intricately
suspended in shadow & light.

el niño

i could hear her outside. i could hear him outside.

they promised a storm this january. i could hear the wind gusting the leaves against the bony trees outside. the smell of the vapor clouded with dirt. condensation steeped with metallic taste. water shuddering in the teapot. and i could hear them outside.

they were the eye of the storm.

the glass leaning against all shades of dehydrated purples and swollen greys. the gusts rattling the leaves. the wind whipping her hair. soft solar flares with medusa in mind. and his hair as well. the mane of a lion mask. they promised a storm this january.

they were the eye of the storm.

a soft whistle turning to a scream. the teapot.

behind me the sliding door opening the wind shaking the leaves against the bony trees the sliding door shutting behind HAVE A NICE DAY AT WORK and then her collapsing collapsing collapsing onto the bathroom floor. shutting within the collapsing. the moans and final gasp of a redwood tree as it shudders to the earth.

i poured the water curling steam, filling two ceramic mugs.

a tiny breath between the frame and the door creaked ajar. she let me in. there, a gloating room of yellow light and her a dark smudge scrawled on the tiles and the wall. with her shoelaces still tied. 

she shields her eyes with one hand, IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO HURT

in the other, a gold tuft of lion hair clenched in a fist.

i could hear the rain on the roof.

A landlocked alternative for jumping in the surf

arrives in the form of simple extension and compression
while the kelp forest sways idly in the underwater lull
you’re a six-foot swell on the horizon

air bubbles in the synovial fluid crackle under the surface of my spine
tugged by the pressure of a tidal energy // your arms a double overhead barrel
closed out by open palms curling in

:: i keel into unity with water anatomically, the energetic housing of chaos coiling head over heels, swirling throughout frothy endless vigor till i level steady an inspiration for air, a receiving ::

a burst of calm.
endorphins releasing in the happiest of exorcisms.

my freckles smile bright washed by the sun and saltwater
the shore ebbs // “you smell like the ocean,” you say in an exhale and ensue
the radius and ulna and humerus relaxing till the tide goes out

Try your best to remember the sun is just another star

you entered          —          slowly.          interrupting

The first time we met I stood peeking out from behind the incense cedars and you were cloud-scattered sunlight flickering through the branches.
Told me your mother named you Spear-Strength and I returned that my mother named me after the cold Pacific White Waves.

Traces of Apollo in your blood fire springing from your brow and I notice you pop out a cigarette to light whenever we get to the top of a mountain. Curry recipe in your hands and spurs clicking the ground at your heels with a red paisley cowboy kid look in your eyes. I seem to keep getting in your way in the kitchen.

smelling of:      smoked paprika     fresh-baked bread     basket of wildflowers

The steel carabiners clink together like wind-chimes hung from our waists.
Tied in to the stony crag where I hear you say I’m strong.

After three years I’m taking my vengeance on the split granite dome and when I finally reach the top I find you waiting like Sampson fast asleep but you jerk awake easily when I touch your hair and I start to wonder why I have the tendency to want to wake you up.

figure-eight knots         eight-spotted          american forester          american kestrel

Tying feathers to my elbows and ankles I’ve got a nature to run into the sunset clouds to keep my legs from getting too restless at night.
I know that in the end I’ll be running back through the doors every time but you’ve got a different type of restlessness don’t you and when I do come running back through the doors sweaty and red like I’d been chased by one of my recent nightmares you jump up with your guitar playing like you wanted to make me dance and singing like “It’s okay it was just a bad dream just go back to sleep.”

And after the day you told me “I know what it’s like to fall through the ice” I started thinking about how I could tell you that I know what it’s like because I’ve fallen through the ice too.

alternative folk    //      bluegrass punk     //     americana     //     new wave post-hardcore

Taking night walks to the docks to clear the noise from our heads got me thinking about the day we met and how you looked at me like sunlight.
But you’re not the sun are you at least not in the sense of the springtime sunlight warming our faces but more like one of those pictures captured in space that we have to dim to see on a screen more like one of those pictures of a rough molten sphere so turbulent it bursts in flares at least every other day and I’m catching your reflection glances because I’m the moon phasing full churning up the tides into this rip current catching us red-handed.

When we dance we light up the sky.

the same           universe            for the brief           —

So we will mostly undress.
You started asking me about where I got my oceanid veins and I said it’s all about learning to kiss the face of chaos to catch a pure breath of peace but that’s when I started to remember I needed to come up for air.

See I’ve got this wild habit of keeping my foot off the brake when I’m driving the downhill curves and (I think I’m getting better at it but) every now and then I crash (turn and burn) and now (for five straight days) you’ve set forest fires on my mind so when you find the words to ask me how I slept last night I honestly gotta say that my spine aches from whiplash and I honestly gotta say that I’ve felt it before (hit and run). All I want to hear you promise me you won’t leave without saying goodbye.

please          watch your step! on         your way out of           the garden


Semi-precious stones, shattered by
cedarwood branches, soaked in
meadow-kissed rivulets awakened under the dawn horizon.

Framework of tissue, skin, and bone:
the clockwork of gaze.

And you were looking at me.