The change hit hard.
In a flash, in a flood,
the town was leveled
and we were gone.

There was no breathing.
The impact knocked the breath
from our bodies.

Lungs filled
with ashen mud
as the splintered bones
of dreams and houses
pierced our hearts straight through.

as you scour the wreckage
where gardens once bloomed
and children played out in the yard

as you find our lifeless limbs
among davenports
and the twisted shells of cars

as you light candles
and piece together
the stories that buried us here:

Our topography is forever changed.
Nothing will ever be whole again.


When Roads Become Clouds

The following is a series of poems that I wrote in August 2003, while on a solo road trip from California to Kansas and back. I was recently inspired to unearth them from their hiding place and let them see the light of day.


∴ ◊ ∴ 





Bleeding streets
burnt red,
their cracked and scaly skin
shed the heat of the sun.

Black tar
keeps me stuck here,
as a firmament of
dying stars

press down.

Smoke rises
as the clouds shoot

I am


in Vegas,
When the serpent breaks ~
the diamond rattler

then recoils
into desert sand.

I see
your body in flames,

where the poison entered your veins.







cross land and sky,
there are

Charcoal gray
there are

flesh cliffs,
there are

Canyon shadows
cutting deep,
there are

forged from earth

ancient kingdom, your
iron umber
monuments, your
cosmic bones

I imagine
but do not see.







sky forest

Passing over,
I ascend to
fall again.

There are
ghosts in my car.

I talk to them, they
shift, like
static against my skin,

Cold and electric.

Visitors from the trees,
I am alone and listening.

old wood,
I hear you creaking.







Summer rain
wet and warm,

Cicada prairies,

Seas of gold.

I travel
through the heart of America

Rattlesnake jewelry,

Sleepy towns
where time moves slow.







Sweet grass and citrus groves,

In the darkness
I see the tops of trees.

I am afraid of what I do not see.

the taste of tears,
the smell of home.


this land
it cries with me.







Songs of Jesus
dying in the hearts of man.

Open the eyes of my heart,

The flood is coming..

in Amarillo
I hear its thunder.





-new mexico-


Black Hills
cast their spell
across the border.

Time disappears.

I see you,
Mary Ellen,
at a trading post.
An old woman
wears your ghost:

Leathered skin
silver hair
turquoise eyes

catching dreams.

You ask me for direction.

I am no longer your daughter.

You do not remember me.

we are both lost,
searching for a way out of this world,

Adrift upon Navajo streams.







Black Elk canyon,

earthen chamber
where ancestors dream.

Smoke rises.
I pass through
cleansing fire,
desert belly

All around the night sky looms
lightning blankets,
covering the land.
You will never leave


Phoenix star souls
and rivers flowing

into Eternity.







Full circle
from the East,

A storm illuminates the desert.

I am no longer scared
of the sacred
old feeling

when roads become clouds.

San Diego,
your haunted mission,
your forgotten river


Countless pathways
intertwine ~
branches, roots twisting
future with past.

Is this where it ends?

Breathless ocean
Burial ground




∴ ◊ ∴



The Open Road




No Conviction

We watch as a man is
gunned down
in cold blood,
plain as day;

We watch that man’s blood
spill from his heart
and spread,
soaking the fabric of his cotton shirt
as a daughter cries
and his soul leaves
his body, still buckled in.

He wasn’t reaching

With his dying breath
still trying to explain
to his killer,
a henchman for the city he loves.

We can hear.
We can see
in a rush of blood,
through the screams
as an innocent man is
torn from this life.

The truth is clear.

Justice is not blind
when a man’s skin color is the trigger
and a gold badge
sets his murderer free.


for Philando Castile

“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.”
– Montesquieu (The Spirit of Laws)


Today I wept
when I saw what remained of you
after the demons of this world
pulled on their fleshy gloves,
“ready to fuck you up.”

I want to believe in Jesus
so I can imagine that someone was there
to hold you
when you cried out for your father
while being beaten
by fists and clubs and the butt of a gun,
until your face split open
and you were choking on
bone fragments and blood.

I wonder if He would have already lifted you
by then,
by the time your chest started caving in
around the chamber that kept
your heart and lungs confined
for 37 years alive;
if He would have been breathing light
into your pain,

whispering to the boy who was trapped inside:
“Everything will be okay, son.
I have come to take you home.”


for Kelly Thomas

Holy Days

We celebrate

past and passing,

           one and other. We
feel time,
feel timelessness 

and wonder what it means
to let go
of all we know.

Flowers grow in our hearts
as we sleep
in the warm-blooded universe.

We open our mouths to sing
and petals flutter from our throats like
wings, lifting us.

Amber Alert

Beginning of 17th centurySuspended in disbelief
since antiquity,
when Phaëton was struck down
and the poplars wept
upon the scorched earth he left behind.

Their grief became our own,
as we bore witness to the downfall of man,
and it swallowed us whole.
Then somewhere in between
dark layers of ash and sediment,
with the weight of our gods pressing down,
we fossilized.

Over time we have forgotten
our copal encasement:
We see the world through its glassy surface,
and the sun shines through in amber hues..

Until alerted by moments of urgency
when we must fight hard or fly far away,
only to find our limbs
and our wingless bodies
trapped inside.

Those moments we are forced to watch
in horror
as others set their souls on fire,
spilling the blood of innocence
right before our eyes.

Still inside, we are resinous.
We conduct electricity,
currents of feeling move through us
like lightning.

Still inside, we are resilient.
Our heads fill with beauty
even after our hearts have stopped beating,
after our hearts have stopped
beating, after our
hearts have stopped.