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

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

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

as you piece together
the stories
buried with us here:

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


When Roads Become Clouds

The following is a series of poems 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..


∴ ◊ ∴ 





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)


Last night I dreamt that Jim Carrey was my soul mate. It made no sense, but there we were.. flying through the inky night sky, high above the rooftops and twinkling lights of the town below.

It was “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” Jim Carrey, not “Ace Ventura” or “Dumb & Dumber” Jim Carrey (films that, I admitted to him, I would never willingly see). It was a more serious, sensitive, heavyhearted Jim Carrey, the one who despite extreme measures cannot erase love’s memory.

We flew without wings, lifted by a weightless feeling inside that some might mistake for emptiness. Somewhere within the darkness of moments past that we both had tried to forget, there was a spark that the fabric of our being billowed around, like a hot air balloon as it floats midway to the heavens or a moth that flutters above the halo of a flame.

Like most dreams, it was just a flash of an image stretched thin to make a story. And like most flights, there was that moment of descent, when reality sinks in: There was no love to begin with, really, just the inevitability of falling.


There is a man I see around town.. I’m not sure whether he is homeless, but it is clear that he struggles with mental illness. His black hair is wild and wavy, his aura a seventies-era mixture of Carlos Santana and Frank Zappa (without the mustache). Yesterday he was at Balboa Park, tipping over trash cans and trying to balance them on their edges. By the time I left about 30 minutes later, he had succeeded, as one concrete can stood at a strangely perfect 45° angle. I’ve seen him crying madly, rocking back and forth with his head between his knees, I’ve heard him screaming far-out things about the planets and stars and our place among them, I’ve seen him walk in predetermined circles, as if orbiting an invisible sun. Tonight he sat quietly at Whole Foods Market in Hillcrest, slumped forward, head in hands, fresh-pressed green juice and empty bottles of coconut water before him, a bag of organic produce by his side. Though his body was still, the very air was charged and vibrating around him, and it seemed clear that he could never really be still, despite his efforts to compose himself, to nourish his body with healthy things. I considered this with a heavy heart, while the moon continued to wane into the shape of a half-broken halo, somewhere up there in the dark heavens, beyond the city lights.