Stephen's Poetry Corner

Hail Mary

Leaves are howling up like snow
They hurly burly cross the road
And blind the eye with colors bright
They seize your love at the edge of night

You left your children by the road
You wandered lost without a home
And broke your back with devil care
That fixed your gaze in wild snares

And now you’re looking for a key
before your legs give out
That shames unquiet dreams to sleep
or shouts them down
Let them reel on drunken feet
die laughing in the snow

Bless your foolishness and pain
Save them not to roam again
But if they father stupid sin
bless them twice, and then again

Look for signs and wonders where
a madman sings while Christians glare
His song was meant for only you
Forgive the others what they’ll do

And then at last you’ll come to know
it’s really not that bad
You’ve slipped the tether of the night
Your dying’s past
Hail Mary, let me feel
the earth beneath my feet

Tears are falling deft as snow
They flood the rivers of your soul
They water gardens rarely seen
They burn their image in your dreams

You found your children by the road
They grew to men while you grew old
They grew to reach for certain heights
while you grew nearer to the light

Walking To Newcastle age 10

walking the path by the tracks
through the ties the green grass
pushes past
overhead Buddha clouds
fill the cracks
in a fat blue sky

around Miner’s Hill
an old encampment
buried treasure
rusted soup cans
blue bottle glass
tales from a century
without plastic

below the north embankment
a hollow still in shadow
scent of oakmoss and earth
from the spring rains

across the tracks
yellowgreen islands of algae ringed
by cattails that bob and shimmer
on the surface of a pond

beneath the noonday Sunday
tiny mirrors at my feet
water collected in the black
pockmarked skin of
creosote tar pulling
upward on trails of vapor
into the sky

for David

The Weeping Giant

I sit in the shadow of
the weeping giant black water
stains run down his
granite cheek his triangle
shaped eye a deep rock recess,
so sad
his mouth a crumpled fissure
runs along the water’s edge
for many feet, one lower
canine-like toothrock protrudes
upward awaiting submersion
when the dam’s water’s are released
at sunset, he watches
us in quiet resignation, we
playful and fleeting summer
people, maybe that’s why he’s
so melancholy, so alone in
those winter months with the
water raging across his shattered
face the stillness of midnight
snow stifles the water’s cries
dear and squirrels his sometime
companions an occasional
brown bear foraging near his
crown of black oak and
manzanita he remains the
sad sentinel of the river pool

last night I dreamt
you in summer
and you were sitting
in a pickup
tying your hair
back against the
sweltering heat
and I blew you a
breeze from a
dozen yards
away you felt my
breath, turned, smiled
with such tenderness
my heart
swooned with love
for you
at a summer party
a Califomexican hacienda
a floppy mansion of
mismatched furniture
and hippie decor
we were in
love and it
was hot
and we
were in love
and it was
hot and
we were

The Ballad of Adam

Adam’s fall from grace
currently playing
its contract renewed with
the madness on Castro Street

His voice sails
fire escapes demented
man-child shrieks
the timbre of tobacco and meth

“Hello Adam,” I say, “Did ya
sleep alright under my backstairs?”
He pirouettes out of range
his radio permanently jammed

Adam reviews the rain soaked
papers at Castro Station
self-help for cancelled lives
personals for the hell-bound

Café Cycle VI

I remember you left the summer cafes
of East Jerusalem when John traded in
his diet of locusts and wild honey—
long nights conversing
with the east wind, wearing
his habit of frayed time
—and assumed the trappings of a
San Francisco coffee distributor

But your faith was a pact between
those hard drinking, foul tongued
earth gods, and the rather witty
if somewhat petty minor deities
of the air
You travelled the miserable roads
of the world, speaking the languages
of lost children, standing vigil over
long nights and difficult births

’til you hitchhiked
to this cafe
and as we sat and talked a scent
of desert wind blew down the silent
Sunday corridors of the Mission
a tawny skinned afternoon
of double espresso and godlight

My Blue Faced Demon

I see the blue faced demon
She’s calling after me
She wants my pretty screamin’
to fill her tapestry
I say, “Let go you demon!
You cannot capture me!”
She knows I’m only fakin’
Too soon she’ll make me bleed
She makes me work on Sundays
Her red eyes follow me
From dawn to dusk and always
My soul she’s love to freeze
My petty machinations
are just a fool’s reprieve
She’s listening for my running
to get me on my knees
My demon’s laugh is fearsome
My cries fulfill her needs
I am my demon’s patient
for her cruel surgery
I love my blue faced demon
She’s got my soul on lease