6.12 / October 2011

Two Poems


in the grass
and the sun beats down
on us with our wrong names
and bowlegs
and our faces depressed and angry
for too many reasons 
no one can name them all
and no one understands how it is
for you
except that it is the same
for them
we chew our beans and
and if we’re lucky we go
for a swim in the ocean
just once
and dig our toes
into the sand
while the sharks circle way
out there,
the sharks
who will not listen
to lies,
or fancy stories.


The blindingly white-washed double-level
adobe bungalow
charbroils in the sun

with its adorable bridgework of arches
and its balcony
where a curtain ripples

in the heat waves like a matador
obscuring a caramel
young girl

standing at her mirror
in rose panties
brushing her blue-black hair

shimmering up on the west shoulder
of Tucson
as if sprouted from the desert

bearing down on the grimy barrios
where work clothes
cling like tight rope walkers

who slipped
and rainbows winnow
in the hose-spray

of leathery grandmothers
watering cilantro
overflowing spider-cracked

terra cotta pots
chewing bits of tortilla and humming notes
of mortality

and love
into the dry unpromising

I was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1970 and have lived in Tucson, Arizona for the past 14 years. I love it here, love the desert, love the Mexican culture (most of it), and I love the heat. I have one full length book of poetry out called DROUGHT RESISTANT STRAIN by Interior Noise Press and another coming later this summer from New York Quarterly Press. I have had over 500 poems and stories published since 1993 and I am currently working on a book of prose.
6.12 / October 2011