In a Relationship with Lee Vining

I’d forgotten water existed.

from the sky, anyway.

and here, floating downstream,

mountains and promontories

are built like castles

to worship

the blue of the lakes

the crisp, summer skies.

I’ve practiced saying “Tuolumne”

in the mirror,

So as not to embarrass myself

in Lee Vining.

Now we’re so far away

from the blight of suburbia

spray tans



and I thought it would work

to make my Lee Vining long distance,

but the “mountains are calling,”

and. I. Have. succumbed.


Helicopter Cooking

we go to the college

to know the culture

and make the decisions

we know are the best

for Chloe and Sophie and Jordan.

by working the job

and earning the money

we hustle through traffic

in the neighborhood without parking

on a Thursday school night

to provide the enriching experience

of learning how to make

authentic Italian meatballs

tiramisu, too

for the precious children

we lose our livers over

To make them better citizens

and more independent

while we watch,


and document,

to share, and brag to the neighbors,

instead of simply

taking the time

to go home and look in

Jake’s sweet eyes,

unwrap the ground beef, the garlic, the breadcrumbs,

and share the pleasure of cracking eggs

while dancing to the Beatles,

handmixing the oozy meal

bopping to the English Beat or Madness.

Somewhere along the line

we seem to have forgotten

the messiness of families

and meatballs

is the best part.

They Think I’m An Ass

I wonder if there is a support group

for people who just have awful families,

not mentally ill or abusive or anything,

just filled with racism and propriety

like someone lifted the plug in the tub

and all the humanity

that was ever in

their golf visors

or martini-soaked livers

just went down the drain

and a kind of demented alzheimer’s kicked in

where they blame Treyvon Martin for dying

and curse the Chaldeans for moving into the neighborhood, even though they are also Catholics.

A bunch of body-snatched Kennedys.

Seated comfortably behind the gated community,

free of blacks, browns, Muslims, poor single mothers, dirty children,

they watch their Cspan. Their sports center.

Leaving the house when the brown woman comes to clean.

Is there a support group for those of us suffering

with families who eat hypocrisy like bran muffins?

Where we can connect with people who still have souls

to truly make America great again?



Some days I wonder if I was

taken hostage the traditional way

it would all make some kind of sense

instead of looking around

at this familiar life and realizing

I’m in a prison of my own creation.

Each decision I made

built these walls, which suffocate me.

I’m shackled inside.

And holding the keys.

We were so good at fighting

We were so good at fighting.

Flinging accusations

like spears and

watching each other deflate.

But we didn’t.

I would fill back up with a bellows of anger

and go back for round two

three, ten.

Back and forth.

Back and forth.

the clawing and


until we both lie

on the floor,


that there was nothing ever

to actually fight about.

Another reason

to shut everyone out,

a dance.

But there’s no one

to spar with now.

No reason to even fight.

My blood only boils

at the memory.


Pirates of the Carribean

I went to see Prokofiev last night

but I had to leave part way through.

It was like that time we were on the

Haunted House ride,

and the pictures elongated.

we were in a different room

the eyes of the statues followed us,

and I saw the ballroom full

of dancing ghosts.

one last waltz.

It was us

in the tiny kitchen,

the one in the downstairs apartment

we shared

with the black and white tiles

a Debussy record playing

or maybe Chucho Valdes.

Just ghosts now.

Perhaps the treasure

I remember finding

was just my old mind

playing tricks on me.