A Sky that Makes Patterns on Your Socks While You Sleep

I like your socks, someone says to me,
What do you call that pattern, they ask,
Argyle, plaid, paisley?
No, that’s sleep, I say, that’s what
My sleep looks like, circadian rhythm,
Fly by night, circadian constellation.
Is that, they ask pointing, the mark of waking
Or of falling asleep? That, I say,
Is what an instant looks like,
The instant of falling asleep,
Slight as a moonbeam,
The moment of twilight turning to dark,
Of dark to dawn to sunrise.
Then nothing. All day nothing happens,
Solid colors here, all through this part.
Then day becomes dusk, dusk gloaming,
Then it’s night all over again.
Here, the moon sets, I roll over. Suddenly,
A meteor streaks overhead.
You see this brightness here?
That’s another asteroid, then another.
These are the meteor shower socks,
An excellent pair, but not the best.
Best are the ones I made
When the comet appeared.


I wanted to get through the first section of this notebook on this trip.  The pages in this section are edged in blue.  I've got a ways to go, sorry to say.  I did not do enough describing of areas.  I was reluctant to write in the car and thereby pissed a lot of decent words down the drain.  I would have said more about how the plains looked once we were on the eastern side of the park, looking out toward the east.  It was what I called Custer's view.  East of the park, on the fat part of the divide, the land begins the process of flattening out and it's as though you can see for miles and miles and miles.  Maybe you can.  The colors were a range of maize yellows and sun-bleached wheat whites and dull greens and then of course the blue of the sky—that dumbstruck, blue-lipped blue.  The sky was free of clouds as we drove north to Canada on Wednesday but it was accentuated and supported by fairly high altostratus on the way back down.  It was mackerel sky in spots, probably my favorite day sky.

There was champagne—well, prosecco—in our room at the Belton yesterday.  It sat in a little ice bucket on a tray along with a card of congratulations and two up-ended champagne flutes.  B had told them it was our 10-year anniversary trip, which was true.  It was the same brand of prosecco as was waiting in the fridge at our cabin (Reclusive Moose), for Patrick and Anne-Marie in recognition of their tenth.  This was not coincidence.  One of the co-owners of the cabin is the general manager at the Belton.  The other co-owner was waiting tables at the restaurant there last night.  Small town in a small world, I guess.

Continue reading about this trip to Montana and Canada...

Misc. Haiku 51-55


What’d I write last night?
The morning is coffee
And looking through notebooks


Twenty-eight and still too scared
To say thrice into the mirror,
“Bloody Mary?”


Moon at an acme
That no company could match —
Din of merger news


Kerouac’s best haiku
Were the ones that went


A retreat
Into alcoholism, no
Not me

Misc. Haiku 21-25

Shy but rugged stars
Have hiked the hills
But never walk the streets

I could spend all night
Viewing the moon and writing.
Or I could sleep-dream

The cop who stops to weep
On the shoulder of the road
Slows a thousand speeders

Caught on the tracks
After tagging a train car.
Second coat still wet

When a cry for help
Is hard on your health.
Saxophone doth wail, wail

Misc. Haiku 16-20

Stars make faces
When they tread the spaces
Between themselves and Earth

Full summer-moon
And arch of garden hose—
You too can make a moonbow

And Ohio confluence—
Almost an ocean

Spending a summer’s night reading—
June bug fights the window screen

Can I love everyone at once?
Moon shrouded
By only a bit of haze

I Am Backyard

A fish jumped and
I remembered
what it was like
jumping off
the low-dive and
landing on my belly.

Over yonder a tree
on its side
that the beaver hauled down.

A bird.
Until it drops,
until it alights silently
in the extended arms
of the willow.

A thousand lightning bugs
once invisible sting the
twilight like branding irons.

Soon it will be dark,
though the moon
(I’m sure)
grows brighter.

Beach Hymn

It’s right, it’s bright.
It’s brighter than
the light of the Lord out here…

At the shore there is no one
between me and the Lord, save
a thousand sleeping fish and
men hunting for hidden oil.
I walk along the coast, right
at the edge where tide rubs away
the land like an eraser, only
to pencil it back in twelve hours
later.  I leave footprints in the
sand, shallow sculptures wrought
of endless shards of glass, whose
sides have been polished smooth
by the alabaster pull of the moon,
sucked clean of color by the glaring
sun.  These footprints are my only
testament, proof that I’ve sought
communion with something bigger.
They alone would save me—
if not for the caustic waves, tricky as
atheist preachers, which keep on
washing my offering away.

When the wave feints into the shore
its body vanishes.  But the
water remains, unchanged.

—Navarre, FL


Everyone debauched but everyone a virgin in some way.  You can’t have tried everything, you can’t have tired of everything.  Something to come back for, something to save for next time, when you’ve got more money, some savings to play with, and hopefully better luck.

There’s a premium on everything, and nothing is free.  Not even luck. Luck costs money.  Luck for a buck?  Maybe the stars are free, but good luck seeing them through the neon broil. Maybe it’s time for a drink.  Maybe it’s time to skim some winnings, to cash out, to double down, to parlay, to bet the house, to count some cards.  

Good place to come for a birthday.  One you don’t want to remember.  Just cab doors opening and closing.  Croupiers changing shifts, cleansing their hands of the table and all the bad luck that came with it.  Cashiers sitting behind bars.  Chips in their neat little stacks of hundreds or thousands.  The peaks in the distance.  The hotels standing and stretching in the hot, dry desert air, the sun not far away.

Gathering chips for their bets, trying to get free drinks, trying to get comped.  A generous mix of Filipino, white, some blacks, you name it, a few Koreans, the new wealth Chinese—cabbies called them whales because they were big fish, big betters.  Old and older.  A bunch of kids crawling around doing god knows what, more likely to get kicked out of the casinos than anyone else because they don’t bet.

Mafia types—Skyball Chibelli and Baba, hoping the croupiers don’t look too close at their money.  Cabbies who went to high school here.  Eighties music, light shows, five-dollar minimums, champagne bottles, sixes and eights, Manhattans, Coronas, the hot sun, no clouds, bellmen looking for tips, towel boys looking for tips, everyone looking for tips and some people giving them.  The whole place like an octopus but with more arms, looking for anyway to get its hands on your money, and when it does—bang!  it pops its barb into you like an unexpected sting ray, whether you are an expert or not.  Here, no one is an expert.  Experts get beat up and know better...

Vegas never closes...

The Moon Wears Glasses

Wow, that bright light
with its hand outstretched,
begging for money at dawn
is the Moon—
waning and wanting a fix,
tired by now of filling in
for the Sun at night.

The Moon beseeches
comets passing by,
suggests an arrangement of
light bulbs slipping across Earth,
a necklace of radiant pearls,
a release from celestial debt.