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The following seem to stress local ambiance more than most of my haiku:

Just one seagull
over snorkeling tourists
staring at rocks.

Where? Bon Aire. Great snorkling right off the pier.

Schools and schools, mingling
in millions. On shore, one gull,
rocks - where my kind live.

After staring with fascination at all the millions of fish and species of fish in all their color and motion, staring long enough to turn my ankles into raw red meat, I look ashore, and it seems, in comparison, barren, so that it is hard to think of it as where I and everyone I love spend our days. It seems that land is where life ends or grows scarce.

We walk along the edge
where the surface of the planet
has melted.

One way of looking at a beach. After all, water is part of the surface of the earth - most of the surface, in fact, and is certainly liquid.

I float in the ocean.
Nothing eats me.
Why not?

Hard to watch a TV special about underwater goings on without seeing something eating something else, yet, during my hours of snorkeling, even though I saw a barracuda hovering in the water, unmoving, like a traffic signal, most of that time and saw large numbers of species mingling (schools interpenetrating and extracting themselves from one another intact) and saw monstrous moray eel jaws popping up out of holes in the coral, I saw not one instance of one creature eating another. All seemed to be subsisting on tiny floating specks (plankton?). Maybe as soon as they got out of my sight they started gobbling each other up. Maybe they were sparing my sensibilities. Maybe tourists feed them well, so are thus encouraged.

I'm here to see
the ocean - I ran all the way!
Did I miss anything?

Incoming wave --
spinning a billion threads
of sun-gold on its wheel.

Maybe a bit to pretty to qualify as haiku?

Moonlit beach.
Ribbons of light ride black waves
to shore.

From the mist
on all sides, dark mountains. This
too - San Francisco.

I can't think of a place where, in a brief walk, one finds oneself in a greater variety of universes.

Not a breath of wind.
The pond has lost
its imagination.

In the artificial lake,
upside-down condos,

Reston, VA, Lake Anne.

Sun slips in and out
of clouds. Who tunes the lake
for brightness?

I recall that this one meant something interesting when I wrote it, but now it escapes me. I include it since some of you may be sharper about my poetry than I am.

lake is winning, sky

Lake so still -
nipples half out of water,
half out of air.

From the air I see
huge shoulders rise from water's
stunted belly, legs.

The above three haiku may be read (are probably best read) as a single poem.

Nailed to a tree,
just the back wall
of a birdhouse.

A mystery: What happened to the rest of the bird house? What happened to the birds? Why nail a bird house to a bird house (that is, a tree)?

Key West - chickens
strut the streets, brightly plumed -
they're like...birds!

Who are YOU? I ask a thing
in my soup.

It didn't answer, so I asked the waiter. It was a sea cucumber.

Clever beach puddles:
Their gold-red twinkle
long after sunset.

Lake too cold to swim in,
too small for surf, but good
for looking across.

Hollywood: Tourists stroll,
stand, eyes glued to the sidewalk,

For the one person in a hundred who doesn't know: On Hollywood Blvd., you look DOWN for star-gazing, at the commemorative sections of sidewalk dedicated to celebrities.

New York City.
The window is filthiest
when open.

New York (Manhattan, really) is not one of the smoggiest places I've been, less plagued by that brownish miasma than is Houston or L.A., but for sudden spates of soot or other solid matter, enough to turn on a coughing fit or catch in the throat, Manhattan is hard to beat (among U.S. cities). Smog is probably more pervasive and more dangerous, but it's also more subtle. I can remember, on a clear, cold, sunny day, turning a corner in Manhattan and being ambushed by a cloud of stinging particles. At such times, the air that fills the open window is far filthier than the screen.

Going north by bus.
Tinted windows mask the hills,
so I read.

Canadian Rockies --
who sleeps beneath this soil,
sleeps restlessly.

Ocean. No need
a long walk -- in seconds vastness
swallows up last week.

Trash cans piled high.
Kids -- up to something.
Old smeared posters.

A real rainbow --
L.A. become a child's
picture book.

L.A. from the plane,
a gray-green cloud
that hides my friends.

You get used to smog, so that it is shocking to see it from a distance - as from a plane.

Green silk L.A. sky;
through the rainbow's foot creeps
a police helicopter.

L.A. at it's cleanest and most vibrant, just after rain, a story-book rainbow, and near the end of the rainbow...a police helicopter hovering over freeway traffic like a waiting shark.

Sopped butt and dead fly
in a toilet in a hut
in a green, green park.

Empire State Building
shadows me from behind one...two...
three smokestacks.

Odd how, miles from a mountain or tall building, it seems to follow you, vanishing and reappearing, sometimes from a direction you hadn't expected.

Beyond the steps
a dark head...turns away as we near;
sound of pissing.

NY City, Lower East Side, 1968.


the horizon

Too "clever" for haiku, but maybe interesting. Plays on "Beyond the Blue Horizon", but in this case home is either beyond the horizon (with its distant blues) or is beyond the "blues" (sadness), which, as much as adventure, is associated with pursuits beyond the horizon - or I'm singing the home-beyond-the-horizon blues of someone ever in search of home, etc. Or maybe home is defined by "beyond-the-horizon blues" - that is, feeling blue for lack of adventure. It makes sense in several ways. It's fun because of the ambiguous syntax.














Loss and Loneliness and aloneness


Old Age


A Poet's Life








Telephones and TVs