I'm standing on the deck of a cruise ship
leaving San Francisco for Alaska.
Beguiled by the Golden Gate Bridge,
I try to imagine it gold, not red-orange,
try not to imagine those who have jumped.
I like the way the wind pushes against me,
lets me know I'm going somewhere—
I wish I were wild and hopping a freighter—
so many ways to live a life in this world.
Although I long to be a pilot or a diver,
a climber or a surfer, or even a bartender
tending to travelers—their feelings and needs,
I'm grateful for my little corner where
in grade school, playing jacks on the lunch table,
I call pig in a basket and put pieces in my palm.
I never knew I loved the cafeteria line,
watching hair-netted women fill my plate.
I never knew I loved bumblebees—can one
love a bumblebee like the one that sits on
my belt buckle and I'm alone in the yard
trying to be a statue, staring into its eyes?
A teacher asks what I'm grateful for?
I say bubble gum and ice cream.
I never knew I loved my parents who call me in
when I want to play hide and seek till dawn.
I'm beyond feeling I don't belong: teen years
when the world didn't want me,
leaving me in tears. I feel for those
who chose the bridge, blinded by pain.
On this voyage, breathing sweet salt air,
I am running with a butterfly net in the lot
near my childhood home,
catching and cataloging moments,
risking loving life to death.
Black Phoebe Photo by Cleve Nash
Our Thinking Machines
His thinking machine churns full time:
presents a daily report at breakfast
as I'm reading the comics,
deciphering Pearls Before Swine.
He offers ideas for the day,
thoughts about the book he finished,
and concerns for the economy.
My thinking machine thinks his thinking machine's
an amoeba on the move, an amoeba
with evolutionary aims to envelop
my machine for delicious synchrony,
so my machine responds:
Control, Alt, Delete.
A baby Black Phoebe flutters its wings
and chirps for food, trying all the tricks
that once produced its parents—
a fledgling refusing to face