In the middle of the inland waterway is
the bird sanctuary
where hundreds
of buzzards roost at night
their heads tucked
dreaming of days
they were dinosaurs
their scales had not turned to feathers
they walked in thunder

They circle now like magnetic iron filings
with spontaneous flight plans
around this residential tower building
where old people like my mother
who was once herself a single-engine
pilot, sit and
watch birds

And a while ago my mother left me
she sat all night in her favorite chair
by the big open window
and in the middle of the night
the birds came and took her away forever

She said there were once tall palm trees here
when I was a child, before this teeming tower was built;
and the buzzards reconnoitered over them then
and swirled in a studded centrifugal ritual
like the rings of saturn

and now the eggs from their eggs of so many generations
return to hover over this spot
where I sit
without breaking
imagining home




There is always the feeling of wind
even when there is no wind
the coat wants to turn up
young women in tight black clothes
project cold blond sex
slip out in gum-chewing 3's and 4's
from dark fertility-cars

they are fires waiting to jump
fire-lanes, to enter the music smog
in the club owned by the famous movie actor
in front of which the famous kid movie star
recently died of too much good will
and cheap thrills from his good friends;
on the sidewalk stood home made altars from his fans
like kaleidoscopic stoneware Mexican gods
with flowers in their hair

the guys take off their shirts
and show their tattoos at closing time
in front of the tatoo store
the girls look at them with
smiles like eclipsing planets
all the way down in their bellies
their faces turn up to the stars

The religious coffee house has folded, of course--
people drive more wildly on this street
holding phones to their ears in their cars,
feet jammed down tight close together
figures on big billboards peer down
like a row of giants on a drawbridge
who appear intimate but are
secretly filing for divorce

And the "Whiskey" and the "Roxy" clubs
feature rock bands that are named after
toilets, boomerangs, and kitchen-ware;
And I want a motorcycle!
I have never had a motorcycle

And everybody here is a little bit behind
or in front of the cameras:
in the bookstore, I stood in line
beside Donald Sutherland,one of my favorite actors
and I almost vaulted the aisle to grab his arm
and tell him how much I admired his work, particularly
in Nicholas Roeg's dark Venetian drama--
But I held back my racing heart
to give him space to breathe alone
in the illusory world where he is not recognized

In the gas station I pump gas
next to the famous male model
with the blond hair-extensions and big pectorals
whom they never let speak in public;
I knew it was him when a girl with a narrow ticket face
approached and pulled his autograph while we pumped
and I said: "It's you, right, you're that movie guy?"
and he said "No, not him," and I said "OK,"
because it was funny enough to me that he denied it,
but then he stood behind my to pay at the cashier
and I turned and said again, "C'mon, you're the guy,
aren't you?" And he said "Yeah-it's me, it's me
it's me!" and we were both gratified

And the Mesopotamians behind the payment grill
also brandished their mustaches at the big-star action;
I had just seen this male model
as a life-sized comic cardboard cut-out in
the greeting card store window up the street

This is the city of movies, not "films"--
of package, persuasion and negative pickups
in the financing of all life, including executives
who seek preference in restaurant seatings
like packs of militant seals
and this is the city that serves up
its own name as part of the deal

Sunset Boulevard in the dog-breath night!
The long cars line up in lacy steel brocade
outside the restaurants to be loaded
with people that genereate interantional states of mind
and dubious cultural symbols
and it's time for the hit-men, the pitch-men
the agents and the one-line guys
to roll the big cameras like dice

and no one forgets to be seen leaving a big tip
or to throw themselves with a big round of applause
and chopped liver under the wheels
which roll down this street,
walking distance from the health club
ragged with the dregs of rock and roll

The lights blink and car shadows move across me
like a movie that kicks in when I close my eyes:
it's the movie where I'm always the star!
Waiting for the light to change
waiting for the big change
city of stars
neighborhood of strangers
it will happen for me
it will happen for me
it will happen for me
it will happen for me...



It's a harbor in this green world
my metal folding chair on the edge
of the scraped earth; the shadow
cast down by the mulberry tree
all crazy with moving leaves
shelters me as I skip my thoughts
like flat rocks over incoming
green legions of vines

the old man who owned these vineyards
died two months ago; suddenly, his
soul hissed off from the big city
is here to search the sullen oceans
of papers on the floor, papers angry
at being distrubed-- The old man
just walked over them

"There is the sun and there
is the way out," he must have said
as he clambered over the hills of bills
and invoices clotted on the dark floors,
strangle-weeds of farm business underfoot

And now he reaches the door
and now he holds on to the light,
he enters the laughing green circus of vines



for Barbara Kobrin

Flowers of clouds be to you and to you!
I say, and greet every ambassador
holding my sadness in my extended hand
like an unopened closet holds the wind

Sadness is a cloud
a flower

I hold my feelings like a horizon
holds clouds; I hold my feelings
like a man holds flowers in his hands




I came to a busy insection
it was myself

I ordered a big hamburger
because I like grease
When I looked deeply, deeply
inside myself and saw that
I was pleased