“This End Up” said the lettering

On the package.

What was inside?

A gorilla?

An assassin?

An apple pie?

Twenty apple pies?

The head of Jerry Lewis?

I left it alone.

It didn’t belong to me.


There was a year

In the distant past,

1969 or 1970,

When everyone

Looked like Richard


I would buy American

Cheese for my sandwich

And Richard Brautigan

Would hand back

13 cents

In change.

What was that

All about



You are driving home

Down the gravel.

Temperatures are starting

To cool.  The day’s

Sweat is drying

To a salty powder

On your skin.

The sun sinks red

To your tired eyes.

Bumping over

The train tracks

You see

An orchard pond



Sitting under

The sycamore

Across the street

From the demolished house,

Behind me

In a picnic shelter

A woman tries

To write something.


Different woman

Walks by reading

A letter.

She stuffs it

In her handbag

And keeps walking.

The cicadas stop

All at once.


Twenty cigarette butts

Scattered beneath my feet

In the dry

Powdery soil.

Sitting on a bench

With the plaque:

“In loving memory.”

August 10th,

As chilly as autumn

This morning.

There are 200 people

I’d rather not see


The Burlington Northern/Santa Fe

Rolls through,

Empty cars rattling.



This is the day before

The day before

The day before.

The chairs,

Arranged in six rows

Of students,

Occupy a lecture

Of silence

And softly stirring


The mountain

Would rather watch


As if she were reading

Lines from a play.


A student

From an exotic land

Walks in the library

With her book

And asks me,

“Is there a place

I can read

My book?”

She is sitting now

At the table

With the smart aleck

Who likes to Skype

With his empty office

Back in Los Angeles.

Some innocent birds

Fly against

The window.


I am waiting

For the mystery

Female Asian


To enter the east door.

So far, nothing.

The actors scream

In the theatre


They are being

Eaten by a giant

Venus fly trap.

It is a power


Than itself.

It is an accumulation

Of all

The August evenings

There ever were.