Grace Cathedral

God’s house in San Francisco is in a rich neighborhood
one where fancy people ride in fancier cars
and poor folks unload them at the Mark Hopkins hotel.
God lives in a rich neighborhood in San Francisco
so rich that he has his own pinball puzzle painted on the living room floor
for when he gets bored with heaven and wants to join with us
as we walk in circles
God’s house has heavy oak furniture so for all eternity it can’t be moved
God likes the way he makes things and wants them to stay that way
and not get stolen, broken or scratched
God’s organ is huge
as it would have to be to create the music in so many souls
his brass pipes are tall and stiff and full of air
yet tiny fingers of man or woman can stroke them musically to perform
the most intricate melodies that bring joy to the world
or pain
that’s the part I don’t get
I look to the wall and he hangs there
some say it was all for our sake
our sins or karma
but what if it was a simple mistake
not intentional at all
a bad day with bad people doing bad things
some say he rose up anyway
well he probably did
like a dog that shakes off the water from his soggy coat after a torrential downpour
then curls in the corner of his private heaven
where the master or mistress strokes his ears and kisses his nose
A girl with chartreuse hair hits the buttons on her phone with her thumbs
text messaging God I presume
she stares intent on the reply
I glance at the screen and it says
No worries

Sidewalk chalk numbers the progression in boxes that marks the time
left on the souls of our sneakers
before they wear out
from shuffling.
We hop across lines
in tune with our heartbeats.
Jazzed to be young
expected to be grown.
Behind the laundry and chain linked fencing
grasshoppers caught within closed fists
spit brown gunk to gain release
from a soft embrace.
Near the El, summer heat reflects off steel
A train dumps me where the World’s Fair had fallen
and the trucks had hauled the pavilions away.
A book of poetry about an amusement park of thoughts in hand, I scoot to get comfortable
on the concrete wall near the globe still there in spite of it all.
Stray dog seems to know where he’s going—looking around to where he’s been.
He and I are the same.
Poets that sniff and scrawl

Central Park

Alice and Hans’ duckling perch to watch the boats sail on,
pigeons poop, and squirrels beg for peanuts.
A tall thin man takes careful watch over the pigtailed girl left in his charge.
Unable to fend for herself, she leans on his knee and pulls
at the hand that swallows her own.
I watch to see when it happens;
the moment when it turns dangerous.
I watch how kindness becomes misery and laughter turns to ridicule
and the dying leave the scene bleak.
Glisten from the water—catches the sun—making it fluid and hopeful.
I leave the city for the lure of the mountains     and a glimpse of life as it could be.


Religious folks say that God is not a control freak
that we have free will
can do what we want
create on our reality
Weather folks say that natural
disasters are acts of God
so I’m thinking that God is
a bully when he can’t get his way
with us
Religious books are filled with
destructive bullies
ones that control and manipulate
us into thinking we are nothing
if we don’t serve them
if we don’t think like them
if we don’t follow their lead
Churches seem intent on service
selfless service
martyrs and saints are big
on this concept
but doesn’t it always end badly
with someone burned at the stake or crucified
bullied to death
So what if God has nothing to do with any of this
It is all of our own creation
All those books
And teachings
Are delusions
Or illusions
Maya at its finest
until we make peace
with ourselves


Poets pompously pontificate briefly in the doorways above stoops that
lead       to the top.
Girls from Queens flirt with the beaded and braided
not yet old enough to see the deal through here
or with the German sailors on the docks.
Shoulder voyeurs hover over chess players as they contemplate their moves
and a phony arc de triomphe looms over all.
This is where I first felt different
I could see others as they were or feel their hypocrisy
I’ve never been the same since.