It’s called a murmuration
when they’re starlings.
Here sandpipers – these days just stragglers –
comb the foreshore.
No leader, no bird setting their direction.
They coalesce and fly off as one.

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Featured Writer at Writer’s Voice Café

Flyer for May 2011 Writer's Voice Cafe--DiasWednesday, May 11 at 7:00 pm upstairs at Napi’s I’ll be reading from Shoal Hope, including the chapter, “…Peter” that will be included in the Dark Mountain II anthology due to be published in Britain June 17.

Come early and let’s have dinner at Napi’s then head upstairs for the Writer’s Voice Café. PTV will be taping my reading to air and stream on their site.

Remember there’s an open mic following. Bring something to share with the group!

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Being, Not Becoming

Waves cresting sharply against a driving west wind.

Green drab, opaque brown, rising like a wall, curling,
sending a mane of spray, shiny with rainbows, up and
back as they collapse in a smother of foam.

Next wave rising up behind, ready to take its turn.

Quiet lull as water rushes out.

Big ones rise, begin to curl far out, rushing inwards in a
building crescendo, before spilling in a flurry, spending
force with abandon, creaming the surface, its visible
breath wreathed in prismatic color, hangs in air before
dissipating in a relaxation as it succumbs to gravity in a
falling sigh.

Place transforms before our eyes, low, confused in roiling
arrays of wash that hold their shape, their form, as they
walk inwards towards the shore.

Walls of water, like horses, vaulting themselves over barr-
iers – they take shape for a lingering instant before crash-

They present a moment of clarity. Being, not becoming.

A moment returning, repeating, inexhaustible, never
twice the same.

We try to capture them, to hold them in memory.

An impossible complexity, too rich, too fleeting to be

This phase itself passing – calm will return, darkness, a
change of tide, of wind….

This phase demands attention.

Edges, surfaces, lines of force, each movement there in its
predecessor holding its following moment in an incessant

Curling breakers inspire, wind hard against their faces,
exhaling in great gouts of spray, leaving rainbows lunging,
refracting golden light into all its parts, colors scattered
over sea and sky share, feeding off the sun now setting,
source of wind, source of waves, of all that make up this

Rainbows arching, and falling, expire.



Low sun on water,
Golden rocks and dun sand.


The color of sky.
Radiating off smooth water.

Scarce ripples,
Picked off in deep green,
Or indigo blue,
Where the yellow is used up.

Ripples of soft back-wash
Smothered in violet.

A play of complements and triads
Refresh the eye.
Maintaining an intensity
For as long as we can look.

It keeps shifting,
Reaches a peak intensity
Just before the sun touches its limb
To the land.

Slowly fading
Until the last ray-strikes are
Replaced by reflected refraction.


Gold drops to dun.
Dun to tan.
Still the blue,
So pale,
Just a fraction darker than the snow.
Joins blue and gold in itself together.
Not making green,
The two together,
Distilling the essence of fluid at rest.

Gulls scratch across a sky
Too calm to glide them home.
A raft of Eiders float on
Clumped, chunky bodies
Impervious to the cold.

My eye wishes the man-made
Gone from this view.
Harder to do,
As the fading light
Dulls this moment’s
Magic intensity.

A surface magical.
Carved by coursing
Energy arcing and

The sound,
Tonal equivalent to


Hovering over surface without purchase
To focus the eye.
Wavelengths too long
To capture whole.

The sky:
Clouds carved by contrails;
Colored by the soot of our
Constant fires.
Combustion so pervasive,

Cloudscape of
Meager paint
Knifed on and

Not like the water:
Fat and smooth.
Fat and smooth.
Fat and smooth.


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Greek for eye
the word the root for medical and
scientific terminology.

Eye has a range of meanings,
ways of looking into
or out of
the orbs of sight.

the word forms itself around
these soft, slightly oblate,
gelatinous spheres.

It treats the eye as a thing,
in all its vulnerability.

Saying opthalmos,
we can almost taste it?

We feel a goat’s eye, or
a fish eye,
something sitting on a plate
or rolling on the tongue.

We feel the wonder of something so
and tenuous
cradled in its bony orbit,
but open to the air,
to all kinds of dangers,
physical, emotional.

the eye in Buñuel,
laid open by a straight

the imagined feel of an empty socket,
dry or moist?
behind a patch?
or holding a glass eye?
cold, rattling, and blind
– dumb to sight–
everything a real eye is not.

όρχις, Orkhis,
another fragile,
delicate organ on the
between inside and out.

Language calls one forth
in relation to the other.

works across distance
at the speed of light,
speed of sight.

works across time
not space.

One takes in to see out,
capturing the past as presence.

The other replicates the past
to create a myriad of possible futures.

Both are profligate,
both precious to us.

the word cradled in age.

reflects history
and evolution.

Organs standing in for our entire
so fragile
– wet ware– it’s now called, yet
so tenacious.

In my mind’s eye
I see myself looking
into your
eyes, filling mine.

does not carry this vocabulary.


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