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The hike to the waterfall
          multiplied
                    my fear of falling by
my fear of passing out from exhaustion.

The hills climbed like
     terra cotta slices of cheesecake
          cut for giants.      To the south, hoodoos ringed
like wedding cake, encrusted with
               shimmering slices of Anjou Pear.

“She’s better at hiking
          than she used to be,” Mike said.
“She made it further
          than I expected,” Leilani said.
“She didn’t stop;
          she’s right behind us,” said Celine.

I missed
                    my dogs.  I missed
     the way they would tug at the leash to
propel me toward good smells.  I missed
               the way they would tug behind when they felt
     something looked dangerous or difficult.

Dwarfed by the stone cliffs, I felt
          like a gnat
     at the Marin Farmers’ Market.  The sky and stone
weighed heavy on my soul.

My mind clawed at
          purple seas armed with
                    chisels slashing at the landscape.
This is an example created for a writing activity about the word "Beyond."
To shine

   she lay before us the night sky in
somnolent waves dusted with
her own chimerical astrology
studded and dimpled with
compressed carbon and
     time made material
sweeping her hand across it
like Asteria hanging her mobile
over the cradle of civilization
nodding gently to Zorya
brilliantly conjoined twins spanning
the Slavic night sky
   dotting our lives with
multi-faceted tears of joy
like champagne held immobile
bubbles suspended in gold
at unions and births and
fading scrapbooks with worn edges
as a pulsating joy vibrated
   trembled
meanwhile
shared
   like the wind chime hung near
     though not next to
the one disturbed by the breeze
   a breeze that bends the path of raindrops
glistening toward new summer meadows
to kiss blades of grass with
a dusting of diamonds and
pearls floating on the wind like dandelion fluff
seeking a relative weight
and a landing spot
   with color
to call home
     with clarity
to rest easy
   a cut above
and
to grow
  to bloom
    to shimmer
      to sparkle

to shine
For Dianne at Dianne's Estate Jewelry, in San Francisco and Healdsburg, as she embarks on the next phase of life.
Swimming through organic almond butter with an empty scuba tank
I rise to the surface of the day only to be caught in an avalanche of
sleep-deprivation before rolling into a tumbleweed of
Donna Summer-esque Workin' Hard for the Money on a day
that should be branded by Dyson

I arrive to a twenty-one gun salute presented by
three-year-olds
who don't even lift and I
am flipped and tilted from
Q to A until tossed salad slides through my ears and out my mouth

I boomerang to the outback
and back out
backing out of the blank draft card
before tug-a-war with a bungee cord and

Then I'm back to swimming through organic peanut butter with
an empty scuba tank and you peer over the edge
of the jar
glaring as you hold the spoon
Based on this assignment I gave my students:

Begin by writing a poem about how your day felt, not what happened but how you felt as events happened and the day unfolded.  Don't worry too much about making it perfect; this is only a rough draft.  Did it feel like slogging through quicksand or like you woke up with your hair on fire?

Next, use words, phrases, and ideas of your poem to create a visually-inspired poems, using Google Slides and your text.  Try to recreate the feeling you had during the day within the presentation.
On Monday
you are sponges
Squeezed empty by
Pokemon tournaments and
Supernatural Watchathons

On Wednesday
you are dictionaries
lexicons of hyperbolic histrionics
thesauri of sturm and drang and
angsty angsty goodness

But Friday
you are IMDB
airbenders and Fassbender and
light bending across the sails
of a ship bound for the

unreal
implausible
impossible
unnatural
illogical

while Monday
you are rabid
like word-eating mongrels

and Wednesday
you are 1930's radios
spewing never-before-heard myths and mysteries

but Friday
you are careening
between the moons of Jupiter

ungrounded
unfettered
untethered
unrealistic
imaginative­

but Friday
you are
gone gone gone gone

gone
Seventeen
is an oversized
triple-xl
sweater with arms and neck to fit
a toddler
and as you puff up your chest
with pride and indignation
designed to fill the Hefty-bag-sized body of
cheap acrylic yarn,
you struggle to push your arms through
sleeves like penne pasta
and a collar like a stale donut.

Seventeen is
unfinished
like a great American novel
stewing in a powerless crockpot
that bubbled briefly
Sometimes we are a foggy day
a brindled mist that hangs like a beaded curtain
across the doorway of the altered bikers from down the street
and walking through us requires a
machete of caution and silence and
a flashlight of sixty-percent honesty

Sometimes we are a Thanksgiving break
a respite from the weight of responsibility and
a monster dustbunny of anticipation that tumbles from
beneath the bed requiring
a broom of clarity and Potter-esque frenzy and
a damp paper towel of decisiveness.

Sometimes we are a banana
Spring-green on the precipice of perfection
only to tumble into the ravine of
only good for banana bread or compost
a sliceable bite of tropical gratitude and
a sticky sweet batter of hostage taking.

Sometimes, not often enough,
I reflect upon the void you fill which
I never imagined existed until it was filled
like concrete between flagstones
Grand Canyons made plateaus by
a surprise and a sigh and a homecoming.
Art is an unshaven stranger
with a delicious
rainbow of candy
inviting you
into his van.  
The danger is that
you'll get
lost in art
and never
crawl back out . . .
which can be
both delicious
and deadly.
He scatters
doubloons of butterscotch at
your small, wary feet
dancing a jig of joy and
fear, walking a tightrope
of excited tension and
nervous expectation . . .
and we are hummingbirds
seeking the nectar of
creativity and abandon,
lupine and columbine of
words and pigment and harmony,
and we flutter forward,
amnesiacs to the cost,
for the sweetness
of genius marrying
peril and possibility
in a ceremony
of light,
a flurry of color, tint, and shade,
both particle and wave.
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