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Where, Then, is Paradise?

For the ones who whistle while uprooting pineapples
or clambering over basalt sculptures up Mauna Kea;

for the ones who tuck belly flesh into red shorts 
and walk the ocean on yellow planks; 

for the ones who slide on earthen pine needles
cascading loose rocks down Mount Olympus;

I see the wallowing faces in the canal reflection. 

Where, then, is paradise? 

Between the lines of gritted sweat that streaks a face
lined like sidewalk chalk? Underneath the sleeping dog 
who curls up tight against his bridge-like master? Tucked
high above in the zebra dove’s nest, cozy against cold metal? 

I see the faces in the canal reflection. 
Where, then, is paradise? 

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Graceful Aging

Red roses on a working canvas. Trampling 
used to be my speciality; now it is up to the doves
who grace the balcony window in harmonious flight. 
Do the stars know you by now? They must. The way 

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Cycles

Try harder, 
little moon. 
The world 
is a pearl 

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From the Lanai

The cloaked mountains make my breath smile 
easing up against my eyebrows like a wiggly 
exclamation mark caught up in chimney smoke 
destined for the highlands. I forget to breathe. 
The moon wears her silk gown this afternoon 
trailing the sky like jet stream; women whisper 
after her wherever she goes. Men trace the edges
and those in between wear for themselves the splendor. 
Spectacular, truly, the vines caught swift amongst
the bird songs, housing for themselves the branching
flowers and nestlings. Songs have been written about 
these moments. Poems, composed, like this one. 

I lean back against the oak trunk, fallen and 
heard and become the forest for myself. 

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Las Vegas Bacon

Coming to terms with nothing. The portico
smoldering in cinnamon flames, gusting 
lightly across a skylit backdrop. A low whine 
hits the atmosphere and tumbles over itself

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Sunflower Sutra

Bonding like rose glue, like snagging a glass 
of water before it leaps to its death the still small 
rise of the holding hands movement. One smile
is a thousand muscles; one living being the seed 
from a thousand trees. We were domesticated late. 
Some say not at all. But I think they are wrong — 
I see a dependency too great for the swift ocean floss 
that curls around bare naked toes. I see a stand 
for the impressive aspects of a limited morality 
that curls the air like a ponytail in Manoa valley. 
Behold the seed imported for toxins. Behold the seed
that stalks the sun, child-like rosy hues in flight. 

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Pathfinder

A crowded smile in the middle of the street. 
Waiting for someone to come pat me on the 
neck and get that blood flowing. Faucets of life
drenching the crosswalk and not a soul crossing—
Lost and found on a Sunday morning. What a 
time to remember being born, to taste the earthiness
of wilting sunshine between low coastal fog. 
Do the leaves always scatter so, tossed like 
halloween candy from an unfriendly doorway?
My legs are restless and endless. The shadows 
from light poles saunter wide across the grey streets
laughingly running over cars. I’ve heard it said 

that the path is the path, and the obstacles are the way. 
Just never considered which side I was on. 

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Hands Together

I want to hold all things at once
caught snug between forefinger and thumb.
To never let a tear slink itself down 
the chalky contours of an empty face. 
The wave ———— rears up in angst to crash
delayed ————— upon the whole heart of the surfer 
who waits ———– trusting no one around her. Have
the lessons ———- been written yet that need to be learned.
Oh, little mouse. You’ve taught the world 
to cater their whims down to the toothpick 
to loathe your litany just as you do. Clutching 
the ocean in an empty fist is a sure way to 

hold it all in. Half escapes and falls 
to the seafloor and half absorbs forever.  

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Thus Should Have Ended Our Travels

dust bidden and stronger for it
with arm muscles wide enough to carry 
the coastal world upon untired shoulders, 
an indefatigable grin lightly on the brow. 
Yet be it that a swooping wasteland  
came to knock the rubber right off her 
rampaging, unlimited upon the full scope 
of the soul. Broken. Sorely borrowed.
To become cowards in moments like these
is the real pity. To raise the chin once more 
and begin again is no effort at all; there is 
no chagrin in the epilogue of a victim. 

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Tall Orders

A horse and her rider lay prone on a glassy hill. 
Trace a finger down the slope and we come to The
Base—which in this case we may simply call 
The Problem. The horse keeps her head down but 
the rider sits up, placing two shiny palms against
the slipperiness of the hill. She sees something like 
the aftermath of a supernova, the early immigrations
of the English folk and realizes—deeply—where she is. 
If she were to rush to her feet, she would surely 
slip against the slickness of the hill and plummet down 
unburdened to The Base. Where the debris awaits. 
If she were to stay, she risks eternal anxiety. Another sort of death. 

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Raw Materials

Every tree in the orchard dangles ripely, unjustly 
dripping luscious fruit the size of four hands. The 
imposter sits, supremely still, in the midst of it all 
and gazes upon the garden scene. The kale is full 
to overflowing; the carrots are digging a well for 
themselves; the rabbits have compounded labor 
for a new wire fence and the imposter gazes down 
at her hands. These hands? Only two hands. 
What’s the use of two hands with these fruit trees? 
Two hands catch nary a seed, for the seed is 
the whole, and these hands are but two. Marigolds 
face the drowning sun rays and try to hold tight 

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Mona Lisa’s Dog

Not many people know it but Mona Lisa had a dog. 

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