Farmer dusts his cap off
on torn faded Levi jeans
finished sewing winter wheat
so he can pay the banker’s salary
and send Old Man Kellogg’s dynasty to college

it is a banker’s world
he tells me
as we head to the shop where the combine
the thresher
the grain drill
and the shop itself are
sitting up on jacks broke down

he won’t even break even come springtime
and will spend the winter beneath an iron chassis grease-soaked
come April he might be underground
as he looks to the mountain for signs of runoff
and he sighs low and empty
his silos are empty and tell me
there’ll be brawls and tussles over whiskey
but there’ll be war
he will be forced to sell out next fall
dad gone, kids grown, house burned down to the ground
and the insurance won’t pay
but the banker’s hungry for his paycheck
and Old Man Kellogg is choking on a wad of cash in his gullet
the size of a corncob

and the farmer the silo the combine the bailer
the thresher the grain drill the auger the tractor
the wife the kids the town
the barn the horses the cows
the pivot sprinklers the side roll sprinklers
the ditch the field the creek the lake
the mountain the snowcaps the snow clouds
the rain clouds the coast clouds
the ocean are all sitting up on jacks broke down

From The Red West, and other poems

Old rusted out shipyards

from Parley Noyo and the Oyster Bard.

Read at the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition Art and Literature Gala, April 10, 2021

Old rusted out shipyards
where the lumber schooners docked
and coal trains pulled in and out
of elongated, angular platforms
bisecting main streets at 29 degrees
altered carbon
altered gravity
altar of worker’s sainthood

now martyred and lamented
another hotel erected
and newcomers to the sea
enamored like we once were to
behold a sea full of glass rage
their rust, the organ pipes
bell chimes Amazing Grace in town square
you coal miner, you logger, you truck driver
you school teacher, you storekeeper
you tugboat skipper and deckhand too,
you fisherman, you fisherwomen,
you salt earth creature,
you knower of tides and wind chimes
you watcher and keeper of hummingbirds
you defender of deep groaning whale
you who wander out regardless of gale force warning
you keeper of docks and boats, anchor polisher
you unhoused keeper of blankets,
you beggar, starving, poor
you meek, you humble, you deranged and enchanted
all the more for you
who were lost but now found

in the toll of bells, ringing

Rising. Rising!


Is the sun a 
       star lover? 
 starlight, starbright....
       it’s gorgeous 

 It is indeed. 
       a star lover
              it is
                  h o m o s t e l l u l a r 

 We’re gonna be really
     when you get back here
          to this place between breasts

 Galactical death dance, 
        spiral into a black 

 I count on it 
      sage quaking shyly 
 never so turned on 
      as now, in the 
           raybath sunset

 But the way 
     it smiles 
 so sweetly on
      the earth 
 day after day for 
 millennia and 
 era clockwork 

 makes me wonder 
       who is loved 
               by a sun

 no one else could 
 kiss you like that 

 between the ears and neck
 behind the waterfall of twisted hair

 being inside of you  
 means flashing
 like stars across 

 I see that 
        place you go 


 and wonder how I know 

 and wonder who
       the sun loves.

~SMB 1.10.2021


When the bell tolls tonight
 I will not think 
 of writing a poem of hope. 
 I’ve tried that before. 

 Like you, my vision
 has become poorer by 
 one degree slowly losing 
 any ability to foresee
 and have gained only more grief marks
 and a great silver streak
 head - body - heart

 Like you, I desire 
 to be kind and selfless
 to have an intelligent mind
 that pursues truth
 and dares to be 
 fearless, but not brutal.

 It is daunting on this brink
 We have it within us to 
 transcend all factions 
 We may, in fact, already
 be powerless to defy them

 Look at your reflection 
 in the pool of my eyes 
 and recognize
 yourself in me

 No pixelated sim, only 
 my skin and flesh-marrow
 running warm beneath the 
 variant, queer, cerulean 



Being Joyful in the time 
      of the Big Radical Sad 
          is a revolutionary act.
 Buying a bottle of wine with what’s left 
      after the rent check clears 
 is a revolutionary act.
 Chopping celery and carrots for a soup
       you may make for tomorrow’s supper
     is a revolutionary act. 
 Giving time to smile and visit with a fellow 
      on the street, though you’ve nothing else to give, 
 is a revolutionary act. 
 Being happy and Queer
 having mirth while Black and Brown
 being a strong oak to those who call you Momma
 having a full heart though it is in many pieces 
 is revolutionary. 
 Doing all things in Love 
       while the whole world straddles the Hate Divide
 is a revolutionary act.
 loving radically. 
 This you shall do above all else—this revolutionary act.



Let this be the year that minds crack open wide 
 Spilling over with all that the 
 Eyes can hear and ears can see
 With all that the heart can sing
 And mouths can beat
 With hands that walk and giving feet
 I look into the blur of city lights
 And see bodies smiting their eggshell exoskeletons and taking flight 
 I see knowing and knowledge 
 Brimming over the edges of thought
 Building bridges that have brought bringings and 
 Truth bells in steeple minds ringing. 
 And temple selves uprooting foundations to walk the streets singing. 
 Let this be the ripest fruit of the life tree freeing 
 Itself from low hanging limbs. 
 Let this be the time we reach out our hands to grasp it. 
 Let this be the time that the crisp truth of it All
 Drips off of loving tongues and lips. 
 Let this new age grab us by the hips 
 Dancing, singing, rejoicing 
 Let this be the year for voicing that the sacred lives 
 Lives love in you in me in everything we see. 
 Let this be. 
 Let it be. 




 The old Daisy
           dog sleeps
            by the fireplace 
            at night
 under an avalanche 
            of curry-combed
              polar bear fur
 making rusty handsaw 
 blade noises through
               the plank
               she pants
 and can’t make 
 it down the front 
 porch steps anymore
 to cool off, 
 so she moseys 
 to the backroom 
 to eat the catfood 
 and drink some 
 shredded toilet 
 paper water.

 Young Hoss Cartwright 
 that Rottweilin’ hound 
 chews on 
 deer and elk bones
 carcasses in the front
 yard sun. 
 He’s got a hole in
 every fence to forage
 by night for more roadkill, 
 the hair on the back of his neck
 when a pickup rounds 
 the gravel bend 
 in the road. 

 Daisy reserves her barks 
 to let us know when she wants to
 be let in at night.
 its her right
 as the reigning
 canine matriarch.

 I sit on the front
 steps rolling a cigarette
 and spilling some tobacco
 to the earth for the Indians 
 smoking in the chill
 that hurts my lungs
 with a rush 
 in my head that
 reminds me 
 when I was a kid
 trying to swim 
 clean across the lake, 
 midway through green 
 water, panicking 
 and running out of
 roll over on my back
 to float the sky
 for a moment’s

 Same water. Different lake. 
 Same boy. Different currents.
 In this dog’s world.