They made mom watch the books
in the library on Broadway, but
the cows in the library, she thought
were harmless, began licking her face
and were about to eat her so she’s
frightened and pleads for me
to stay so I am at her side
with her mouth open as she
breathes, her jawbone sharp,
and she, so alarmingly thin
as she dreams of the man who
calls and says, “of everyone,
your voice is the softest, no screams.
I’ve waited for you so long
and finally you answer.”
It rained last night. It’s as clear as
1950 when I had pink skin and hadn’t yet
daydreamed murders. The hard lines
of Catalina can be traced, and the cliffs
behind me so defined each fold begs to be
named and you reflect a triangle of light,
your blue so dark, my mother would have
called you navy when she could see. You’re
post-storm, twitching with mini-waves
scratching the shore. You had a difficult
night of water bruises. I’m so tired of
pricking myself. You ask why I keep
returning, breathing waves.
I have several photos of Humphrey Bogart. Any one of them reminds me of how much I love his work and his movies. I can easily get lost in them. That's what a souvenir does for me, it allows me to lose myself in an experience of a person or a place.
Paul’s collection, Chemical Tendencies, published by Tebot Bach, was a finalist in the Main Street Rag poetry contest, and received an honorable mention in the Allen Ginsberg Contest. He produces and hosts Why Poetry? on KPFK radio in L.A. and Santa Barbara. Guests have included Poet Laureates, National Book Award Winners, and many other known and lesser-known poets. His poems have appeared in The Moth, Solo, N.Y. Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, Askew, Poemeleon, Alimentum, and many other journals and anthologies.
Paul works as an actor and has performed on and off- Broadway and in numerous films and TV shows. He facilitates at the Beyond Baroque Poetry Workshop, and has worked as an adjunct Professor in Creative Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and lives in Venice CA.