Thursday, November 20, 2008


they came
in the night

Saturday, September 27, 2008

a cricket in Southern China with a hollow song.
sounds like: not so much a real insect
a recording. a simulacrum of an insect
a cricket ringtone. my mandarin,
my english to my chinese colleagues
hollow. the outside of meaning only.

Bat watching in Guiyang: a bat shaped hole against the sky.

The endless call and response of car horns
falls into an evening lull, over the ceaseless drones
of rooftop fans
guards mill smartly nine floors below
up here, the electric chatter of echolocations
bat shaped black holes
tracers across a violet sky

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Falkens öga

Surprisingly few birds on the north half of Kehoe beach. A few gulls. Squadrons of brown pelican bombers emerging from the offshore fog only to disappear again before the camera could be focussed. The occasional turkey vulture loops out over the bluffs and back again on a nonexistent breeze. A dead baby sea lion.

Then falcons. Two flapping across the cliff, more graceless than you're imagining. The dog--on leash relief in light of the absent shorebirds and surprisingly good behavior--dashed to the base of the cliff, barked pointlessly. The perched looked on with disdain, although there's no way I could have possibly seen that.

The dog gave up and came back to pirate cheese and crackers. One falcon disappeared, but the other sat on the faulted cliff face. Gargoyle.

On the way back an empty fridge...washed up on the strand. "Satan's cabin." There was a cricket inside. A brown bird frapping flantically across the bluff. Falcon.

Seriously, not that impressive.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Bear that Wasn't There

The naturalist is a landscape painter in reverse. We strip successive layers of meaning away from the world around us--sometimes in great flowing sheets; more often in ragged, irregular fragments--until, what remains?

During the last great mast Jeremy and I wandered through the back door of the Salinas reservoir. Across the way a great black figure foraged in the golden oats beneath a tremendous valley oak. Stupidly, I thought it was a bull--until the creature raised his head, sniffed the air and broke into a lazy lope. In half-a-dozen strides, maybe less, it was over the ridge, and gone. I haven't seen a wild bear since.

Three times, maybe more, I've come close: stumbling across fresh prints and stale feces. These semiotic stand-ins are exhilarating and boring. They sit there frozen while I'll fumble for the camera and snap away. They permit my prying gaze without protest. They suffer my boastful posing--like a trophy hunter with a twisted carcass I try to measure up against the lifeless form.

A real bear has far more dignity than that.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

So weary...

Just by way of update. Two Golden-crowneds, jaunting fresh summer caps, up from god-knows what sun-baked winter scratching grounds perched on the fence and beaded me with shining black eyes. Then sang.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sol Mi Do

The Golden-crowneds are, as best I can tell, already gone. Gone certainly are the days when their short, sad song set pace to the quiet days of winter. "Oh Dear Me" or, "I'm Lonely" as it's heard by the distressed and distraught. I'm partial to the busted 49er version: "No Gold Here"...if only for the element of ironic self-denial.

The schizo-autistic babble of the polyglot, the self-righteous swainsonses' scream, it's all rubbish to the somniacal siren song of winter complacency: "Roll over."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Goose Summer

At the margins of perception, in the twilight of paranoia, magic is spun into reality. Virtual photons sparkle on the event horizon, the boulder is rolled back and Schrödinger's cat has gone inexplicably missing, always, already, again.

But these are spring sentiments.

The magic of spring is charming enough--bursting blossoms, hidden eggs. But the true spring is but a pale reflection of winter dreaming.

Autumn is the true season of magic, dark rites, sacrifice, communication with the dead...A memory from the fall: it is Goose Summer -- warm and lines of silk loop along the avenues, catching upon limb and lamppost.

I hear the collapsing call of swifts overhead--I squint and, maybe, see them. The vanguard of aerial biota, twisting and diving, surely sucking unfortunately lofty spiderlings into their gaping maw.

Our words already fade like leaves and our obfuscations, like the wind, have spirited us away.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Text, life, shadows.
welcome to Oryctology.