Audience of One

southern california winter sunset poems


Dusk seeps cold pink
into the sky's still tub;
from under floating, wet-dark hair—
cut to the jaw line—
a slice of the moon's young cheek
glistens like a false, new coin
tossed in at the near edge
of an unexpectedly
beautiful wishing pool.


From the east, night's dark sheet
pulls up over the cadaver of stratus
which bleeds, ridge upon ridge,
into the gun-metal gray bucket
at its marine layer covered head.

Dissembling death, the embalmer's pink
fluid perpetuates the same cold blush
on evening's complexion all week long.

3) Moon conjunct Venus

These bare days are so young
already they roll up their sleeves

waiting for night. The tattoo blazoned
on this one's deltoid swears

LOVE HURTS, a bright star scarring
evening's smooth, blue shoulder.

She flaunts the fine, white curve of her
firm, un-tanned ass, nonchalantly

exposed by her cut-off denim shorts before
she turns and watches him walk away.


the pewter clouds press down
the spent December light

are unexceptional as it fails
us imperceptibly malleable

enough following routine
opposite against a great dark

open wall a desolate face
looks up not seeing unnoticed

impenetrable with inertia
this is her only home

the concrete bed and mute walls
except for the guilty charity

of a little mumbled graffiti
where else can she go? tomorrow

she'll be here again
and there not far behind

dragging their lead shoes
everywhere thousands more


No dreams rise
into this day's
twilight sky—no moon

No snow ever
falls. Unlike O'Keefe's
white skull or Rousseau's

opulent gypsy,
light dies here
past the palm frond tops;

no limpid aspirations
suffuse this pallid
winter tableau

why else
only one or two
saffron wisps?

6) Astronomical Phenomenon Visible Tonight Throughout Entire Western Region—Barring Inclement Conditions

On the evening news,
          they announced
                    a lunar eclipse
          in progress.
I didn't watch it.


The hard, entropic palate of voracious night widens overhead;
the black teeth of cypress, palm, orange and jacaranda bare skyward
ready to grind the tender, peach flesh of sunset back into darkness—
but slowly, savoring the taste on the sweet spot at the tongue's tip,
before washing it all down, shamelessly, with a little cold star shine.

Kevin Cornwall © All rights reserved.

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