Sunday, August 6, 2017


Often when I write a poem, I have a song playing like a theme. I was repeatedly listening to If It's Magic from Stevie Wonder's album Songs In the Key of Life when I wrote the poem (below) for Zach's memorial. That album has been my anthem of the month, or like a Sunday sermon. I don't tire of it. "Love's in need of love today...L - O - V - E love today."


Feral man Zach I met as
the most willing to climb
a giant tree in search of
bird sign. 

A year later at the rookery 
you were able to see 17
active nests in under a

Who does that?! That's 
years of study and skills
to be able to see all 

And Fruitvale bridge last June,
rescuing a fledging falcon
in the traffic with your shirt

Your black jeep. Before I did
not see them about until then
I met you and now they are

What if we gather together our tears
collect them in little jars that we empty
into a metal bucket in the middle of 
a circle taking turns, we walk west 
carrying the bucket down the road 
to the coast where we create a tidal
influenced lagoon? What if?! Would
otters come? Herons and egrets?
Would a northern harrier pair?

Because last month Gloria Ushigua Santi
said her people in Ecuador - Amazon
forest Indigenous people did not know 
cancer until Chevron showed up. My
own divestment from fossil fuels is for
major contributing factors, what I call  
petroleum disease. Above all that is
Wildcat Canyon where you spent your
evenings in this special acquaintance
with the great horned owls. You were  
on the ridge where western bluebirds
know to hover from kestrels and kites.

Eagle calls hawk to mountain
because we miss you.
I aspire to emulate how you
were so gentle and soothing
with my mistakes and errors.
I aspire to emulate
your tenderness.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cockroaches old poem of mine that I shared last month at the annual Western Women's Tracking Conference (in Cuyama Valley this year, the high desert in backcountry of Quail Springs Permaculture Farm) and it had them laughing, so I'm sharing it here now.


First I am going to pretend
they're not there on the floor -
maybe two or three to clean
crusted oatmeal off the stove,
but I don't want to think what
dozens do in the food pantry
at night. What's with that funky
taste in the ground corn?!

I declare war on the fuckers.
I'll kill each one with my bare
hands, or do it real nasty and
bomb the place to hell. Or run
and hide. Or refuse to touch
anything near them. Tomorrow
I'll make plans to sterilize and
disinfect under the fridge...

I'll try a metaphysical approach
and live in harmony with all
creatures since aren't they cute
with their little grasshopper
heads? Or wonder if those tales
are true about that magic
where their carcasses alert
others? Fuck. The story may be

science from Africa discovered
millennials ago and it's true
the Mayans have not dealt
with such obscenities before,
before, fuckers: it's the United
States government. See I live
on the wrong side of town and
what would my family think?

I saw photos of slave quarters
in New Orleans, the ones with
the roaches in their long haul
up the wall with the dead
rodent. Fuckers. They make
me think of nuclear disaster.
Fuckers. I live for the time
they turn on their masters.

-d. martin

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


An erasure poem from a page in M. Moore's classic: 
Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.                  

Rumex crispus (yellow dock)



even    in   the   snow

ditches   and   sumps


and                streams

drier          meadows



boil        in       water




by         a         pond

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Rituals intend to confront a specific life issue with the purpose of bringing about a desired change, vision, or transformation. They are enactments of the myths. They are bigger than ourself and challenge us to action. Rituals are distinguished from dance as entertainment, dance as spectacle.  

     - from Anna Halprin                                                                             

ring composition #2

humansong  equinoxsun
elemental oaknests
writepowerpowerpow er po w er powe rr poh or pohwe e r 

I create

 Leaning   back


On      a    pole
    With   breasts 
In your  face

I create

March 2016


Myths evoke our long buried and half forgotten selves. They are answers to the inherent need to evolve a community expression that reflects the emotional and creative needs in society. They give us the permission to go into the unknown. To explore, discover, and arrive at a new state of consciousness.
     - from Anna Halprin

ring composition 

magenta sky 
of full
I breathe 
                    be born 

die and be born 
again and again
 an  d  a  gain
a  wildpatience

and again
I breathe

March 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

I wont sing America

Re:  Langston Hughes' I, too, sing America
& Walt Whitman's I Hear America Singing

The flag that flew over the Occupation of Alcatraz 1969-1971, designed by Lulie Nall, a Penobscot Indian

I won't sing America, a villanelle

I am the white daughter
Told to mind my manners
Sit pretty and sing America.

Marry and have two kids, drive down
Streets lined with asphalt and concrete,
So fortunate to be the white daughter.

Pity the poor and ignorant: buy a gown,
Drink wine for charity, and for me, drunkenly.
Why won't I sing America?

After all I got out of the kitchen, kind of, but still bound.
I dined with the company, abided his abuse and neglect
Rather than come clean: I am the white daughter

Photo'd with a smile at the lynchings in town.
(Wills signed and bank accounts prove it.)
Oh no, huh uh, I won't sing America.

Hold my hand, feel my heart pound.
Don't pine away in fear and sorrow.
Say I am the white daughter and
I refuse, I won't sing America.

June 2012

Friday, February 19, 2016

Retro 90s part 2

Cigarette butts.
I walk city streets daily and see those butts everywhere: the number one item collected on coastal cleanup days that are so toxic to wildlife and the land and water. Someday (hopefully soon) tobacco users will have no filters or reusable filters or pipes only.

My neighbor V.
I've been asking him for several years to please put his butts in the garbage container not the compost bin and not the recycling bin. But still he puts his stinky-ass gross butts in the compost bin. Why?! I don't get it.

Here's a poem I wrote back in the 90s that helped me to finally get off cigarettes, after almost a decade of smoking. It's been on my mind lately...

Cigarette Still Life
in six parts 


You of French spelling in packets of twenty: 
I am lured by your colonial charm 
like in the Hollywood movies of the U.S. of A. 
I am seduced by Bogart and Bergman in Morocco, 
and Hepburn on the Amazon.  I am hooked 
on your gold band and leopard-like filter. 
I dig your rising smoke in its swaying style. 
You are oh so sexy. I aspire to your power. 
See me on my hands and knees praying 
for your most highest, precious grace. 


You got me Marlboro man, pioneer, rugged 
individualist. Won't you come on down 
from that billboard and take me away, 
far away, from these harsh city streets 
and sirens...


Nah, I want to be the tough and fearless martyr. 
Joan of Arc must have smoked. There she is 
in the center of the city on her galloping horse, 
a hand-rolled cigarette dangling from her lips.


Cigarette Still Life look at what you've done: 
I wanna be working class and buy cartons on sale 
and chain smoke inside with all the windows closed, 
the air conditioner on and watching my daily soap. 
Fuck you, you're the best with booze and dope. 
Damn you're cool in pool halls and roof tops.


Oh, this suffering poet needs you my friend, 
my comfort late into the night and early or 
just about any time. Life would never be the same 
if you leave my side. Only two bucks a day and 
I am filled with pleasure and contentment.


Cigarette Still Life: you lied to me in your dying, old, 
addictive ways. You're typical of this great society 
telling me to smoke for fun and adventure 
yet you are the same boardroom topic 
for targeting teenage girls. The same tobacco 
of The Slave Trade. The same arrogant asshole 
who smothers Indians and Mexicans. You are 
the petroleum by-products, the freon and fiberglass. 
You're that creep on TV with the perverse smile. 
You are the murderer of millions. You are death 
hidden behind a cloak labeled "freedom."


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Abalone III


on  a  brain  tanned                         

                        smoked  to  protect

deer  hide  strand,                                    

                   polished  and  notched 

                       by  indigenous  hand.

Is it cultural

to wear it?

                                     Real       and           


                           ancestral       magic.

I   come   with                         

                                         the  hunger  of     

                                an   engine   rattling,

the  greed  of 

plastic   gyres    growing.

How  can  I  know  


is   easy?

October 2015

The Coup - My Favorite Mutiny ft. Black Thought of The Roots & Talib Kweli

Monday, October 26, 2015

Abalone II



           sandhill     crane

elders   tell    Harrington    

words    for    water 

for  laugh



                     Raw   and

                   border less


disguised as

loveless ness

of lost landscapes,

pigeons and gulls.

Abandoned radioactive 

mine/d/s. A ridge. 

Coal arriving to port.

A 26-foot-tall saint

points west in faux sand-

stone on one knee, lying

about Neruda 
not lost to cancer
but  loving  us.

October 2015

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Concrete Jungle - 11/30/1979 - Oakland Auditorium (Official)

The Chaw Se' Roundhouse
Pine Grove Volcano Rd, Sutter Creek, CA

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Abalone I

Photo of Knowland Park from web search (unknown photographer)

In the needlegrass field

          by the fairy ring -        
how much can change

                         in a month?

 The mossy 

                     evergreen tree

bulldozed by


maritime chaparral,   

chestnut backed 
a flicker 
escape from
how to build a 
and land trust.
How to avoid
hopeless ness,

a draft.

September 2015

Nina Simone's Feelin' Good:

above photo from Save Knowland Park website

a 10/22/15 photo of the top of Knowland Park (of the Oakland Zoo new development)

Monday, August 31, 2015


We got the updates about You:

Photos from NASA on how Your 

heart shines, and Your five moons.

Charo - and we've heard... Styx,

Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra...

that You're cold and distant, a

Stygian money making machine

for the City's parasitic hills.

You're like the weeds hemlock and 

broom, who won't read this poem,

just here to command my attention.

Someday I'll learn how to listen.

August 2015 

Friday, August 21, 2015

À la recherche du temps perdu

Tony Toni Tone - Lay Your Head On My Pillow

Wheat-paste and spray paint over
rum ads we had just barely begun 
the biggest Free Fred on a billboard
when caught by the Lucky Florist man. 
We got away, like the three other times   
we told the PoPo the art teacher said so.
They left us with the paint  and  buckets
except our friend Mexican-Indigenous hand-
cuffed and hauled off. She was roughed 
up. We  raised  bail  that same night  
in  jail she ate a  bologna on white 
bread  sandwich.  To  my  freedom-
loving  accomplices  who  know   
we  can  get   better:  Lay  your  head        
on  my  pillow  and  just  relax, relax, relax...

August 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Urban pastoral

Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a given property of the mind
that certain bounds hold against chaos,

                                       - Robert Duncan

concrete.     pellitory.     crack     ONE  HAND  CAN

red      admiral.      butterfly.  SNAP   RAZOR   WIRE 

dead  murres  and  gulls . I'VE   BEEN  TRAINED 

egret        neck.        asphalt.   BY   EXPERTS   WHO   

sparrow     house         finch.    COVER   THEIR   FACES

cigarette    butt      toad.     CLIMB   TALL   FENCES

August.        creek       for   SWING  ROOF  TO  ROOF.

tag          spray          every-    RACCOON  CAN

body's     for       cash.   SLIDE UNDER 

for     petroleum      oil    SECURITY BARS

engines      for       whine  NO  ALARMS   SOUND

not        puffin       nest   COYOTE  HUNTS

rock        crevice.      lament.   YOUR   CAT

"it's       not        dis-    AND  QUAIL

continued    just    out".  COMES   BACK.

July 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015


I'm tucking this poem away since my intention is as an Exquisite Corpse, which is yet to happen...any art form welcome if you want to add to it:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

momentum of grace*

for Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sundiata Acoli, Leonard Peltier 
and most of the 2.2 million people in prison in U.S. 

bodies     breathe

                                thick    walls

for   you          








from   us

                                    a   million


a   microphone






                                         of   fire


              in   elbow                  

                                          a  line

                                       of   livid


April 2105 
*title is from Joy Harjo's poem Emergence                                  
@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

Inspired by "Stay Tuned" Ai Weiwei's sound installation with music, poetry and spoken words by people who have been detained for expressing their beliefs: IN THE CELLHOUSE - A BLOCK   

Friday, March 13, 2015


The Great Clod (the earth) belches out breath and its name is wind. So long as it doesn't come forth, nothing happens. But when it does, then ten thousand hollows begin crying wildly.

- Zhuangzi


Without Pain or Fear

- Raúl Zurita

                                      Don't    You    Worry

                                           'Bout    A    Thing*

                                              midnight     blue    

                                          wild    lilac    bloom

                                          a    bowl    to    eat    

                                    swollen     root     inner      

                                            bark     ripe    fruit

                                                recline    nearly
                                           naked     sunshine

                                                    heart     easy    

                                           in     stream     near

                                      mountain    meet    sea     

                                             spring     meadow

                                          Don't    You    Worry   

                                               'Bout    A    Thing

                                               cycles    of    leaf 

                                                 litter    we     fall   
                                                     your     songs    

                                                    nourish     me

                                                mouth      tongue       

                                                     warm     eyes       

                                                touch    luscious       

                                                   center    return     

                                                         to    gravity

March 2105
*from Stevie Wonder's 1973 album Innervisions: