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Selected Poems

All poem are under copy right with Daniel Meyers. For permission to reprint please contact:


(Alan Swallow, 1960)



My fingers graze in the fields of wood.


I sand pine, walnut, bass,

and sweat to raise their grain.


Paints, powder and brush,

are the seasons of my trade.


At the end of the day

I drive home

the proud cattle of my hands.



Because there's so much speed

without any place to go,

and driven, blind as light,

we rush from stone to stone

and bump against the world,


I like the subtle snail:

wrapped in its wooden fog

it crawls across my yard;

and where it goes, it paints

the ground with useless roads.


Day and night, in its world,

leaves fall without a sound;

and flowers become suns

that bugs like little planets

in a green astronomy

go round and round and round.


When my mother puts her flowers

in a bowl -- amaryllis, rose --

light from a different afternoon

still makes her lonely body glow.


And still my father comes, poor man,

a hard day on his knees from money.

My mother turns to an old piano,

her hands snowbound among the keys.

I know they sleep in the same dream,

while the fat moth spreads its dust.

My parents wear each other's breath;

their clock's forgotten how to tell the time.


We were the rain last night.

Our smell still lingers

in the flower beds.

The white hills rise

like crumpled moons;

a swarm of insects

lights a lawn's dull face.

We go to see ourselves

in puddles, you and I,

clear fragments of the flood.


(Doubleday, 1968)



The dark birds came,

I didn't know their name.


They walked in Hebrew on the sand

so I'd understand.


They sang, the sea flowed,

though no one made a road.


I shivered on the shore

when the water closed its door.


Then as I felt the birds return

to me like ashes to an urn,


and sunlight warmed the stones,

fire undressed my bones.



When I ask for a hand,

they give me a shovel.

If I complain, they say,

Worms are needles at work

to clothe a corpse for spring.

I sigh.  Whoever breathes

has inhaled a neighbour.




They said, Go, rise each day

with her, become

the reliable dough a family needs.

I wouldn’t.  I walked away

from the kitchen, the store

she was building in her breast . . .

And everything grows dim

like the little stone

brought home from the shore.



What will I bring

if I come to your house?

A cold wind at the door,

bad dreams to your spouse.


There isn’t a tree

in your backyard;

the lawns are plastic,

the chairs are too hard.


No, I wouldn’t talk.

I’d be full of spite

and I’d strike my head

like a match that won’t light.




Woman, mirror of all my sides,

I pass through you to the window.


When I lay my hand on the grass

forgive me if I call the earth my child.




Always poor, he knows

the crickets will leave him

small jars of money.


He waits, he admires a weed.

His dreams are addressed.


At night by his desk

he becomes a flower;

children are bees in his arms,

a little pain making honey.




Because their bed was calm

and they'd never done

what they read about,

they drove to the hills,

left the car, and climbed

high over the shale

and spread her dress in the dirt.


Soft ceramic quail,

the natives there,

stared from the chaparral

while they groaned

and hurt themselves.

The heat made ants

bubble out of the ground.


The hill was a flower

that evening closed.

They were naked

and very small,

and they put on their clothes.

The car would give them back

their power.



Stars climb girders of light.

They arrange themselves

in the usual place,

they quit before dawn,

and nothing's been done.


Then men come out.

Their helmets fill the sky;

their cities rise and fall

and men descend,

proud carpenters of dew.


Man brief as the storm,

more than five feet of lightning,

twisted and beautiful.

Man, made like his roads,

with somewhere to go.


Kayak Press, 1976 


L. A.


The world’s largest ashtray,

the latest in concrete,

capital of the absurd;

one huge studio

where people drive

from set to set and everyone’s

from a different planet.


For miles, the palm trees,

exotic janitors,

sweep out the sky at dusk.

The grey air molds.

Geraniums heat the alleys.

Jasmine and gasoline

undress the night.


This is the desert

that lost its mind,

the place that boredom built.

Freeways, condominiums, malls,

where cartons of trash and diamonds

and ideologies

are opened, used, dumped near the sea.




Every morning here,

black-plumed the knightly quail

go riding through the grass.


In the wind, a mild army

of mustard runs uphill.

The yucca toss their spears.


Now and then, a child,

abandoned in its kite,

drifts out into the sky.


At twilight, the foothills

are a pile of rose petals

the color of grapes …


There went the sun

in a crumpled hat,

to see the rest of the world.

G. F.


He’s a law about to be broken

a man rippling at the edge


He edits news of a material world

while under his tongue intelligent nouns

are preparing their adjectives

for a view of the city without crime


This man encircles himself

his waist is his own embrace

his smile is a private door


I admire him for his agile fat

a mind like an animal’s jaw

his poems that escape from their chains


He awakens to books like birthdays

He tries to grow where he stands

He’s a warm wall his daughter climbs


This man has put his ear

to his heart and kept the secret


At the head of his round table

far from the ancient onion of mother

he settles between his shoulders

to be a calm king of argument

though his castle burns

and his people are alone.



One morning, Georgia O’Keeffe

Cobblestoned the infinite with clouds.

She stared at space.  It blushed.

She smiled.  Fire and sword,

mountain range and stream –

the vulva’s green silk rippled –

everything burned to its bone

and a black cross grew

from the radiant grave of forms.


(West Coast Poetry Review, 1979)



I earn a living

and I have a family

but to tell the truth

I’m a wild olive tree


I like cognac

and a proud Jewish song

I live wherever

I don’t belong


I watch the world decay

on every page on every face

it’s a sick man’s clouded eye

that rolls around in space


And my obsession’s

a line I can’t revise

to be a gardener in paradise




I'm still here, in a skin

thinner than a dybbuk's raincoat;

strange as the birds who scrounge,

those stubborn pumps

that bring up nothing . . .


Maddened by you

for whom the cash register,

with its clerical bells,

is a national church;

you, whose instant smile

cracks the earth at my feet . . .


May your wife go to paradise

with the garbage man,

your prick hang like a shoelace,

your balls become raisins,

hair grow on the whites of your eyes

and your eyelashes turn

into lawn mowers

that cut from nine to five . . .


Man is a skin disease

that covers the earth.

The stars are antibodies

approaching, your president

is a tsetse-fly . . .



Where could he go

from a house hidden by trees,

whose days were pebbles

in a steam of birds,

with his wife, his children,

all the books like bottles of wine

that glow on their shelves?


To a neighborhood

of crypts with windows,

high–rise transistors,

cars brighter than people;

where everyone stares

like a loaded gun

and the grass is sinister…


He stood in the yard.

A rose opened its wound,

a spider repaired its net,

an old leaf touched him

like his father’s hand;

and the trucks delivered,

or took away.



Leaves gnaw at the porch.

The century, like her family, disappears.

Life is a movie she's already seen.

Her cheeks are rose petals

in the book of better days.


Wrinkled and powdered and rouged,

bewildered by others,

alone wherever she is,

she opens her purse, she opens a drawer:

it's twilight -- she enters a photograph.


FOR W.R. RODGERS  (1909 - 1969)


I knew a candle of a man,

whose voice, meandering in a flame,

could make the shadows on the wall

listen to what he said.

Time flowed from a vein that ran

its blue crack through his pale forehead.


He's done.  You'd need a broom

to arouse him now.

All things burn before they're dead.

Some men are words that warmed a room.



Birds drip from the trees.

The moon's a little goat

over there on the hill;

dawn, as blue as her milk,

fills the sky's tin pail.


The air's so cold a gas station

glitters in an ice-cube.

The freeway hums like a pipe

when the water's on.

Streetlights turn off their dew.


The sun climbs down from a roof,

stops by a house and strikes

its long match on a wall,

takes out a ring of brass keys

and opens every door.


songs for Anat and Daniel

What we want is simple

a country like a poem

that’s beautiful and true

and makes us feel at home



There’s an old café

open everyday

and all night long

on the boulevard of time


Jeremiah wept there

Plato came to teach

It’s where proud Baudelaire


stroked his boredom’s

endless hair

and Gandhi learned to preach

and everyone

at least just once

saw the wonder in the grime

watching people

all the people

on the boulevard of time


You and I sat there

when we were young

We saw Joan of Arc

talking to her angel

at a nearby table

heard Cain condemning Abel

Marx and Freud

trying to analyze the void

between reality and desire


And I saw beauty

love and passion

in two thousand

years of fashion

always look the same

sitting in the old café

on the boulevard of time


It’s getting late

Come spare an hour

and join a table

where people spread

like petals around a flower

faces bloom like roses

strangers greeting strangers

tourists from the stars

and have a little wine

before it closes

on the boulevard of time



It’s all dissolving

like an aspirin

in a glass of doom


Speak quietly

There’s a microphone

in every tree

and a White House on the moon


They’ve killed today

and put tomorrow

in a cage

and feed it

promises and lies


Sometimes you’re glowing

with a silent rage

and broken bloodshot eyes

The unemployed are hungry

the boss plays in the snow


It’s all dissolving

and there ain’t no place to go

I felt a raindrop burn

I heard bones crumble in a breeze

Chemicals are everywhere

and everything’s diseased


And the funerals drive by

with their headlights on at noon

through cancer’s crazy city

where everyone dies too soon


But when the rich and mighty

were at their banquet

feeling safe and sound

blind Samson had a vision

and pulled the temple down

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