Dad always grew tomatoes
They were his pride and joy
So when the lady outside Home Depot
Offered me the box and said,
‘Do you have a garden?’
I didn’t say no, though I should have
I said, ‘We have a theatre…’
And somehow that was just as good.

It grows like a weed in Hollywood
In the cracks between Film and Industry
It was a grease monkey’s garage, then a shooting range
But only now
Can we call the people who run it clowns.
We put the tomatoes out
On the air conditioning supply unit
To try to add some poetry to that phrase.

Today is tomatoes in the parking lot
Tomorrow is white roof, filtered water, solar
panels, cycle racks, urban garden, green
building, public plaza, artist’s village
To build a cultural heritage for the city
I once heard described as ‘Hell’s parking lot’
Tomato by tomato
Because nobody dreams as hard as poets
And nobody works as hard as clowns.

The Comfort Ghosts

They are all here,
generations of elder queers with crooked hands
like trees. I shake my whole self at the giant’s trunk.
The forest glistens. A world built on invisible
shimmers suddenly in the light.

If only the roots could see the budding sky.

If only I could garden my history so deep.

This is strength.
This is pride.
To be burned, emptied.
To stand tall, anyway, play host to new branches, fresh green,
a forest with a single
root system.

Whatever they say of us, let them say,

we didn’t do this alone.

After the Music

Praise the Zoom call.
You’re on mute, love!
Can’t hear you —

(secretly) Praise (the bad) connection.

Praise our home offices, our home schools,
our home gyms, our closed bars, our kitchen dances,
our cooking fails, our odd jobs. Our rented
U-Hauls. Our promises to stay.

In a workshop (online, duh), my friend Dorsay,
a resplendent seventy five, crowned in Diana Ross curls,
shares her poem: butterflies, a lover’s caress
and then — Why should I not want to just die?

She seeded concerts across the city for decades.
Now, it’s impossible to sing together. Everyone is slightly
out of time. What happens after the music?
We gape and stammer, but Dorsay —

she booms laughter, claps her hands.
We’re here aren’t we? However we gather,
it’s a party. Our face parade, through lag and crash, and latency,
logging on against erasure. I’ll be there

next week, writes Dorsay. A late night promise.
The next morning, bougainvillea shocks pink
across the sidewalk. I leave the Russian bakery
with a loaf of black Borodinsky rye.

Praise the long walk, with no end. The right now.
Our newly fragiled bodies.
That awkward, grateful way we hold each other
at any distance.