Poetry from Dan Cardoza

If You Pause

Deer trail crisscross my childhood path in the green hills of California, folding themselves into creases in the front yards of Witchweed and Valley Oak.

In the damp far below, I hear the highway hiss, its glissade slowed by the tug of spring grass.

It slithers on its belly ribs, flicks its tongue, seeks the warmth of prey.

I feel my chest cage tighten, noose.

Things have changed in the adoration of hunt, fill.

French farmers say if you pause in the spring hills of Normandy, the Gold Plated Yarrow will blind you like sun.




There are a lot of choices

we make in life, some have reasons.




My Raised Amnesia Garden

I built it out of redwood, hot-dipped

galvanized bolts, half inch washers,

hexed nuts, 4×6 redwood corner posts.


I am almost sure it’s just for me, now

that it’s nearly complete.


It’s time to compost the raised garden.

Avocado skins, carrot top, forgiveness,

chicken manure, layers of moldy onion skin too.


And when the last frost has healed the warm

soil, at the first sign of spring, I’ll plant parsnips,

rows of lettuce, alongside turmeric, basil and a

blueberry bush, good for memory I am told.


I’ll sew my favorite, bitter sweet ginger, some

amnesia & avocado in celebration of you.


These I intend to harvest each season,

along with carrot, red radish––tomato.



Weather Report, Chance of Rain

Candy coated cold front, cloudy with a chance of heavy rain from the leaky basements of someone’s storied heaven above.


With predictability, the weight of the sky ruptures glass needles full of Lilliputian thorns, hook sharp for a high.


All of the sudden, your baby isn’t the same no more, the other side wanted him––got his address, his mail, mailbox too.

You say he was a good baby. No fault, not true. Blame the spoon, tin foil, a cigarette lighter or two.


Its late winter, in an empty park full of green swings & chipped picked nicked tables.  In a swollen rain sick stream his coffin gonna swim, like a wood thatched tomb with glassy cracked fins.

Today in matters of not, in the valley where nothings grow, the stream fills the River of Doors, continues its flow.


Though too late, the weather man forecasts raining brass keys, not knowing he’s done used up all his in and outs.


As his coffin enters the expanse of bay, Salacia concedes a psalm of kings just off the rocky shores at Carrickfergus.  Dun stallions dressed in lacquered black hooves fight current, pull him further to sea.


And now we can only wish them safe passage to the palace of wings––smooth sailing to Areion’s endless green fields.


First Maps

When we first met, we would camp in the Sierras, Point Reyes, or at the Mendocino Headlands.  By the light of stars & fire, we read maps, some with missing pages. We said topographies are luxuries, and not all destinations are essential.

Cartographers off ramps, tourist traps, and gas stops, simple there’s, pulp, ink.  We concurred that our maps were not always accurate, some worn, torn, others with abandoned pages. We laughed that at least the missing pages had their own directions, unlike us.

And yet we are compelled to wander lost at times, our thoughts & dreams somehow detoured, together or apart.

Prehistoric maps were unfeigned, scribed in the dirt by the dead, with sharp rocks, fire sticks & finger bone, all manifest etchings, here, there’s.

Daily our maps grow more complex, even those patiently waiting in the bookshelf at home for our trips. They know what we fear, that the lost pages, the incomplete directions won’t tell us which way to go, or direct us to who we are, guide us on how to live or die, or point our way there.


Dan A. Cardoza

email:  dancardoza@hotmail.com

Twitter: @Cardozabig