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Ron Salisbury is available for
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Spinoza in San Diego


Thinking was something I did

on Tuesday and here it was, Thursday.

Lloyd says that the soul is outside

our bodies, a spectral bit that passes

in front of our eyes and disappears

around the right ear. I have timed

its transit and it takes about thirty hours

which means that sometimes I am

most soulful when asleep which might

explain the occasional dream about

one of my ex-wives and the sense of

loneliness rather than the other dreams

of them when I am relieved to be

here, alone with a dog, aging and shedding—

him not me. This morning though, the little

gnat of soul is right in front like

a mote in God’s eye, if God

had eyes which makes me wonder

what Lloyd would say about that.

Be that as it is, the coffee is fine

this morning and possibility reigns

until that mote again passes

the right ear.


My Career as a Poet


Rub words red as rhubarb,

arrange them like the morning

line at the day-old-bread store.

The house at night thick

with them, ungrateful,

they eat everything, scare the cat.

Like your dim cousin, Todd,

they never leave.


I’ve tried sneaking out,

just abandoning everything

and starting over. But,

no, when I get to Motel 6,

they’re already there,

TV blaring, crappy

air conditioning under

the window, freezing.

The Entropy of Joy


Some afternoons when the sun crowds the horizon

over the Pacific


I go to the edgy street where the other people live    

their houses overlook


the great egg drooling into the distant pewter

I like to think


they’re not happy either


what they have is somehow not what they thought

they’d have


Is their unhappy more unhappy because their more

is so much more


than mine    and just now a guy pushes his grocery cart

piled high down


the sidewalk    He coils on a bench   feet on a schist

low wall


pulls a bent cigarette from his pocket    carefully

straightens it out


lights    head back    blows a flume    socked feet on the wall

the egg    Oh the egg


between his toes at the very crust    the very crust west

to the dove wing’s


fat gray beyond      all the way



Doggenes Physics


When I balance a little egg of time

on the dog’s nose and say, “Not Now.”

“Now Wait.” The dog’s amber eyes

flit between the egg and my eyes,

waiting. This is the only time

when the seven years of his and

the one year of mine even out—

this twenty seconds, the very most

either of us can stand. Einstein

and all his theories, Heraclitus

and his river, Nietzsche’s God,

all hold their breath until I say,

“Now.” He catches it before

it hits the ground and the machinery

of time resumes its clank and whirr.


            “balanced a little egg of time” is from

             Billy Collins’ poem “Fishing on the

             Susquehanna in July.”



Almost Eighty


It must be Seasonal Affective Disorder. The information

showed up on Reggie’s spam file. He checks his spam

often because it’s much more interesting. He ordered

the baseball cap with a little light in the brim that shines

in his face.  He wears it everywhere--Vons for eggs,

Home Depot for mollies, everywhere.  Even the beach.

One problem is the light reflects in his glasses

and he keeps running into things. With one hand

out in front, people begin to open doors for him,

help him at cross walks. Eunice won’t talk to him.

His dog doesn’t want his walk anymore.  Maybe,

Reggie thinks, it’ll kick in next week.