Andrew Aulino


You left me a lucky street to work in,

this historic district with pro forma

moss between shifted brick.

Movement without looking:

where memory folds

into the architecture both of

cinder-block and hours.

Each in ten years of day is

a transparent pane tinted

with your filament..


I pass through the neighborhood park

often under the footbridge

with its reliefs, its mice, its mass of birds.

moving on two places,

foot on brick and years.


You are every bird

under the bridge,

their hauntings of noise,

and the flock when it moves.


If I could pluck one out in midflight,

grasp it biting and slapping me

I might stop replacing vision

with memory for a moment,

see the street as feral and elusive

as the beginning, distracted with

scrapings in the dormer.


I lingered once for

hours past midnight;

when crickets retook

their human voices

to talk among themselves





The Datura opens here.


It’s easy to love

all those names;

dhatur, dhattura,

white thorn-apple,

moonflower, locoweed in Los Angeles,

kanak and unmatt,

toloache, datura-

blanca, burundanga and

borrachero, and to

say each one

as long as it will stay in the mouth.


I’ve been a little drunk myself


even before I swallowed

(jimson-weed and Jamestown weed, as well)

the sharp seeds;

just spoke them slowly, like chewing.



On the lawn, a

shoot’s slow roar of growth

has become a tree,

spread uncurling

branches hung with flowers.

They tangled every jogger through Sunset Junction.


Long blossoms,

bell shapes of

oblique white,

their day-color.


It’s a “tree”, it’s a “flower,”

one when it’s not the other, a

bell when not a flower,

a plant and

also (I read) medicine, and poison, and more.

There’s a name for all of it.


At night it isn’t a tree or flower..

Stalk and verdure vanish in the dark.

The flowers lose their bodies

in a mass of white fire,


alight midair



And now day.

I set datura here,

as if it were a shoot

and this paper a lawn,

set by the gate for emphasis.

The flowering of the page.


It can’t keep still.


On heavy roots, it manages


slips from its plot to

bud and flourish,

burn, wilt, always



I have it right

beside the front gate;

all mine,

offering nothing.

A flower flowers;

here is beauty, take some.


I have been a little maddened–


sat under it for a night and then another

to put my arms around fire, for.

some wider kind of having.


That’s no way of having anything:


This grasping was a failure.

I repeated it every time I spoke the name

hoping I could shape  flora

with sound in the hollow of my throat.


It came to be better taken in


to chew the leaves,

swallow hard-edged seeds.

My spine in an upward twist

blood like fire down a hall,

glowing with it.

An assignation:

the datura has me by the flesh,

It does what it wants with me.


Andrew Aulino began spending time in with San Bernadino, Riverside, and Irvine during his early years in the Southwestern United States. He became familiar Inland Empire during many trips spent crossing California with family.  He expanded this familiarity living in Los Angeles, where he retains personal ties. He currently lives in Sacramento.