Monday, August 20, 2012

at a remove, inglorious

I live in the construct of your proclamations,
in the watery shadows you fail to sharpen.
You remain undefined even in the keenest light,
ephemeral, forgettable, though I cannot forget
the crooked tale that bore you. Your voice, a hinge
song, rust on rust, a lark’s own hymn, fills the rafters
like moonbeams. What a meager thing to clutch,
a slight breath between  verses, an absence.

I am a snowflake atop the hoary permafrost,
sharp angles of ice rendered in pen, discarded
by sky and crushed by intention. I fall from mercy,
a silver blossom, weightless in an arc of mutiny.
I live in the hem of your coat, a broken thread,
knotted in the hope of pearls and lanterns.
Oh, what am I, but an ache in your jaw, a tooth
in angry decline?  Somewhere I am none of these.

There I am a copper wind, curled like smoke,
an impossible light that follows the wrens
into the twilight’s grace. You gaze the other way. 

Monday, April 04, 2011


I found the blue one on the bottom of the cage,
dead in the way that only birds can be,
a feathered husk. It weighed no more
than the memory of an unremarkable day.

I might have worn it on a thread, an ornament
of sky and sad curled feet. Things die. 
We are such unheeded orphans, afterthoughts
at best. Our histories are barely mounds 
upon the earth’s resilient back. Our stories

find no audience. The long nights consume
the heart, the heft of bone, the light
that someone might have cherished. 
We are fistfuls of feathers, so insubstantial 

we fear the wind and the crush of wheels.
It would take so little for us to fall,
to be wrapped in a shred of lace
with only a suggestion of blue to mark
an epoch that once was winged.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The bones of your dory rest under the pines.
Untouched since last August,
she gathers webs and shadows.
She should be long done, painted, varnished,
 graceful in the bay.
The wood sits beneath the sky,
bears the sun and moon, the rain
and snow. The wind hums through her, 
echoes her emptiness. Always she aches 
for your hands to finish her.

Anne, who would be queen

Oh, that I might be tidy, sky blanched,
fields ribboned, trees skinned of bark.
But all is a-jumble, tangled and on fire.
Your fox-grin is torn away by a gust.
I am left to imagine your chattering jaw.

If I were neat you would be buried
behind the flat stones, courted
by cockroach and pin-light. 
But you are a shattered goblet, here
and there, sharp and eager for flesh. 

My shelves are rife with such stories,
spines rotten and pages loose.
I will never pick them up again.
I leave them for the flood, for the blaze,
for the blind-eyed moon. Let the tragedy

play out once more to the song of glass
and wind. Remind me what to regret.
Then perhaps I will disinherit
this chaos, my birthright of disarray.
I will let you go like a handful of dust.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

a winter day

Morning breaks, cut-glass bright and rife with winter
birds. I hear the stars shift just beneath the day’s blue
fa├žade, a whisper as silvery as the icy creek’s refrain.
I miss the umber twilight, the grackles penciled in, charcoal

and sepia suggestions of movement. It is too keen,
this early light with shadows as sharp as calligraphy.
There remain no pine swept paths, no sugar-sand ways
where sea oats bow. There is only macadam and limestone,

a sleet-glazed cliff, a dull scene daubed on its craggy face. 
Thankfully, the day is brief, a snowy trillium trampled
by the coming dark. By four there is iron on the wind. 
I paint in this poor light, in hues gleaned from a well.

Familiar, this darkness. Sweet, the absence of truth’s cruel light.
I paint a door as black as these bare window panes,
imagine a room behind it where even the night gleams
golden and claims dominion over the sting of frost and fear.

Monday, December 06, 2010

On reading poetry

On reading poetry

Master of pot lids-
clatter, sing, and snivel.
You think yourself bigger somehow
when you stand on sheets of paper,
arms sticking out of the windows
of a very small house.
You prissy poet, with one trick
reincarnated ad nauseum,
I would know your smear
in a bucket of snot.

I have eaten your words
after you, the regurgitated
strophe, a bowl of lukewarm mush,
staccato verses caught in my throat.
The tapeworm of your prosy proclivity
burrows in my belly.

I return to it though,
out of some curious loyalty,
Run my hands over almost sonnets
mortified by the thrill
the symmetry stirs.
One acquires a taste for it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I would offer up the violet cords
that twine my wrists, the knobby arc
of my sleeping spine, the nakedness

of my greed. Oh, pillow and moon,
light severed by reeds, at night I wish
for impossible things. Coyotes run
like starlings on the wind, yet I remain
astonished by the rush of seasons.

I would, you know, even now,
open my hands in honesty, forget
the reasons and regrets. If I could

breathe again the river would sweep
the song from my mouth and all
I would do is kiss you, fill you
with the light of captured stars.
I would offer up the violet shadows

that haunt my eyes, the tender bones
I’ve borrowed from the wrens,
the truth that has no words but these.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


October is a door I am thrust through,
a maw that gapes before me, all bittersweet
and acorn shades. Some think it lovely,
but I do not. I see its hunger for all
that is alive, from leaf to ruddy flesh.

It longs to dress the hills and glades
with garish hues and coffin mounds.
The air bears a bouquet of sorrow.
The grackles bear it up on ragtag wings
and span the fire laced sunset

with their omens and harsh cries.
Memory comes as a conjurer, clever
and unkind, in a swirl of dark wind.
He burrows in the chest, worm-like.
I think of autumns when I was young

and took the aching light as a sign
of tenderness, let it pour down
my throat like an elixir. October
makes me close my eyes. My heart
though, is a door ajar to this familiar grief.