Wednesday, December 31, 2008

without buildings

Momentary Architectures

an underwater flower swaying beneath the wake

a long-dried leaf tumbling atop a snowdrift

the gathering storm clouds looming over treetops

the delicate romance
of momentary architectures
in which i often linger

photos by a.c. nagl

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


An Armor Of Our Own

all harm ends here

safe beside
safe inside

pull the blankets close
beneath our chins
and hide another hundred years

all harm ends here

photo by a.c. nagl

A Sun Unhinged

the name of a person you once knew,

more like a silhouette in a dimly lit room,

the light bulb going off overhead
becomes a sun unhinged,
spinning out of control
on a collision course
with your world
especially when

the name is followed by

a beat,
a breath,

a word like a sigh of blinding candescence,


, a luminaire illuminating dark corners
caching a collection of memories
covered in a thick dust, long forgotten
but one by one gaining a glow,
dotting the black space of dreams
like so many stars in a night sky,
falling like a cold chill in the absence of the sun

for Dave W.

Monday, December 29, 2008

For John McPhee

A World Away (Hermit In An Ancient Sea)

in these hills,
hidden from a world on fire,
i sit watching snow fall,
building walls around myself
with mcphee's geology

that says,
this used to be a great ancient sea,
which i believe,

cloistered here, a world away,
as a wave of flush from this red wine
washes over me, flooding this biology,
extinguishing the flames beyond these hills
even if only for this brief moment in time

living out loud

Sounding Off In A Vacuum

i threw a brick through a window,
it didn't make a sound,
but as you heard i'm still picking up the pieces

i threw a wrench into a situation,
it didn't make a sound,
but the silence that followed is almost deafening

i threw a rock inside a glass house,
it didn't make a sound,
but listen closely for the coming recriminations

like bringing a bull into a china shop,
these are the repercussions of sounding off in a vacuum

green grow the rushes grow

Green Rushes / Grey Ruins / Lush Landscapes

You threw me under the bus knowing we still had roads to travel,
Brown dirt off-the-beaten paths and broad blue highways spidering maps
Like veins coarsing beneath the skin covering a broken heart,
Left to lament the forever altered scenery surrounding us,
Green grown rushes turned to ghost grey ruins.

The blood black bruise of tire tracks across my back will fade
And I will pull myself to stand again on seemingly unsteady kildeer legs,
Brushing the dust of disillusionment from my sleeves,
Placing the crumple of a hat back upon my birdwing bandaged head,
Ready to walk this road alone, healing as miles become years,
Wounds becoming scars that time will forget but I will never
As I wander new lush landscapes alone without you.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

it's no game

Second Chances

never recognizing the moments that will matter most

[a redlight run by a woman]

we put our faith in ouija boards, fate or fortune one letter at a time

[my brother in a coma, in intensive care]

like a thousand puzzle pieces that never fit to form a landscape

[by his bedside wanting just one word]

end up playing 52-pickup again and again with each others emotions

[on my knees praying]

a random spin on the board of Life where it's better to be lucky than good

[both of us, suddenly awake, decades later, a thousand miles apart]

an entire game of Scrabble where we both have only vowels

[still wanting just one word]

never recognizing the moments that might matter most

... not once, but twice

Lightning In A Bottle (As it Begins To Snow)

lightning over snow stretching across an open field,
strange days have found us, indeed,

and in their landscape the snow turn rain turn fog
beclouding what the coming months may hold

no crystal ball can say, but surely snows will return
to freeze us fast in place to the slow grey of december

until gypsy winds blow come march to stir
the bedouin spirit of our vagabond hearts

the lion to lamb a reminder of april days around the bend
and a new wandering spirit on the way

though the wanderlust of years sits still admiring this moment
where we have captured lightning in a bottle as it begins to snow

Friday, December 26, 2008

old man river

Like The River, Slowly

like the river,
in the dry of autumn,
I roll along


slow over the round of rocks beneath me,
shaped by years of swift and rush,
hardened in the harsh sun cycles of drought

not looking ahead or behind I've found
nor is this head lost in the clouds,
walking behind my own shadow for once,
leading me where I may follow

subtle and slow enough is this journey at last
to stop and step around the nest of an ovenbird

painting: Reflections of Autumn III by Connie Tom

consider the chaos

Upon Further Reflection

Consider the chaos,
Fashioned from the stagnant mud of gene pools,
Mutating from brain to blood to lung,
The muck of it slowing even the strides of Science,
As it walks freely into, while overwhelming, a room,
One already wading in the quick sands of time
Slipping through our Quaker hands,
With no divine right to crawl on all fours from the ooze
Into a cell that can never contain its divisive nature,
Splitting while spitting the black-bile, green-gill of certain consumption
Sight unseen though as obscene as the crooked smile it cracks
While shattering the illusion, along with the vanity, of our vitalogy
Reflected in a mirror image no more than a mirage,
And so upon further reflection and without reservation
We call its bluff, force its hand, take it to task,
Armed to the teeth and ready to face mortality but not before
Walking through its irradiated wildfire-floodplain-landslide wasteland
Cradling, carrying the swaddled remains of calm dignity,
Rescued from a hospital room filling with smoke bedlam and mud fathoms.

well in hand

A Scar Is Just The Sound Of A Rusting World Healing

i burned my hand

and it began healing overnight,

the red welted-white blistered palm,

read in the dark of a
psychic-tarot-fortune teller
dream seance,


a life in balance,

a world perfectly positioned
in the center of a fulcrum
held by that same burned/healing hand,

the other cupped to an ear to hear
the harmony ringing softly between
birth and death,


water smoothing shattered rocks,
snow falling on dead trees,
pianos rusting in country fields.

photo by shelley powers

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

dance the night away

To A Scottish Lilt

I dreamed I danced and danced with you,
My two clumsy feet, two sweaty palms
Remembered I was sleeping and so
I waltzed without a stutter in my step,
Never speaking, closely listening
To your breathing, unconsciously knowing
You were lying right beside me
As I bowed and you ballerina curtsied,
My hand gently slipping into yours
As we danced the night away
Side by side, slumber leading.

Christ you know it ain't easy...

Live Through This

I won't die twice.

You murdered me once
but I dragged my own skeletal frame
from a shallow dirt grave up the hill backwards,
like a Fitzcarraldo made of spit, spite and marrow,
narrowly escaping a fate worse than death,
the slow suction of life with you
like crucifixion suffocation giving way
to the exaltation of resurrection summited,
witnessed only by the golden light of a rising sun
high above and beyond the thrust of your dagger glance,
dull now with the rust of bloodshot, suicide tired
weighting all those setting suns you've spent alone
looking back counting days whose weathering winds
aged you where it matters most,
around your eyes, behind your eyes,
left blinded by your own selfish desires,
but still able to see you murdered me once.

I won't die twice.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

... just my imagination, once again...

Crush (We Will Not Be Lovers)

melt summers' swelter memory in your imagined kiss kept for a
warming my imagination through shiver winters though we have yet to
sheltered in daydreams of gravity autumns i fell for you unseen beneath
where hope springs eternal for love blossoming below the surface still

Monday, December 22, 2008

i am the cosmos

The Man In Me

end of another year,
not just any other year
but the beginning of the end of an era,
moving light years beyond myself
in search of deliverance from myself
to find the outstretched arms of the universe
reaching down from january through june, july
and on 'til now, ancient hands grasping my palms,
pulling the fabric of my being through some rip
in the tapestry of the time/space continuum,
delivering the man in me to the life
that always seemed like a dim and distant star,
leaving behind the boy, safe and sound,
within the constellations of my memory.

'tis the season

Let Us Garlands Bring

let us garlands bring,
it is the season for forgetting while remembering
forgiveness shivers outside in cold structures of silence
awaiting the warmth of breath's whispered reassurance
as soft as winter's blanket adorning snow-covered pines.

photo by a.c. nagl

Sunday, December 21, 2008

soul mining

Of Placers Found

mining the placers of this life,
found riches slipped into mud-wet pockets
though hidden reveal

the diamond in the rough of
a curled photo of maternal great grandfathers
standing in the thaw of a dakota spring,
dated 1934, the year of my mother's birth

the golden moment of
steadying her with an arm extended
across the stoop of her caned gate
ambling over the ice of yet another keystone winter

the silver lining of
the days come rain or shine
of summers in their footsteps, autumns in their shoes,
walking seasons in their shadows where i stake my claim

Thursday, December 18, 2008

whichever way the wind blows

Nothing Left For The Lions

shook from sleep in this garden,
kissed, crossed, then torn apart,
all you knew of me, 25 years,
a short lifetime like another life now,
blown as dust to a locust wind
carrying within its swarm of sound
the din of denial, the buzz of betrayal,
the lone elder tree of this new desert
stripped leafless to bare witness
to nary a Judas hung upon a rope of remorse
from limbs that cast no shade to sand
where predators late to the jackal kill lie,
licking wounds and searching for scraps,
finding nothing left for the lions

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Give 'em Enough Rope

Infinite Gist (an open letter to David Foster Wallace)

i have no respect
for giving up,

the ghost

of you

left behind something less than infinite.

surely you jest,

mock my own happiness

as I sit here in a small room,


happy in this alone, if nothing else.

happy, even when left hanging in mid-air,
waiting on a word, a phrase, a line


the most intellectually ambitious novelist of a generation's
seemingly boundless gift found finite despite it all, after all,
having stepped off his own thick tome into the infinite,
what might have been left dangling at the end of a rope

, sad i know,
but really nothing more than the gist.

image by ryan alexander

Thursday, December 11, 2008

riding the iron horse

The End Of The Line

where do we begin, where do we end?

riding the rails of this life,
the tracks curving away,


ahead of
and behind us.

iron horse hearts
plowing through
drifts of snow born sorrow
piled along the steep of a grade
we all must climb,
blocking the bend of horseshoe curves
we cannot see beyond.

the beginning of our journey becoming
a blur of motion like a locomotive
speeding through a station,

heading west into a setting sun,
over years, over miles,
passing through suspect terrain,
physical, emotional, mental,
finally arriving at a destination,
the end of the line.

our own wild horses tamed at last
and lying down beside us in Elysian fields.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

beneath blankets, of snow



slipping under sleep
beneath blankets,

of snow outside i dream
wrapped in cold comfort

knowing i will awake
to a long winter ahead.

when the days get shorter and the nights get long

Snow Globe

Hide myself beneath a beard
When winter hints of the world's slowed spin
And its days' quick retreat to sudden dark ends
With chimney smoke the only sign of life within this snow globe.

photo by mr. uhdd

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

for Charles Maxwell Anderson

Pennsy-Cali Breakdown

trees in california on fire,
their halo of sparks becoming
the swarm of lightning bugs in this yard,
if they all lit at once

compressed between the san andreas fault
and the pacific ocean

straddling the rolling western reaches
of the appalachian chain

it's no one's fault
we cannot reach each other

even with
the choked smoke signals of burning palms,
the flashed morse code of lightning bugs

Monday, December 8, 2008

heart full of rain

No Comparison To

A short film

with only sound.

Sorrow stands smoking in a doorway

above a puddling sidewalk.

Splash cabs and crying sirens, a sad opera

and the ghost of Maria Callas like fog through a window,

"Nessun confronto a,"

the insult of a man pretending to know what a woman really feels.

Another cigarette lit with the kiss of red lips,

then she steps into the rain.

painting: 'waiting in the rain' by steve hanks

ice sculpture

Freeze Frame

freeze this moment, you and i standing at the window,
my arms around your waist, the light just so along the ridge,
a little heartbeat softly slipping perfectly between us,
warming our hearts, echoing across the frozen lake.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

pilgrims' progress

Strangers In A Strange Land

There were always oceans to cross.

Blunt force waves pulling punches beneath our promise.
Gale force winds pushing palisades against our progress.

Pilgrims, you and I, we pressed on, far afield, pure of purpose
But less than puritan, looking for our own Plymouth Rock.

Strangers in a strange land, familiar through desire, through dreams,
Feet finally firm upon a beachhead, unforgiving seas over our shoulders.

There will always be oceans to cross.

two hearts beat as one

Siamese Dream

Your skin,
liquid across my bones,
a Siamese dream as we sleep,
entangled, until awaking conjoined,
closer than Chang and Eng ever were.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Ask The Dust

Ask the dust why weep this life
As we crawl toward death
Where we will wed
Our beginning to our end.

Born to the same pure waters
As Jean Baptiste waded to the waist,
Bound by the same mortal blood
A carpenter wept across a cross.

Hanging beneath this tree stand pulpit
Towering over man-made martyrdom,
Eden still surrounds an infidel
In this church not made with hands.

So bury my tears along with my body
Beneath tenderfoot apostles' feet,
Walking woods in search of answers
Never thinking to ask the dust.

Friday, December 5, 2008

noble beast unburdened

wolves, lower / brave such mists

night dawns, awakened by tribal drums,
primitive rhythms pounding across my skin, tight to begin,
loosening with the sacrificial wine warming our primal world,
dimming light reflected in the red wet wax of my eyes,
half-lit appetite for carnal knowledge of sorts,
thoughts of your flesh releasing wolves,
lower inhibitions which no longer inhabit, inhibit
this noble beast unburdened,


masked, naked, armed,

around the fire
of desire's arrival,
you suddenly secret away,
cupped in your hands,
carried off toward content,
beyond a heart of darkness,
down a river daring me
to brave such mists as this,

matrimony with only the wilderness as witness,

first born son, daughter weening me of childish ways,

passions born of struggles storied in the drums of our jungle survival.

In Memory Of Henry Gustav Molaison

More Zen Than Zen

every day was new,

especially todays,
even tomorrows.

yesterdays were,
but then became
neither new, nor old,

simply vanishing,
leaving only the moment

where there was always
a first time for everything,

the walk in the woods,
the smell of an orange,
the face of a visitor

who came
again and again and again.

a lifetime of memories blown
like dandelion seeds to the wind,
one moment at a time.

living only in the now,
more Zen than Zen.

a lifetime of moments,
like millions of matches
lit one at a time in a hurricane.

the final sulphurous spark
extinguished along with a life
only we remember.

gone but not forgotten.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

boxcars left burning

Gone Dead Train

Boxcars left burning with any and all regrets,
my new morning jacket and the book of possibility
slung over a shoulder, the smolder left to the tracks
tagging along behind me, the growl and hiss of
your love's trainwreck lost to the distance I've ambled
down this line and to my own new found whistle on the wind.

thanks to doug baker for "the jacket and the book"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Architecture Of Language

A Stone Is A Stone Is A Stone (for Gertrude Stein & Ayn Rand)

Wake the brick
told wherewithal
a stone is a stone is a stone.

Winged documentation
the other
building written.

Stuttering concrete
pictured frail
without forget.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

wax poetic

Outside The Lines

we stand atop the green hill,
the yellow sun in a blue sky
giving no hint of a world running down,
ready to sit still instead of spinning on

peach stick hands, hers in mine, mine in hers,
holding on for dear life to a day in danger
of stopping dead in its tracks

the golden rule, broken by those who made it,
we discover was made to be broken

and so
color ourselves outside the lines
in a childish attempt to escape
the consequences of growing up

Monday, December 1, 2008

dark end of the street

I Am The Night


the sun has set,
whether on blue or grey cast day,
and so, the night steps softly, timid at first,
through the unfocused light of dusk,
then, with a blink, as the eyes struggle to adjust,
the shroud, the veil, the mask,
completely across the face of the sun.


and with the drawing of the drape, comes the quiet,
the space where thoughts are free to drift as embers,
to flicker, to fade, to flit, to form, to fly in the face of,

there then gone, off then on, here then there,
fireflies outside a window, inside a mind

where voices may not follow,
their footsteps stumbling through darkness,
never finding their way to listen to, sit amidst
the sound of brush strokes, contemplated equations,
the whir of words spinning like mobiles across lobes
from left to right to left, science carnal with art
beneath sheets where Gertrude Stein and William James
pose like Picasso nudes.


when night falls
the world is un enfant de nouveau,
asleep in the infinite silence of space,
the lunar shift of tides rocking her gently from side to side.

the yawn, the sigh,
anchor and moor
in a black sea of sinking dreams and shifting starlight.


stalking a house full of halogen light,
windows opaque at last and
only hinting at the trees just beyond their frames
filled now with the black paintings of Frank Stella,
this artist-in-residence settles into the rhythms
'round midnight, jazz riff words drumming off walls,
filling fake books with poetry in motion,
emotion cutting through smoke and fears
to comfort the little boy still lost inside
nightmares lying in wait beneath beds,
behind closet doors just barely left ajar.


I am the night.

I swallow the fear, the loneliness, the depression
of the day, inconsolable, crouching in the depths
of a vampire soul blood-lusting for the dark end of the street,
to wander with wanton abandon, leaving behind the light,
rising with the moon as the sun surrenders
to my sanguinous cape spilling across the shoulders of this earth.

I am the night.


something about
out of the blue and into the black,
coming back again and again to breathe deeply
the coffee-narcotic filling this 10 x 10 room,
a seemingly suffocating proposition though air apparent,
for an heir apparent to another night of ink black bliss inhalation.


night is not murder, night is not death.

night alone watches over us,
as we sleep below its surface
navigating the depths of dreams
as disjointed and jarring
as the prose of Tender Buttons,

from which, to night, we awake, safe,

pulling the comfort of hours
still left before twilight
even closer beneath the chin.


tired eyes


the Cimmerian destination

they travel to,

leaving behind Homer, Milton,

even this nocturnal meditation

of this good night.

painting: frank stella's 'marriage of reason'

Saturday, November 29, 2008

silence is golden slumbers

Angel Of Repose

in the cradled arms of this silence,
nestled deep in the bosom of this quiet,

language is unnecessary,
sound is a luxury waiting to be heard,

the hum of an appliance,
the flicker of the fire,
the exhale of a breath,

an aria as she sleeps beside me.

there is music in the spaces between our speech
where I have watched her dance,
the bride becoming the little girl
who never took ballet.

there are dreams in the pauses for reflection
where I have slept, eyes wide open,
the little boy awake in his bed,
restless to become this man.

as I lie here,
taciturn in this vestal hush,
all I hear are

her dreams.

my angel of repose,

her beating heart
like the flutter of wings,
like the rhythm of a lullaby,

rocking me to sleep.

Le Silence, painted plaster sculpture by August Preault circa 1842-43

Friday, November 28, 2008

dissonance & consonance

Yesterday's Weather

the summer we spent beneath the trees,

not even Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
could upset the fragile tide of days.

word of floods, their toll, mud sorrows
more like histories read than yesterday's weather.

almanac rains' gravity fall,
the apples ready, but not willing to let go,

waiting on the cut across tall corn,
the dry, cool winds of a new season

trumpeting a modest triumph,
the rivers turning to cobblestone,

at the end of
the summer we spent beneath the trees.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

axis, bold as love

23 Degrees

the axis I am standing on,
tilted twenty three degrees,
tilted away from the sun,
and so then, am I

left to calculate
the degrees of separation
between us,
if you leave.

my shadow,
spinning askew,
alone and fading
under a cold december sun,
dipping by degrees toward
a hemisphere where everything runs backwards,

where maybe you'd be coming back to me,
our shadows strong, together, and tilted toward the sun.

Gao Xingjian's silhouette and his shadow, Marseille, 2003
by Alain Melka/Jean-Louis Darmyn

life imitating art / art imitating life

The Art of Living

Time will not erase us.
Like the star in the daytime sky
We are made of the same blue atom dust cloud
Running streams of ore rust, surrounding Orion's belt,
Sketching Van Gogh's Enclosed Field with a Sower in the Rain.
And so walk the outskirts of a frame we canvas with Emersonian footsteps,
Singing songs for a painter, sitting stone cold quiet in landscapes
Brushing our knees with tall grass and cattails.
Our faces, in winter white mime, catching sunfall stretching across
Unspoken memories of grade school globes and art classes
To paint our skin, as we laze away the day hidden from humanity,
Thinking without speaking, knowing without understanding,
That the ghost lying between us is the specter of happiness
And more ephemeral, more ethereal than the carbon copy of ourselves
In a painting, in this landscape, in A Starry Night
Hidden for now but soon hung for all to admire over our heads.

Van Gogh's 'Enclosed Field with a Sower in the Rain'
and 'A Starry Night'

Wednesday, November 26, 2008



the wind comes up,
turns your name on its side,
carrying its soft two syllables
off with a gust,
and i wonder,

what will i call you now?

though you seem the same,

birds at home in your cupped hands,
wolves asleep across your bare feet,
the changing color of your autumn hair
catching the same shimmer of cold sun

while all the while,
wine kissed lips murmur assurances,
intoxicating me with the nom de plume
flowing from your mouth

knowing all too well, though,
rivers wait, patient,
in recognition of art beyond landscape,
as the ripple across their lengths
whispers the name you gave away
to a world beyond my reach

and so, perhaps, because,
as nature would have it,
I am left to call you, Love.


Thanks and Giving

gather my shit,
burn it all in effigy,
thank heaven for the smoke before me,
release has never smelled so sweet,
giving me wings to rise above it all,
the dead applaud just over my shoulder,
giving is forgetting, a reminder of what matters,
most of the time, feet on the ground, head in the clouds.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

gimme fever


her fever,
her sleep

inside me


skin crawls,
finding her bones

together again,
entwined, conjugal


Monday, November 24, 2008


Songs In The Key Of Sea

the songs I knew left lying on a beach, tumbled by the sea

a ship sinking out beyond where the ocean makes music,
the rhythm of the waves dancing distress signals
in and out of sight on the horizon

seen from the sky where no one was watching,
unseen from the shore where children sat distracted

a growing recognition of the genius of birds,
scooping notes from the crescendo of white caps
drowning all other sound, even the sound of drowning

the silence itself like the people you never knew,
mute motifs laid to rest at the bottom of a tumbled sea

she is sanctuary

The Living End

My Joan of Arc, my merciful martyr,
How can I ever count all the different deaths
You have saved me from?

The melancholy,
The sadness,
The bitter resign
All buried alive by the avenging angel of your heart
All laid to rest by the never-surrender of your soul,
All burned beyond recognition by the bonfire of your spirit.

Resurrected, I survive, an apostate,
Reborn as an apostle of you,
My new religion, the living end.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

May-December Romance

May Come, Come May

The snow looked like
Diamond-sparkle-glitter-sand under a hot sun
As I stood stunned by the swirl of flakes falling
And the thought of a baby on the way.
A fuzzy, warm feeling coming over me despite December
And the prospect of waiting out a long winter for May to come.
The tingle in my fingertips not from cold,
But from the sweet anticipation of holding him or her,
Whichever may come, come May.

photo by akluenser

Saturday, November 22, 2008

rain on my radio

I Am The DJ

it felt like rain,
driving alone,
Go Your Own Way playing on the radio

could you hear me singing it to you,
could you see the rain clouds closing in?

my tailights dimming
with the growing distance
fading out like a sad refrain

Friday, November 21, 2008

a string theory

The Man Who Fell To Earth

You notice the stars as we ride the curvature of the earth in a car,
spinning wheels meeting spinning world, intellectually understood,
yet lost in the moment soul meets sky, a bittersweet sigh entwine
of violin and cello slipping neatly between the sunspot AM static,
its plucked notes, bowed chords so full of soothe, so full of desire
that as I close my eyes I drift from all that is known, all that is secure
into the vast of space surrounding, the earth almost out of my reach
as I grab your hand just in the nick of time, just as we arrive home,
safe and sound beneath a symphony written in the stars above.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

war and peace

Train Songs and Horse Stories

There is a train,
Clicking, clacking, whistling a song
Along tracks running through a peacful night, a quiet life,
Waking memories of the slump shouldered Quixotian nag
I once rode into a headwind turning mills,
Poised like giants guarding kingdoms
Left conquered, still burning in my wake,
Smoke stretched miles blackening skies over shoulders
And the jerkwater roads ridden to the humble of an outpost
Hidden beyond the fires left to linger below her lookout mountain
Where I have buried the quotidian battlements
Once unleashed upon enemies perched above
My Dien Bien Phu, superior in numbers and weapons,
Not though the matchstick strategies I had memorized
By candle in the dark, damp stacks of a fake book library,
The trojan horse stories tucked into fatigued pockets,
Secreted through the faux wall of worn military tomes
And into the ink black hours binding a paper moon,
Where I, armed with Sun Tzu's Art in hand, mounted my own Rocinante,
Whipping her eyes, her hind, her skin sagged ribs into a flat-out gallop
Across the mud-wallowed roads of unforgiving and forgotten years
To outflank a bloated and venal army of naysayers,
Its retreat like the inevitable refrain of a train whistle
Fading, fading, fading into a night I now sleep safe in love's arms.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

entre nous

Sub Rosa

this secret,

the world turns quietly at night
pretending not to know

the sound of these words
does not seem real

a whisper, a hush, a breath

the way rain fades
into the background
after it begins

the new morning
with little fanfare

slipping in and out of sleep,
rumination loses its grasp
to the warmth of recognition,
the sigh of you beside me

the secret between us
cradled sub rosa,
safe from apocrypha

Monday, November 17, 2008

not seeing is believing


Two albino geese, white brushstrokes
against the black waves of water, floating
below a geneticist in a tree above the shore,
who winks at the wind ruffling the oil-laden
feathers of ghosts lying dormant in a gene,
in a protein, in a prion, a scion of light,
a Cezanne blur rather than a realistic point,
concerned with the moment not the memory,
remembered and so altered, Proustian crumbs
falling from a table of contents containing
one part synapse, one part salt spray
from the sea, one part impermanence,
the drift of steam from a train blending with
the tarnish of clouds softening a horizon,
handpainted on a day that flux and mutability
trace from a description years away,
a diorama of the mind that places trees here,
there, where there were none, the names, dates,
time and place left to wander dreams along with
the length of your body lying within the outline of mine,
time left untinkered without mention of your
breath, birth, life, death, still in stop-motion,
amniotic again, in a room with vague light,
fuzzy focus, hand to hip, finger to lip,
hushing clock's tick, the nervousness ushered
outside this womb, waiting for sound, for sun,
for sin, fortunate shadows holding the crush
of life at bay, now is not the past, now is not what will come,
now does not remember, now does not forget,
now will never leave, now is forever, now is never again,
now we are the culmination of theory, of doctrine,
of medicine, of epiphany, of sleep, of chemicals,
of euphoria, of knowledge, of sadness, of light,
of being, reason dances with irrelevance,
hand in hand, across water, across time to now,
carrying the weight of all that is known,
all that is unknown, all we have forgotten in this moment,
where outside a window, upon a liquid canvas,
the wings of white act as a consideration of the chaos
floating free inside all that is here, all that is now,
coming together by chance, the glance as important
as the gaze upon what we now remember.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

atlas shrugged

Only Footprints Left Standing Where The Whole Of Me Once Stood:
A Part Of Everything / Apart From Everything (part 2)

Tear me apart.
Remove my vital signs.
The beating, bleeding, breathing
Buried along with my bones beneath
The woods I walk,
The winds I wander,
The water I wade.

Release the seed of tender loins
To fertilize the humus and loam below terra firma.
Unleash the soul from rib cages
To ascend escarpments hung above cloud banks.

Ring the ringing from my ears
And fill the silence surrounding
The hush of snow's soft falling.

Peel the whisper from my lips
To slip as hiss between
The diaphanous drops of rain.

Pull teeth,
Conjoin their chatter
To the chitter of crickets.

Pluck eyes,
Throw them to the dark,
Blind depths of the sea.

Spill guts,
Shout secrets aloud
Echoing off canyon walls.

Tear me limb from limb,
Wrap my arms around the waist of this world,
Lay my hands across the hips of her equator,
Lift my legs upon the shoulders of her mountains,
Stretch to reach to rise to break beyond her stratosphere,
So what is left of me might scatter amidst the stars,
Where I am a part of everything, though apart from everything I was,
Now only footprints left standing where the whole of me once stood.

photo by ac nagl

... Monet of this moment...

The Rain Painting / Painting The Rain

Late November rain falling over geese
static upon a lake canvas
painted by the impressionism of
sackcloth and milkweed sky,
trees with few leaves left crowding shoreline,
green ridge rise to brown earth turned behind plow.

The flap of wings upon water
swirling the wet oil images into one another,
the curve of trees meets the ripple of sky
circling again and again concentric into the waved ridge
beneath the lift of feathers through a suggestion of mist,
the Monet of this moment framed by a window on the world.

painting: 'Break-up of the ice on the Seine' c1890 by Claude Monet

word of mouth

Smile, Breath, Sigh, Moan, Whisper, Kiss

your smile,
new rain upon my tongue

your breath,
ozone ion inside my lungs

your sigh,
crocus bloom beneath my skin

your moan,
carnal knowledge within my brain

your whisper,
soft haiku between my ears

your kiss,
electric charge around my heart

In Memory of Auguste Escoffier & Kikunae Ikeda


my tongue holds the thought, the taste of your lips,
their tremble meeting the labor of my breath,
still nervous in the dark of this room
all these memories later.

Friday, November 14, 2008

from sea to shining sea

The Reluctant Mariner

God washed away the sun
below a vast sea, beyond an endless horizon,
leaving me cold in a winter without you,
searching southern hemispheres,
harnessing horse latitudes,
drifting doldrums promised in a Coleridge poem,
your painted face hidden upon a painted ocean,
the hot and copper sky above the only hint I have
you will return riding waves beneath this resurrected sun.


Heard Them Stirring

The smell of balsam fir upon arrival home,
the scent and sense of security
of winter's months we spend hidden in,
never wanting to leave, locking doors, shuttering windows
we peek through to watch the black and gray of small birds
in contrast to the fallen snow, suddenly away
with a knock, a ring, a passing rumble,
we scatter the same to hide in a room of pine,
well knowing the crackle and smolder of the fire before us,
her smoke and ash escaping through a flue, have given up our ghosts
as sure as the smell of balsam fir upon arrival home.


My Pale Nurse

the light hurts my eyes

the drip, drip, drip
of morphine drip

waves of black
waves of white
waves of red

waves of mutilation
throbbing, stinging flesh

i lie open

blood crusts
nose, mouth, throat

waiting, in vein,
the slow of narcotic wash

my pale nurse appears instead,
an apparition floating in and out
of this room, my consciousness

her soft hand holds
my limp wrist,
wresting a pulse
from the hallucination
I am clinging to

in the aftermath of anesthesia
where dreams do not exist

photo by ac nagl

Thursday, November 13, 2008

into blackwaters


If this is the last leg,
wish me luck,
offer bon voyage
in a wave goodbye,
my sails set
for a sunset
I cannot see,
I could not know,
I do not know
if we chance to meet again
beyond this wall of sleep,
if au revoir waits, patient,
in the depths of Heaven.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Candy Hearts

a heart attack
waits in vain
sticky with
sugar kisses
by a pulse
already weak
in the knees
left shaking
all night
long winded
heavy breathing
along lips
soft slopes
slippery with
climbing walls
high and wide
around valentines
candy hearts
beating love
to sweet death

the wake-up bomb

Suddenly Awake From A Dead Sleep

A mosaic of clouds met the pre-dawn morning hour,
along with me, shuttering La Luna's dim bulb cast,
grey across the lifeless, leafless cold of trees.
The full moon, half-insane panic attacks of fourteen years before
replaced by an indifferent sleep awaking to the notion that,
despite the stroke-subdued weak pulse of light outside this window,
I am not dying, though the days the phases have stolen
might just as well be killing me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

poet tree


carve her name
in the oak of my heart,
a man of letters
sitting still at last
beneath this poet tree

swallowing mud pride,
my rootless days
left behind in
kissed dirt's spit
upon this sacred ground

kick the wood,
stir stump promises
that termite teeth
smile to keep
safe inside a mouth

timbers embraced
by vine, held fast
in the crawl and grip
covering, coveting
our initials

climb toward doves,
above cold stones,
take apples
for the words
i cannot find

maple fire song,
gospel shout
from treetops
i aspire
beyond, above

dance with me,
swing from branches
to shake leaves
like bells
summoning revival

bark grown back
over whittled away
can never hide
her name's

hewn into wood,
not upon the wind
that once carried
this acorn unwritten

Cowboy Up


There is a gun in a calm hand waiting hours, watching doors,
spying windows for shadows of childhood scars subtle beneath thick skin,
rejection tattooed upon denial, reprisal smiles through the grind of teeth
nervous in the day of light, hidden in the dark of night,
ravens creep shoulders, bobbing back and forth to a rhythm of apples
falling from a hanging tree I hide behind, huddle beneath,
ducking the swing of feet, the clay of emotions molded into the dagger
of Et tu, Brute? raised against a Cain, a cross I bear,
nailing me to a killing floor to sweep clean, scattering asunder
bleeding hearts to the four winds of the apocalypse I ride,
my stalking-horse trampling underfoot the forget-me-nots wild mane
across a gravesite where you will come to rest with nothing more than
a whisper, a glance, an aside going off in my hand.

burnin' love

Campfire Song

I burn this fire within a ring, I sing this song within a round,

Strumming strings of heat strung between
The metered measures of our hollow bodies
To flicker flame-like notes of romantic melody
Drawing moth while soothing savage.

I sing this fire within a round, I burn this song within a ring,

Sending embers of EveryGoodBoyDoesFine
Into the shiver of winter's Jack Frost sky
To dance before the ice blue bowl of stars
Hung high, draped low beyond our shoulders.

photo by ac nagl

Saturday, November 8, 2008

kafka was a neuroscientist

The Butterfly Effect

his brain constantly inventing itself,
smiling with the splitting of cells,
division, multiplication all adding up
to a slightly different him
each morning he awoke

the before and after as subtle as
not knowing, then knowing

the taste of a pomegranate
the song of a distlefink
the nuance of a memory

Butterfly Collection II (Encaustic & Dye on Paper) by Deanne Belinoff

Friday, November 7, 2008

drive, she said

Always Crashing In The Same Car

when we are not ourselves,
time passes like
the slow
of rush
hour traffic,

one minute,
punched up
the next,
drop dead

trying to see
around, above, beyond
what is right
in front of us,


the man she remembers,
the woman he can't forget

photo by ac nagl

Thursday, November 6, 2008

aroma therapy


The bitter almond fetor of thanatophobia no longer
intubates my sinus, blackens my lungs, stains my teeth,
gags my throat, stings my eyes, fogs my brain.

In lieu, the fragrant and efflorescent cologne of gladiolas,
an olfactory deja vu of my consanguinity spiriting Elysian Fields,
lustrates this mind, body and soul for the verity of death.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Aldous Huxley meets John Muir.

Sea Change

A sea change in observation,
honed perception notes the tin-type-photo quality of light
shrouding, encircling a familiar swath of forest.

My own body transfiguring,
torso to trunk, bones to roots, limbs to branches,
skin to bark, flesh to pulp.

Face tilted skyward, arms spanning beyond their ambit,
illumed by the same stannic lantern's lambent glow
filtering through treetops I espy.

such great heights

Walk Unafraid

Up on this tightrope with only the stretch
of my love's hand to keep my equilibrium,
trying to not look down while hearing
the echo of her, don't look down,
following each tentative step
over a crevasse of vacuum suction
pulling at arms extended like clipped wings
for balance, hanging in the balance, suspended
between where we are going and where we have been,
the other side almost in reach of my rusted hands,
my aluminum legs bending but not breaking,
tin man knees wobbling with each compression
of the wire I walk along, its line
the shortest distance between two points,
but not necessarily the safest,
so close my eyes as the rain begins
a slow parade from head to toe,
as the shake and shiver of uncertainty
unhinges my spine and with it
the fear of falling slips from my pockets
rendering me weightless and able
to amble above it all and into her outstretched arms,
ready to walk unafraid a future of such great heights.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

waiting for the sun

Loss and Found

A little boy in Sunday-best staring out from
a photograph, already searching for a portal,
between the petals of Easter flowers on an April day,
to move between the Earth and Sun, for a better look
across the universe, through Milky Ways and comet tails,
for a glimpse of a little girl, half orphaned, in her new dress,
crying by a door, wanting only to be by her father's side
to say goodbye, as the sun goes down, framed by a picture window,
unsure it will ever come again, unaware of a little boy
looking under stars for a sunrise and her tomorrow.

abuse your illusion

In This House That I Call Home

huddled here in a home, not a house,
safe from those who say they love me,
safe with the one who really does

illusion burns blue-to-white hot in a hearth
sending smoke and mirrors of imagined loyalties
to an indifferent sky

where sun still rises, moon still shines, wind still blows
carrying away the sound of voices I no longer hear

huddled in this house that I call home,
warming my hands over the embers of illusion

Monday, November 3, 2008

political world


The dust on my skin,
the only corruption I know,
the only political affiliation I carry.

photo by imweasel

Sunday, November 2, 2008

One Hundred

Rosetta Stone Of The Heart

100 years from now
pulled from layers of sediment,
bound by threads of sentiment,
100 poems, from now

there and then,
an archaeologist holding in his hands
the bare bones of our love,
a rosetta stone of the heart