Friday, June 12, 2009

without blood, struggle or sound



Marsh Abattoir

The heron waits - - -

in first person,

turning from blue to deep violet
in reflection

beneath a sky insinuating
orange peel orange and pink flamingo pink,

- - - for the kill,

without blood, struggle or sound,

patiently,
beneath an iridescent paintbrush of plumage,

conspicuously inconspicuous and conspiring
in whispering not even the flutter of a feather
to a listening wind intent on rumor and innuendo,

changing shade, changing shape,
shadows shifting, cloak and dagger,
in the tired light as it lies down with dusk,
last, low squinting shafts aglow and illuminating
a frenzy of winged insects, frenetic above the water,
the only movement evidenced in this staged frame,

a portrait without premeditation,
a watercolor without motive,
a still-life more perfect than any murder, any prayer

and without a God to pass judgment
here in this marsh abattoir.

photo by arthur morris

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

between capricorn and cancer



Trope

Holding myself /

Time, the sun
Stand, relatively, still /

Between Capricorn and Cancer /

The time, the place
without seasons /

Holding the Earth still,
In place, in time,
Long enough to notice /

My arms
Holding myself /

Cradling the moon, the stars,
Minutes and degrees /

The amniotic, hypnotic
Lullaby of the sea /

Swaying, rocking
Both of us to sleep /

photo of henry miller by arnold newman

prince of light


The Summer Sun We Are Stalking (Vampire Winters Slain)

Walking between the spring blooms,
the sweet-wet-sour of humid baby's breath
embroiled in thick air, hanging like a garland of garlic
worn 'round the neck, warding off, if only for here and now,
all the sleeping-vampire winters we have slain to arrive alive
at this brief eternity, a promise of immortality taunting us, teasing us
with a coo, with a sigh, with a bat of an eye from this little prince of light -
The longest day of the year still on its way, like a shining white shield
against blinding darkness, against the deaths we almost forget,
remembering all too well the night's closing blooms instead -
The full moon's blood-let pale, glow illuminating
the footprints between we leave behind,
our steps gone west without them,
carrying on, carrying the son,
following the summer sun
we are stalking -

Monday, June 8, 2009

drowning the dreams



Murderkill River

Weight me with stones.

Throw me off a bridge.

Watch me sink in the water.

The better parts of this life, bouyant, surfacing,
will catch the current away from the what I left behind
to a whirlpool of reality drowning the dreams of another life.

photo 'bridge over murderkill river' by elderoot

Sunday, June 7, 2009

my own worst enemy


Shark Cartilage

Swimming endlessly
in a sea with no beginning, no end.
Swimming endlessly
to stay alive another hour, day, decade.
Barely keeping
madness at bay as I glide in deathly silence all alone.
Barely keeping
ahead of the cancer I have outswum for 100 million years.
Preyed upon by
the very instincts that keep me alive, keep me in constant motion.
Preyed upon by
the same razor rows of teeth below the same dull, black, lifeless eyes.

shadowboxing




Punch-Drunk Love

love's jab slipping quick
beneath a cage of brittle rib,
knocking the wind from lungs,
sapping the strength from limbs,
punch-drunk, sobering heartbreak
beating me and leaving me senseless
in a ring, for round after punishing round
with only a memory, a sparring shadow, to box

photo: 'hanging boxing gloves' by ernie friedlander

Saturday, June 6, 2009

wind, rain and cold


Elemental

out of my skin,
exposed to the elements
i must weather, whether or not
this consumption of wind, rain and cold
harsh realities will overcome my accumulated
immunities, impunity is not an option to consider
upon further consideration as i stand naked and manifest
before God, before Love, before Life, before Death in defiance
of never ending at an end, knowing I will never feel this alive again

Thursday, June 4, 2009

crooked finger paintings


Bring Me Your Love

Bring me your love.

I cannot feel a thing without it.

Desperate, braille rantings of the heart,
crooked finger paintings left for you to find
upon our sweating and swollen bedroom door.

Bring me your love.

I cannot feel a thing without it.

for Wes and Doug Baker


There Is A Light (That Never Goes Out)

there is a light
even at the end of this tunnel,
even at the bottom of this abyss

and she is there
still standing in its glow,
brighter than a thousand suns,
phosphorescent and illuminating a path
for all those who loved her to follow in her shadow

in memory of sandy baker

gone global



With Or Without Us

over a lifetime,
in the rooms we fill with
the detritus of our existence,
in the dust covered collections,
some sense of ourselves left waiting
to be discovered after we return to the dust
carried to the four corners of a world we only knew
from the mementos, coins and keepsakes we collected
in an attempt to anchor ourselves, our memory to this globe
despite its insistence to spin on through the dust with or without us

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

from the silk road


The Barter For Better Days

sleep come swallow me,
take me away from here
in the sway of your arms,
from hours wrought with
iron-forged tests of will,
from minutes weighted by
millstones burdening patience,
from the silk road i sleepwalk
trading days for nights as i go

take me away from here
for now and no longer
then return me to burn
the bridges i cross over
again and again in transit
toward the eastern sun,
awake in a dream so real,
reality itself must submit
to the barter for better days

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

a line nonetheless


At A Push Pin On A Map

A circle is a line,
not one so easily recognized
but a line nonetheless,
like from here to there to here again,
just the same as a line on a map
denoting where a journey began
and where it will come to an end,
at times in fact to find a new beginning,
sometimes ending up where we once were,
moving through memories, geographies
in simultaneous motion
with simultaneous emotions marking
a country mile as the crow flies
circling from time to time
over terra firma and familiar
never wondering, How did I get here,
instinctively knowing, I have already been here,
before deja vu could ever have hoped to arrive
and so here I sit at a stop along the circle,
at a push pin on a map that I placed
in this spot at some moment
only to find myself staring at it
here 25 years and so many miles later
down a line away from the same moment,
looking over my shoulder at the curve, the arc
of a line, a road stretched out behind me
unable to see where it began
as it angles away by degrees,
180 from where I am going,
360 from where I have been,
completing a perfect circle
for the moment, from a moment,
here again then gone again
and maybe even back again
somewhere down the line.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

letting go



Canyon Wall

Gripping the canyon wall,
my roots slight hold
to security, to sanity
letting go again
from the geography
I fashioned over
slow flowing years

To hold
my histories buried
in layers,
silent in the new morning light,
they dare not speak,
upset these final hours of peace
beneath my shadow

Or the light that moves
in an arc
across the canyon wall
only to begin again,
will come to find
me gone
come tomorrow

photo by faludi design

Saturday, May 30, 2009

deepest sleep, widest awake


An End, A Beginning

you grow more distant
as the sun draws closer
as you draw the son closer

the world at an end
the world at a beginning

i seem lost in a dream
as the night falls fast asleep
as the day breaks before I wake

counting out loud
the hours between now
and the hot white light of
around-the-clock exhaustion

my aversion to chaos
buried in the blurred waves'
tumbling, crashing ingemination
upon a fuzzy and wobbling horizon

lines drawn between you, me,
and a forever setting sun drooping
in a soft and fluid sky where there is
no demarcation between day and night,
you and me, sun and stars, moon and tide,
son and mother, father and son, husband and wife,
two are one inside this little magnet pulling, drawing
the sun closer, nearer to night, pushing us further apart
as i dream in deepest asleep and you dream in widest awake of

the world at an end
the world at a beginning

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Odyssey of a dripping Icarus


The Fine Art of Surfacing

Submerged,
waiting what seemed an eternity
for the light to break the surface
of a self-made sea and its in-flux,
sparkling map of in-consequence,
knowing no Cousteau by chance
would discover me, barnacle clad
below leagues quietly conspiring
to keep me a secret from the sun,
from the firm of land beneath feet,
from the brine kissed sweet of air,
slowly emerging from dark depths
along the soft shone paved shafts
of luminous paths leading the way
away from fathoms' water bondage,
free to wander all the seven oceans,
an Odyssey awaiting never-ending,
manumit to fashion wings of wax,
a still dripping Icarus aloft at last.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

muted


Dim, Dumb Stars

I thought I would be able

to speak, but I was
wrong -

I felt I would

be able to feel,
but now

I'm gone -

So long,

I'm with the other
dim, dumb stars
in your sky,

fading fast
so don't say

you see the light
shining brightly
and falling

on your skin,

where I once burned
within -

Barely even a shadow
on your shoulders
now

from this muted son -

specter of the sea



A Wave's Sine And Goodbye

A feeling of exhaustion,
of drifting away -
a fading line that once defined
a horizon,
a failing vapor trail
slowly vanishing,
exhaust's ghost essence
shrouding, summoning
this enervated, listing vessel
to the lulling grey
specter of the sea
where time is
consistently, simultaneously
relative and irrelevant
in both a wave's
sine and goodbye.

image: sea waves in granite

Saturday, May 23, 2009

these days


Solid Air

In an attempt
to preserve these days,
guard them against the wind-fed
fires of an impatient and wild-eyed enemy
sweeping toward the gauntlet of trees we planted
without benefit of a plan of attack, somewhere between
here and there, upon a hill where solid air stands at attention
dutifully informed of our intention to launch our volleys into the valleys
that swallow 'now ' in favor of forever ending tomorrows that come and go
without a fight - unlived in, unsung, coming undone, trampled, trapped,
all but forgotten beneath the progress, the lock-step of clock armies,
of time-marches-on, against which we wage a slowly won war of
preservation over an impermanence until we disarm our enemy
and hold these days captive, leaving them to hang in solid air,
in the languorous splendor of limbo, in effigy of nothing more,
nothing less than themselves, quiet and timely reminders
caught in the slight spin of the wind, immobile and yet
mobile enough to move emotions from foul to fair,
a sense of peace even in the valleys below
at last , if not forever, a feeling of 'now'
pervading, invading like a timeless
avenger and conquering army
at ease in the moment
of these days.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

creator, protector, destroyer



Trimurti - Her Love's Incarnations

Brahma:

with you,

my soul pulled from a hole in the ground

my son pulled from a hole in the sky


Shiva:

without you,

my spirit pushed back into the black of after

my scion pushed back into the black of before


Vishnu:

within you,

my presence poised between the push and pull

my progeny poised between the pull and push

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

full of forget


There Stands The Glass

there stands the glass
on either side of this window
between you and me,
reflecting badly on both of us
and i can't break through,
so instead pour myself
full of forget and empty regret
for there stands the glass

the man who fell back to earth


My Heart, Your Star

Could I be an astronaut
navigating serious consequences
for the slightest misstep as I float
untethered across the space between
my heart and your star,
fighting the sensation of free-fall
through atmospheres scorching my skin,
of plummeting back to Earth,
of drifting weightless once again
in night's black ocean waters
beneath a sky full of stars,
a geodesic map back to you,
the brightest but most distant of billions.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

crush



A Diving Bell

under pressure from seemingly bottomless leagues, fathoms
crushing me in the depths of disappointment, disillusionment

my heavy heart collapsing like a diving bell buckling beneath
the weight of unrequited desire for you and i are mostly water

birds landing then leaving


Spoken For

listening to myself
think,

thoughts
split between
spheres

where
colors meet emotion,
numbers meet notion,
neurons meet sensation,
concepts meet conception

the math of language exponential,
built from the bottom up

from first person to third person,
from nurture to second nature

as feeling, thinking and speaking
take wing simultaneously

like birds landing then leaving, landing then leaving
the same way the word love leaves an imprint
not just in our minds, but on our hearts

even with no birds outside this window today
sitting here alone listening to my thoughts

a skin of armor


A Man In Full

You can bury me now because I survived each and every
attempt against this life I resurrected, I resuscitated
over and over again back from the great beyond.

Your weapons in ruins, in pieces beneath my wet feet
the remnants of your arms abandoned to the rust of rain,
your murder boots afoot no more, banished to the veil of fog.

The mist of history cannot touch me
now that the myths of its hysterical mayhem
have been rewritten by a man in full ready for death.

The boy, the vulnerable victim of love taken for granted
reincarnated, reborn beneath and buried safely below a skin
of armor where you and your aloof armies can no longer reach.

uninhabitated



Veckatimest

The tumult that I am forever feeling

like waves

raging, rolling, rising

beneath the calm of my skin

curling, cresting, crashing,

upon spleen, liver and kidneys

rendering me

at times unable to stomach the social fabric

before me

around me

surrounding me

drowning me

even as I seek the solitude of an open sea

outside of me

to carry me to a Veckatimest of my very own.

photo: veckatimest island by dana morris

Thursday, May 14, 2009

the blasphemy of originality


An Omnium Gatherum (My Own American Gospel)

It was all handed to me,

The American Gospel,

somewhat overrated,

somewhat underestimated,

so I handed some of it back,

pocketed what I thought I might need

- humility, sanity, beauty, maturity,
immorality, insanity, vanity, intensity,
curiosity, divinity, morality, prosperity,
vulgarity, mortality, propinquity, cruelty,
solemnity, immaturity, poverty, creativity -

to make it through a landscape of years

changing me as it changed around me,

cobbling my gods, my religion together

from what I found along the way,

following in the footsteps,

the soft tread of the America of American

poets, prophets, painters, profiteers,

the Walt Whitmans, the John Browns,
the Andrew Wyeths and P.T. Barnums,

the blasphemy of originality

informing, defining

an omnium-gatherum,

my own American Gospel.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

with the morning dew


She's Gone

She left with the morning dew,
three crows flew away to follow behind her
leaving me alone where we had stood in the fleeing dawn,
as a cold, raw wind rose up and whispered oh so softly, "She's gone."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine...


Asher Dob

Asher Dob,
I didn't know you,

but there were all those after-midnight, drunken rides home
with all the windows down, sucking July's saturated air
between drags off Marlboros shedding the hot orange
of before-dead ash sucked into the sober black
coffee sky like intermittent distress flares

and thinking
I fooled them all,

the stoner guys,
the coke-head girls
all gathered 'round
a forever foaming keg

but not you, Asher Dob,

you saw through me,
the periphery of me
standing at awkward angles,
forever on the outside
looking in, aloof, aberrant

with one dismissive glance -

beyond the summer sweat
of fresh faced teenage skin,
through the humid haze
of Thai stick-hash oil smoke

- across a crowded, claustrophobic
suburban, finished-basement,

the instant after I flubbed the opening lines
of The Dead's Ripple.

I didn't know you
Asher Dob,
but you knew me.

phantom limb sensation


Penfield's Homunculus

At my most devastated, my most pained,
I felt nothing but numbness in every extremity,
every region of Penfield's Homunculus dulled and deadened
in the aftermath of true loss, save for the phantom limb sensation
of your two soft, warm hands still cupped and holding my broken heart.

Monday, May 11, 2009

long form #1


The Rain Confessions

I. Make It Rain

Make it rain
and I'll eat the mud,
spit confessions in the face
of a father forgetting his son
following in his footsteps,
swallowing his pride
with a handful of spiders,
dangling darkly,
overhead, overcast
at last the first drops
of mise en scene
that seem to fit
this blue mood
painted from memory,
spattering the dirt, the dust
of days before you were born
when we hung lust out
with our laundry
to whip as well in the wind,
seed scattered to the four corners
of a bedroom, painted red
walls soaked with perfume
and formaldehyde
to preserve the moment
as living proof that we were young
and full of life, boiling beneath
thin skins, fresh scars and
plaster of paris hearts
beating in our chests
like the rain on this tin roof,
steel drum sound
drowning dreams,
stealing memories
you kept for a rainy day
waiting underneath a cloud.

II. Umbilical Memory

And you twisted my arm
because I couldn't
save myself

(beating back the ocean with one hand)

panic coming in waves,
clutching at the myths
our parents reinforced
for one another,
never giving up the ghost
that wanders insecurities
floating in an open and amniotic sea
from the moment of conception,
a concept born,

umbilical memory

, the best and worst of us
pumped, primed through
ancient gill, lost limb remembered,
the blood of sympathetic amputation
separarting us from air, from light, from death -

jigsaw puzzle of chromosomes and dna,
dominant and recessive traits,
tributaries of dead ancestry carrying
red hair, brown eyes, cleft lips and chins,
longevity, crib death, genius, freckles,
roman nose and nordic blonde hair and blue eyes,
down a river gently pelted by microscopic
genetic droplets, maternal, paternal
patter imprinted in our stream of unconsciousness,
in the imprint of our inked and unwashed feet.

III. A Cairn

All we have left is superstition and a stack of stones,
the petrified flowers of past civilizations, of past lives,
a cairn to commemorate the fears we conquered
while carrying rose petals in our threadbare pockets,
fool's gold mined from skies holding rainbows,
the bridges between sun tongue rays and rain spit showers.

IV. Her Waters

Wet,
swimming deep in a psyche drenched by thoughts of her
ocean -
quenching desert dry and wilting loins, a lion's pride at her
oasis -
cleansing the filth of prurient desire from a gutter-lust for her
orgasm

V. Where We Begin Again

High water rising,
I am risen
in the face
of familiar
misfortune
sweeping
me further
down,
down,
downstream
where the urge
to spawn
swells in rivulets,
the veins
and broken
blood vessels
carrying life
from the seas
upstream where
death dwells
in unfulfilled desires -

gut me on these rocks
if I cannot traverse across
as high waters receed
stranding me somewhere
between before and after the end -

break damns
wide open
and wash
the fishbone shell
of this man
down,
down,
downstream
where scavengers
stalk shores
waiting for the river
to give her gift
of life,
the remains of me
turning circles
in eddies,
turning cycles
where death is defied
in the shallows
where we began,
where we return,
where we begin again.

The baptism of the waters
we wade in.

The crucifixion of the rocks
we wither upon.

The resurrection of the rain
we wait on.

VI. Slow Erosions

I do not fear death's slow erosions

my face carved into crevases by the river's slow crawl

my hair blown from grey to white by the wind's cold howl

my skin weathered and worn by the sun's harsh sprawl

as I disappear back into the dust
where bones become clay
and whisper at long last
their final confessions
to the falling rain.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

over my shoulder


Vanishing Twin

over my shoulder
what was left of the past
burning brightly as it collapsed
without any sound at all escaping

the sudden vaccuum swallowing
lost years along with the conflagration
that completely consumed the dna remains
of a chimera, a vanishing twin, the life I left behind

the shadow of your smile


The Sun Slipping, The Son Slipping

the sun slipping out from under clouds hovering overhead

the shadow of a bird back and forth across your face

the son slipping snug beneath your bosom

the shadow of your smile

Saturday, May 9, 2009

ignoble beast


Gone Native

I left a life
I once fashioned
with my own two hands
from clay, blood and spit -
Spite, sweat, love, lust crushed,
beaten, bloodied and bull whipped
into a blind allegiance roundly blindsided,
battered and betrayed without benefit of a kiss -
And so I banished myself to the wilderness
where dreams lie awake at night
listening for the predator's
twig-snap pursuit -
Abandoned the safety of numbers
and wandered like a lone ignoble beast
the forgotten footpaths of a struggled ancestry
leading me back to a beginning unburdened by desire -
Exiled emotion to the outskirts
lying beyond this outlier's bleeding heart
barely left beating by the brush-thorn-thicket-torn
bushwhacking through love reclaimed by human nature -
A selfish act of self-preservation,
savage, sacred, profane and profoundly
liberating, the animal inside awake and alive,
survival ensured by civilized sensibilities long gone native

Friday, May 8, 2009

here comes the sun king



The Son Also Rises

It rained

the entire week

after you were born.

The son eclipsing the sun.

photo by nigrita

rattling a world



Sleeping Giant

the sleeping giant of you
in a room away

shaking foundations
profound

your little lips
trembling

each breath in slumber
rattling a world

even Gulliver
could never have imagined

the rush and lull of waters


Safe Journey / A River Of Repose

I did not howl,
instead gave myself to the river,
to the slow rotation of cello sounding
a lament as I floated toward god knew what,

noticing for the first time ever what lay below the surface,
what the sky above beheld, the shores passing by laconic,
leaving behind the familiar and familial sedimentary layers

of soft, crumbling sentiment,
of ash covered disappointment,
of ancient, fossilized contentment,

the rush and lull of waters
both threatening and soothing
all in the same uncharted stretch,

the reeds crowding banks,
where I left my dreams buried,
whispering, waving while wishing
safe journey down a river of repose.

Narcissus I Am Not



I'll Be Your Mirror

Looking back at myself,
deep into my own eyes,
seeing myself again
for the first time.

Narcissus I am not
but I have fallen in love with
my little hands, my little feet,
my little heart's beat reminding me
I am more alive than the day I was born.

You are a child.
I am a man.

You are a son.
I am a father.

You are a reflection.
I am a mirror.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

moan whisper cry


Plumb

All quiet here in my heart as the Earth's creaking moan
pushes the world on spinning, as it has and will, just off-axis.

A baby boy defying odds, defying chemistry, defying biology
hushes the world with nothing more than the whisper of his name.

An angel now amongst us with the slight motion of wings unseen
rights the world for the moment, silencing the din and blare with a cry.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

a rose-complected compass


Beyond Here

Beyond here, who can say?
The jab of lightning, punch of thunder
well behind us in a sky staggered and still showing
the bruises of where we have been.

We pause a moment to stand in the foggy light
filtering through the ozone-rich, still-wet-with-rain air.

Just over the next rise, the sound of a joyful cry,
a rose-complected compass pointing beyond here.

Who can say in which direction?
The sun seemingly rising even as it sets,
twilight torn between the dawn of where we are going
and the dusk of where we have been.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fibonacci Number


8

Open our eyes in the morning
to find us anew in the pale,
perfect light of awakening
at last to a different dawn
awaiting us as you and I
arrive at the hour time has told
us that you and I become we.

spanish bombs and bullfights


The Riot Inside Me

press your little hand into mine

the riot inside me will stop with your smile

unwittingly we are part of a song still being sung

and you will grow to know the fight anthems of my youth

the splash of spanish behind hemingway's bombs and bullfights

simply a salsa, a samba, a rhumba, a tango beating in our hearts for now

from fetal to feeble



The Last Night On Earth

Curled here in the fetal position
on the last night on earth,
as feeble as when we were born,
from dark to first light now failing
with the encroaching darkness
that leaves behind the names
of our children left behind
to bury our bones beneath
the last best whisper of our names
where the wind kisses vowels
and the rain washes consonants,
mortality carved into immortal granite,
cradled beneath the bending boughs'
branch arms aglow in golden hour sun
stretching shadows clear across year after year
and dimming all the days since we were born
spent crawling toward the last night on earth.

photo by nadia / squiddity

Saturday, May 2, 2009

here we are / here we go



Waiting On A Shooting Star

here we are standing atop such great heights,
the lights of the tired cities we left behind
transfigured as we drift away deeper
into the dreams we carried
along with incarnations
of ourselves,
you and i
all alone
at last
even
if for
only
this
one
last
day

cold roses



Thorn

All kinds of roses
will come then go,
from bloom to wilting
and yet forever willing
again to weather seasons,
welcoming our new springs,
surviving our long summers,
fading and finally surrendering
their wearied petals to autumn's
funeral procession plodding toward
a plot buried by winter's piercing cold.

photo by exif

little May flower


Fleurette

Little flower
passing through stations,
dropping petals at your mother's feet,
a new bloom about to be born.

Friday, May 1, 2009

emotional erosion


Ain't Love Grand

When we knew no different,

love left dangling by a thread
over a canyon carved by
the slow and steady

drip,

drip,

drip,

of
indifference.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

slipping, shifting



Sleep's Quick Sands

The sound of sand
slipping, shifting
beneath head,
below heel
as sleep comes
in sonic waves,
tossed and turned,
between suns
burned brightly,
adrift on oceans
soon swallowing
our senses
as they have
the identities
of the dead.

Hold me here
where night lingers,
fingers wet with
tidal desires,
washing over
and wiping away
the day's first
but not lasting
impression,
the slight, unseen
displacement
of grains,
shifting, slipping
through our
braille hands.

The sound,
the splash
of together again,
over and over,
ad infinitum,
like burials at sea,
drowning out
the sibilance
of our sighs,
the semblance
of our names,
lost to us
for the hours,
the yawn of years,
we lie below
the leagues
of sleep's
quick sands.

photo by john gay, blackpool 1949

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

fragile heart


All That I Carry

I came here with
nothing.
I'll leave here with
less.

The sunlight can only hold the dust so long
even as I dance across the dirt shadowboxing Death,
forever knowing forever at an end is only just steps beyond.

Angels tied to the ground signing silent reminders
of the fragile heart you hold captive, my only possession,
carried by the Fates up a river rife with trials to lay at your feet.

A tithe to temper waves of sorrow and tamping rains
turning dust to mud, love to loss, where one day we will wallow,
the beautiful ghost of you holding fast to my heart when I am gone.

I came here with
nothing.
I'll leave here with
less.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

escape and landscape


A Dream, Amaranthine and Arcadian

No pretense here, just the sincere and unshakeable
memories from an engineered landscape still shuddering
an arcadian soul, lodged in mind, muscle and marrow
as I walk this dream I once had when I was still unwillingly
shuttered inside the teeth-whitened bite of suburban development,
peering out at a panorama devoid of old growth trees and
teeming with an unchecked, reckless abandon of endless farmland
falling prey to curb, sewer, sidewalk and sod replicating itself
without aid, an asexual advance flirting with disaster, asleep
beside me where I dreamt these amaranthine, undeveloped acres,
these farmed then fallow, farmed then fallow fields and woods whose
ancient histories are held within now holding mine as well as I walk this
dream I once had when sleep was my only escape from false pretense.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

more real than you




Impostor Lovers : Charlatan Husbands, Fainting Wives

Impostor Lovers you fear us.

You fear our love
as it breaks wide open
like a pod offering
its abundant seed
with undying devotion
to a willing wind.

Paper Lions you fear us.

You fear our hate
as it grabs the blunt
instrument of truth
and proceeds to bludgeon
without any emotion
both kindred and crippled.

Faux Monks you fear us.

You fear our solemnity
as it dips deeper down
into a well dug well into
the back country holds
where holy waters run
through true solitude.

Charlatan Husbands, Fainting Wives you fear us.

You fear our commitment
as it sures itself against
the wandering of an eye
it would rather blind
than indulge to no end
but its selfish own.

Impersonator Friends you fear us.

You fear our friendship
as it strengtens further
to brace us for and
against the unstoppable
drift toward death
where two become one.

Impostor Lovers you fear us.

You fear our love
as it swells our hearts
beyond their own beating
to keep the other alive
if only, eventually, inevitably
in memories more real than you.

jean cocteau's thomas the impostor

With Gratitude To Ludwig Wittgenstein


In Vienna Circles

an osprey soars over the lake,
turning and twisting in the winds,
rising and resting on the thermals

with wings silent in their graceful tilt and tip
well above other birds below whistling away
as the chill of morning dew succumbs
to an overdue and welcome southern flow

warming our winter bones,
thawing the thick ice of hard, cold realities
we have weathered winterlong, closemouthed

like the philosophy we have unwittingly embraced,
hovering overhead, in vienna circles,
unstated, unspoken, understood
and passing over in silence


" Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen".

" What we cannot speak of we must pass over in silence. "
from Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Friday, April 24, 2009

four winds bring the rain to dirt


Bone Marrow Mud

Four winds,
my children's voices,
whispering, howling,

passing through me

like a shiver
that clenches teeth.

I did not chew my own arm off to get away,

instead dismembered in the dark
where none of you could see,

left to tumble down a rabbit hole
and left to wonder

when will the rain begin
behind these four winds,
wash away the scars of a father
and make him whole again?

I find I still can't quite breath in the grey light
of these days.

Taste of tin in a mouth without an answer
but this promise kissed into a collapsing isobar;

I will not sleep until you bury me
and four winds bring the rain to dirt
in a soft patter at first, in a deluge at last,
turning wind and rain and dirt to bone marrow mud.


This blood and clay,
maybe,
the only connection
to our time here on earth.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

in the blink of an eye


The Jaguar Sun

She stalked the light for the last time
and their room went dark
in the blink of an eye.

Oh, for her to be young again,
hunting the vague glow of
specters prowling shadows
falling beneath the jaguar sun,
pulling back her birch bow and letting go
feathered arrows that never seemed to fall.

The quiver of her only weapon
against a shuddering world
still sends bent light bleeding
'round the curvature of the earth,
up the curvature of his spine
to a light-bulb brain aneurysm
seizing, flickering, hemorrhaging with
memories of moonlight murdered by her
before it could ever reach the ground.

Oh, for him to grow old alone,
blind love groping to remember
the phases of her moonlit face
and finding only fading silhouettes
from when she stalked the light
for the first time, for the last time,
their room growing darker yet
in the final blink of an eye.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

some of our boats still burning


Don't Panic / Something Will Happen

After years of ' watch and wait ',
some of our boats still burning.

Waves form then fall
along a rolling horizon
battering our little armada,
vulnerable in the vastness
we are anchored against.

The changeable weight
of the world shifting unseen
on currents colliding beneath us
and beyond our control.

Holding fast to mast and sheet
we ' watch and wait '
with a will unfathomable
for a favorable wind.

The slight flapping of our tattered flag
whispering with calm aplomb,

Don't panic, something will happen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a personal chaos theory


The Weight Of Uncertainty And The Certainty Of Gravity

I am still navigating a series of daunting geographies,
demoralized and debilitated by the weight of uncertainty,
in search of a sanitarium rife with supple and subtle respite
where I might just lie this battered body, mind and soul down -

the sweet, soft green of landscaped lawns

the rich, dark brown of furrowed fields

the smooth, cool blue of still waters

- wanting simply to be one million moonlit miles away
from shadowed, chaotic topographies and a wreck of days
still wreaking psychosomatic havoc upon unset broken bones
barely holding the weight of me against the certainty of gravity.

sleep is like a temporary death


Forever Awake

The ghosts we lie beside forever awake
as we sleep the deep, dreaming of the days
before we were born, dying between breaths
that save us from the same fate of forever awake.

Monday, April 20, 2009

the smoke of difficult days



Sky Blue Sky (Living In The Present Tense)

We are finally here,
transfixed by this moment
burning brightly between us,
watching the smoke of difficult days
disappear along with our separate pasts
into the clear, calm and wide of the sky blue sky.

photo: beneath the blue sky II by philipp klinger

sunset over laurel lake



Glimmer

And in this glimmer,
hope

that the face of God
smiles as brightly

when the sun sets
on this life.

photo by rachel goertel

Sunday, April 19, 2009

electric company


Illume Of Bliss

Every hair on our heads
this morning,
sparking electric
arcs of light and bliss.

Dull sun disappearing
across the lake,
relieving trees
of their own shadows.

Taste of cinnamon
in warm winds
reminds us
we too were once children.

Bound by a language
of natural sound
we linger listening
to crickets' Hottentot talking.

We rise to walk,
summoning strength
from black caffeine,
field, wood, ridge awaiting.

European sons and daughters
wandering intuition maps,
instinct geographies,
ephemeral and yet familiar.

Standing near melt-water rills ,
transfixed by their babble,
we speak
of futures still downstream.

We still carry with us
all the mud springs'
stuck fast
to feet through mean seasons.

Tongues seek the bitters
of a kiss
still wet
and sweetening our lips.

Hold each other here
still enough
to sense this mountain
shift less than a millimeter.

Time is a passing cloud
moving across
the sunny days
we exalt as memories over others.

Covet the nights,
the unseen dawns,
fog shroud showers
and the rain that slows the days.

Walking south into wind,
our cold hands
together, electric,
connected to the illume of bliss.

Friday, April 17, 2009

downpour


An Already Swollen Harbour

the harboured resentment of a wasted lifetime
floating in the silken grey milk of crepuscular light

memories like matches
burning brightly one moment,
only the slight essence of sulphur
on a shifting north wind, the next

sadness waves from a flagpole in the yard,
loneliness refuses to leave a burning house,
bitterness plants a victory garden in a downpour

the rain swelling an already swollen harbour
of resentment with the sullen grey milk of regrets

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the good book



You Are My Bible

You, with no middle name and no father,
the virgin birth with no star hovering above
for infidels, kings or martyrs like me to follow
and so I canvased the night after night skies
for a sign of you, my opposite gender Jesus,
searched in vain for eight and thirty years,
like a bewildered Bedouin left wandering a desert mirage,
like a wounded animal left howling beneath a druid moon,
taste of lonesome death upon lips so long without
the water turned to wine, the body turned to bread
of Love's communion, of Love's consecrating kiss,
an apostle abandoned by hope, orphaned by faith
until at last saved from myself by your grace,
a spiritual leper freed to shed the rest of his skin
and release a chrysalis soul from a cocooned heart,
resurrection like butterflies escaped from a cage of ribs
reincarnated as doves roosting in the peace of your pages
where I read your revelations, sang your psalms, prayed your prayers,
turned epistle into epiphany, divined aphorism from apostasy,
this James The Lesser found no longer bound by King James
and a version of apocalypse sown from the seeds of despair,
an apocryphal, self-fulfilling prophecy swept to the four winds
by you, the word made flesh, my salvation, for you are my bible.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

from A to Zzzzz's


Sleep All Summer

I may never be a better man than I am here tonight
with my head full of wasps and plans to sleep all summer
so I can dream of your love raining down, beautiful and cool,
to relieve the sting of another June through August without you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

unreeling



At The Drive-In : Day For Night

in the abandoned drive-in theater of my former life,
the sun slung low and sinking fast behind

the torn-screen flicker and stop-start glitch
of scenes jump cutting across broken sprockets

and a series of seemingly unrelated edits
begun at dusk winding down toward a new dawn

where even day for night could not quite hide
the nervous breakdown behind a marriage unreeling

photo by weburbanist

the acorn of a poem planted


Upon Recalling An Evening With Stanley Kunitz And His Wife

At dinner,
twenty- some years ago,
in a Manhattan eatery
with the poet Stanley Kunitz
and his strange and lovely wife,

You look like a Native American,
where is your family from?

She asked, taking my hand in hers.

Earlier that evening,
after shooting part of a documentary
on her famous husband in their small walk-up,
Mr. Kunitz offered me a tall tumbler of straight vodka
and his glass in an emblematic toast to the moment.
With one eye over the lip of my own, looking for a cue
to the etiquette of a ritual he had engaged in with all manner
of famous men and women in this humble kitchen galley way,
decade after decade upon the very floorboards beneath my feet,
I followed the great old poet's lead and continued tipping
glass to lip, the white light bare bulb burning overhead,
the white hot distilled spirits burning my throat,
singeing sinus cavities on their way to where
poetry lies in ephemeral pools of inspiration
waiting for release even all these years on.

North Dakota.

I replied, her other hand atop mine now,
Mrs. Kunitz' gypsy eyes locked in a trance
with my own, dull brown and drunk punched.

I knew it Stanley, I knew it. We are dining with an Indian.

Stanley, distracted by the sudden appearance of the waiter,
offered a half-nod before motioning for a round of drinks
with a wave of his weather-veined, liver-spotted hand.

Vodka, straight-up, all the way around.

Mrs. Kunitz squeezing my hand,

Tell me all about North Dakota, dear.

The night devolving into a fog of family histories
and anecdotes from a Nobel Prize winning poet
and his mistress-cum-Mrs.-cum-muse whose hand's
slightness I can still recall sitting here years later
reading The Testing Tree, 'native-blood' stirred by

Once I owned the key
to an umbrageous trail
thickened with mosses
where flickering presences
gave me right of passage
as I followed in the steps
of straight-backed Massasoit
soundlessly heel-and-toe
practicing my Indian walk.*

*excerpt from Stanley Kunitz' poem The Testing Tree

Saturday, April 11, 2009

un segreto della famiglia


The Lost Art Of Listening


You never knew I was there.

the wind rattling a flagpole

I always hated the holidays.

each one of us in a different room

It never got any easier.

indifference passing as family

You never knew I was there.

yet we all heard the wind

Friday, April 10, 2009

one and one is three


And So A Son Or So A Daughter

and so a son or so a daughter from somewhere unseen,
from just behind a stoic stand of budding beechwood trees,
from just beneath a setting sun's rippled reflection sinking

out of sight,
never out of mind,
beyond imagination

from somewhere when we first met,
hiding in the fog of our two shadows touching

from somewhere in our struggles,
waiting patiently for two to first become one

and so soon this one and one will at last become three
and so a son or so a daughter from somewhere unseen

Thursday, April 9, 2009

it's only 'rock' and 'roll' but i like it



Seven Easters On

The rock, rolled away and revealing
a kind of crypt at the end of a path
of self-inflicted self-destruction.

My dusty footprints barely there now
and leading away from all we sacrificed
to be together seven Easters on.

photo: 'the empty tomb' by rich legg

undertow


Waves Of Mutilation (There Is No Sunken Treasure)

There is no sunken treasure
beneath your bottomless ocean.

There is no X-marks-the-spot
upon the incomplete map of your heart.

Here
in your sea's cruel depths,
unrepentent and unrelenting,
I have suffered a thousand slow deaths
adrift upon your unfathomable latitudes,
leaving me delirious below a cannibal sun
blistering, ravaging the very flesh of my soul,
sucking the carnal knowledge from my loins
as I swallow saltwater in a delusional effort
to hold on another day, another year, another decade,
desperate not to succumb to your unforgiving undertow
and its suction pulling me under again and again
only to spit me to the surface where I survive
by the sheer force of a will treading waves of mutilation.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

At Play in the Fields of the Lord


Gospel Oak

There is a field beyond these woods
hiding all manner of the unseen
within its folds, within its thicket,
within its hutches and burrowed holes.
Without a sound I have made a secret life
in these surroundings, quietly, patiently
building a new way of being,
silently constructing a shelter
against the wind and rain of sad memories.
Mineral rich waters from years of ice
around this heart melting, flowing
underfoot and through my veins,
baptizing me, birthing me anew,
born again within a rural religion
fashioned from perseverance
and practiced like a craftsman,
meticulously carving a gospel of oak
from a lone shade tree planted 100 years ago,
delicately weaving the fabric of my being
from the thistle, heather and wild grasses waiting
in the hushed chapel of this field beyond these woods.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

like a prayer


All The Tired Horses

measured in my movements

each motion like a prayer

bow

bend

crouch

taking days to drop to my knees

before your temple at last

inhaling the long, slow breath of you

and in this moment of grace

a betrayal, a denial undone

fire frozen in an arc around a martyr

four horsemen rest and water their horses

In Memory Of John Updike (1932-2009)



Epitaphs In Granite

Run rabbit run, Updike is dead,
His unwritten pages on a pyre
Turned to ash, turned to smoke,

Turned to layers of earth left untilled,
Turned to grey fog not unlike a ghost
Lifting over a New England field of green

Where rabbits run between headstones
In the fading, failing of twilight falling
Across our final lines, our epitaphs in granite.

incandescence


Nightlight

rummaging, foraging,
the dark for your light

incandescence unrivaled

glowing brightly beneath
these sheets, your skin

Sunday, April 5, 2009

the imagined art of me


Lament Of A Post-Impressionist

I am no good at drinking anymore
and all the punch-drunk nights I tally from memory
bring a grin but nothing more than rum-soaked regrets
flagging a ride on a lonely road in the middle of a town
full of weekend revelers and beer-drowned dreams.

I want to see the sun and its star slung savage light,
not some Monet-Manet impression of what lies ahead,
overhead the blue beyond blue of sky belies comprehension
of wasted nights and Sundays spent in the arms of lethargy,
for the thrill is gone if ever it was the imagined art of me.

man's best friend


Dog Day Afternoon

My dog you lie sleeping,
more content than I will ever be.
My god, you know nothing of
days, weeks, birthdays, weddings, death, divorce.

Your disappointment lasts just a moment.
Forgetting you didn't get to ride in the car,
not even wondering where I went, greeting me
with the same electric enthusiasm whether I am
arriving home from a clock's slow crawl across eight hours work
or from the minutes it ticks while taking out the trash,
all the same to you it seems to me in a dog day afternoon.

If only I could forget so easily,
the slights, the slanders, the longing left waiting
in a memory eager to retrieve,
no matter how far I have flung
the sticks and stones that broke my bones,
their names and faces fetched,
etched in a brain forever reacting to a bell
sounding, ringing with the sting of resentment.

My god, to be you my dog,
knowing tomorrow is not even a conception you conceive of,
that yesterday leaves no mark and today happiness is assured
in a walk through fallow fields where yesterday, today, tomorrow's
memories are carried away by a wind and your fleeting sense
of their scent soon forgotten, sparing you again and again
the collective scar-tissue that marks your master's skin.

walk with me today



The Last Jaguar

Roaming
vast stretches,
a continent.

On a collision course with indifference
where one becomes none.

Walk with me today though,
steps behind,
stalking.

Your ghost
as menacing,
as misunderstood
as when you roamed the high and low,
never knowing your own pale stalkers
were never more than one step behind.

photo by emil mccain

Saturday, April 4, 2009

idly dreaming


In This Gentle Hour

In this gentle hour I am alone
though somehow your love pervades,
sheltering me from melancholy and wind gust
whipping folds of mercury, flaps of grey flannel
across the lake, painting windows framed by walls
where inside, safe and sound, I sit quietly listening
to my mother's voice through an answering machine
which somehow manages to mask her advancing age
and the burden of my father's dementia not easliy forgotten
here in this gentle hour where I await with calm idle your return
while we are still young and idly dreaming of growing old together.

young lust, naive love


From A Poison Well

right there in our little yard,
asleep for years but slowly stirring
awake beneath a flowerbed of bleeding hearts,
the water of blessed union running red and backwards,
vows flowing in reverse turning virgin white to scarlet letter rust,
young lust, naive love withering along with grass where we once lay
before the beginning of the end began its leaching from a poison well

Thursday, April 2, 2009

an ocean empties


Lovers On Our Backs (In A Salton Sea)

when you surrender,

tender

beneath the weight of me,

waiting patiently

for the wash, the roar, the hum,

somewhere an ocean empties

completely,

only to fill again

with the sweat and moist

of collapse,

in waves upon a beach, upon a bed,

leaving you and me,

lovers on our backs,

emptied out, asleep and adrift

in a Salton Sea.

painting: pablo picasso's 'the embrace', 1903

empathy


You Know Me Better Than I Know Myself

You know me better than I know myself,
My tics, my fears, my less affected moments.

You hum me like some warm and reassuring tune
I don't always recognize from the opening notes.

And even though I have spent years inside this skin,
You know its bruise and blush better than I ever will.

You wear me like some torn tee-shirt I won't give up,
Well aware of the soft, the sweat, the stain, the security.

But beware my love for I am not always who you think,
To know me is to not always love me, but somehow you do,

For you know me better than I know myself,
For better, for worse and, for all I know, for myself.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

your name, unknown for now



A Perfect Circle

Your name, unknown for now, still rising on thermals
Where red-tail hawks and golden eagles wing to soar
Before settling to Earth and home from Heaven on high
Where God's Three Graces with great humility whisper it

In a psalm, in a prayer, in a round
Creating
A perfect circle from its own sound

Gilding a halo to behold, to hover in air over your head,
Here below in a mother's heart, in a father's thought,
Gliding down to crown a love sublime, a conception conceived
In your name, unknown for now, to complete a perfect circle

photo: halos and arcs /complete parhelic circle by eva seidenfaden

Saturday, March 28, 2009

the gospel according to...


Pale Saints

Full of grace and lying beside me,
just awake from, still aware of, a dream

The apostles gathered around our bed
reading in silence from a Book of Luke

Perfume, sweat and incense hover
in the space above, below, between us

Our breaths whisper the names of every pale saint
murmured in the rattle and hum of a rosary

Believing prayers offered will be answered
without question/reservation, despite hesitation

So hang on Love to the miracle inside you
that still remembers the way back to Heaven

Here awake with the sun, we walk with the Son
the crooked path to grace, to Gethsemane

To dig up faith for it has always been there
behind dreams, written on wind, shrouded in parable

Buried there beneath our broken, beating hearts
not with the weathered white bones of pale saints

Friday, March 27, 2009

day of the locusts



17 Years Later

the swell of organ,

like from a church, but coming
from
behind your pooled brown eyes

turned blue,
the day i left you
for good,

standing
in that courtyard, like a graveyard,

alone,
just you

and
the swell of cicada
like a swarm of locusts
devouring the sound

of my last goodbye,

leaving you
waiting
to this
day
year after
year

for my return.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

... I tread without sinking...


This Tired Light

In this tired light I tread without sinking,
fighting for the few hours left above fathoms
swallowing this day along with her weary sun,
holding what little time remains over my head
just beyond the lull and rhythm of the waves
threatening to pull me and this tired light under.

supplanted



I'm Not There

the hand of fate reaches for me
in these fallow years between
time forgotten, time at an end

grasping the gasp of air
long exhaled

grabbing the glow of heat
left behind

groping the ghost of scent
lingering here

her hounds circling the ground
where i once stood
only to find me gone

from these fields, these years
that lay fallow for seasons

where green shoots, now sprung,
supplant footprint, supplant fate,
in my place for i'm not there

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ballroom dancing


This Mannequin Waltz

this dance
this costume ball
this masquerade
where we waltz behind a mannequin smile
hiding our own grin, grimace, imperfect grace
looming beneath this expressionless mask
languishing beyond this elaborate charade
in a ballroom built by puppeteers

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

kingdom of rust



Mockingbirds

coming down off the hill,
the collective rust of the industrial age
buried deep beneath my feet

entering
a city of silos
a county of cornstalks
a country of fields unfolding, forgotten

birds fly backwards
above my scarecrow, scatterbrain hair
blown awry as I speed the plough
to slow progress and all its impermanence

the red of iron ore waters
pulsing in place of blood
below my sun-dried, yellowed paper skin

birds belie gravity
drawing invisible ellipses
in a sky feathered with jet contrails

with wings wide open they welcome me,
a once wayward son of pioneers
now home and agrestal at last

an eye to the sky to glimpse
the fading sight of skyscrapers
scaling an unsteady ladder to the gods

an ear to the ground to glean
the meaning of the mimicry
echoing off earth from heaven above

mocking our pilgims' progress
and its kingdom of rust

image: john james audubon's ' mockingbirds, plate no. 21 '

Saturday, March 21, 2009

gardening at night


Bulbs (Light Not Flower)

I will bury these bulbs beneath the ground, light not flower,
to illuminate a path away from the dark's descent surrounding,
sometimes shadowing unsure footsteps through this garden,
below a Heaven holding us bound to an Earth we walk blindly,
not always seeing an Eden's beauty blooming before our eyes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

in translation


Murmurs

and if i could
i would translate the foreign language of this beating heart
so you could
understand the unspeakable love muted beneath murmurs

Thursday, March 19, 2009

in the wake of


Burning In Water, Drowning In Flame

set
adrift in an ocean of regret
set
aflame by a conflagration of emotion

taking on water and burning white hot

trapped beneath, encircled by
memories

of pain
of loss
of senseless
self-inflicted suffocation of the soul

of hate
of love
of careless
calculated third degree burns of the heart

a drowning man left gasping for air in the wake of the flood
a blistering man escaping an arson consuming a tinderbox

leaving behind a family tree on fire
our fragile roots exposed by a relentless rain

all of us left
burning in water
drowning in flame

with acknowledgement to Charles Henry Bukowski
and dedicated to Aubrey, Maddie, Paul and Claire

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

forever, now



A Thousand Nows

the sea, with unemotional motion, in waves unwavering,

spiriting ephemeral impressions from beneath my feet,
secreting steps I have walked to arrive at a thousand nows.

its endless erasure leaving no trace along the sands of time,
of where the beginning began, of where the end begins.

the ocean, unremitting, washing away footprints forever, now.

photo by carsten

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

crows in contrast



Gather

With winter waning, crows in contrast on the snow receeding,
Another season of unfulfilled promise about to take wing,
Leaving me cold and counting the days
Until spring brings her gilded green
And I once again gather
The courage to go on.

photo by donegal browne

a reverie


Woolgathering

tarry here / in the rain / falling like a melody

deja vu / like a thought / feeling for a memory

a reverie / of her voice / reminding me of music

linger there / like the rain / remaining for the moment

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

concurrent



Night Becomes Electric

palm to palm
a circuit completed
pulsing current through
head-loin-heart

an arc burn
scorching an outline
of our bodies
conjoined-supine-sublime

magnetized for this moment

our atoms in flux yet immutable

dusk's light dimming beyond recognition

consciousness fading as night becomes electric

beneath the repeated pulse and oscillation of polaris

mirror moves


The Parallax View

i cannot see the end

i could not see the beginning

but everything in-between,

this life,

reflected in your eyes

Sunday, March 8, 2009

a thief in the house of love



Filling In An Empty Frame

and she was stolen away

the great art of her secreted away

the sweet love of her hidden away

but if i close my eyes
her portrait still hangs
in my memory
in my heart

in a way

photo: 'empty frame' by anne sutcliffe

between a rock and a hard place



Stone Wall

and i have built a monument to myself, my struggle

with
winters weathered,
summers sweltered

dying a little with every autumn
but forever defying each year's march toward death
with a spring in my step come easter lilies' reminder
of the crosses we bear and the resurrections awaiting

rolling another rock away from a tomb of my own making,
adding it to the long line of stones constructing this wall,
a humble cairn, a testament to dogged perseverance,
blending in with the changing seasons surrounding me

intimating i am still here, i was here, until i was not

all that we can't leave behind


Built Our Ruins

These places are now
ruins.

Recognize though it was we
who burned them

down.

Midnight-drunk-rant-catharsis
unleashed amidst stoic stands of timber

watching,
in silent awe of our uprooting,

how we,
free to come and go,

also added unseen rings
from year to year.

Our words whittled into the wind
and not the bark at our backs.

Our frost breath
fanning the flames of
manhood-youth-gone-mad
offerings of

smoke totems to the night sky.

Those days we spent in ragged company
of one another now seem

as ephemeral as the shooting stars
that streaked unnoticed overhead

while we
built our ruins,

carrying with us the memories of
all that we can't leave behind.

For the boys,
Wes, Doug and David
.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

foundlings


Orphans : Abandoned Poems Find A Home

I.

Ten Lines

and
i will
with these hands
rummage through the hours
searching for night shadow arms
to wrap comfortable and close over
shiver shoulders like a blanket of stars
to contain the collapsing atoms of a man
born into the bright white bleak light of day
and dying to be cradled in the black of sleep


II.

Oh Mercies'

a natural god and earthly demons
pulling at fibers, the very fabric of my being,
leaving my mind hanging by a thread,
my soul savaged by the same sharp lance
removed from the side of a hysterical and panicked jesus

fruit of the poison tree falling at my feet,
my own eve, vestal and virginal, innocently offering
a snake bit apple bit blindly and opening my eyes
to miseries, mysteries, tell tale signs and oh mercies'
apocrypha spilling from a tongue of fire and sweet damnation


III.

Shifting Sands (Lovers Lost And Long Forgotten)

we are a borrowed line on borrowed time built upon a world's shifting sands

where our words like dust blow away along with our crumbling concrete hearts

to fill deserts with the poets' stolen sonnets for lovers lost and long forgotten


IV.

Strange Currencies

filling the empty spaces of a life with a wealth of literary fragments,

passages plundered from books for which i am the richer man,

fabricated intellectual properties appropriated and counterfeited,

the strange currencies of a fortune found in the folds of fictions


V.

Warm Hearts / Cold Sun

winter won't let go of our coats pulled close

sheltering our warm hearts from a cold sun


VI.

Wolves

wolves watched,

with baited breath

condensing in the cold air of a winter without end

from the bare bones of a scavenged wooded edge,

the wounded animal,

within our sun starved skin

stumbling chaotic circles of an ever-circling skeletal dance

leaving us vulnerable and awaiting the vernal equinox.


VII.

Black Wind

black wind blew hard and bleak for years

out of california to cross the supposed wasteland of the midwest

on east toward and breaking through the appalachian chain

left blind, deaf and dumb in the wake of the fog that followed

its throat choking smoke smothering any sense of self

the taste of hopelessness like sulphur and charcoal upon a tongue

scraped in vain with the dull blade of a childhood pocketknife

given as a gift then taken back along with the promise of better days

indian-given but somehow still ghost-present in a certain quality of light

exposing a memory of expectation more resilient than expected

illuminating a mind fleet of foot and ready to walk through fire

to wander away from fear of failure and everything familiar

a dementia self-imposed, forged to forget guilt and move forward

through black winds blowing hard and bleak for years

freeing this tempest-torn adam to ravish his intended eve

to take leaps of faith beyond childish bible allegory of wandering deserts

a novel idea in hand instead and acting as compass and sextant

to hemingway's spain, hamsun's scandinavia, bukowski's san pedro

high ground hidden in the manifold folds of a postmodern map

relief found in ridges to run between mountains still shifting beneath bare feet

stopping only to bury belief along with the miscarriage of sentimental burdens

discarding ceremony, circumstance and the well-worn path for the thicket

beating back the thorns piercing side and crowning forehead

in search of a breeze as clear as water rattling leaves like tibetan bells

stirring gods from sleep as this ascent hastens up through thin air

and the breath from her last kiss catches fire within charred lungs

the final accelerant to push above the treeline and embrace the western sun

chemical orange, pink, purple, red carried in the womb of a tempra blue sky

birthing a notion to breathe deep the clean, the clear, the calm

heir apparent and armed with a new sense of self

assured despite everything surrendered along the way to a black wind

the waving hand atop a summit like a flag above a wasteland conquered


VIII.

Bird From Snow

little hands so cold

fashioning a bird from snow

our warm hearts take wing

Monday, March 2, 2009

a bell is a cup until it is struck

The Ring Of A Bell

last winter of regrets barely holding on like the ring of a bell

the warmth of her sweet voice carrying across the frozen lake

cold fading as i cup its sound to an ear listening for a final thaw

Thursday, February 26, 2009

there then gone



I Am Disappearing

I am disappearing.

Even the night brightens with dawn for a better glimpse of my apparition.
Houdini's heir apparent there then gone apparently vanishing into thin air.

I am swallowing my own skin.

Even the sun unhinges for a closer look at the bleached bones of a ghost.
An escape artist painting himself out of a self portrait within this still life.

I am surrendering to the ether.

Even heaven cannot divine where my spirit lies between earth and moon.
A soul skipping through time and space like a stone across black water.

I am disappearing.

Even science cannot posit a reason for the vaccuum left in my absence.
Hubble alone like some glass blown Galileo searching the stars for a sign.

photo: harry houdini circa 1899

Monday, February 23, 2009

sound asleep

The Background Hum

as I drift off,

the telephone waiting for a call that won't come

the clock content with quarter of, ten to, five of

the almost forgotten crackle of a dying fire

cat, dog, wife already awash in slumber

a triptych of breathing - motion, sigh, wave

my own heavy exhale / inhale swallowing light

floating somewhere between fading sound and roaring silence

the background hum morphing into a flickering dream

Sunday, February 22, 2009

population : 2


Alone Together

we are alone, together

me, with my thoughts

you, with yours

and on long walks
across the frozen fields of stubbled corn stalks,
around the lake where ice fishermen huddle over augered holes,
through winter woods which hold the weathered history of our property

we talk in hushed tones between our own thoughts
of little plans for this life together, alone with one another

Friday, February 20, 2009

bridging the pangea drift


A Sort Of Homecoming

My father's father's father
My mother's mother's mother
And countless others

From Odessa
From Mamokus Lan
From an ocean away

From lands buried by perpetual winter
To a land of hope springing eternal

Sullen Swedes,
Resilient Rusks,
Laconic Laplanders
Crossing a vast sea of uncertainty
And finding their sense of place not so displaced
And waiting for them in the bitter and forlorn tundras of
Wisconsin, Minnesota, eastern Montana and the northern Dakota

The pangea that drifted apart so long ago
Inching back together in some small way,
The physical and mental distance bridged briefly
In this sort of homecoming for a stranger in a strange land

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ghost of me



Being Before Being

Gliding the late night hours,
bright lit by moonlight and man-made mercury vapor,
I crash the ether from below,
magnetic north merely a notion at this altitude,
electromagnetic radiation (a motion, a current , a tide)
surrounding the becoming ghost of me gathering
in the sensation of sweet burning essence
upon torso, upon time, upon tongue,
leaving me mute, ageless, without form
and free to drift through memories
of being before being.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

dancing the collapse


No Line On The Horizon

nondescript

before the moment of surrender

where a wave forms, then falls

in the chaotic choreography of chronology

without direction, dancing the collapse

as the past collides with the present, tense

and torquing the curl of time forgotten to the ocean floor

where crawling years climb fathoms in search of the surface

carrying the pressure of memories pushed through leagues

to form then fade like the smoke from two ships passing in the night

nondescript, in darkness where there is at last no line on the horizon

image by forty-one crush

that February feeling


Melancholy Melancholia

And a melancholy sweeps over me,
from things I have seen, felt, thought, dreamt

The swell of a sad melody drifting from
a February room like a cannonball to the chest

The overwhelming squall of snow falling
to subdue the illusion of a winter sun's warmth

And a melancholia settles over me,
leaving the cold of dull grey around my heart

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

curtain call


Taken Before Trees

listen

for applause

as you stand

all alone

listening

to the wind through brittle frozen branches barely audible

witnessing

a bow

taken before trees

as your

witness

to a wilderness of achievements barely visible upon the wind

Monday, February 16, 2009

blue period



Chaos And Creation

My own blue period, hovering

An aeroplane falling out of the sky

Decompression, pure oxygen deployed

An inflated sense of self

Under pressure to perform

Start at wits end

Begin the renewal of intellectual pursuit

Painting myself into brilliant corners

Picasso's profile in a cloud, hovering

The crash and burn imprint of my Icarus wings below

Little boy blue's arrival, coincidence coincides

A father, a phoenix rises from the ashes of impact

Fashioning art from the chaos of this life

Painting: 'Boy in a Striped Sweater' by Modigliani (1918)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

for rachel on valentine's day


Flood Of Sunshine

the perfume of you flooding my senses

an ocean of salt air

a river of sweetwater

a field of wildflowers

a wind awash with honeysuckle and heather

a flood of sunshine overhead

the morning dew of you washing over me

Thursday, February 12, 2009

miles and memories


Along Pavement

two lanes split this trip

- from memories bequeathed by oral tradition and newspaper clippings
of a snow borne birth at the end of an ice road slide down through dakota

forward

toward

an inevitable destination

- to memories alternating between 15 and 60 frames per second
flashing across passenger side windows like blurred postcards

i sent to myself

a sense of myself

coming into focus the further i travel

along pavement