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
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
behind your pooled brown eyes

turned blue,
the day i left you
for good,

in that courtyard, like a graveyard,

just you

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

of my last goodbye,

leaving you
to this
year after

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.


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


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

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


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

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

taking on water and burning white hot

trapped beneath, encircled by

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


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


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


Night Becomes Electric

palm to palm
a circuit completed
pulsing current through

an arc burn
scorching an outline
of our bodies

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

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

Recognize though it was we
who burned them


unleashed amidst stoic stands of timber

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
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


Orphans : Abandoned Poems Find A Home


Ten Lines

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


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


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


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


Warm Hearts / Cold Sun

winter won't let go of our coats pulled close

sheltering our warm hearts from a cold sun



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.


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


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