Wednesday, April 27, 2011

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

West Of Rome (Alone At Last)

The horizon behind me is ablaze,
the eastern sky gropes its wide line
for a pale sun shrouded somewhere within
the turgid smoke of an unnatural day for night
descending like a final curtain on a love
left charred as I ride out and alone
at last, somewhere west of Rome.

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

To Rain Redemption (for Alan Heathcock)

Along roadsides,
broken down Christs
with Winston cigarettes
dangling from chapped lips,
curse the daylight evaporating
from cumulonimbus tattooed skies
not ready, nor willing to rain redemption.

West Of Rome / new poems 2011


Stay inside
This old hotel
With dead souls
Counting time to kill
Between a forever's now
And an eternity of idle hours

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

An Architecture

on the inside,
so I sit transcribing
their frenzied constructions
as they escape my consciousness,
an architecture of the soul rising out of
this new horizon I am feverishly documenting

West Of Rome / new poems 2011


April stumbles,

Footing left wanting

Beneath the slip of rain,

Against the gale of wind,

Left tripping towards May

Where spring's tenderfoot

Might finally find a balance

Walking below the sure sun

And between strong blooms.

Monday, April 25, 2011

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

Stupor Made Sober

whiskey kisses leech my lips
of their stupid grin, again,
my mumble bled pale,
nearly opaque,
my stupor made sober
in contrast to my stumbling
for the right words to offer her

West Of Rome / new poems 2011


She comes, my Shiva,
Hellbent, cold metal teeth
Gnawing on a hospital bed,
Bleeding me with Sex,
Raping me with Death,
Leaving a broken man
Baying like a wolf-boy
Alone in a wilderness
Of shadows and ether,
Gasping for my breath
In the middling distances
Between black and white,
The grey vapor inhalation
Wheezing almost-vespers
She smothers with a kiss.

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

Antlers (inspired by Tantra Bensko)

Shadowing the past,
Antlers down off a wall
Whispering in a round
The details of an accident
Informing the chalk outline
Of your life, even in death,
Where dreams still reach
And flicker in the half-light
Dawn of fog-drift dirt roads,
Masking the last embers
Of white-hot memories.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

West Of Rome / new poems 2011


Sifting oceans
in search of fossils
to inform me,

From where?,

so I might
at least sense some
connection to,

Why am I here?,

before I am
dead and long buried
beneath waves.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

West of Rome

I set the proud lions upon her and headed dead west,
rode red the faltering sun like a slowly dying steed,
my worn gray shadow elongating out behind me
til dusk called it a day, more like a decade,
and night fell blue beyond its own black,
and quiet, save for the distant sound
of her being torn limb from limb
whispered in my waiting ear
from east over a shoulder
by a witness, the wind
pale beyond white,
feral with a fear
of what I alone

Monday, April 18, 2011

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

Let It Come, Let It Fall, Let It Land

Let it come,

the birds carry
good news
in their beaks.

Let it fall,

and bring me
new hope
in my hands.

Let it land,

I won't forget
the miles
it has flown.

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

Weather Patterns

It snowed the week I met you
in early May, nine years ago,
and so I can't help but notice
the large flakes falling here
in April almost a decade later,
and on the verge of a new start
just as we were in that spring
the season forgot itself as well.

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

Of Weeds And Rails

Far off train from my childhood carry me back home
to parallel memories of place and possibility,
of destinations still as yet dreamed of,
but somehow sensed well before
they tore up the tracks
all in the name of a
nameless progress
no one remembers now,
lost to wild mint, to mallow,
to common ribwort and chicory,
to tiny yellow blooms of groundsel,
to pricking thistles, the tumble of weeds
azoic along remnants of rusted rails I still walk.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

Spring Pear/Ice Orchards

Spring pear tastes like rain
in a mouth dried by winter's salt
and gelid winds through ice orchards.

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

Coevals (Animal Brain, Human Heart)

My childish thoughts

of revenge, of envy,

with the more intellectual
sense of satisfaction,
capacity for forgiveness,

though they wrestle
about the room
knocking over
of the

as the animal brain grins
and the human heart frowns,

self-actualization left stranded
somewhere in the wilds between the two,

enduring these coevals
on its slow ascent
to higher ground.

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

At The Hip

It still walks along right behind me,
even when I stop, blow my nose, count stars,
spit, piss, pin the words in my head to the ground,
do the math, puzzle at the raw beauty of another sunset,
think about the shit you have to keep from saying every day
to people half as smart, half as aware, half as alive - so, instead
I tell my shadow, "Go fuck yourself," knowing it could really give a damn.

Friday, April 15, 2011

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

Our Penny-Wise Shadows

With uncertain economy,
"Forward ho," and we're off again,
leaving only our footsteps as artifacts
for those who still track us, to marvel at
well after we have followed a series of new suns
so familiar, we no longer cast our penny-wise shadows.

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

A Failed Conspiracy

all the strange summers we have
hovered above
speaking in tongues
our pollen manifestos
of better days,
stuck in the limbs of
fragile locusts
beautiful hawthorns
along with
white plastic bags,
sad with weeks
of spring rain and wind
and left sagging
in a failed conspiracy
by the time autumn
brings leaves and dreams
back to earth

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

Demon Pockets

fingers into snakes

not foraging, but
moving in magic
unseen constriction

like these hells I hide
of what wasn't Eden

West Of Rome / new poems 2011

I Desire I

everybody is running through the streets
naked and on fire,
chasing dreams they themselves drowned,

looking at their hands shaking
with an epilepsy
that comes from always wanting

where as i desire i and sit in the quiet
of rain and fog
waiting patiently to soak again in the sun

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

On The Other End Of Eight (reprise)

Here at peace at last on the other end of eight years gone
I cannot reconcile the sullen, scarred face I once wore,
slashed beyond recognition by the absence of love,
a mad vacuum where hope sleeps alone and prays
for scar tissue to come and kiss away a pain
only three thousand setting suns can heal.

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

At My Feet At Last

All the predators -

without talons,
without claws,
without teeth,

- at my feet at last

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

Without A Map

The hard road well behind now, the fork where fortune led us together
by a horizon left holding the hindsight of our blind faith in one another.

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

A Halo Spun

The rhythm of Heaven
found in the curl and tumble
of his soft, auburn-brushed hair,
a halo spun by a mother for an only son.

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

Un Gioco Al Massacro

In between
nothing but blood

Blotting out the pastel chalk
of eviscerated summers we lost

And the distant, strained remains
of what once was children's laughter

Forgotten in a wind of selfish wants
and a war of words waged long between

Butchers pale at either end of their regret
where the rain falls red but washes away no sin

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

Color Wheel Collapsing (for Rachel)

She stood there transfixed by the droning, ephemeral,
color wheel collapsing sunset beyond the pane
colliding against perspective - the horizon -
her hands outstretched, overhead
into the abstract arc of a diver,
toes curled with force,
poised to plunge
out a window
and into

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

In The Cloud-Like Impermanence Of My Mortal Poetics

stutter -
we can never say everything that need be said

shutter -
we can never capture everything that need be seen

as the subtraction adds up to less than we expect

and so I stammer to capture the word, the wind
with less than perfect diction

and so I clamber to catalog the wild, the world
with less than complete collocation

as I shudder in the length of my receding shadow,
in the cloud-like impermanence of my mortal poetics,
realizing within the word, the wind, the wild, the world
that it is easier to conceive of the infinite, than the finite

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

The Windpipe Crushed

feet swinging freely
from contentment/
with a smile/
Asphyxiation without awareness
of the rope slipped 'round
a willing neck/
The windpipe crushed
never knowing why

Monday, April 11, 2011

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

Masafuera: Farther Away

At 38 I let go,
allowed myself to drift away
from comforting familiar reflections
in a shark infested, increasingly murky sea.

After almost a decade adrift
I have at last spied a shoreline,
a rocky outcrop, a Crusoe sanctuary
where I am hidden from all whom dared try follow.

And I am farther away as well
from the desperate impression of a life,
a landmass of secure, safe, but sullen connection,
an impermanent Pangaea of shifting, separating emotions.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

As I Hold Water Moccasins In My Aging Hands (for Jim Harrison)

The shape of the journey:
irregular, irreversible - a river
flooding its banks to swallow
old LPs, rusted shed tools,
and, the love of a woman
now wearing another face
as I hold water moccasins
in my aging hands
and piece together my youth
from Polaroids, vague memories
of a trip to Syracuse and
the smell of smoke coming from
a neighbor's burn barrel
on summer nights four decades gone -
there where I was no more than a shadow
in a hooded sweatshirt chasing fireflies,
still unaware
of the speed of light,
of the number of feet in a mile,
of Newton's fortuitous falling apple -
that even gravity cannot hold us
to this world forever.

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

Gold In The Shadow

mining memory
for gold in the shadow

your diamond smile found
in between the soft folds
and hemispheres of forgot

memory, mine,
a shadow caching gold

Friday, April 8, 2011

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

Playing The Wrong Piano

Playing the
wrong piano/

Transposing crooked notes
left by Cubist lovers/

Floating overhead in pale gray rooms
of their own construction/

Alight with atonal words on fire
smoldering as I smoke backwards/

Exhaling John Cage cancer
and imperfect rings of emphysema/

Wheezing a broken, blackened melody
I cannot breathe/

Sitting here beneath the arbitrary rhythm
of a strangled symphony/

Above a tuck of tails trailing
an exit face flashing before ivories combust/

Knowing I can always just
hum myself to sleep

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011


In blue,
or rather,


from the heart,

such as
a novel idea

set in stone,

worn away,

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

Dyed In The Wool

Between the two of us, a gentle boy,
a soft amalgam with curls shorn to expose
a subtle coat of arms, beneath which he will be me
and he will be you, the two of us, long after we are gone.

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

Beyond The Great Curve

This light, bending, passing through me and on its way
to touch the rings of Saturn, to illuminate the edges
beyond the great curve where souls wait in silence
listening closely for the shadow I have added
to the glow that was here, then gone.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On The Other End Of Eight / new poems 2011

Pagan Eves

Within me, ribs
wanting release

and so with the remainder
of my broken teeth, I tear,

I break them loose
with the chew of sinew,
the shark bite of cartilage,
the mastication of marrow

choking my
own muffled howl
stifled by
bitten, bloody lips

carrying a kiss
for all the pagan
Eves I will fashion.