Friday, May 27, 2011

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

To A Sea Uncertain

I gave myself to the river,
walked out of the rushes,
waded deep the rush,
laid myself supine
in her currents
never pulled
by the moon
but led along
by instinct alone,
afraid no more to let
nature take her course
and me to a sea uncertain

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

The Stars Hold No Rain

Grow 'til tall.
I will carry you
even after you are.

The trees protect us,
so climb, reach for the clouds,
the stars hold no rain for saplings to suckle.

Stand on my shoulders
and pocket the open sky
to keep in your cedar box.

Even the sun sleeps,
so close your eyes and dream,
the night holds the tomorrows you awake older.

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

All Animals (I-VII)

All animals,
fossil futures'
muffled humming beneath the weight
of sediment and stone, quietly churned
to oil

Our lamps light landscapes,
the dark of day broken
by a bowl of starlight -
the missing mass of matter
found in filaments of galaxies -
dead and buried we join the soil,
a final bedrock resting place

To lie down
with a thousand dead horses
in the fields of Little Big Horn,
To sink down
with remnants of mastodons
in the asphaltum of La Brea's pits,
To fall down
with the weakest of an elk herd
in the dead, dark of Alaskan winter

Burn the last of what is left,
tall stands, hardwood mausoleums
of organic communion where
the time of Christ is marked
with rings,
just the same as yours or mine

The birds know no religion,
but fly closer to Heaven
than those who pray,
tame the beasts
for burden,
though a name for all
enslaves not even a single one

Our songs,
our books,
our tools,
our science,
our religion,
our progress

All impermanent,
as all animals succumb to time,
and we are only one of many
despite our imagined dominance

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

The River Before Me

To ford the river before me
I must consider
the boy who comes after me

His eyes wide, reflecting the great Western Expansion

His features betraying an amalgam of Old World relatives

- Swedes, Germans, Irish, Austrians, Russians, Scots, Brits -

All of whom forded an ocean broad, upon sail and upon steam

Upon the dreams emanating from the headwaters of imagination

A stream of consciousness
I must consider
With this river before me

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

Shining Like Discovery

Jamestown found me,
a lost soul looking for a lost colony

"To belong, to belong, only to belong."

Round and round I had once gone
only to find, to face me again left alone

"To belong, to belong, only to belong."

Until westward ho I went
beyond rain worn memories soaking a soul

"To belong, to belong, only to belong."

The spirit of her auburn sun
shining like discovery for a lost explorer

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

A Rhyme, A Round (Rain, Rain Come Again)

Rain, rain comes
then goes away

Souls swim the sky
in its damp aftermath

Green beyond green soaked
and almost glowing

From a covered porch
we wait for last lightning

Thunder heading on and up
the unsuspecting coast

Sun finds her smile
and squints upon thick air

Spirits sing a rhyme, a round
of rain, rain come again

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

Up Upon Air

I have walked on and on
until levitation took my heels
and lifted them up upon air without
weight or any inference I did not belong
amidst the wings, wind, mountains, and souls
I once found myself earthbound below grounded by
mortality, gravity and a confidence hidden by the clouds

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

Map Of My Blood (A Sanguine Atlas)

Lost somewhere in the map of my blood
forming memories from farm landscapes -

The Upper Peninsula's
Apple orchards picked before frost's kiss,
Cotton fields' soft white
in the fading, insect-bit light of Arkansas,
Pecan trees shook empty
in the dusty broom sweep of West Texas
Florida's citrus handpicked
by weathered, worn hands of immigrants

- Fruits found in their labors somehow
informing the folds of a sanguine atlas

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

Mercy's Kiss

I break beyond me,
I break wide open -
my bloodied, swollen tongue dragging
back roads that lead to dark, damp woods
where the bodies lie dead beneath dirty leaves
their ghosts still begging, bartering for mercy's kiss
- I turn a deaf ear,
I turn a blind eye

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

A Body of Water Evaporating

... fog emotions;
you cannot see what
I have hidden
between skin and bone,
between blood and the beating
that keeps these feelings
alive and willing
to wander alone
I have carved from intuition,
where haze burns slowly off
above a body of water

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

Reaching For A Heaven We Already Hold In Our Wandering Hearts

A pilgrimage across
strange topography,
to your bright eyes,
to my curiosity's survey.

Jaguar shadows
follow our bushwhacked,
beaten back, Braille deer paths -
they inform the light breaking above, upon, beyond
the ridge our compass thoughts desire to reach before dusk.

The trees stand with their crucified limbs before us
reaching for a heaven we already hold in our wandering hearts.

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

Map The Stars By Counting Birds

map the stars
by counting birds

your night eyes nest
beneath a blanket

the moon lights
the day's last flight

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

Sudden Ridges, Certain Valleys (To Begin Again And Again)

up ahead,
a rest stop,
a scenic overlook,
the sign in a shutter of light
going by at seventy-five miles an hour
says so

we are tired,
light is falling orange
out our back window
and we want only the
absence of color
sleep can bring

but on we go,
miles revealing themselves
in sudden ridges,
certain valleys,
in our desire to get back
to where you and I began,
to begin again and again

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

Follow The Geography

Mt. Ranier rained fog
on my parade

San Diego blew, blustered,
flustered my best instincts

Pine Ridge poisoned my prairie footsteps
across bad lands bleeding Hepatitis C

Charlotte left lust not lipstick on my collar
as I lay in dawn's gutter

Dallas offered redemption
too wide to embrace for my sling-slung arms

Boston bled me of all my naiveté,
the Charles River flowing between who I was, who I would become

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

An Absolom, Not An Abraham, Am I

Swallowed the endless sands
for a son.

The deserts of my dreams
run wild with the rivers I have waded,

by surviving
cancerous light
carried from another corner
of a universe unaware
I am holding him up
not in sacrifice,
but in adulation.

An Absolom, not an Abraham,
am I.

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011


i wander a mirage of geography

ghost cities, phantom landscapes

run my hands through opaque rivers

flush my face in the rouge of urban rust

blacken my palms with the rush of prairie oil

each and every tree a witness to feeling, to thought

boise, bethesda, birmingham

orlando, omaha, oakland

yakima, ypsilianti, yuma

the land runs red beneath my pale skin

the skin turns black beneath a cold sun

lay down with your dead

climb a cloud collapsing

sin can never follow a saint's apparition

walking unmapped in others' memories

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

Faits Accomplis

rock broke away from the coast,
tossed in the teeth of gunmetal waves
- here, then there -
until I lost sight of it

the moment left time behind
and all that remained
was the stone-dead-silence
of billions of years
and their aeonian snapshots
of time at a stand-still

marching me all the same toward death,
with no malice, only another moment
awaiting recognition before it too is lost
to the grey, endless fluidity
of geological time,

nothing more profound in store
for similar, inevitable fates

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

As Mutable As

the lake churning outside
below/beyond the bluff,
metaphor stitched surgically
from the inside out
to my internal organs,
where the grind and retreat
of its glacial origins,
the indifference and absoluteness
of its storms,
the vast fog-shrouded infinities
of its horizons,
lie in wait, mimicking movements
of curl, crest, break, collapse
where mood meets emotion
as mutable as quicksilver
framed by panes of glass

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

The Raw Of The World

Outside a window,
in the raw of the world

The wind,
a rustle of razors
through new leaves

And spring's
warm rain
waiting to explode
in the wake of thunder applause

the ionized air
hovering above,
across green grass, more green
in contrast to a proscenium of grey

As a fox plays the silk light
for its better than even odds
against a rabbit no longer able
to outrun its shadow

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea / 2011

The Rivers I Have Hidden From The Sea

don't end.
leave me

to face the day

I paint myself,
in varying colors -

scream red
from a lost mother tongue
of my German blood
buried below layers
of liver-spotted skin,
scar tissue,
and choking veins.

I swallow blue,
spit back the salt of oceans
beyond my understanding -
the black of water yielding
only a scribble of stuttering white
to even the fullest moon.

The eyes of my wife
hold more secrets
than all the depths
with their bone armies
at ease,
mute beneath the rhythm
of the waves' unending lament.

She sleeps,
I dream
and try to fathom the rain
outside falling through darkness,
steady and slow,
but enough to fill a heart
by morning, the suffocation of sleep
stealing night again
from my imagination
full with chalk effigies
of puddled moons
and submerged stars.

Clouds come
cover the sun,
dusk waits impatient
at my wet feet
for the deluge of dark
where art is free to follow
the rivers I have hidden from the sea.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Beyond Belief

I'm amazed by your love,
a spring in a perennial bloom,
a beauty so beyond belief it begs
the question, "Maybe this is heaven?"

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Buried Our Own

She knows my four brothers,
they have moved in shadow
all of this time we have
danced the sunlight,
moonlight together,
their faces pale
beyond woods
where we
our own
for coyotes,
wild, lost dogs
to scavenge flesh
that looks so familiar
but is only ever skin deep
and devoid of all connection
to a true genealogy of the soul

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Without Absolutes

The tight knot came undone,
left me without absolutes
to anchor myself upon,
condemned my soul
to a future fully
bound with

I stepped
from my shoes,
the deadly weight
of staying stationary,
moved on and well beyond
failure and beside good fortune.

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011


I cannot forget
the hunger in my heart,
wanting only to hold your hand
which still satiates me near a decade on.

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Birds Gather Stone-Silent

You are beautiful music to me.

I hum you, distractedly during the day.

Birds gather stone-silent at my window in wonder.

The song in my heart twice as sweet as anything they sing.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

En Far Melankoli

Late spring whetted with emotion

My small boy sleeping,
I hide the world for the time being

A lump wells in my throat,
The lies of my own childhood splitting chapped lips

Take me by the collar and pour me out,
The stammer of my recorded voice betrays me

His mother inadvertently shaming saints,
The snow tomorrow patient enough to wait today

I will hold the shadow of his ego in my hands until dawn,
Between beats my heart stops to sob

The hum and only the humming,
Apparitions, folk songs out of thin air

Nordic landscapes linger,
I cannot escape my dead relatives' dreams

The emotion of years hangs frozen,
I walk awake the night alone with the stars

Cover his slight frame with fleece,
May has forgotten her promise

In my mind I wake him,
We will listen together to Schumann before he becomes a man

I cry quietly exhaling condensation,
I too was once this small and smiling, fragile sun

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Of A Love Like War

You made me march on to the sea,
set ablaze everything that came before,
shoot the starved and sad, skeletal horses
I had ridden half to death searching for you,
made me leave behind a sky surfeit in smolder
of years trapped in the trenches of a love like war.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

The River Time We Abide

our faces familiar
but different than before
from the one-another we both knew

the fuzzy-lit dream
of those years ago flickers
faintly, dull across our aging eyes

skipping frames forgot,
swallowed in the rise and rush,
the rhythms of The River Time we abide

echoes of Heraclitus
resound the same in our ears
as they do in canyons still carving

and so we heed his words
though whetted, weighted with regret,
"You cannot step in the same river twice."

acknowlegement to Bronwen Dickey and her essay, The Last Wild River,

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

A Pilgrim's Sure Progress (Beyond Taut Gospel)

No more cigarettes,
Old, cold beer, unopened
In the big, white refrigerator

All my vices
Put on hold
At present

A Buddhist,
A Puritan,
An Ascetic


My past is rife
With a predilection
For impulsive excesses

All of it fogging
My own critical thought
And a pilgrim's sure progress

But there beyond taut Gospel
Still hangs my more colorful self
Hidden between the black of a wardrobe

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / poems 2011

No More Rain

In the aftermath,
a taste of sparkling, pure ozone,
the warm breath of residual sodium chloride

No more rain in our shoes
slowing our advance

A Utah of our own
no longer a mirage
beyond salt roads,
across open water

No more rain in our hearts
submerging our love

In the aftermath,
even our tears taste less alkaline,
the fruits of our labors sweet on our tongues

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Hold Me (In Your Burning Arms)

Smoke pouring from our mouths

Exhale, exhausted

Still running a line on fire

Hold me in your burning arms

When day/decade is done

Inhale, exulted

Remembering the hour of immolation

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Unaware Of The Weather

a decade old photo in a box,

the two of us, smiling,


unaware of the weather
coming our way

brightening every imaginable

our storms,
locust skies stalking me,
floods sweeping us from our feet

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Walking Mists

She is out walking
mists my whetted words
try to follow through a thicket
of razor rain and gale-driven thorn,
a trail left littered with occasional remnants
of love's letters punctured, soaked and bloodied.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011


milling English
with mortar and pestle
- subtlety slips away on the wind -

grinding lines
of their rough coarse
- distinction falls dusty at my feet -

hewing letters
into oak permanence
- discretion rises to the occasion -

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Cautious Auburn Beauty

cautious auburn beauty
I know
it's been slow coming

and sleep has slipped
beyond our own dreams

where we awake to wake
one another
from slumber's insomnia

checking our calendars
for a decade we deserve

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Wind, Silk, Twig and Wax

Strawberry girl watches
through sinking windows,
her own homemade aviary,
her freckles still evident even
beneath the years of May dew,
cupped and kissed to wash away
sad memories which refuse to pale
or fly away upon wings she fashioned
from stitches of wind, silk, twig and wax.

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Jealous Setting Suns, Waning Crescent Moons

Jealous setting suns, waning crescent moons refuse you their light,
the sky dims then darkens daily beyond your luminous face,
leaving a world in stark contrast to contemplate
why I revolve around you alone.

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Two Rachels

Two Rachels wait,
greet me as I come,
and kiss me as I go,
but I will only ever know
the one who came after
I arrived for the first time
and never really the one
that waited alone for love
all those years before
we found each other
standing in our own
lonely shadows.

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

She Carries Apples

She carries apples
in the fold of her plain dress,
walks the sheer, windswept bluff
above the beach where water's rhythm
works the same as a memory of those days
that have drown or have leapt to their own death,
gathering sand as they move in, then out of her mind
as she reminds herself of the gravity that has held them here
with a toss across a pale shoulder of first a Gala, then an Empire,
and last a Fortune foretelling the distance between yesterday & tomorrow.

Her Cautious Auburn Beauty / new poems 2011

Her Words, Weighted

Her words, weighted with
the death of a father, the longing
for the lapping whose rhythms she rides
upon the sands of sleep and the ephemeral
imprints of paths taken, forgotten, abandoned
despite their disappearance from dream geography
that cannot hope to ever hold the fossil record of a litany
as eponymous and lyrical as her own name's four syllables.