15 October 2016

In Light

to awaken, finally, from a long sleep
and see the dawn, at a
distance, rosy, the small green
plants forcing their way up between the
paving stones, obstinate and unyielding

then shake the ashes from your wings, a
sparrow, if not a phoenix, quick and
finely feathered, escaping that
series of cages, stairwells,

to soar, free of your fetters,
each journey starting but with one
step, hardest in the bleak morning
after the music has stopped, the
reverberation turned to a death
rattle, to turn away, then, and
the floor, still unsteady beneath your feet,
set your own course, being careful, of
course, to skirt the sun

lift off is the tricky part,  the view from
the summit, though, is worth the wait,
greeted as an old friend, bereft of
you for so long, the light of
life in your eyes again

see the stars, strung out like
diamonds against the sky?
each one is a wish.  make those wishes yours.

In Darkness

falling into the arms of sleep as
she once did yours, the cold clasp
of Morpheus quieting her feverish
thoughts until she hears that
click in her head that makes
all go still.  The words stop.
the crack of ice floes in amber,
held in her hand, the blur of neon
across her eyes--she shakes her
bottles like castanets and
keeps time to the music--she
won't let you in--it is
all hers, winding, snakelike, sinuous,
around her brainpan, and the
needle-pricks spell out, in swollen
flesh, help me, help,
my mother, my father, the silver
spoon you gave me is blackened, flattened
with this disease of mine
that sickens me so, the
desire that plays along my heartstrings,
veins a conduit for rivers of
poison, this dark desire suffocating
every suffering moment
and still I shake my castanets,
count out the tablets like words
of love, yes, yes, yes, my little
my lovely ones, pale moons clattering away in your hollow music,
the sound ever receding

a finger points to the lines
written in the sky:   I have
died a hundred times or more, it is
an art, like anything else; I
do it so well, with the thick
finality finally muffling my words,
closing off my mouth for all time

14 June 2016


from pools of ink-black
coffee in anonymous
office buildings piercing the
sky, some words are
written during a lunch hour,
then some more, and
some more, savoring of
the street, and music,
and the tenor of the
times and having a
Coke with you I do
not think of statuary,
but of a kiss stolen
in the Cloisters, next
to the quiet tomb of
some great lady, her
solemn face in
perpetual repose, her
husband close by

away from the din of
the city, where the
steel pierces the
clouds, accepts
his kiss, for better
or for worse, as
well him as another


the open skies look
down upon the patchwork
of green, brown, black
ribbons of road newly
dug, ever expanding
veins to tap fields thick
with wheat, alfalfa, corn

the bounty of all that
springs up here, the land
arable, the water pure
still, and the song of the
birds clearly
heard, the dawn chorus
a prompting to the day's

the land grown over with
simple spires and towers, pointing
heavenwards, the weathervane
spinning to show what way
the wind goes

and generations are born
and die
and still the lilac by
the dooryard blooms,
redolent of the promise
of spring, and, as we
tend to the land, so
she relinquishes her bounty

Upon Arrival

setting foot upon a
foreign shore, black
clad, starting the
work of taming an
unruly land, resolute, unsparing

the stones dug out for
fences, the land marked
out in acres, trees crowning
mountains, green parapets
in this new Eden of
forbidding landscapes,
jagged jewels yet to
be smoothed

in this ever-expanding
America neon often
lights the way now, in
place of the stars the
pocked the sky, beacons
to a better future, with
bread and land for all,
the story still undone, it
goes on, unstoppable

07 May 2016

Untitled I, Untitled II, and Untitled III


take me in your arms again as
another spring is born from winter

place your lips on mine and
overhead the birds shall
sing a song fit to break
the heart

furrow-fields, lines straight,
without error, all too ready
for planting, dew-damped, fading
into the distance, a horizon opened up
until infinite, beyond all our poor calculations

how long will it take for the seeds
to sprout?  Only a skilled
farmer knows, winking and peeking
at the sun as it rises and sets, other
propitious signs well-known to him, his
visage fairer than any other

and buds burst along the branches,
newly green, tight-folded, waiting
to be plucked



the woman says:  do not try
to make me small; I am the
colossus who straddles the earth
and engenders all that is good,
mother of all the world, grown
out of the sea, though no
pillar of salt ground down
to grace your table

no doll to be tucked into
your coatpocket, or a book of matches
struck, one by one, their brightness
lying, extinguished, on the landing,
dimmed forever to a smudge of ash

mother of all, subject to none,
rising above the lines of littered phrases
meant to trammel her in.  No.  She
eludes these nets of sarcasm, scar-casm,
gleaming ivorygold, sinuous, sailing off
to better waters



do not mourn me when I
am gone.  Know that I am
with you yet in every sprig
of green you find beneath your boot

each squawk of birdnoise, each
crack of thunder, flame of lightning,
sudden wind stirring up the leaves to
dance in brittle circles

only tell the bees, so that they will
not decamp from their hives, that I have gone,
and let them know of those who will
voice the customary funereal words,

walking, stiff-suited, noose-tied, in dark
clothes, pinch-shod,
mouthing forced formalities through
the fug of flowers, so distant from
the sweeter noise of buzzing hives
under the summer sun

16 February 2016


too big to fail, too
old to trust, the
water sullied by
glowing particulates, threading
thick through the life-blood
of this landscape

and who shall hear her
call, soft through the
night, winding through
the trees, now bare in winter,
waiting for the green garb of

will it come again?

or shall the rivulets shine,
doubling and redoubling mutations,
reworking our DNA until we are

fault lines and faulty
thinking: a poor pairing
indeed, piercing the ground
with poisoned daggers, killing
the one who bore us


scraping the plates, the
heaped bones into the
charnel of a bin, kitchen
meat-fragrant, redolent of
blood burnt over a steady
flame and she thinks of
him and his dear bones,
that finest of frameworks
and how she (once)
pressed her lips to his

still, there are greens to
be chopped with a blade,
silver steady, pressed
against the board, the
ribbons adorning a blue
bowl, crowning the cool
china like a triumphal
wreath, waiting for a
fine seasoning

as she would season your
brow with kisses, peppering
his cheeks until she was
hungry no more.....

and still, the pitchers to
be filled and the linen
cloths, these winding sheets,
to be pressed and put

oh my dear, my darling one,
do not abandon me!

Fairy Tales

drops--that will not pierce
the skin--pelt the flesh
like pennies against the
wall--a coin toss, the
rolling of bones, all in
life a chance, the
chancers standing on the
corner with their matchbook
manifestos, eyes snapping
like a leather belt around
the ears.

this too
shall pass
shall pass

and all will be light
again, the unnerving glory
of a spring day encapsulated
in a single pill, to be
taken with a glass of

we are good children (or
were, once-upon-a-time)
when we still believed
in happily-ever-after

keeping company with the
kith and kin of the forest,
those familiar gnomish elves
who practice good magic
and reward the
simple and deserving, answering
thick riddles with
common courtesy

Carpet, Electrified

the boards shake under a
multitude of hooves, a
tremendous trembling of all
about her, the very fibers of
her clothes quiver, the
carpet is electrified, shining
beneath her feet, the
hot coals to walk across,
a straight line makes for
the shortest distance--
moving the clobber of clothes there, here,

bend and stoop and move,
move, move.  up down, up down,
from black to black and the
mouth, always, looking to be