10 July 2006

Blast Fire Collapse

the little slips of girls go past, smoothshouldered,
all in their summer clothes, their Liberty prints springing springlike
as white billows up, undampened by
the water streaming

another building gone to rubble--
the senseless sight and smoke
sears the eyes raw, raked
over on hot coals

blast fire collapse
terrifying trinity, this particular sequence
of words, smudged onto the pallid
newsprint of the grey lady, the News

and Hamilton's paper
oh, the sick stomach, the dagger
through the heart, hearing of the
wraiths wandering away from this

unholy conflagration, plaster powdered,
eyes staring, the brow cut there, and there,
and there, testament to the foul handiwork
of others, black beetles tunnelling through ancient dung

04 July 2006


the sinews that bind bone to
flesh, pinkstrong elastic, have that
fluidity that yet allows our

ranging and arranging over the
mapland that is ours, speeding over
the veins of highways: blue, shaded
by leaves: green

and the heart's meat is a dark meat--
throbbing and pulsing--no pretty
valentine this, but wetly red,
damp-chambered, going

pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, as hidden birds
sing their evening song---from what
trees now, do they sing, since the

dusk, when light blue darkens, darkening
to night, that is when they sing--
sometimes one alone, so cutting clear
as if a message meant for her heart

to sing in tune, walking on geometric
paving stones, the windows now dull
and dark, many paned, brittle, the
bricks arranged just so--as they

were engineered, the cement spread,
the stones placed-so-ringing round
this world fenced in by green, by
green, by green

mud-luscious, puddle-wonderful, after
spring parkinglots the lovely wet
will give way to winter and the
thin lace skim of ice easily

broken by the sole of a boot. We humans are hardier
creatures--season to season we
travel together, keeping each other
warm, feeding each other with

flesh and a little wine, ruby red
in the bottle, hands together twined,
one half of the other, one enclosed in
the other, fine movement that was

Business Life

getting on with the business of life
she said
after all has been mouthed over,
parsed, diagrammed,
pureed and strained
to a consistency that is easy
to take
see how it dribbles, into the jar,
all the old words and troubles
minced beyond recognition

a fine jam, to put away and let
pickle, slowly,
the sour taste is acrid, it burns,
it is familiar
put it away, jar it sealed tight with
waxy blobs coalesced wartlike
over the seams
and get on with the business of

the getting and spending, laying
away provisions, antlike, for
cloudy, unspecified futures to come,
lining a paper nest with black
words on it, reassuring script,
old stories to warm one, to warn one

the living and reliving, repeating
pattern in a garment, first swirl
this way, then that, be that precise
red, then orange, then blue, as
predictable as DNA replicating over
and again, gene-true

getting on with the business of
the repeated motions, walk
here, then there,
turn and spin,
ask a question,
be silent-safe,
cunning close, wax-sealed

Desert Writing

a single tree amidst scrubland sunbleached pale,
tall, fine, strong---moored in
rocky ground--the shifting
plates sigh and grind against
one another in their dark sweet tectonics

green-scented thick, branches reaching
for heaven, sloping, too, towards
earth, twisting trunk
deep-ridged rough, a sure support
to lean long against

and weep for what was--this arid
expanse all around, the lack
of shade, parched throat a burning
road for whispers, low moans,
yes, yes, and yet--no

a single tree, fragrant, many-veined,
sap-thick, shading, steadfast in
this desert fire, each grain of sand
a second, time shifting in waves,
writing words upon the earth in her fluid script


lacquer-hard-- these shells creep past,
most silently, though some scream
as they turn a corner, some warm
with sufficient space for the

extension of legs-- oh -- mystery of
internal combustion-- the mechanics
of things--what makes us go--not
stop--the fire within us that blazes up

in the night, so warming. Where are
they all going, she wonders--and pulls
the curtains close. Banded in by
highways here, the greyblue ribbons

of asphalt, laid down with gravel and
hot tar in the summer, smoking, black,
noxious--the proper signs put up,
green and white, to mark the

exits--always the roar, the insect-hum
in the background deadened only by snow

always going--where are they going, going
to go
back to what home, back to what work,
the marked off spaces we place our
names on

the carrier bags filled with groceries
in the back, the gold crowns,
sticky-handed children, a jumble
of laundry, bright toys, primary colors
red, blue, and yellow like the light above--
butterscotch colored, it is burning out,
no longer white bright like the slim-
necked brothers and sisters lining the road,

these sentries showing the way--here--
and here--and here--the head-
lights pick out the exit signs--they
gleam back, the diamond-pointed strips

common illumination leading us our way,
all our ways, home-ways, work-ways, our
willful ways
humming along, along, those neon miles
past the car dealerships, the chain
restaurant with parkinglot pitted with
shallow depressions that catch the rain,
vague industrial buildings sprouted up
inside chainlink fences (their blank
bricks tell no story, tell no story save
that of forms filed in triplicate, carbonized,
delicate canary yellow covered in a fine dust)

road, cut through rock, twists ever and
ever away, light pointed, a place
thick with trees and crows, coal black,
call to each other as the moon silvers
over the blueblack ribbons tying us
each to each, exits and entrances
our beginnings and ends, the center
one comes to, embracing in a perfect circle,
the beginning and end of all our travels


the tree is white-wreathed in fog, she is
rooted firm, woodpale tentacles
reaching for the grey petticoat edge of
sky above, clots of birdsnests

lodged one here, one there, interrupting
the line of her limbs, that
graceful upraising: see--she
speaks when the wind threads

through her spindle-branches--I
was woman once (whispering) I
loved, and lost, my body
wept great tears, sad flesh

all a-melting til I came to
be rooted here, feet pushing
down into the thick minerals, the
shifting sands, rich darkloam velvet

arms and hand and fingers and
hair all became branches, bark-
thickened, hard ridged rough,
weeping no more, but sighing in
summer at the wind-sweet,
(too brief) embrace