Thursday, November 29, 2012

Consonance V

the question of the matter of
what we prevent ourselves from

            the matter of from
the rusted iron gate of from

what history welds with corrosion

                        the stuck thing inside
                        deliberately made
                        encouraged to disease

lean and answer the question god dammit

show me the limits of the city
where inside and outside draw
their invisible threshold

                                    tell me
did the gate open out or swing

where is the child with the bronze key
sewn into his breast pocket
                                                under what
lake is he standing with eyes bulging
            his fish hand at his side           reaching
prepared to give to you
if you ask

not question or answer                                                it


Sunday, November 18, 2012


to the road return breathe
over the bloody footprint and return
to the black ribbon edge
northeast home

often movement          this way

you the traveler become the bloody print
that you were here and left a living sign

what made the wolf paw bleed though

is what brought you here to the mystery
and what calls you away          the ricochet

the ocean singing in the bare trees
singing the losses that register as human
and what comes after                          becomes


the moment that made the paw print
and the moment it imprinted in you
tying off the moments in between

                                    now becomes then
in the wet stillness of your breathing
kneeling over   and under        the stain



breathe                                    return

face the child standing in the snow staring
at the child in you staring back.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Consonance IV

                                                I the


Modoc say:      I
                        the song
                        I walk here

            a prayer sung for
            the body of the

I                       the song                       I walk here                  in the body

I                       the body                      walk in song                 within

the body is the song
place sings the body

I soon will travel
for the sake of
transport         to make

and to sing
else  where                  not

I will drive three
days back to
familiar skies                                       singing home and not the body no

Black Ribbon Edge

how the hole inside grows                   and the road

                                                the road unspools fills

feeds inertia to inertia
as a river feeds water
into lake

            how a sunset
in Arkansas sits four hours
in your blurred mirrors                                               dying
                                                            over Texas
                                                            I think to myself

reflect later that the evening sky
is a lady
painting herself for a night out

but the image is a dead end                all
but a few
                                                            dead ends
in the stellar vacuum
of intentional speech

                        the song I am become

sings to turn on you now glittering assumptions of flesh
as soil

            and all that the sky makes of our eyes.

Friday, November 9, 2012


            the finger

of a candle

you point up
            slight number

                        point to
the awareness

of the heart

not to a con-
ceptual god

but to the mystery

slight number

with no flower

            remind me
of the work
I have here

remind me
of the dead
here also.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Consonance III

not now            but wasn’t there then
a store at that end of town where one
could find scottish thread and egyptian

where one could shout             hooray for love
as if balloons bright primary colors
might float up inside the swelling self

            the savage mystery of it all
                        that many make religion
                                    out of

or worse

            that sadness makes its music of

the alone                     the alone that live in memory
for no sake but survival’s churning muddy sake
                        the tears and anger that incinerate
us from the inside out

as the oyster must be
                                    as the single shattering drop
of rain must be

                        there               there at the edge
                                    of sadness        of a town
that forgets where it once ended at the edges
of cornfields and quarries                   this town
that swallows itself daily as Saturn did his sons
as the mantis does her inseminator who is never
privileged as mate or lover

listen to the music of these clustered ruins    hear
valves slam shut in the dying human machine

Consonance II

                        is a matter of
                        what we prevent
                        ourselves from

a legend is a made thing                      a thing
made out of circumstance
that a story cannot carry

            in its making
            it is made
            & to say what
                        it is

which is to say that the making of a legend
                                    the making is retained
                                    by the made thing
that the legend tells the story of its creation
                                    how it came to be
                                    what it came to

that this man
            an oak tree of a man with an infinite mind
spilled into violence so to be seen as not short tempered
as virtuous      instead
and by extension
                                    unedited          ineradicable

and so towers the legend over his poems        the thinking
swaying and unquestionable
                                                every move every physical
every intellectual & musical move like a bear emerged
and drunk from her cave returned to creation creation

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Remi Rebillard

in the photograph        salt water is silver
a young woman is bent over up to her knees
and elbows
she is rising from the water                she is
soft lead          rising out of sun-veined silver water

she will soon
stand to face us

a ragged hat                covers
most of what    has not yet
risen    from the water

a liquid necklace dangles from behind the curled brim
a twisting strand of ocean caught by the camera
swaying in the view between her narrow thighs
pours from her likely translucent                   elastic
milky throat

a spiraling funnel of rain
                        from a leaden girl rising to cloud.



a white dress floats
in the dark mooncut
river                a thin
winter breeze
rustles the hillside
of dry oak leaves

moon-dressed wings
of an owl flare
as they wince through the veil
from another molten realm


perched in the crotch
of a massive sycamore
is this eye buffeted
by the breathing river

this obsidian eye traces
the silent migrations
of clouds
the cloud-like dress


on damp mornings
as the mist and this eye melt
into the threaded mineral dream
this staggered row
of sycamores               stands
like the wrinkled legs
of a mythic white mastodon
occasionally     it appears
the massive head shrouded
and blind.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


the consonance of rain that calms
a convulsive river                                like how
a warm hand settles shuddering grief

                                    a form of translation

the borrowed light of the moon
gives it its lost look
its one stone face
                                    eyeless             sober

                        fluttering over us tonight
helicopters shuttle between the collapsed flow
of the highway and the hospital

            their insipid music drowns the barking
of a red fox dying hidden in the cornfield

                                    in the periodic silences
I hear the plea weaken and cease.


it is raining and the soot
thickens where it does not flow

charred and clotted wings
dislocate from my blistered back

wingless           I am rooted

by daybreak I will be found
and then recognized

but should the rain lengthen the night
or if a cave open into another dream

something to come next as
the way back has been lost.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


we are confined by our bodies and if
the mystics are correct
                        that the body is in
                                    the soul

            then what

when I say I want to touch you I mean
I want to reach inside you to where you are
what you are                            I mean
I want to escape myself
                        to shudder and scream
the agony of the earth that we call gravity
shudder and scream like mothers
who have lost sons to war        to oceans
                                    to the mystery

                        to love even

I want to touch you     to reach inside myself

to touch that quivering human confined
            in this sorrowful animal body.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Drought Continues

“Our dead fathers came down to us in the river”
                -Norman Dubie

engineers dredge commercial rivers     frantically build
a check-valve wall in the Mississippi gone drippy-drippy
back-flowing with oom-pah saline into the great carotid
exclamation point            the Orleans dot
oom-pah-pah funeral procession pah-pah dumped
into the river unevenly dividing


                                     god sheds grace (dirty dog)
& Jesus Saves (with coupons)

              [sound of light murmurs discordantly, stage left]

I hear figures on the radio        data converted
into cost    “transubstantiation, baby” according to

but that white communion wafer is still a clever disguise
for dirt        a symbol of the conversion to clean
edible and in context ohhhhh, so sexy, baby, oh, baby doll,
pull my cord

let the hookworms in            cure this asthma
get on board    all aboard    all is one / connected
the balance and the balance sum    the cross
and the crossroads

the dryassed devil and the deep blue sea, baby.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reply to Mary

it is no wonder really
how these things are made
by stringing or stacking
old words
            filigreed arcs

is it any wonder how blades
of grass weave a yard 
you were soil would that
seem miraculous.

The Changes

lilacs erupt and splash the air             the heart sings its memory
as it gathers seeds scattered by death’s glass-gloved hand

warm air rises from thawed fields                   it corkscrews
through budding quivering trees                                 while an infant
suckles the lavender breast with the distant eye of a sun-drawn lake

the seedsong is everywhere               
of nature
opening within nature

the heart remembers these changes

it remembers that morning when the wet fog
turned another key
                                                when you woke
and she was there waiting in her sleep for you
to wake her                
how in shadow she shines.


I am a stone you hold
for a river’s secrets

glass spiders
grow in your eyes

            I worry about what else
will grow between us

starlight dies on moons
clouds              windows

your body listens to its own dying

                        snow falls not
knowing gravity or divinity

saturated in the mystery
we dissolve like time.

The Loom of Wings

in the green secret      of the maple tree
in the palms of the thousand leaf hands
is the earnest thread-making
divined through cellulose spools
of the capillary loom
sap and fiber spun
and wrapped around seed pairs

            and from each seed arches out
an eyebrow spine from which hangs
the papery filigree
of the dragonfly’s wings.


like smoke a blue heron floats
down the center of the high-walled
creek bed
                        contrived of morning fog
and sycamore sticks the heron’s opal
bumps against the heart’s teary blindness

it skims the coiling water
and fades.


broadwing lakesong spirals overhead tracing a groove
on the slate mirror of warm water                  a cotton sky
rippling in reflection
                                                the ancient seduction

                        no end to the vanishing veils

                                                            not as a
function of brain but of water                          mind as
                        musical extension of water.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Lungs

the clouds
of the body

at death

into the body

the colorless

of decay

the initial

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Urgency

the wind is singing
a waterfall song
through the trees up
along this hillside

I am as alone here as anywhere
where there is usually family
is for me emptiness and suspicion

last night as we walked to the car
she grabbed my hand as much
for my own warmth as for hers
and still the wind spliced us

and now splitting wood
the crease of my thumb
bleeds from a splinter
of oak that I dig
with my pocketknife

sweat beads on my face
though it is cold
and the air crisp.