Wednesday, November 02, 2011


“Where the woman in love is dew,
we are a plummeting stone.”

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Having never been a woman.  Having never been
in love with the dew.  Having been neither
stone nor its plummeting.  Having been loved,
in love.  Having been awake in the presence

of stone, of dew.  Having been awakened by
love’s plummetless stones, kisses planted
on eyelids like grapes.  Having been alive, awake
when love awoke, I can say I have fallen.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow the grey geese pilot their formations south,
we pick up after the party where we said too much,

an old brown bear digs out the last late grubs, beds
down.  Tomorrow we remember to throw our metal

fists into the gears of the machine, to buy compact
fluorescent bulbs and apples grown in Washington,

waxed in Mexico, at the corner store in Eugene.
Tomorrow we devise new tenses for the things

that we will never get around to: calling our dead
brothers, dismantling the IEDs, acknowledging our

complicity.  Because today rushes up to us like
a flock of fleeing children, noisy and immediate,

smacking the world around with their little brown
fists. Today we do everything we can to hear them,

maybe feed them.  Tomorrow, we sigh to each other
through the gathering fog, there might just be time to love.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Poem With An Old Friend

So I've been corresponding with an old friend, and we've been doing this thing where we write poems, and send them to each other, and then we steal a line or phrase from one of the poems, and then we write new poems from those stolen lines, and then we send the new poem along, and we continue.  This is the first poem I wrote like that.  I will post more as they come.


Above The Rain
Back then steps through doorways rang, audible
as late night distant fireworks, some unexpected

arrivals.  As such: portents.  Carriers of the dead.
I cried out to him, but he was gone by then, gone

as god, as gratitude, as elegance.  We had moved
on to anger.  The sky fell, but it fell apart, not

down on our heads like plaster from some soggy
ceiling.  Yes, our house was falling to pieces,

but pieces of what, I wondered, smoking atop
the ruins, scanning the rubble for an errant

finger, a shock of bright red hair, a tiny cry
reaching up above the omen of the rain.

Monday, May 02, 2011


There on the dusty road bougainvillea
exploded into pink.  And we were still

alive, in love, under the stippled sun.
The hills around us rolled like aching ships.

Tiny cyclamens cracked the warm cracked earth.
The road curved downhill toward whispering

tidewaters, the Aegean.   Starfish sulked
in the shallows.  You were already gone.

I was there, holding a green star, mercy
in my mouth like a hook in a stunned fish.


So April is over, and that means an end to National Poetry Month, and an end to the Poem-A-Day ritual over at my old friend Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides.  This poem earned third place honors in the Big 10 competition at Writer's Market (a 10 line poem, each line containing 10 syllables).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Without Sky

With nothing to look up to, we all lay down
in the dust and in the rocks and wondered
where we had gone wrong.  One of us stared
at the horizon’s wall for several hours, quietly
smashing his head against it until his skull
cracked and little brown rivulets of blood
and brain mingled with the thirsty earth.
And one of us forget her name and gave up
any sense of herself, and pretended she was
an unseen flower and drifted away, into
the darkness.  And one of us saw that sky
was once a thing that held the heavens,
where the sun and stars and eternal blackness
lived, and which, being gone now, meant
that all our dreams were rooted in the earth,
but were unrooted because without
sun no roots could grow.  And so we
sat around and pondered, eyeless, blank
as heart-attacks, the horror our dreamlessness,
of being entirely bound to the dust from
whence we came and the dust we will be.

At The Break Of Day

The vision that came with gradual steps departeth in an instant;
Hasten, let it be unbeheld of your eyes.

--“Aubade”, Adelaide Crapsey

Under all that starlight you took some
getting used to.  As usual I rushed my night
vision, tried to see you whole before
I could adjust.  But just as you were coming
into focus, I lost sight of you, the edges
of my vision going slight, like the hands
rocking through a tremor.  Something shot
across the expanse of space, and I knew
that you had seen it, felt the universe’s
pang: how all lovers under all stars are,
at once, blessed and are, at once, doomed,
just as the thrill of that long night was
doomed to be shattered by the sun’s
gradual rise.  I couldn’t even kiss you,
so blind was my mouth by the blinding
dark.  I couldn’t even find your lips.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


She took me by the hand once and led me
down a steep path into a meadow full
of hopeful wildflowers.  On the periphery
fawns pranced, trampling the lillies,
idyllic, unafraid.  She led me there to show
me how exacting the world was, sat me down
on a slab of granite washed over with black
lichen.  I watched her remove something
sharp, something honed from her bag.
The bag was made of not-quite-human skin.
She had trafficked in death for longer
than I had walked these hills and could
sense my apprehension.  One of the fawns
approached her, unafraid, but not unknowing.
The slitting was so fast, so clean, so merciful.
The fawn fell, just like that, and the flowers,
still hopeful, shifted into redness.  I started
to cry, but she put her fingers on my eyelids,
and said: “This is all there is.  Watch it.”