We could get away by ourselves when we turned twelve,
could necktie beach towels, corsage the octagonal badge, the
get-away made on flip-flops if we lived closed enough.
Silence won’t stand
for itself. It won’t
And so he began. And for the first time saw
the boy whose bicycle sped by his porch,
then the yellowing leaf on the back step.
You are either alive or dead
one or the other
there is a clear boundary
distinct like the River Styx
in tender onyx,
the sun spits
it’s splits onto
the ship that
An impact of two black holes is said to produce more energy
than all of the suns in the universe. And we may observe
After the wedding, as bride
and groom depart, you muddle
your legends and turn yourself
into a pillar of salt. A glimpse
The markings of the world:
disc of desert blur,
concentric sphere imagining itself
divided and conquered.
A man’s rusted compass,
a woman’s hint of blue shadow.
where all their lost, original songs
squeeze the bellows of death,
sing with mouths of sun & flint
such lullabies of dread
She’s away from home,
but won’t say for how
long. Her husband is out
Isn’t this what we all do, sooner or later,
try to take back the mistakes, the words said
in anger, the sins that haunt our dreams?
They fly in flocks at dusk,
shrill caws of mourning
echoing through the still sky.
Deep fried everything, buttered biscuits, hot grits with syrup,
black-eyed peas, corn bread,
bacon drippings collected in coffee cans
Love is a melody
that in the silence
as they link in
70s raincoat logic
Here’s a woman hired to write proverbs
Must be creative, inspired, concise
he who climbs a ladder begins at the first step
The storm didn’t knock out our power,
but left twigs and leaves scattered.
When I kissed
your clavicle, gooseflesh
popped like tiny
naked chicks peeping
“Take your father home,”
says the gravedigger, holding out
a sack of bones. In Mexico City
The tree detritus falls,
dry and oblique, into piles
on the road that from a distance
look like armadillos, possums, feral cats,
coyote, Cooper’s hawk, flattened feathers
lifting in the breeze. But now, just ahead
in a loud gale of traffic at next tight turn,
Every day since that report,
I’ve ordered a fritter
and sat by the window
The kids nowadays spend twelve hundred easy
dressing their robots for the senior prom.
All May and June, ballrooms shake as these lumbering
robots dance and cavort, flirt, sneak booze, and,
Do we really need
another Liam, Noah, or Mason?
Emma, Charlotte, or Harper?
(I could go on…)
I stepped out, dripping wet in my fist-
cinched towel, and everybody was gone.
Opened the window: silent streets, cars
idling at stoplights, lonely blowing breeze.
My deodorant boasts
“all day protection”
but it can’t halt a bullet,
Young misfortunes won’t sustain the narrative
of history. The why of it doesn’t matter,
just the waking up with clothes torn,
blood drying like heavy paint on legs, palms,
The day’s deep midnight only this tick of clock
ghosted, then fast forgotten, so fast
I think I got her now.
I bring over colored felt tip markers, non-toxic, washable–
only they don’t wash too good.
Laughter flings itself on the walls
of a derelict Spanish village.
Sitting in the hoped-for warmth of a spring eve,
unseen jays screech from neighbouring garden trees.
The students’ attention span is 3 feet,
a narrow beam 3 feet less than their dreams.
evening fare to paris this poem departed years ago nosed
north over rio#s dark lagoon leaving home and coming home
Rain after five months’ drought –
some gesture of amends –
swells the roots of the hosta,
We drove a 68 Buick Skylark
until its wheels no longer turned;
My hero will return
to bear hugs,
to warm kisses.
My brother propels down the driveway
escaping rocks thrown at him by Dad.
The sun came up
silver and cold
like a dime
in the palm
of the ominous
I was trying, once again,
to read St. Augustine
when the door buzzer buzzed
All weather is local, they say,
just like politics.
I write about Iraq
when her skin was
carmine, perfumed with
freshly picked celosias
Two Taliban brothers huddle in a hand-scraped trench. They fire pot shots
at a passing convoy of eight trucks, plated and squat armadillos. The bullets
Two Buddhas once stood like giants
in the Afghan province of Bamiyan
until the Taliban blasted them down.
beneath hem of fog
WMDs? No but
Not conscripted or coerced
all willing players in a nation’s force.
I am brittle when the day springs.
My anchored tongue of aged iron
tastes of brown rust. It rests
It is not about the stars
nor the sadness
in a constellation.
The terrible and restless quiet
that preceded the thick wild smoke
and the toppling Jenga tower.
There was no ballad
for you in Balad, no
eulogy tending your ears
I see tractor-trailer tires rumbling
over the khaki-tan carcass of a deer—
Eighteen years old and off to war;
my mother broke in the idea
We walked together into the darkness
Of an undisclosed location.
It went on, they said.
The road to Baghdad,
The one you saw on the news
With the abandoned cars.
They sent me up this tower three days ago,
Just my rifle, rations, and a radio.
Let’s count coup instead of kill, just a touch,
or sneak into enemy camps, capture a prized
horse, okay, maybe a Hummer can count.
A rupture in the how-it-was-to-be:
not for any child through me,
we haven’t had a soldier
since the Civil War.
The proper translation
isn’t All is vanity though
such is found everywhere—
WI sends names to war
our voices cinch at home
Whether it’s my spit-polished boots, the crease
In my trouser, the belt buckle shine, the helmet
I didn’t read Here, Bullet.
I saw the movie.
We felt like The Beatles
slinging rifles, not guitars.
Kids mobbed us. We moved.
They moved —
Their colonel met our colonel inside
the TOC to build
We didn’t call it bullying back then,
and cyber was a word relegated to sci-fi
Is X alive? Did Y pass away? Z
still run the stable? My grandmother
In your kitchen
I perch and starve
In this season
Of hollow October light,
I lie in bed
Engulfed in the buzz
I was thinking the other day
About how the world ended.
They were always inside them—
often smiling like we liked to do
We grow inside houses, and remember each spring
how it seeped through the flooring –
bringing such thoughts, a cracking of dust –
With elliptical pulse in the sky,
seven AM announces
She walks toward the stern
as if in ether, floating
Morning I am myself. I pander out to the pinewoods, perambulate Mooselung Pond. There’s fresh coyote scat, already a mushroom prongs up from it. I gather the canine’s tracks, prints written in mud, read where it came from, where it went. As I process these I am losing part of myself; I try to collect… Read more »
Oh how light the night sky is sister where there are no clouds Loons wail I’m here where are you I’m over here the moon hovers in the clear It’s all just shades sister light blue aqua mad midnight how much black or white the way you butter your toast… Read more »
It’s not worth writing down dreams except for the one about Ali early 1970’s Ali white shorts black trim Ali bouncing on his feet like a tapping man can tap bouncing on his feet like a hummingbird can hum sweating through in a one-bulb locker room where the man handlers have handled rubbed down a… Read more »
How did we come to Cuba from hello? He stood guard at Guantanamo, and before I can pry he points to the treatment: massive canisters marked Ultracide, Maxforce, First Strike, Bedlam. Beads of bait will line my counters, the pump and spray will ply poison borders around my home no bugs will live to cross…. Read more »
I first learned the killing will of men ￼when my mother was away in town, ￼and my father was baling hay ￼in a back field beyond the house.￼ The rancher’s boy and I had parked ￼to gather nuts for my mother’s pie ￼under the old pecan tree, where he ￼found a rattler, a diamondback, ￼bigger… Read more »
The Words of Rosa Luxemburg(1871-1919) (a found poem: in Adrienne Rich’s notes for her Collected Poems) See to it that you remain human. There is no special prescription. All I know is once I went walking In the Sudende fields The sunset’s red light was falling On the wheat.
(in a note from Judith Anne Still) On the other side In the brightness of the room Flanked by archangels We consecrate ourselves with The arduous work that goes Into stained glass windows. One true realization delights As when the sunlight bathes The congregation in silent And astonishing rays.
“Save me…from the power of the dog.” from Psalm 22 There must have been dogs circling you, Christ, as you hung on the cross, wild dogs drawn in by the stench of death. They moved slowly along the edges of the crowd, their mouths drooling at the prospect of warm human flesh. But maybe I’m… Read more »
Through it all I call myself the Wise Son, though I notice no one else does. I know death is unknowable—silent, nondescript as the crypt we’ll slip my mother in. I know that crypt, helped the concrete shape itself into the mausoleum it wanted to become. I listened to Carlos sing his Spanish love songs…. Read more »
That’s what my neighbor a mile down the road where I walk our dog always says the first time I see him out in the early April air. He stands there, bent into the wind, his smile wry, eyes agate blue clear. “Mine too,” I always say though all I grow are patches of flowers… Read more »