Autumn, 2002

Pillow-sided plow horses
power their way
through fields, graying
as the frost sets in.
Crystals grow rapidly
on damp leaves.
The land is quiet and still.
But I rattle the silence
with each rhythmic
step up the
gravel road. Hear the
beat switch when
I dig my heel--
a percussive, schrapnel--whoosh

A Visit

If blood will
taste sour to my lover's
lips, can levity ever be--
again--in our love for one
another?

I only remember her chin
line making contact with the
hairs on the backside
of my wrist.

Uncertainty, Vision One

A spiral vase tilts
into the precious moment--
measurable only within
forever--where it may
fall,
break, or
surprise us all.

A Boy Becomes Conscious of His Abnormalities

I entered the woodlands
where a stream yawned as I
talked out loud about
divine theory. Bark,
falling from decrepit trees,
tried to distract me.

And it did,

only because it seemed
to fossilize in midair
dropping harder, heavier,
yet in deepening fragility.

Uncertainty, Vision Two

I felt my arms jut through
watery folds, stretching onward
through oceans and veins of light
my fingers outspread, wanting to feel
blood and hunger and sorrow and elation,
as well. And they eventually
touched soil--a sandy
veil on the rim of vegetation
and hills and complex civilization.
Are these fingers genuine,
are they real?
Extensions of myself and cells
coalescing to entrap worry.

Eau'd to Body


A chateau.

Tidal spring brought
me here
to slide my hand
into the curve behind your knee.

The fragrance from the concave
of a joint
in the human figure
is quite different than a rumor.

I stood, knee-deep in
your wake
as you passed me
in that unforgiving hallway,
smelling what
I thought to be God.

The Frustration of Modern Life


Her sound
climbed and fell
and froze
like spun caramel.
But as it took a bow,
her eyes found me
and held me
for several seconds
(whoever counts?)
longer than they
should have.
How many words
can I pack
into our
passing and our
glance?

To Robert Bly,


My uncle's twitching
fingertips struggled
with the cigarette
he was rolling.
"Goddammit! Feeble paper!"

It's called a Dancing Lily.
Who can ever remember
the Latin?

That's why time is always
on time. Boys can't
flourish into young men
with time, looking crossly,
over their shoulders.
And they never dance.
Things are just fine across
the room, tasting her
beauty and coating my
mind
in honey.

The Everywoman Stories


Animal faces are more
agreeable, and a woman's
soul is tired--mother
to the world, a lover
to one man
too many.

Aphrodite (the second vision)
discovered an empty perfume
bottle and a diary
underneath the bed. Each
had a unique way of
describing playground kisses,
rotini and Banfi,
Wednesday's torn dress, applause,
and ovulation.

These streaks
of
wine
are too thin.

Shrugs


She demonstrated a similar
body heat, slowly naming
thieves. Crows waited
in the valleys of long hills.
An old river
came in mischief, taking
sun as whisky crept up
the tumbler.

Hibernation


Beyond the birthing
ivy and the dust
blown from the autumn
furnace lie the
unexplainable side
effects of puberty.

The clover is charged
like the anticipation of
a first king whispering
rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb
language.

Waking on the First of December


I dreamt of
a blind man in
a blizzard
which led my mind,
this morning, to think
of my great aunt
in her cacti gardens
painting in milky-sunrise
watercolors. The heat
of her spirit burning the
paint to the
paper, to the spirit
grabbing hold of snowflake
after snowflake,
coming faster,
her focus pure,
intense,
as if tending an open
wound.

The Sage Disturbed


I started at
the base,
shivering in
borrowed skin--
part fear,
part jealousy
of the monoliths.

I stared up
from the base--
two steps up the
stalagmite,
hand over hand
each time a grasp
of her nakedness.

I started down,
in reverse,
gently lowering myself
into the thinning blue
sea, climbing head
down and eyes
stiffening in the moment.

The Nest


Rigid child
with a face of music,
the sounds of charred
needles splitting--
their mothers' boughs
push deeper into the
evening wind,
into the necessary
separation.

I sit, baritone.

Shadow


Without holding
space nor notes
of a fugue, It
stole my wonder
and realized It
was trapped in
open air.

Awareness of Breath


Moving
in the World,
ignoring the urgent
knocking
and the immensity
lurching
under a neighbor's
laughter.
I wipe the dust
from a portrait
of a young
woman
scattering ripened
fruit through dry
channels
crumbling
in my presence.

Approaching September


When blue
tea moves
from brim to
brim and seasons
crumble
like a bale of straw
undone, I
feel my toenails
scrape the inside
of a flat sheet
that covers
my chills
at six. I roll
over
toward a corner
of infinity, plus six,
wishing for more
time
and darkness.

Midday


She pedals past
a tree at the corner
house and notices its blank
stare off into
spatial philosophy.
She (unconsciously) sees the relationship
between the broken
limb and the stain
on Mama's dress from when
she served red wine
at dinner, and two
blocks away, a grandmother of thirteen
smiles
at the smell of rosemary
and fades.

Free Climbing


The rope laughed
on its way down
from my hand,
and the ladder
creaked
and leaned.
I took her hand
for granted.
The sun forced
itself through a
hole in the
lattice. So I
shut my eyes
briefly
to meditate
on a feeling
for the woman
below.

Blind


On a wooden rooftop, I
set loose a handful
of gravel and
listen
to the tides
and the dog at
his bowl
enough to cool him
down.

Sundown


Is that a purple sky providing
backdrop for a
timid swan
confused by an early fall?
She drifts westward to
remaining light like a wedding
gown in approaching black.

The Prism


I prayed to a bird
resting bronzed fingers
on the edge of a
mirror--a fountain
in reverse.
Shards of glass fractured
in the air
and fractured
and fractured
each becoming its
own galaxy
dividing.
And who would have
known that gas can
split?
Where does the tear line go?
Where do I rest my hand on
your neck?
Where does the vapor
of thought go?

Why Romance Languages are Important


They came down from Punting Ridge
The villagers came down,
and came down again
to have another glance
at the Mary on the front of our
cathedral--before we married off
poor Mary to a monastery
in Portugal.
(I don't know if she spoke Portuguese.)
But her soul was willing
for she knew that
someone
had to keep the monks
focused
on the redemption
of some wicked soul
from Lisbon.
Is that love?
Or contemplation?

The Problem of Escape


Nestled away from
F r e e f a l l, a
poor boy becomes
snowblind.
A curlpaper, a red
sigh--
pinned to a memory,
a devilish brown
spiral. Like a
pincer through buttermilk, a
shadow boxing countenance
holds truth. Fingernails
clench a coolie hat before he
collapses on a
white
feather.

Sketch


I had seen charcoal before in
sleepy photos of
nothing in particular and in
dabbled dreams with
scotch and soda and playground
swings, a stowaway painting,
a matinee dream and
the cusp of a pond.

Blue


Tapping a vein,
I painted the color
forest applause--
the sound of the feeling
of a mosquito drilling
a well above
one eyelid.

Whisper


Ledges formed on
earlobes
awaiting echoes--something
recognizable or
just empty enough
to hold
change.

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