Thursday, September 18, 2014

tracing (everything that matters)

tracing (everything that matters)

tracing everything that matters
took him less time than anyone imagined

everything that matters
had been with him forever

shapeless until he recognized it
and then wordless as an outline

boundary of everything that matters
boundary of everything that is missing

sometimes or to be honest often
he closed his eyes to trace the space

he knew like a recurring dream
or the echo of a shout from a well

before she dove forever into the abyss of gone
she told him that she did not trust herself

as if that could ease the longing
as if that should ease the longing
as if that would ease the longing

Thursday, September 11, 2014

impending doom

impending doom

of all the special powers
he would have chosen
this was not the one

but he had from the beginning
the ability to hear impending doom
the soundtrack of his life

but as always in these cases
with great power comes a great problem
he never knew for whom the doom tolled

impending doom subtle and pervasive
surrounded everything he did each day
fading away before swallowing him

and then as these tales seem to go
he was swept away by the one he loved
complicating the lull of impending doom

in time of course and we cannot be shocked
she set him aside and moved on without him
leaving only the now much louder ring of doom

some things take great time and great distance
but alone one day his mind drifted again to her
swimming up through the recollection of a dream

he finds her alone in a dusky stand of trees
and she turns to him opening her mouth
her voice clear and sharp as impending doom

Monday, September 8, 2014



i wrestle with the moon
and think of you

your skin in moonlight
the curve of your shoulder in silhouette

these dislocate me because
i am nowhere without you

dislocated i rise imagining
there must be another world

where you will hold me again
where a mother and child pass by

and everyone pauses to bow recognizing
this above all else this is the reason

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

blue blood

blue blood

when i read horseshoe crabs
all have blue blood

i wondered why every human
couldn’t be born rich as well

Tuesday, September 2, 2014



I know someday you'll have a beautiful life
I know you'll be a sun in somebody else's sky, but why
Why, why can't it be, why can't it be mine
“Black,” Pearl Jam

i can’t help myself
drawn again and again

like Notting Hill it calls to me
against my reservations
about the unreality of pretty people

i offer this as explanation
recognizing it likely fails
as justification absolving me:

near the end after the dance
Tiffany believes she is the unchosen
running from the hall crying

and then Pat chases her
asking her to read one more letter
when Tiffany realizes she is the chosen

that for me is almost everything
the worst being the unchosen
and the wonderful possibility being the chosen

i forgive everything else untrue
about the film and pretty people
parading before us as if such is possible

because you see it is not pretty we want
those who are the discarded and unchosen
but to be that one true and only chosen

Monday, August 25, 2014

the moon is nothing

the moon is nothing

“There must be something in him, something fundamental, that disenchanted people.
‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki,’ he said aloud. I basically have nothing to offer to others.
If you think about it, I don’t even have anything to offer myself.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

dark chocolate

dark chocolate

"Alienation and loneliness became a cable that stretched hundreds of miles long,
pulled to the breaking point by a gigantic winch”
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage, Haruki Murakami

i am standing at the counter
of a Starbucks
in a Barnes & Noble

i came here to buy
my small acts of happiness

there i see no dark chocolate bars
i used to buy for you at another Starbucks
that absence like the hole

resting in my chest
where you used to be
like a new book or square of dark chocolate

Friday, August 1, 2014

spoken (we swallow words like cyanide)

spoken (we swallow words like cyanide)
“We know of course there’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’
There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”

i did not want to be the one to say it
of course

we swallow words like cyanide
inoculating ourselves against the world

never spoken
never thought
never done
never shunned

these are the poisons that paralyze us
leaving us mute and fixed like an accusing stare

our sanctified commitment to silence
and the busy busy busy hustling of monks

filled nearly to bursting with all the unspoken
a smile painted across our closed lips

we imagine other worlds where holding hands
and laughing light up the rooms where everyone

and i mean everyone

talks freely and often like rising balloons
and huddled children so excited they can barely breath

i did not want to be the one to say it
of course because now that i have spoken

i have made you uncomfortable turning away
to find that place without me or my words

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

teleportation, time travel, & dreams (the empiricists have no clothes)

teleportation, time travel, & dreams (the empiricists have no clothes)

only two weeks on this planet
my granddaughter appears again in a dream
me now 1500 miles away from her

in my absence she laughs for the first time
in my dream i am holding her and she laughs

teleportation and time travel are not whimsy
resigned to our science fictions and fantasies
but the devices of our dreams reaching always

i drop into sleep and then into REM
where time and distance disappear
because the heart is a powerful engine

there i return to you again and again
to relive in order to live and breath awake
discovering in those unconscious recreations

the empiricists have no clothes

Monday, June 16, 2014



i very quietly, gradually & then suddenly became
an entirely different person:

the person i always was
& the person i never allowed myself to be

not a single person noticed
especially those closest to me

i believe that if you were here
you would be the one to notice

you knew everything all along
& that is the entirely different me

the person i always was
& the person i never allowed myself to be

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

summer poem

summer poem

i love you like the world is blue
temperamental storms

finger tips & ocean view
the way butterflies swarm

if lightning can part the sky
blink against the night

i can whisper why & try
to see you in that sudden light

i call out to summer moons
that waver in darkness & heat

thunder is a comforting tune
a Siren’s song that we again can meet

i love you like the world is blue
temperamental storms

i believe in incantations chanted true
the way your hand my heart warms

i love you like the world is blue
temperamental storms

so to mountain tops i climb for you
where i offer this summer poem

what if roses had no briars
forests had no fires
humans had no liars

in the din of driving rain & wind
everyone could hear me shouting

Friday, May 23, 2014

anniversary ceremonies (the things we cannot incinerate so we lie)

anniversary ceremonies (the things we cannot incinerate so we lie)

Why would you shatter somebody like me

My memory drives the people in my life crazy because I remember everything, always, in exacting detail. My memory was a gift until it became a curse, until no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t forget things I desperately needed to forget so I might survive.
An Untamed StateRoxane Gay

this weekend returns each sunny May
billowing smoke that forces me to lie


first i had to gather everything
in order to shred it all carefully

i formed a frame with six sticks
where the pyre smoldered to soot

the smell lingered reminding me
of melting 1000 pennies or dreams

this is how i turn from year to year
collecting ash to ash for the rising

because there are thunder and storms
in springtime leaving a blanket of hail


the heart is not flame retardant Kevlar
and memories never work as kindling

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

miracles & dust

miracles & dust

Don’t talk to me about being alone.
“Fretless,” R.E.M.

I may have been a lousy painter, but what a collector I turned out to be!
Bluebeard, Kurt Vonnegut

when i fell
in love with you

the gods & faeries
with their miracles & dust

never showed me
the whole picture

i’ve glimpsed it now
well after the fact of us

a giant mural hidden in the barn
at the end of a novel

in this smoldering aftermath
the calculations do not add up

to any other possibility
as if free will matters to a heart

because except for the end
i would not have it any other way

the truth of a detailed painting
fixing everything right their to behold

exposes the sincerity of a relinquished heart
in the body of a frail & flawed being

hollowed out by the inevitable subtraction
of the human clock we couldn’t stop if we tried

i am walking across a parking lot
where years ago you yelled at me

“Hey, old man!” standing with your mother
who apologized embarrassed by your rudeness

all of us then were unwilling to tell the truth
to ourselves or anyone else especially in a parking lot

now when all those truths have been buried again
i pause listening before i look over my shoulder

just in case

i hold on
tight enough not to let go
loose enough not to strangle

now a patient monk
tracing the images i designed carelessly
conjuring tomorrow today on our yesterday carefully

meditation at last
on all the ways i could not handle before
blinded by your miracles & blinded by your dust

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

withering plants, bloat kings, & hangovers from dreaming of you

withering plants, bloat kings, & hangovers from dreaming of you

Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed
Hamlet to Queen Gertrude
Hamlet Act 3, Scene 4, lines 181-182

Human touch is so distant
“Metaphoric Diary,” Sally Wen Mao


plants wither
drawing into themselves

the absence of water
impossible to hide

if we care at all
we can see what needs to be done


humans on the other hand
inflate as we age

puffing up against the loss
in bloat arrogance & denial

like kings pilfering their brother’s wives
as if they shall not rot


prone to drink
i have often risen in the wake of hangovers

but all that practice
(and there has been ample practice)

could not prepare me
for the mornings after dreaming of you

no hair of the dog or pints of beer
can still the staggering swirl of you there

arriving angry in my dream
at the inevitable me who fails you even in sleep

i swell with the absence of you
barely able to lift my feet against this headache and dry tongue


if we care at all
we can see what needs to be done

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

everyone believes in god (on the paradox of being wholly human)

everyone believes in god (on the paradox of being wholly human)

of course the religious believe in god
my god is better than your god” is their god

but atheists believe in god as well
there is no god” is their dogma and alter

and agnostics believe in god
worshipping “i cannot know if there is god”

in the end there is no way to be wholly human
without the very human believing that divides us