31 October 2012

30 October 2012

Storm Warning

the sky has been
cloudy for ten
days and the wind
begins to stir

and i recall
the story told
by my mother
about the storm

in miami
it sounded like a
great freight train she said
and her daddy

ripped up sheets
to tie her and her
brother to the stove
or to the icebox

(she wasn't quite
sure since they were just
toddlers) to keep them
from blowing away

29 October 2012

Prayer for Kate at Eight Days Old

Keep her crib safe silent soft
knock soundly knaves who sneeze and cough

Attach angels attending to all her pretending
and with awesome arm accompany all her contending

Teach me to teach her topography true
to train toward tiptoe's altitude

Ease her way always to her daddy’s embrace
even when she’s eighteen and engineering escape

28 October 2012


He sneaks into the kitchen and assembles
his golden goose sax on the stainless steel,
loose and relaxed as a hired sniper.
The singer and her combo on a small
riser, sleepwalking through an old standard,
pause when he begins to play, whisper soft,
the dishwasher holding the door ajar.

He slides a marble plinth beneath her heels
and her voice begins to bloom on the new
tune he reveals with coin and smoke and heat
and chill. The sculpted notes like old quarters
as far as weary-worn and coolness blown,
but like a slink of kitty around her
shins and calves, as far as smokiness goes.

27 October 2012

Lot's Wife

look it
you would

have turned
back too

falling (hear them)

the smoke

rising (smell it)
in clouds

your heart

fingers (feel them)

you go

tears and
sweat an

remnant (taste it)

on your
numb tongue

and your
eyes burned

you turned

26 October 2012

The Narrow Way

The narrow way
is not a crack
in the garden wall

The narrow way
is not a path
through the wilderness

The narrow way
is not a tightrope
across a great divide

The narrow way
my friend is this
The narrow way

is through the crowd
through the crashing waves
through the onrushing mob

The narrow way is squeezing your shoulders through
that second birth canal
the crowd going the opposite way

25 October 2012

Train #7

I knew, when I went to the station,
just to watch the trains again,
their strangers getting on and getting off,
that I would remember
that day, that other autumn,
when I began to suffer for the smile I gave
and the one returned, departed.

24 October 2012

Sex Trafficker in Vegas

       Welcome to our casino. Is this your retinue?
       - No. This is my bankroll.
       They have names?
       - No. But they do have denominations.
       Hah hah! That's a good one, sir. Busboy!

just crawl up on the table honey take
off your nice shoes dice are out hands high snake
eyes next shooter the point is five little
phoebe pay the player ballerina

point is now four no more bets seven out
pay the don’ts pass the dice the point is now
ten any wagers on a woman’s best
friend no roll roll again place your bets

could we speak with you sir we think you should
convert your girls to chips maybe it would
be fairer don’t you think for all of the players
no offense but we were just observing
since the dice are getting caught up in all
their clothing yes yes very nice and rarely reaching the back wall

23 October 2012


a bivouac of angels
just outside the city gates
adjusting their havoc sacks

the final invocation
and the only disturbance
of that deep dark silent night

a lone dog, against a blue moon,
unhushed by an angry neighbor's
slamming door and sporadic curse

22 October 2012

she sways radiant

she sways radiant
in the midday sun
her smiling blossoms on

roots in dark places
twisted down places
like all the other plants

21 October 2012


this dull blade of unnamed sadness
delivers no decisive slice
just the pommel blows to the brain

20 October 2012

the great cats brood

the great cats brood over a new darkness
as we move through artificial gardens
our tiny attempts at hand-built edens
the creatures caged, and we, with silly fingers,
pinch cotton candy and point through their bars

19 October 2012


my friend, do not keep silent when
the wicked are astir
the strong, their wrongs conspire
and then, baby-faced, sleep silent

Janus on Friday Night

regrets i don't forget
futures i don't remember

les regrets,
je n'oublie pas.
les avenirs,
je ne me souviens pas.

18 October 2012

Canterbury Tale in Sixty Syllables

sometimes there is a darkness regardless
of the flip of the switch the heat of the
bulb the scrub of the sun the blur of the

eye the numb in the toes a darkness that
canters us unbridled and unsaddled
into the next lady-in-waiting day

17 October 2012

Newish Moon

an eyelash of a moon
a swinging gate scrape in the snow
an ashen smile in slo mo transiting
a blue-to-black buttonhole

16 October 2012

15 October 2012


the king is all alone
with his eyes on the prize
his eyes on my wife

my wife is all alone
with her fingers on her thighs
her eyes on the throne

and I am the man
sleeping in the street
and I am the man

who carries the command
and I am the man
he knows that I won’t peek

and I am the man
left alone in the heat of the fight
so I get to die

for their wandering eye
so I get to die
out of mind out of sight

14 October 2012

this breathing is

this breathing is indeed a giddy thing,
the in and the out and the in again
of aromatic air from far forests,
cedars of Solomon plunged upside down

into our lungs, their essence easily
besieging the barricades and storming
into our blood, and then, returning in
victorious parade, clear and untinged.

forehead to forehead and then knees to knees,
our backs bent against the extremities
of the day, we breathe into the secret vat
we have made, where we pour in and draw out,
you giving yours and taking away mine,
as we drink and we sigh a new Cana wine.

13 October 2012


will this kiss this flesh this serving of nerve
either blunt the sickle or make it swerve

12 October 2012

Broken Bird

this is where
the bird flew
through the glass

this is where
the bomb-shaped
blue jay passed

this is where
the shattered
are scattered

inside the dead
shed? or out toward
the buttery grass?

11 October 2012

Grief Fridge

some tube the Chattooga
with a six
pack trailing
in the numbing water

intending to consume
all of their
beer before
the end of Section II

but I have an icebox
to keep my
sorrows fresh
guard them from perishing

where time has stopped and where
I can reach
to sip once
more while checking of course

the DON’T USE AFTER dates
since the very best
bitters are
sometimes from
the deep dark distant past

1:07 a.m. next day

10 October 2012

The Art of Parting

leaves in parking lot
will we, in our falling down,
leave such parting sparks

09 October 2012

Playing Joseph

this kid’s got ideas
notices things in
the couplings between
maybe so and no

the first auditions
are a month away
and this year will not
be the same old same

mary with a dolly
joseph with a stupid
staff playing a shepherd
like all the others

not when he shows up
he’s going full bore
carpenter with a
hammer in his belt

and nails in his teeth
a T-square over
one shoulder and a
perfect dovetail joint

pre-cut in cedar
(the tongues and the grooves
dry-fit and ready-to-glue)
over the other

08 October 2012

Instrument Flight Rules

away with me
and be my prayer
we’d hide awhile
beneath the stairs

runway with me
and be my air
we’d fly undialed
into the storm

07 October 2012

what if we

what if we grappled with
our respective angels

each one a lonesome one
until the dusty dawn

what if mine bruised me
blessed me helped me recall

with a touch touch here
and a touch touch there

here a there there a there
everywhere a there there

06 October 2012

Window Washer (Present): Basketball (Past)

the squeegee on blue windows
forty stories up
the squeak of new Chuck Taylors
on the honey-coloured court

the traffic cop windmilling
a hive of taxis on past
that same silent-for-now whistle
on the ref’s about-to-blow kisser

the royal thumb crushing a bug
against the cold wet glass
the coach’s forefinger cursing
the next play on his chest

the secretary sinks the file
with a wink and a hip
the ball slinks through the net
like the same through a slip

the gauze of exhaust cotton-softening
the candy taillights
the old scoreboard glowing pink in its cage
at the end of time

05 October 2012


her cat arched up
with an unknown

world champion
wielding the string

04 October 2012


teach me a new word
one with water weight
a word rarely heard
but common, cupping up
cold water from the well in the square
like the ladle on the chain in the well on the square

teach me a new word
a word with endurance
one with muscle and bone
but one with perfume performance
evaporating but adhering
volatile in the summer
stable in winter regal royal enthroned

teach me a new word
one with
one worth
walking towards
one (which is) worth
waiting (winter)

03 October 2012

She Sleeps

know she doesn’t
so please don’t tell

that soft she sleeps
in a lofty nest

a tiny lair
inside my brain

pretty please don’t tell her
she’d be dismayed

02 October 2012

The Old Astronomer's Home Movies

when the star, his star, at last appeared
the old man smiled and rolled away

from the Cartesian screen and fell
fast asleep, hugging his lumpy pillow

to his chin, its tiny quills sharp and sparse
as his own beard, once more unspooled

his favorite dream, revolving with wolves,
a pack of grieving, so many galaxies

sleeping, spiraled in the snow, their feathery
tails like boas shielding their eyes and noses

their throats percolating on their ruby-red paws
their ears the points of shark-finned stars

01 October 2012

till that deep darkness do fetch me away

let’s make-believe it be a friendly steed
offer cored apples, carrots snapped in half
to that midnight muzzle nuzzling toward me
through the ragged gaps in the stable slats