Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Our imaginations, gun-heavy, weigh
down on the sun

but we’re happy. Songs come to mind.
So many songs, and rhymes,
rhymes I like but don’t understand. My brother

laughs when I sing them. He seems

what is called aggressive (aunts sighing
boys will be boys) but I know him
in the quiet and he is kind,

kind like the moment you lower the barrel
full, and laugh.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Some people put their power in pockets.
They aren’t often called lovers
but rich men carry loose change
like the rest of us.
They pay for their morning coffee with dimes
and write checks in stairwells and bathroom stalls
for people without anything but

nothing leatherbound or triple-
and quadruple-digit.

They can be hard to spot.
I suspect the waitress
with tired hair and no high belt
around a small waist. Her smile
has all the hope of morning in it

and none of night. Or the old man
sitting in a booth with his old wife,
eyes glued.


It is, isn’t it? The perennial answer all
the stones and grasses seem to know.
It is only us with our swatters and the flies
who seem to wonder, scrambling for dear life,
endless in a game at no high cost.
The sun blazes and hides.
The cows eat and die and are happy.
God walks with us among them but we don’t ask
him much. Someone’s neighbor and someone else’s sister died
last week.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Caffeine couldn’t wake my soul. The sun rose
lightless and confusion
lowered the freezing point
and there was no salt and no waiting.
Now it is night

according to the clock. Hot drinks
and cold drinks are much too sweet today.

Sick. (The virus has taken hold.)

Now the question
of whether to go to the doctor
or wait it out. It’s embarrassing,
walking the parking lot lit by flashing red
lighting the note: Mild cold.
But how do I know what death feels like? or even gangrene?
If I don’t lose my pride for sure I might lose an arm
or a lung.


I dreamt of a man who was dreaming of me.
In his dream I was dreaming
of him.

He has this way

of seeing, under t-shirts and tight denim shorts, scars,
bruises, old tattoos. Women don’t like him
because he loves and doesn’t care
about their colors, their hair and their clothes.
They want him to want—badly—to look,

but he sees.
He sees them already.


So why do I hold myself captive?
I am all things conflicting. I am Judge,
Judge Selfordained, and in my courts
you are Great Mystery. Or Great Destroyer.

I am humbled by the fact that you
won’t change if the whole world
calls you lies like mine; that I am
what you say I am.

I start and end
so many sentences with I.
Like two pillars standing in the wind,
hoping to hold. But
I am a stone held

tight in a wall of stones.
I want to know nothing

but the builder and foundation
of this house.

The planks of the Cross were probably thinner
than the man hanging from its arms. You know
I wonder what he looked like,
how he trimmed his fingernails
and things like that.

she was full of a strange sweet perfume I didn’t know whether to eat or to be her not sure like a landlocked nightmare looking for a place to cool down she was something like incandescent like a candleflame living off smooth white fat disappearing she was so beautiful ivory like a polished bone or clean sheets flawless like scrubbed-down and soaped-up with fat sweet throwaway animal fat stripping the dark spots so she glowed like white wool in her soft cotton dress I didn’t know whether to kill or become her not sure like a landlocked nightmare dizzy and the smell of no rain


He sang a lot in younger years
but birds tire too. Too many to count
dropping from mud nests in barn rafters. Look
at those blues and the unfading yellows,
their wings.

I like to hear about the days before men
handed polished bones to women
who take them with small stiff nods.
Beds were smaller then.
Each hand had five fingers and a palm.
But it’s okay, because I hear today
we use our heads.

A mother’s best kept secret is that nothing’s new.
The moment a squirming individual
appears from its hiding place, she knows
two things.
One. Every thing is different.
Two. Nothing stands alone.
Now when toddlers or wrinkled men
refuse to hold her hand, she cries.


So maybe they weren’t made to love it. I don’t like
living shoulder to shoulder with my kind either
but I do it. The city’s expensive but it’s not so bad
when you eat cheap. Who doesn’t like a lot of food?
I wouldn’t complain if someone cooked up all kinds
of new things to feed me. Maybe at first the gates
and fences would fool me into wanting back
the freedom (what’s freedom?) of open (and dwindling)
fields. Until I was out there, sharing my world
with a thousand other hungerers, half of them carnivores.
Is that what we’re made for? At least the ground
is owned, and named. Corn might not taste sweet
now but it tastes like peace now
and triumph.