Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I am all moans to your sadness. Sound me and I will sing you: first comes air then lungs then throat then tongue, teeth, lips. Your heart today is like a large smooth stone in my belly. Do I have a choice but to sing with you? Besides, a special grace waits deep in heavy songs, something distinctly sweet, like the pleasure of two old hands about to touch. Let my I and your I become one, like two halves becoming whole or two wholes becoming a new wonder. Does anyone dare call a song the sum of a-b-c’s? I want you to hear your voice in the echoes of my ears when tears run dry and there is no more point in speaking.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


There is something dead about swimming alone. Doesn’t matter, the salt like hands lifting your hips and knees or the smooth collapse of space between skin and surface. Try it. But now that I have told you to it will be my voice in the cold wave with you and in your skull bobbing up and down. I always do this, I am always trying to build with something broken: a small canoe of rotting two-by-fours, for instance. Why do I trust it? It is made in my image. And I set off quietly in the silent harbor and all I can hear is the sound of two oars and then the sound of sinking, which is more peaceful than you can imagine. But it is a certain kind of peace: heavy, like a body giving up.


openeyed underwater was
miserable in the ocean where dead fish
float. And sink. I could not
close my eyes I did not
know if I wanted to. I did not know.

The further down you go, the less
things make sense: blood turns green,
sound drums everywhere, no-
where, and the sun

exists by faith alone. And it is cold, cold;
you wouldn’t believe it, how cold
it is. So I stared 
at my darkening
vision, lungs com-
pressing, heart
failing, wondering is it
worth it? swimming up
to sunlight, having
the glowing eyes of fish
with teeth, and sharks, and cannibals— 

Traveling Psalm

You are good on the crawling bus.
You are good among the sunflowers
at someone else’s wedding.
You are good in the basement
of an abandoned rural mansion.
Within the addict’s painted doorway
you are good.
Choirs sing it.
Planets hum it.
These old wheels whistle:
You are good.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I’d Been Waiting at the Window for So Long

The sky will darken soon. And I think of her stubby arms waving,
the lisped exclamation They’re raining! They’re raining!
and of course she makes more sense than the vague circumvention of high tongues
called eloquence. I don’t know how to say the joy of it:

this blissful frustration of seeing clouds come
ponderously to the center of an Oklahoma noon
too dry to let my cracked lips bless the night-
within-day that great storms are.


Protect the soft clear beauty of your inmost parts, the core of sighing,
the nerve that weeps with every gentle touch—each thought thereof.
This is no place for wind. If winter wants entry he must first cut his nails
and shave his prickled face. Nothing practical should happen here;
this place is no kitchen, full of knives and bleeding things,
no hallway for friendly thundering
and weather-laden boots, no bed. 
Promise me. Go on, break down your old front door
completely, stand wide-armed on the porch
with all the strength of welcome on your face, but keep that key in pocket;
I have locked the little door.
The thought of dirty leather or cold hands there chokes me.

You And I, My Love, Pretend to Know

Passion wakes early, steals sunshine from a sleepy morning,
and works and
finds it funny when dreaming men and women say I love you as if love were
something other than muscles tearing, bone-arms becoming something closer
to able to serve those loved
by Him, omnipotent and high, whose back
and neck are thick with the heavy work of bending low.