What We Could Not Let Go Of

March 26th, 2015

It is the time my father’s voice
Begins to slur; my mother’s back and blood
Cannot move her, move slowly enough through her,
Without a knife, a pill, a corpse’s generous bone.
Death is not her friend but his, with its habit
Of gifting what is left of close and distant
Relatives. He never wastes a breath
On Death’s ill-timed greed.

He asked my sister Becca
For her new red Ford to give his favorite son.
She must have boiled to save it for her husband.
Thwarted even so, Death is not his foe.
How else would he have made a life
Pulling the maimed from cars
Crushed by speed, houses charred
By pretty lights? It is all matter of fact.

My mother, though, is still a glass
Full of her daughter’s final glassy stare.
Every night she shatters sleep
With too long prayer and careful notes
On kitchen counters to be read
By the living and the dead in looping script.
Rebecca, I love you! last night’s note said.
Having just arrived alive by plane, I wasn’t jealous.

My own young sons already walk the house, divvy up
Their father’s guns, guitars, his father’s army
Knives. “Vultures,” he laughs. Perhaps.
Their urge is just as natural as burial in the sky.
The birds fly off with eyes and arms.
Our things, our larger bodies,
Feed our young what we once loved,
What we could not let go of.

24 March 2015

Until Something Escapes

February 26th, 2015

The state hammers
You into palatable cliché,
A human gauge.

Oddness warps sharp angles
Inward like godless prayer,
A crushed cage.



February 23rd, 2015

Each distant comfort
Of the rooster crow—
Moonlight, midday, morning—
Your earth face
Is the sun I turn toward.

I cannot stop
This dayless revolution,
Wake against
Your lips’ soft sculpture.

Mandorla gaze—
Two gentle slopes
Of slow lashed lids
Unveil you.

Trusting child,
Stock-still buck—
More man than sight
Can take.

My breath unfolds
Its crumpled paper.
Blood writes your name
In simple script.

My hands speak
Their silent words
Upon your crown,
Your cheek, your neck,

The silken dunes
Work and wind
Have carved of you.
These shoulders. This back.

Warm chest blown
To belly, thighs
And ancient feet—
I need no map.
I am your hungry pilgrim.



February 22nd, 2015

To a cock,
Any unexpected light
Is morning
Or worth a warning
I ignore.



February 21st, 2015

But for my love and a fat Siamese
My house is usually empty.
But it is Friday. My turn.

Two sons in tow, we play at random words.
Virgin Mary! Revolutionary War!
Elephant dung! Apocalypse! Ear of corn!

Sam, 12, stops, exclaims, What is that? The sun?
And then we know. The moon! Ah, the moon.
His small voice says, It is a golden dome.

A white car holds us.
We hold the moon like a flat stone
To skip across

The prairie. Let’s keep playing, he says.
Grey, 15, begins: Monkey scrotum! Rooster comb!
Dental floss! Alien anal probe!

Once home and helloed, Sam builds
A fire surrounded by concrete blocks.
He feeds it hunks of scrap lumber

And wind-bleached tumbleweeds.
Eventually Grey is cold in thin clothes
And, having laughed enough with me, goes.

Sam tells me of the comet in Orion’s belt
Hidden in high clouds.
We walk to the side of the house.

Night has finally laid her white egg.
My boy whispers in a voice
That soon will not be a boy’s, It is so mysterious.

And it is: how quietly a nest can fill,
How quickly we can find
Ourselves alone in it.


31 days of almost 4:00 a.m.

January 31st, 2015

How can one make January wrong
Or night? The night
Holding the deadly car
In the selfsame palm

As the innocent star of a man.
Or boiling up a sleepless winter plan
To ruin a good son’s life.

The horror too sublime to pen
I’ve lain in ink the sky
Sobbed into the farthest stars
And not tried to move them.


Perfect Birthday

January 23rd, 2015

Late April sings my birth in a robin’s throat.
Cheery up, cheery oh!
If I am lucky, and I am, it is Sunday morning.

Always, he’s the warm seam along my southern edge.
We wake and doze, dream and wake,
Gaze, blink and other morning things. Our eyes

Sparkle like coffee, like every other minute
Poured by dawn between us
But drawn out slow like gravity’s honey.

We pad around the kitchen. Children rise.
Each hides a poem
Behind a back, waiting for the moment

To show me what new words have come from ones
Who slid from me three perfect songs
I could never write. I sway and hum along.



January 15th, 2015

Given Walden,
I meant to be alone
From age 15.

I didn’t know Thoreau
Burned down a wood
And loved fine Lydian,
Ralph Waldo’s wife,

And walked with her
In his two years
From time to time.

Given weeks alone
At 43, words do not come.
I drive my skin

To work on winter
Break, type
Dates on a form
And see your face

Before I drift,
Swerve to write
A poem.


Winter Solstice Live Radio Broadcast

December 21st, 2014

Please join Liquid Light Press poets M.D. Friedman, Rachel Kellum, Lynda La Rocca & Erika Moss Gordon this Sunday, December 21, 2014 from 6:00 – 7:00 pm, on KFRC Radio’s Poetry Show (88.9 FM in Fort Collins, CO) or…

Stream live on the internet at:


Visit Liquid Light Press poets at:


Shed Dreams

December 13th, 2014

The little shed was a wooden skull
In which the dreams of shovels rusted
And feral cats jumped from shelf to shelf
Chasing brown, white-bellied mice.

Hundreds of generations dreamed
Behind a stack of asbestos shingles—
Of corn meant for hogs, of fantastic forays
To the human house of bounty and heat,

Where heroes lick clean peanut-buttered traps
That snap little necks beneath the kitchen sink.
Less curious mice would tuck their luck
In the shadows of the skull, nibble cat droppings.

Capacious as a mouse’s dream, the shed
Never thought of human sleep, that one day
Its roof would lift, its walls would echo nails,
The sun would finally stumble in and cough.

The cats took off. Who knows when mice move out?
The shed began to dream a man, an orange antique couch,
A chair, a bed, a woman dreaming a head made of mud
She saved from her boots, from her sister’s grave.