Archive for the ‘2012’ Category

Red Bead

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

It is never safe to assume
karma is through with you,

that all you have done
and do has been released

like a necklace spilling
beads across a floor.

You gather the beads,
re-string them while you sleep,

always a familiar,
pleasing pattern.

Oh, to sleep! This sleeping
storm that blows games through.

One game, you let it go.
You let it go. One name.

It rolls just within reach,
the red bead.

Again and again,
you have slipped

it in your mouth
between cheek and teeth,

your foray tongue
a muscled dream.

Try to spit it out,
the dead seed.

Wishing is not the same
as living or reprieve.


Zephyr Blues

Monday, November 12th, 2012

My right palm
Is a memory
In the boiling pool
Of my own back.

My left fingers,
A steel slide
Tracing the wet line
Of your nape
Across mine.

Can you hear it?

I fever drowse
In a westward bed,
Two-bodied alloy,
Still red with no sign
Of cooling.

I swear this is no ploy:
We have laid
The track.

I chew the slow train sound
In the center of our names,
And see for the first time
That ache
Is my hidden spine,
The fastest route,
A certain wreck.

And yet
There is
Your mouth.

The rails.
The roll.

I wail to warn the town.


When I Show Rosemerry
My Home for the First Time

Friday, November 9th, 2012

In every room I point out the flaw:
discolored spots on walls
I could have painted better,
a leaking bathtub hot water knob,
crumbling grout between green tiles,
dust on my son’s piled dresser,
the unfinished edges of a shelf.
I am only noticing what is beautiful,
she responds, and I realize
what I have done,
what I do, walking her through
the house of me.
Look here, I say, over soup and rice,
at the way desire is eating my face.
Do you hear how I am becoming loud
carrying a house and three kids
and 52 students and one gallery
and a town of hungry poets?
And later, over her homemade rye:
See how easily I am high jacked
by barking dogs and distant trains?
And finally, in the kitchen doorway,
my last confession:
I am becoming bony and thin-skinned,
which translates: I am slowly dying.
This time Rosemerry doesn’t respond.
This time she lets silence answer.



Sunday, November 4th, 2012

She would beg:
Press your cool coin
Here and here and here—

If water faring were a game.

But she once paid
For smuggled lips
With children’s years

The same sad way
Her gold-lost fathers did—
A toll nine decades dear.

This swell is no child’s play.

Her only claim:
Scrawled treasure maps and
Deep sea dreams of a pirate’s beard.


Map of Sorrows

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Unfold your map.
Soft as clothes,
thin as Mother’s eyelids.

You’ve read the bloody roads
and made the signs for sisters.
The map is older than Alone.

This town called Grief:
the morning’s carrion crow.
Let it fly before you wake them.

Its arc is closer than they know.
Breathe wider in the river Skin.
Break the sky’s dark wish bones.


Breaking One Rule

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

I will make rhymes
and measured lines

of myself inside
the poem of us.

Wait for the turn.
Watch the couplet burn.


Today the World is the Way
they Dreamed Together

Friday, October 26th, 2012

White drapes trees, cathedrals, valleys.
Plump branches threaten heads the way death does.
Erases then expands the view.

He dreams the gate of her orange hair.
Snow cannot outline her anymore.
She would lay her head down everywhere.

Remember her beneath the blue umbrellas?
On the north side of the running fence that fell into the sea?
Blazing under wrapped trees?

Sometimes he would drape her in all the shadows of his body.
His own white hair an umbrella.
The sky some shade of blue above him.

Each time he lifted from her, she was new.
And when she stood, the earth, in her shape, grew greener.
Eventually everything took her name.

The world is just like this.
Revealed by what stays awhile.
Then moves.


for Christo and Jean Claude

With a Full Moon in Each Eye

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

With a full moon in each eye
I wander Denver by car
looking for the moon.
Driven off by street lights and brick,
the moon is sipping beer at Ziggies bar.

Of course I love you,
swears the moon, pissed I’m so thick.
Then whispers, amused,
Crushed angel, come here,
and sways me all night in the blues.

Boom, boom, boom, boom
Boom, boom, boom, boom
Boom, boom, boom, boom
Boom, boom, boom, boom
Huh, huh, huh, huh

Firm hands remind my hips
of the body’s lonely shape
before spinning me out,
arms milk stars
spilling through Hooker’s refrain.

The moon laughs in my hair:
My dear, you have not danced so badly,
trying to kiss the Beautiful One.
You are not so hard to follow, I say,
even when you are drunk.


with Hafiz and John Lee Hooker

Self Portrait

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Everyone says
She’s me.
The long haired nude
In the blue
Hands in her lap,
A strongman,
Also kneeling.
His back
A rippled map
Of heaving
Her love and woe
Like sacks
Of dandelion seed.
No one knows
If his eyes are closed,
Or who he is,
Or guesses how
I am both.
Part silent sea
Of fish,
Part dark beach
Of skin.
Wild eater
Of weeds,
Root deep.


Venus in Taurus at 3 a.m.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

I, too, am a red light
lonely toreador caught dead center
in the horns of the bull

bucked about until my stories drop
until the shapes of beasts tossing gods
are only self-consuming suns

dazzling distant spheres
or better yet, quantum benders
rolled out across a dark bed.

Everything shines.
I’m done picking fights
with the sky.


Living Inside A Hole

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Living inside
a hole I have dug
is a red song.
It has been singing
me for eons.
I am surprised
at its bright,
tiny weight.
Cheery lump
not quite heart,
perhaps lower lip
or tongue. I stare.
I cannot bury it.
It is not a prayer
to a tiny god.


with Hafiz

Clear Hand

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Surely the fall
light sifting
through locust trees
across me
does not pray
to land here,
does not pray
to stay.
Would my eyes
and light
could land
like that,
a clear hand
sliding warm


Hundreds of Ways to Read Rumi

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

I have room in my eyes
for your every poetic agenda.
Make me love what you love.
Woo me indiscriminately.
Show me how to cry with you.
When you hide inside being smart,
I will be amused and hold your hand.
Sweet one, we are only filters
for silence to pour through.
Why curse the nets that catch
the fishes of this human heart?
Let’s eat the fish and toss the bones
and nets back to sea.



Auction Night Lullaby

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Cattle cry out across
the town like ghosts.
I must fall asleep
in the many pitches
of their panic.
The sighing highway
rips us from our mothers.
A train splits the town
into oblivious crickets.
Only the trucks groan.


Integral Longing

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Third Person
Longing is the distance
between two photons
moving apart at the speed of light
casting and receiving states of being
One’s spin mirrors the other’s new spin.
The quantum physicist says:
it is because everything
was once gathered and senses twins.
Says the neurologist:
it is because people can have ghost limbs.

Second Person
You are a bonfire eating my liver.
My ribs protest.
You make a smoke signal of me.
No planes are overhead.

First Person
I am a photon with telepathy.
I am a brain with a missing hand
holding a missing hand.
I am a coal-bright liver searching
the sky for myself, growing long.
Clouds yawn
and disappear as I darkly approach
whispering rain.

We have nowhere to land.