I own the moonBecause I say I do.
There are wolves, for sure,
and loons up late. They hoot,
black charcoal shadow cartoon fools
whose gloom assumes
we, too, mourn loss of bright
There are none, though, walking ways
of cratered, corduroy, rolling, dust-grey
hills and basins. Peaks and vales
like battlefields of grim grenades
and silent, sentient cosmic chum.
And I say, "Pay!"
You lovers on my white-glow leaning;
you hunters creeping, deer-spoor seeking;
you children peering, “One day,” dreaming;
all who look upon this, frankly, dreary, lifeless face,
this wide-eyed, gaping maw of rock and shining, lantern jaw,
you now owe toll!
No more free ride. Pay up. Way up.
The Man in the Moon be damned.
Homage? For the loons.
I own the moon.
Myth of memoryIt is hot. The day is long.
Cy stakes his dog
and mows his lawn.
Cy sweats beneath a broad-brimmed hat
he bought in Mexico, back that time
when he and Polly cruised and shopped
and danced and ate and drank
and loved. Remembering that
he forgot to move the metal
sprinkler head aside.
Serious mower; metal flies.
No noise, no drama
Cy's dog dies.
He hugs the bloody body on
his perfect summer sunny lawn
and red runs over Cy's pale palms.
He holds them up
and sees the life-lines long ago traced
by a Gypsy girl at the Maine State fair
now laced with...
It is cool; an evening draft.
Cy digs a hole,
takes off his hat.
Eat them wordsShe dangles grapes the way they do
in corny movies
wet and cool
drags them across my lips and chin
jerks them up
won't let them in
I snap and bite
and drag a few
She dangles words the way they do
in sloppy stories
"pet," and "fool"
drags them across my ears and mind
I snap and bite
and drag a few
Sky fearBrown-eyed Heather planted flowers
for her mom in April every year.
Heather, fair hair streaked and flowed
like cereal grains or
unmowed wild grasses, bleached and bent
and wet with warm, soft rain.
Heather played in earth and clay and mud
and seeds and leaves.
All these things
clung to her. Their sounds and smells
and textures crunch, crumble, poke
the cushions of her sofa, lumps of her dogs
and cats, pillows of her thighs and breasts.
These bits tangle in her and the nest,
her home, tastes of dust, wood,
stone, sap, pinecone sprinkles.
Until Sky came for her one day.
All the clouds retreated on their stormy hooves,
kicking thunder, screaming lightning,
tearing cotton comfort, white lamb's wool,
wishing daydreams far away.
Sky is blue, and sees with circling eye.
The pupil may be black, sleep-trimmed night,
but we all know (Heather knew) that Sky is true
all-seeing, all-knowing, deepest, clearest blue.
Why it came for her, she didn't have
First, she hid beneath her lashes and her hair.
The smells of summer were still clinging
to the hand-combed strands. Strong there,
where she'd braided daisies, once. But Sky teased
her for her artifice. She knew herself lovely
even bare of brush and pins, painted blush
and tins of man-made pinks and reds.
She fled beneath her dogs and cats. But Sky
knew they were slaves, not friends. Sky saw her time
with them was for her pleasure. Sensual stroke
or galumphing, frisbee-catching, warm feet
by the fire. Gentle chains,
but still a mistress' yoke.
Into the yard! The willow, roses, bougainvillea and vines.
The pumpkins, cucumbers... she climbed
the peach tree she'd planted many years ago.
She scraped her knee, an elbow, reaching for the furry fruit
and wolfed it down
gasping, gagging almost as the juice flowed
on her tongue and in her throat
and, sticky, ran over fingers, knuckles, wrist and arm.
She leaned back against the wood.
Convinced she'd cheated Sky for good.
But Sky knows over-ripe and Sky knows rot.
The cramps began, the pain, and Heather dropped
down on the cool, damp ground. Writhing, bent,
she watched the blue eye hover, drying dew-drops as it went.
One last chance, she dug.
As the spasms gripped her, tore her from herself,
the hole grew deeper, well-loved mud and earthworms parted
as lovers hold backs sheets, arms wide
inviting in a cherished, well-known bride.
Pulling brown onto her, Heather smiled. Sky foiled
by the final comfort of her gentle soil.
Brown to black. Air grows thick. And now Heather understands
that she's been tricked. For as her last breath warms
the sand Sky laughs. It did not want to own her,
not at all.
It wants more.
For her to
To watch and see
and know and be the one
to find the secrets, judge the lies.
Sky is tired,
wants to try
dirt, cats, dogs, bees, scrapes, peaches, knees.
Now, trembling, as she gives up the clay,
her eyes become as blue as noon-bright day.
She knows she was right to fear
what she now passes into
the staring, merciless sphere
PassportThe party's barely started and already you're in trouble.
There's a bottle of tequilla that's gone missing from the bar.
Antonio won't ask me if I've seen where you have put it
but he looks at me and smiles,
and I know he knows you know.
This music isn't music -- not at least as I'd define such.
There is something like a zither or a harpsichord on crack.
I am older by a decade than the next in line behind me
and most of these, your best friends,
were unborn when I first fucked.
Across a pond of smoke I see you dancing loose and perfect.
Your body bends like cream, your arms unhitched from sense and time.
I meet your eyes, you stare back, rotate hips, and rock your shoulders.
You beckon with your chin
and I advance, a drink in hand.
I feel the other men here, with their young and snappy bodies.
I sense the lines of lust connect their eyes and hearts to you.
They travel in tight arcs, overlap your zone of notice.
But you do not give the signal
and they pass by on your breeze.
They wonder, these young captains, "Why should he be here beside her?
She takes her drink from him and licks his knuckles? That's just... odd.
Another song, an old one, starts. He'll try to dance to this one?
He takes a goofy step... She laughs!"
I laugh. We laugh.
LipstickOnly I can make you blush.
You said that to me once.
Whether heated, private, mottled flush
or public rush of rosy, freckled gold
at lunch. Quick chuckle or slow thrum
of blood. Either/or is mine alone
to pull from stores of
that make your pulse not yours.
You put on lipstick
when we go out to play. I dont know,
yet, if I like it.
I like the lie it tells to other men.
The lie of dawn, the lie of heat.
The neon sign, the flash contrast
is fine. I'm not the jealous type.
You know that.
But there is now some small corner
of your smile that is not naked to
I compliment your choice of shoes,
make jokes at my expense,
stand back from crowds; just this side of shy.
All the tricks that (usually) make you
Your un-red red-red now hides
Only I can make you blush.
You said that to me once.
But paint and paper keep your blood
behind a wall
I'm not sure that I trust.
I'm tired of the fires,
tired of the balancing acts,
tired of the fight
Choices to be made
that I don't want to make.
Waters fast, waters dark
The questions now
are growing questions;
Escherian, like vines that grow
outside the frame.
I don't want to know,
I'm afraid to name.
But I don't know
to break this march
to stop this beat
how not to do
at the bit and bits and bites.
Father. Help everything
Small chest rises under new moon's pale, white silk.
Blanket folding, tiny hands clench dreams of milk.
Lashes lucious on a cheek like summer peach.
Hair like willow. Skin of foam on bright, blue beach.
Breath is all and breath is one,
Night is here and day is done.
Mama sleeps and Daddy stands
Watching over turning sands.
Stars are swinging through the purple, summer sky.
Freight train's whistle sounds; a friendly, mournful sigh.
Tuck the blanket in. Sit, watchful, for the night.
Hours and hours 'till dawn.
And love the little
Breath is all and breath is ours
Night is short and far the stars.
Mama sleeps and Daddy stares
Blessing God for all his cares.
Swing frodark line crossing painted twice
eyes over easy
feet over ice
keep to the riverbank
coins in your purse
sleep is a blessing but blessing's a curse
wrists sweat vinegar forehead on fire
preacher brings whiskey
teacher just smiles
canter the goat and gallop the crow
fallow the music bare gums to sow
tender an offer of skin on the vine
give me the ringer
shed me the time
tell me your tantrum
splinter your broom
scare up the children
bury the groom
bundle the razor
grapple the blood
dangle a favor
swallow the flood
damage crack heart.
Grave of glassUnshaved, unbathed, the scatter-fingered man
burried stained-glass windows
in the soft earth down by Shadow Creek.
Laid out flat,
stolen from a dozen churches.
One round and small,
a saintly ball
of yellow, blue and red.
Three or four are
simple squares of patterns
with the patrons' names
etched in poison lead.
Several weigh sixty, eighty pounds
at least; those big guys,
you know... rounded at the top.
Scenes of prophets, angels,
animals and apocolyptic skies.
How he got them down the hill,
through the trees, over the rocks,
across the scrub and swampy spill...
Through the moonless night,
all night it took
for him to dig the dirt by hand,
though it was soft like clay
that near the brook.
But, in the end,
they went down, down, oh-so carefully down.
Flat, with a skin of dirt
Dark, red earth to soften the weight
of hard, dark scenes and years of
pressing, pressure. No escape.
He washed his hands in the nearby stream,
in the water that moves, cold as ice.
And he scuffed his shoes to hide the scene
of where he'd burried
his little slice.
The grace of knucklesLined, linked, rimmed
and dark spots
drops of ink
or black strap molasses
near the shadow
kinks that crunch
over keys, cards,
deeds, darts, beer,
tears, a thousand
a million parts
grip and grind.
No glory for the fulcrum.
The arrow flies;
the bent bow
An extra set of handsYes, the light.
We know, Plato.
Behind, outside the cave.
Before us, shadows dance upon the wall.
The chains. Yes, yes.
Blah, blah, blah, blah.
Look! I can make a bear!
Hold your slender arm
(is that your arm?)
just there and lean
(is that even you?)
this way, towards me
(is that even me?)
and maybe we can
make a bigger bear!
make a... make a...
I don't know...
funky, disco, MTV,
I can't tell
(could I ever?)
where mine ends
and yours begins.
Which is OK.
As long as they can't
What I want
What I want you to want
is for another set of hands
to set themselves
to cast the beams
to break the rays
and shake the inky stains
that mar the back wall
of this cold and dusty cave
to mystify, misdirect and
so you and I can slip away
while others point
Not so muchIf I could change color
would you love me forever?
If I could change color
would you love me like an angel,
like a hero, like a god?
Not "color" as in "ethnic,"
like Caucasian, Asian, African...
Not color like a tattoo,
or a sunburn or a tan.
But like an octopus or chameleon
a magic paint-job from within me
washing outward like a wave
of purple, green or gold?
If I was a mountain
would you love me forever?
If I was a mountain
would you love me like the land?
A racial memory, family history,
roots incarnate. The place
where sky meets water
where we finally
make our stand?
If I was a mirror
would you love me forever?
If I whispered, "You are lovely,"
would you love me like a song?
If every time you faced me
you saw everything as I see it;
you'd see colors ever changing,
moutains, angels, sky and god.
Days are not colors.
Hands are not mountains.
Words are not mirrors.
StripWhere does nudity
begin? So obvious
Well lit, dark draped,
linen dry, tub splashed,
misted, wind kissed,
sun slapped, moon
piqued, window gleaned,
raked, pried, given,
All of that?
Why. Where. What.
Always and forever
Eve and/or Adam
before the Big Fall
But where it starts...
Oh, that can be a cunning plan,
a chilling, cold and calculated
or random, bumbling innocence.
Three kisses. And the fourth?
Scurries it away. Lost. Lost forever.
Start again with
email. Coffee. Letters.
Yes! Bowling, damn it!
The real [wonder joy joy sky-jump fright
train-ride still Tuesday with
iPod on random play dynamite
flavors bring inside-out sweatshirt]
beauty of nudity is that
somewhere (somewhen, and with
and you don't know
[Winnie the Pooh]
when [now?] [if?]
The glass bed( In dorm rooms the students smoke their pot,
Blogging of T.S. Eliot)
I have abandoned cotton, relinquished wool,
packed all comfort tight in giant, Ziploc bags
so full that oxygen can’t wriggle in. No warmth
possible down inside where memories
of soft and tender sleep now lie.
All must be angle, memory and light.
Diamond cut and water cooled. I circle, ever wider,
mind on horizons, focused outward.
I shove aside all coverings, all sheets of conscience.
beginnings – who cares? Moment is the tinder,
dry, fast burning, instant upon instant. Feeding
eyes. Lidless, without mercy, without voice. Orbs of sky
blue, bottle green, remember nothing they
have seen, nor ever cry.
Stretched out, now, perfect, in my skin
and hair, my nails, sweat, spit, bone, blood,
everywhere, blood. Thin as water, nearly
clear, and spread flat out, I drip it down
in waves too trivial to hear.
Circle me, circle, from above.
as I bleed liquid glass,
nothing but this relentless glance
I assign myself instead of love.
ProcessI want you to read this,
to think on it deeply.
And maybe re-read it
several times in a row.
I want you to frame it.
To copy and paste it
and email it out
to your dad and you boyfriend,
the gang at your office,
some people you only know
vaguely through Facebook
or Internet chat rooms.
I want you to wonder,
"Just what was he thinking
when he sat down to write it?
Was he naked? Or humming
a tune from a musical?
Something. A classic. Maybe
'Anything Goes' or 'Hair.'
Not 'Titanic' or anything by
that Andrew Lloyd Weber."
I want you to think that my line
breaks are special. That I do
this on purpose. That there's some
thing that matters about where I hit
If I switch to a mode that's more
subtle and timid, less ironic
will anyone notice?
I want to stop writing.
I want you to read this.
Come 'round rightI watch her walk away
the way those hips move
roll-slip-slide more play
than motive force
the heavy syrup sunlight rises
up in waves
from cracked grey pavement
seems to lift her skirt
up high climbs calf
and rides her tanned firm thigh
wraps 'round her waist and finds
a way to shine from
inside out her dress today
I close my eyes
that I might ever watch her
walk my way
Divide by zeroI have left me drawn and quartered,
on the altar of multitasking. I
divide my time and eyes
and thread the days by hours and
blips instead of 'round round wrists
of gists or ken or zen or anything
but punch-clock swiss precision
tick-tock march to falling pendulum
of syrup sleep the only sweet
not cut up but still defeated
ring and rang no fat
for our sturm und drang.
The nominator is just me. Just one.
I cannot twin myself, though some
break mirrors wanting more.
That's what's killing me. So,
I say, "Less."
The ever-growing, morbidly obese
denominator tips and sways, approaches millions
and math types they all say, "OK."
But it can not be
Can't divide by
No "none." Never "no."
Have to have some number there
to make it go.
But can I drive it down?
Can I watch the little fucker almost drown?
At one-half, twice my time can then be spent
on a lovely book or casual entertainment.
One-tenth means I can take the time to find
a friend to share a day with, mind-to-mind.
One-one-hundredth and I've got a span of weeks
to champion a cause, to hide from shame and sin
and seek a place of peace and retrospective
I am young again. Time means nothing.
Red-blonde hair stretched out across my arm,
a piece of sun sits grinning on her hip.
Her eyes are closed. Dust, golden, floats
on air as afternoon slips into purple evening.
Plans for barbeque? Maybe a movie? Drinks
with a good friend or two?
it came damn close to zero.
Point focus closed to outside influence.
The altar empty
of blood for idiot gods of future
Slice of lifeShe left the garden, apple in her hand.
Naked, here I am. Innocent still, I stand.
Curled like smoke around a cherry tree
the seprent watches, waiting for me
to do something. Something dumb, I guess.
Run after her? Make a scene? I won't, unless
he bites me on the ass. He has, you know.
Bitten us both. It didn't work. Hurt, though.
Hurt like hell. Call's himself a friend.
I don't believe it. Not with fang marks in my end.
He does, though, keep me company.
Better, even, than I'd gotten recently from she
who's now removed herself and half the red, round
fruit. Gone without a word. Without a sound.
Hallucination lifts again on poison wings.
Can't kill me, worm. Can't slay
clay made breath stone heart
naming name before word flesh
of mine before one was two
water crossed with fire
she me you
where did you get the document?
where did you learn to talk?
where did you put your legs?
why can't I walk
away away from crotch of river
breast of wheat and rye
altar of my forehead
knife of lips
bowl of upturned sky?
sun has stolen pillow night
where once I lay my head
I may I may I may I may
be better off
I've left the garden, apple in my hand.
When I find her, I will eat it, and be glad.
The blower man must dieIn Summer, when the grass is high
the Blower Man must die.
His porch is outside in the air,
the wind brings dust to gather there
and I hear whining everywhere
the high-pitched, droning, drilling, screening
screaming of his power blower
cutting through my Saturday,
my only-nap-day, get-a-way
across the street and up the hill
the shrill, high, pierce
that makes me think to kill
the Blower Man.
Your porch is outdoors, man! God-damn!
That's where dust lives!
Leave it alone.
Please stop with your infernal drone!
I must kill the Blower Man
when Autumn's leaves turn rust and tan.
He's not alone this time of year,
but, please... let me be clear.
For whereas others rake or blow
a time or two before the snow
replaces leaves, the Blower Man
must blow each night at 6pm.
The dinner hour! Sancrosanct, until
he shredded it with dentist's drill!
I can't escape
there's no escape from
his piteous, electric scrape.
I just want to eat
my buttered peas.
Please, Blower Man...
Shut up, soon. Please...
In Winter, when the snow falls sweet,
I'll kill him in his sleep.
Before an inch has had a chance
to settle on the still warm land
and melt away in just an hour...
he's out again with his noxious howler.
He'll blow it three times in the space of a day.
While it won't even stick
on his neighbors' driveways.
But at 7am... and at 10... and at noon.
He'll be out making noise
like a tortured, mad loon, and I swear
that the peaceful, soft sight of the the snow,
coating the trees and the streets down below
is transformed into hell
by his foul, noisesome din.
So in Winter... this Winter...
I'm doing him in.
In Spring-time, when the grass grows new,
the silence is like dew.
Something makes the flowers grow more bright:
roses -- deep, blood red;
daisies -- pure, bone white.
Children wake to the first, warm rays
of sunshine as the lengthening day
extends her hand as if to say,
"Thank you. Thank you.
Now... Go play."
White on whiteMy son on snow in new, black, stomp-boots:
yellow hair tucked in blue hat,
cracks silver frost from rigid oak leaves,
kicks at eddies of white dust.
Grey the sky and grey the pavement.
Grey the mall's long lines of cars.
Grey the bills and grey the work week.
Grey the songs bled dry of joy.
Not an inch of snow, but still he
tries for angels, makes some piles.
Runs and skids, laughs, falls, laughs, wiping
snow from knees and face and hands.
All it takes: some lights, some tinsel.
Matchbox cars, a touch of snow.
A string of lights. "The Grinch." Some cocoa.
All he needs for magic days.
What I want for Christmas, Santa,
is to keep him from the grey.
I hate him, tooIsn't it enough that I can’t stumble?
No whiskey excuse, no handicapped tag.
Justice sees plenty. She peeks through her rag
past myths, Mrs., Ms. Miss. So, seethe
or glide, we gag on what we’ve swallowed.
See: I'd kill for clean. For small. For clear.
Reduce me, de-fable me, quite smartly seize me.
My bones will laugh, liquid, as when ice in the spring
escapes to brown earth when melted at last.
I can't afford lazy. I can't afford drunk.
Lush, careless, sloth-like will get us all killed.
Who is he to forget that the roads are not empty?
Slippery in two directions. I so want
one night as a weasel. A home in earth’s hole.
Near a willow’s sweet roots, by a saphire stream.
The auburn earth smells of last autumn’s dead leaves
and I can’t hear the traffic or late-night TV.
He can’t know the darkness like I do or else
there wouldn’t be questions of fighting or flight.
The wind is my brother, the night wind that whispers
of places where white goes down deep in the ground.
His glazed eyes reflect a sweet, singular song;
what his hands feebly clutch, where he rides
before he falls. He has the answer
to the whippoorwill’s question. And I hate
his final fortune. That he has a chance to fight
your arms around his neck. Allow and let
his lips to drink? I'm dry as dust,
have lived a life without a breath of dew.
No. Love’s not blind. And just as clear as hate
when love is far and hate is near. Cold comfort
is some comfort, yet. Don’t cry. The ground's
already wet. Please, cool hands, spread
the trap wide. Enough to invite two inside.
Escort me to the burrow by the brook.
I’ve done the work. I just need pure light
to guide me down the narrow forrest path.
Cool hands, please fill my eyes with moist, brown earth.
Your bliss is wasted on him who does not know its worth.
we freeze they burn weyou trans
form me little one
(ocean cat) your per
fume (sea salt peach sandal
wood) into faster
feral hungry drunk noc
me (smile eye
joke brow arch)
time moves slow
your eyes (green gold
grey spray tan sand)
lock mine lock
cycle drums club children
thud plod march dull strum while
you in stride in
side along my line
make ice silver jewels
rust gold hair
they freeze where
gan no more never
there to us
your (bare feet) press warm
carpet dents my [cold words]
lift icy laugh your wake
hot know your folded core
[ ( we slow they speed we ) ]
( [ we freeze they burn we ] )
smile (ocean cat)
swim seas of dried acolytes
only wind [wolf laugh]
only frozen (curious) seas