Monday, August 31, 2009


Guilt is a tincture,
not a hue.

Paint any picture,
glint or rue

splinting your mixture,
casting your view,

fixing your affixture
in satin glue,

it's only gloss,
a surface slick
with tragic allure,

a facade of dross,
as deep as eyes are sure.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Slips the promise deeper
like water within water,
a sluice made of cold holds
a thread of warm
to its hemming
a flume of currents
buffeting their own heart
into compliance;

falls the old flower
as dead as scrap paper,
as soggy as words
without their bottle
to cast away in;
topples the fountain
as rusty as railways
as cheap as chipped gilding.

There it is;
there it isn't.
The promise was made so
long ago so that now
no one would keep him to it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Square Route

Four is sure,
but the fourth itself is poor,
last man on board the plane,
standing in for completion.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Smoke hung higher than noon,
air suffused with refracted burnish,
a tower built of billows
buffeting heavenward,
heat rising itself up to the cold
plateau of an earthly world
burning itself as a sacrifice.

On the highway, traffic
slows to notice the visual impact.
Somewhere, a house burns.
In a parking lot,
someone tries to remember
an unwritten grocery list.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Summer Haiku

Noon opens pink blooms
past the horizon's threshold.
The white rose wilts, too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Proud Shrub

I am fond of fronds
but I'd as soon as lief
have leaves.

Lawns are mown to mock carpets,
for me grass tall enough
to weave.

Of colors curated,
sheltered exemplars,
I'd rather gather
daisies and dandelion weeds.

Trees are tall, but droop,
it's the low, reaching green,
I'd sooner follow
where those lead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Gardeners do not grow,
they prune, they plant, they nurture,

they choose.

Death is the first, best tool of life,
if you haven't heard the news.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Third Thing

Pebbles have no depth,
their shape is sure,
but purposeless.

Still, a pair define a line.

Those two need no team
to make their circle. Only
one need believe it can orbit.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tealights on Patio Furniture

Black wicks in white wax
in glass circles
in an undrawn octagon,

man-made shapes standing
sentry in the center
of slow motion spurts

of green. Candleflesh
moist and pliable
under a ham-handed afternoon

flame-brushed char unlit,
a perch awaiting
a seedling phoenix;

the properly stained table
sharing an eight-sidedness
hidden in a circle

while six chairs further
misdirect, but the umbrella
equally cut piewise

by her struts, above.
So much pattern,
no wonder the trees

heap so much upon it.
Slats of cellulose machined
parallel and flat,

perfect rungs for conversation,
climbed horizontally;
the shadows of branches

mere clouds of a lesser
hue, no lines sharp enough
to obscure the tabletop's order,

what secret eight corners
might keep, or their miniature
torches, no spider seems

to know. The points of light
await an evening's burning,
but even then,

the dots need squinting
to connect into crosshatched
stars. The trees cannot

forget, though. The smoke
smells like a ceremony
they are barred from.

That the flame also
forgets itself
does not help.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


What shall I say, he said;

he was answered

what will you answer?

Friday, August 21, 2009


Setzen Sie bitte,
ruhe, bitte,
die Geistesmadchen tanzen;
mach ruhe, bitte,
stille, bitte,
die Augenblicke sind ganzen;
schlaufen night, bitte,
achtung, bitte,
die Glaubendingen sprachen;
die traumen, bitte,
doch nachste, bitte,
ein kliene Welt bald machen.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Labored Breath

Like a wizard put to fieldwork,
his bathrobe hangs at his waist
while he meditates,
his chest red and wet by the sun,
sleeves hung below the line
as if to fill in for missing leggings.
He stands still upon his sandals
as if their flats are pillars
higher than a story, his face
telling nothing, as abstract
as his task, which might mask
itself in any metaphor
as simply as seeds in rows,
as weeds pulling themselves
on command, as growth
chosen in increments of imagination,
plucked at the ripest part
of his inner picture.

He eats a vegetable
as motionless as he is.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I am not white.
I am not pure,
I am the color of sand,
a wan shade of tan,
no deep note of earth,
no honestly half-toned dirt,
just the dull color of grit,
pinheads without pins
beaten down by foam,
made to hold footprints
up to the naked slap
of the swirling blue
old man busy scrubbing
old continents down to bedrock;
I am not white.
My aura is no eggshell,
my heart is no yolk.
My fingernails are
rock-crystal, not white,
my eyes are mostly lid
and lash and pupil and brown
palisade to keep the red
beyond the pale, but
I am not white.
I am not comprised of a spectrum.
No prism can split me
into a toll bridge for heaven
or a breaker of confidentiality
between the sky and leprechauns
or an upper limit for bluebirds
or a sign saying
you must be this tall to dream
you are here,
I am not white.
I have no wings,
I do not always go first,
I do not leave dust enough
when I touch the dark
to make myself legible.
I have never been pristine,
when I was new I was
already nine months old,
and gift wrapped in mother
and blood, and on the
day of my majority
I was given permission
to purchase whiskey,
but no key to the cupboard,
no secret handshake,
no signet ring,
no bank account number,
no robe and no seat
upon the councils of the wise.
I am not white.
I do not shed my own light
on the way before me.
I am not cold by dint
of perfection,
neither am I unique,
microscopically or not.
I am not refined.
I don't know my place at table.
The history books never
chime when I open them,
announcing me their successor,
there is no sword handle
awaiting my hand to surround it,
crown it with flesh,
there is no kingdom
prepared for me by vikings
or principles
or missionaries.
I am not white.
I am not clean,
I am not diaphonous,
neither my slate not my pages
are blank enough,
I am not the ghost of men
longer dead than my life
lived amoung them,
I was bequeathed no spirit,
no fire, no brotherhood.
I am not white.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Two Winners

Banana and coffee,
green pear and tea,
two pairings, to me,
without compare.

In contrast, I suppose
two fruits and drinks,
when juxtaposed,
might highlight a merit

the one fare
does not share -
one partnership rose
above ambivalent enjoyment -

shall I hate a palate
wont to equivocate
between superlatives?
It is too late,

my mind has made his mate,
marriage to a tongue
too easy to satiate.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Leaf and Frond

There a man sits, a body
unencumbered by the weather
with a book for his brain's umbrella.

Beside him a fern, denied
passage in the cool hold of literature,
must suffer her sap to run errands
from roots to leaf-lobes
without even existentialism
to describe her consistently
inescapable place in the landscape of now.

Words shove him around the ether
like lightspeed snowplows
or hyperspace garbage trucks,
she cannot even say she is green,
much less lament or praise its easy
meal of sunlight.
She does not tremble,
she is not afraid of the wind,
or waiting to be seen,
she does not even wiggle,
implying she wants attention.
She cannot be said to wave,
she cannot even wish to flounder,
or flop. She is a thing,
and therefore she twists,
perhaps she bobs, it's possible
she droops, but that's pushing it,
the weight of the rain
she can sense but not feel.

Pain is the first step,
and her kind stopped there.

The man counts the dots
on her underside. They cluster
the way stars cannot, he thinks.
He wonders if she feels shame,
her spores so naked. She does not.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Soundings Taken

a plangent explanation of
a plaintive exclamation
followed shortly on
the shallow exhortation;

an exercise in licensing
an indoctrination for public
usage might possibly be
necessary for private
consulations to continue
earning returns on just
desserts and foregone
concubines. Such a din

the muses must live in.
All the ears they have
to box or tweak with only
the lips holding for
dear life to ears as
ignorant of their own
whorl as the rest of the
world of the hearing;

here is my prayer,
that I am possessed
of enough sail that
the wind feels confident
to perish in.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Oil Burner

Does an engine have to overheat
to feel uncomfortable?
My heavy foot on a hill
makes me feel guilty.
An overcast morning,
a wide-cast net of night,
those are cold enough
I can imagine the pistons
would rub themselves warm
without the explosions,
if they could.

No, I explained to the assembly
under the hood.
It's not like health insurance.
It'll only pay to fix
what you break,
not how you're broken.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The wandering knight wants no title,
he is not to be found,
he is to find.
Too fine a point for some to say
there are more passable scabbards
than good swords.
In the modern lingo:
There are more shirts in the world
than men to stuff them.

We are outnumbered by what we own.

Someday the money will tell
how it was created all by itself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Footpads Nearing Retirement

Her slippers' flipflopping cracks wise,
like a kneeslap, only flatter,
like a pun, only funnier.

Where the big toe digs the deepest,
that's the best hiding place,
not for easter eggs,
but something more colorful
than plastic shells,

a good secret. All that "more-than"
that she has in her pinkie finger
than most have in their whole bodies
hides there while she sleeps.
Anyone who wants that talent
just has to steal her blue
lambswool sandals and click
the nearly heelless backsides
together three times.

On the carpet, the rubber
actually does slide,
just like their title
advertises. Her feet also
come and go, and when they're
gone, the fabric worries
it's beginning to smell
like any other stretch of flooring.

Beside her sneakers,
they flaunt their sumptuous lifestyle.
They never confess to wondering
what it'd be like to be tied up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Break Time

Like a zipper in a catsuit,
her teeth open with a plosive.

Deep in that overgrown knuckle
halfway between a leg,
above the plunging kneecap and
below the clasping gap,
in the center of the unevolved
elbow she's running in place upon,
a gnome that knows
how to work those angles
pumps the levers
like a man who has to
do his job another hour,
bend and release,
repeating the task of action,
a kick that hits
an empty bullseye,
a cubic foot of air happy
to have her ankle
scrape in and out,
defining its purpose;

a whistle blows out,
a ligament strikes itself,
the gnome remembers
imaginary creatures
don't have social security
and promptly dissolves
into a bond as easily
broken as whatever's let go
in her body. The departments
of bone and skin smirk
at the disorder, her brain
makes her face wince
on behalf of her middle
management, the meat.

Joy gives way to pain,
and then to need,
and then to the solace
that lets a need
stay self-important
long enough to die fulfilled.

Her lips close
like a plastic hatch
over a battery.

There's something in there,
doing something.

Monday, August 10, 2009

After Evening

The purple curdles,
the dark goes dark,
the colors run away,
and the black gathers.

A cricket requests
he be eaten forthwith.
A squirrel digs up
a leafy den of din.

The pooched lampglass
tries to caramelize
dust. In the dry dim
the palm leaves crisp.

Rags of hours make
a hoopskirt for a
minute. It asks
the legs wearing it

to dance. Inside,
the light stifles,
the cozy coddles.
The night inoculates.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Song Lost in Traffic

Sparrow in the road,
my muffler too tall to behead you,

the eddy boots you
like a railway dick.

Since death has collected
better metaphors,
has the sole employer
of nature laid you off?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lines Suggested by a White Beard

I cross the street,
and an oncoming god
stepped aside and apologized.

He may have only been homeless,
but then his deference
is just as inexplicable.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Four Quarter Notes

Time is an etui of faultlines,
she stiches me, I quake.

Time is a quiver of fishhooks,
such speed for a bent thing,
and only one way through the flesh.

Time is a gutter,
everything flows through it.

Time was the last god
to the summit, so late,
he was given the worst
of the watch.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sometimes It's Just a Yard

Black-lipped shade
promises a cool kiss,
but slips you the sweltering tongue.
Hot afternoon stoops
to selling the same swaddling clothes
yesterday's sun-baby was born in,
a mothering's worth of warm
at a fraction of winter's price.

Even the bricks practice hissing,
that new hotfoot danze craze
needs a soundtrack, a hint
of sizzle, enough static
to float the bobbing cork
of one note of music on,
that old song of summer, one beat.

The hammock threatens
The umbrella preaches

The concrete as white as clouds
whispers: "You should see the wet
my heavy is holding down. I'll
never let her past me, so she
can come back and slap my face,
oh no, I keep her down in the brown,
where the bugs and worms
can teach her worldly love."

An ice-cube appears in a glass
and does a strip-tease.
When she's down to herself,
the heat can't help
rushing her stage, and the
bouncer's gone to get another
drink. And thermodynamics
cannot decide whether
they crush her to a conforming
temperature or if she
wanted desperately to become
one of the family.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Gift You Cannot Give

Even love cannot breech sleep,
each merely cresting breath
fills a shallow moat as mere
as the usual walls of skin
two castles have to crash
together to share their thrones;
except here there is no stone,
there is nothing here to stand
over or fall under, a pantheon
of invisible planets,
a curtain of hunched heavens,
bending like horizons
and as infinite as paper dolls,
and the tuft of your eyelid shifts
like a mole imagining the whole
earth is his shell, the only sign
that blinkered horsemen joust
in a tournament held once every
half-second between the existence
and apocalypse of the images
you are living in, alone
in the burning of the light
none can ever share, nor
barely remember, every night
so much we have to block it out.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Pile of Nice

What laundry list philosophy is this?
have you ticked off your mystic task,
today another soul-saved,
another earned,
underlined your name in the gift registry,
wrote bold your yes
with exclamation points,

what bleach you love the world with,
such a helpful host,
scouring the claw marks
the rest of us use for hand-holds,
such a wise pose, standing
arms open over your hard work
sanding down the treads
to a slippery slope,

my friend, my happily
happy-armored, happy-armed friend,
only easy is easy,
making the hard easy
is hard.

To flow forever
is to be always going down.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

He Do All His Own Voices

a one-man parabasis,
all parados and exodos,
a circumnambulation of misdirection
making an empty-pupil
eye-of-storm-wise, center stage,
where authority is used to
all that all-rise and be-seated,
where the throne floats,
where the word stabs forth
in fleeting grace
through the life-deep wall of flame,
that one sword speaking for all wounds
through a shield dog-piled up
from all the blunted, defeated swords,
the same-seeming blades as easy to see
as the cuts on the hands of the seekers
holding onto their faith in a gate;
such a hired host, hand-picked
half-wits reciting polish-splotches
from their rags,
poorly incubated clones,
decanted for the purpose of swirling,
having enough hot air to make
some weather in,
until their skin pops,
a deck of blanks fanned
for a game of go-fish-for-the-difference,
one marching band circling the same podium,
songs on the same rotation
as the wonderfully colored hats.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mask and Moreso

Him's a thorough beast,
teeth backed with meat,
that one, just as big
as him looks, he is.

Hollow without his artist?
That's an eye full of foolish, true,
him ain't shirt and pants,
howevermuch the crafty hand
was guided bull-straight
to his likeness on earth.
Him ain't a man flapping,
hooting, no, not a vessel
nor what's proud enough
to fill it,

him's an image, not a picture,
paint or ink or camera-theivings
fenced and framed, all them
you can touch, but him,

him draws himself up or in
or through, call it how you
feel it, him's a tattoo
on the blood's side, him.