Sunday, January 31, 2010

Captain Hook Watches the Horizon Dim

Goodnight, sweet bilgerats. Sleep
deeply, he's here, no doubt,
but the little terrorist
has a scabbard full of pranks, that's all.
No need to keep or call the watch,
my age may not have gathered wisdom
by the ticks and tocks, but restlessness
is a power sure to trump a dreamer.
Leave the canvas to flap and shred,
tonight. The deck is wet with spray,
and soon that shoeless urchin,
as self-satisfied as cats snatching
fish from an honest net will
slap his slippery heels upon it.
He might have some thief-sneak magic,
some naked-moon-flummery, words
so old and lonely he imagines
he imagined them, but that out there,
that's a salt-water sea,
where baubles and rhymes get lost,
get drowned in the most ancient
rhythm there is, dip and rock,
the ticks that came before the tocks.
He may have grown
wild without having to grow,
but my wild is coming soon, I know,
a madness I'll cherish like treasure
I'd forgotten I'd buried,
my rage will be all the storms
he played hide-and-seek in,
while trees he named fairy friends
swallowed the lightning for him,
all the cold he thumbed his nose at
while the boys he lost to hunger
pretending it was satisfied,
when it was all the time sneaking
the color right out of the blood
that fed their believing.
I know he has a wooden sword
as sharp as his mind makes it,
I know, but an iron hook
rips through charms as easily
as handkerchiefs and fish-cheeks,
I'll tie him down with a leaded-line,
and there's an end to flights
of fancy. Have no fear, yes,
hiding is his game, and he's here,
but he can't help laughing at us,
we're so old and ready for grinning
at, but I'll hear him, and then
I'll cut off his ears and show him
they look just like mine.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Two Ways to Count

A circle is a line
that believes in being obtuse.

If infinity is repetition,
then we are already over,
over and over, and around
is also and only again, forever.

A line is a circle
that ran away.

Out there it doesn't
even have to be a tangent.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Four and Twenty Imaginary Solutions

One bee in the camellia tree,
one greenfinch between leaves,

one elbow-jostling afternoon
counting singletons in the cold.

A dappled apple, taught humility
with thumbnail punctures,

a scarified passage from youthful
symbolism to its adult role:

foodstuff. The juicy wounds
complain the coffee is wrong,

off-tone, off-color, off message.
Soon the core is in the cup,

ceramic sepulchur for exposed
seeds and proudly gritty grounds,

ready to repeat their sour
history for any tongue

that stops to listen. Apple
and coffee aside, the dog

closes her nose to bees,
birds and the city's dreaming

team of aroma-makers,
kings counting their houses,

their stores and inventories,
their prime cuts of heaven,

nectar extra, manna
for platinum members only;

the dog rents with a breath
that patch of cushion

stinking like sunlight,
she wallows in it.

She doesn't know someone
might stop feeding her.

The planet is a nice place
to live. We'll be all right.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Strange, that white light should be
so rich and so brightly bland.

Buckler-cloud, with your bull's eye
chance to ward a yard from a bolt of sun,

yes, you've gone from simple froth
to mystic master. You became a spatial
gradient from glare to gloom,
floating between the sun and me.

Yes, I missed it, for that moment,
the hot, simple swath went slack,
the plain, perfect light so easy
to laugh at was gone. Pretense
selected which specifics to disdain,
which details to authenticate,
and when it came back, proud,
loud yellow monotony, the missing
also mattered, so I could not
pretend it was wise to know I
should have known it would return,
as if the shadow was somehow unreal.

It was good. Missing the thing
that was good was also good. Later,
I would miss it again, and love
that I hadn't learned my lesson.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Commuters Misusing the Word Monsoon

Today must be another day, because
the rain has come again. The backlogged
drizzle's brunt drops like a ready-made bog,
a thorough front of wet too long paused
by a city's wish to give us each day
our daily business. A pitter of plops
drumming up a thunder, drips become clops,
droplets happy to stampede: "bombs away"
the tiny shells exclaim as they explode
their payload of moist and chill. Their duty
fulfilled, little splatters, useless beauty
glistens on street and sign alike. One road
dreams of diving under all the driving,
sleeping undersea. The cars keep striving.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Taking the Drum Apart

She tells me what kind of quiet she wants.

The sounds are to divide like the sea,
so she can walk upon that wet desert
with her own shoeless feet, grip
the silt with toes tired of climbing's
leftovers, she wants to walk the secret
way down to the womb the great mother
keeps the angry giants unborn in.

She whispers to me, which silence she'd like.

The sounds are to parade past her,
the brayers bleating on her left hand,
the fluffy, silent counters rustling
into the cloudbank on her right.
There she'll shear the silent fleece,
spin it into untold yarns and knit
a cloak proof against a gate of flame.

She informs me which reticence would be better.

The sounds are to lay down. The light
has made them obsolete, the letters
have learned tone, color, even inflection.
Better not to be hunted or made slaves,
the sounds should die. Music she will
no longer need. The pictures and their
thousand words will keep her happy.

She asks for silence. I unwrap it for her
and take the paper away when I go.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Upon Rising

The sun blues the black,
a distant brush of greatness
draws the slumping color
back from the window,
across the yard, the county,
the countryside.

The glass grasps
the new royal tinge,
like a palette proud
to mix the right hue,
and quick as a tree trunk's
squeaky mimicry of a bird,
the wind shakes awake
forms, makes depth
necessarily true,
and the window becomes
only a doorway.
Imagery rushes in,
as pushy as a free offer.

Now the blue is removed,
so high and abstract
it's childishly bright.

The sun vaults the hedge,
the window becomes the bearer
of white, wooden crosses,
stalwart angles fathering
stark distortions upon
the carpet, the couch,
the coffee table's
collection of humble.
The parallelograms promise
order survives even
alterations of form.
The angles keep proportion,
if not identity.
Their originals stand
trapped, jealous of
their children's changing.

Somehow, mere vapor
crowds together enough clout
to cloud out the sun.
The glow of radiation droops
past the sharp of shadow,
cut away like a scene
soon to be contradicted
next episode. The greyed
reflectors keep the house
like retirees playing
life like it's a hobby.
The idea of rain
rings itself in.

Soon sound takes over
the depth of field,
the scent of wet the middle
and the foreground
is only variations
on cold and moist.
The morning has told
a story, but noon
has other business
to attend to.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Her mouth is too small.
Secret swallowing is beyond
her depth, one sword
would puncture her justification,
empty her down to the grounds,
the lady of her lake
left to flop around alone,
suffocating on the bottom with
a wisdom as old as gills.

Her lips are a bottleneck.
She's all pucker and no breath,
she can't stop kissing
every air that saunters by.
The gift the wings
were tasked to bring
as always, asks for awe.
She cannot open wide
enough to pronounce it.
The trumpet moves on.

Her teeth are too wide for the gap,
where the red-tinged fringe
lumps up its blush.
The flaps cushion the brash,
bullhorn words horning out,
thorns being born from a bud,
egg-fat secrets
tearing through a slit
full of sharp,
barbs meant to scrape the meat
from anything escaping,
letting out only bones as
thin as the shells
she sucked off her progeny
so her saliva could slick
the fledgling wings
down her gullet
to feather her proper

Her mouth is too small.
Behind that red buttonhole
her mind coils up like a hair
grown inside a greasy pore.

Her mouth holds her back.
When she was young,
someone told her
wisdom was silent.
Her mouth is now a stone,
proud of the strength
it takes not to pretend
it is a mouth.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Colder than a Breadbox

A brittle thing for slicing,
water so cold its lost its wet.

She's making us ice sandwiches,
no cream, no cucumber,
no peanut butter or chicken.
From a loaf of frozen bubbles,
unpoppable foam letting the crust
do the crackling, she unhinges
one slab to start. Soon her sawing
sees a profit, a pile of playing-card
thin mock-ups of meat and cheese,
chips as white and round as provolone,
strips as oblong and rough-edged
as pastrami. She tops them
with mismatched slivers,
prickly crunchers fluffing
their crisp into a clear-cut

promise. That last dash
of sea-water sauce does it,
she licks the salt on her finger
and draws a letter
in the frost pocking that top
slice. This one, she says, is yours.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Two Drinks

Water like a lover's finger,
smooth, cheek-hooking curve,
unfurling swirl drowning her tongue,
like a feeling should, she says.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Him cuts the roses so they can grow.
Him's a solar hero, he makes things
the same as the day, bright and doomed
to die in praise of an illusion.
Him wants the flowers to win
the same hill, the men to learn
the same lesson, the world to turn
under him, building a tower
aimed at the same and only noon
the math can prove is true,
and worth repeating, the answer,
again and again and again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


the vacuum harbors
an unnatural anchor

the spinning dust
loves the center

it draws in the dark

another turning
becomes the ground

another motion
makes everything

as still as it is

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Actual Size

I am not precious or small
my measure is the height of immense
any object of more dimension
is as much a tale as it is tall

Monday, January 11, 2010

Untitled Nobility

her soul is a pinhole camera
threading itself through a camel's intestine

to make a map for posterity

old double-humpy swallowed Peter's key
out of spite and runs laps around the gates

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I, Object

I should work,
said the machine.

I was built, so
I should work.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Becoming Important

Slow boiled down to proper sloth,
a greasy tincture strained for it's slippery,
rolled downslope to splash and compact,
the quick descenders splattering
into their fractions, colluding,
pressing together in hopes of forever
nesting in the center they've distilled.