Thursday, January 31, 2013

the delicious irony of earnestness

Whole plum glistening black
flesh taut and ribald
daring that first bite,
mocking the honest knife,
bare blade aching
to share your secrets with the sky.

Teeth savage you open,
your skin whets the very edge of sharp,
you burst like summer rain
your essence trickling
over some greedy tongue,
down some stolid chin.

Yet it is the pantomime
not the definition
you desire of devour,
that power to call appetite
with your flawless core,
your radiant and irresistible command.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

pursuit

Those first threads of dawn
as tender and brittle as
the glassy bones of trout
feather the litter of eaves and trees,
speaks in that first tender tongue
pressed like water warming
to the restless explorations of the mouth.
It is too early for beginnings,
only the stirrings of birds and
the exchange of lights and fumes
cars are always recklessly engaged in.
Beneath the chill sky and the laundered stars
it is this call to colors
the lashing of lives like flags
while blossoms explode and
silence sizzles, oil on a skillet,
the collaboration of coffee and
that fragile shimmer,
the waking face of this world
you love to the roots,
a notion that your name has meaning
before the real cold settles and
the day is another parcel,
currency awaiting wasting.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

translation

My heart is an arrow loosed
across the bleeding stern of history,
a suspension of deeds and days,
egg and oil livid,
a temporary flavor
aimed to amalgamate
yesterday and tomorrow,
stitching tight the corridors
the labyrinth of the color spectrum
makes of elemental resonant states.
A flower falls, too ill to beckon
bird, bat, or bee.
So beauty is lost,
conjecture of false pheromones and
ultraviolet advertisement.
Faith that the alchemy of
blood and breath
are always unbound from the arcane
texts and the cuneiform laws,
alive even now
within that froth of neurons and
clotted capillaries, the message transmitted
lingering between your tongue and tooth,
the residual wisdom of
some splendid kiss.

Monday, January 28, 2013

fairy tale

The moonless night drawls on
 long after the last sweepings
 the unseen owl makes of treetops
 have drowned in the emptying
 reaches of the blind and icy wind.
 I speak in blunt whispers to
 the mirror of window glass,
 my gray breath clasping at your name.

 It is an age old story,
 its big feet trample the gardens
 that stretch between home and
 forest, between the scent
 wet wood leaves a fire and
 the warm pause of water
 trickling down your belly.
 This tale wanders between
 the dark insistence that stitches
 constellations out of the stellar
 dot-to-dot and
 the salty triumph of that first summer’s kiss:
 the metronome of reach and grasp.

 Wide awake, the new dawn
 crawls bitter like chocolate
 before my circled eyes.
 A single crow chokes on
 the remnants of the night
 birthed in its hollow throat,
 singing like a knife.
 My words spider like dead maps,
 full of mermaids and monsters, and
 you are a nation out of myth
 now sunken, blue beneath the sea.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

neglect

First I never noticed
the cracks in the wall--
the coffee stained furniture,
the holes in my clothes.
I waited instead
listening for the ring of your keys,
watching for your leather jacket,
waiting to smell your hair.
Emptiness never startled me--
I was full of it in the ache
you chose for a halo
the way a street is full of rain.

Then something happened--
maybe I drew a circle,
maybe a shadow got stuck
in the blinds-- and a bird,
swift and dark and frightened
by glass and walls, escaped.
Waiting became the taste of my tongue and
the corners blind with dust.
My flesh could not contain
all these sharp animals
the way a bulb
can not contain the light.

Now I see the wounds
that clutter our closets.
I smell the smoke
that floods this house.
These walls mark past
shadows and spiders,
clinging to the whispered
seasons of warmth and dark.
I am pierced by the wandering of
abundance and absence,
as if the new calendar has given up
the moon, and you are a language
lost to history.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

the categorical

It is that rough shell of his eternal absence
that you press between your palms
breathing out remnants of your daily grace.
Candle smoke, candle light, what small flame
has not been readily extinguished or
consumed in its entirety, passions
dashed in cold ceramic clarity,
smoke curling, ashes dancing,
hands making mirrors of each intention of the other,
held in reverent feverish belief.
The questions do not ebb as
all the inverse reasons feed you,
the silence, the brickwork solace
that chapel you can not understand.
Instead your hands enfold the mystery
that crowds the flickering light,
they honor the dissolution of everything
ever witnessed as right or true.
We end up ashes, wind up
rotting into these lapsed translations--
matter begetting other material concerns,
the dust we must all become.
We burn, regardless of the reason--
our least actions ought to acknowledge
this fire that assumes so much.
These empty hours, this hallowed doubt.

Friday, January 25, 2013

proximity

We forget how much distance
makes up our parlance,
these mannered habits of spit-shined
speech we would spend to measure
these darker stars, the forgotten
cross of some “T,” the unseen line
that makes shapes of so much
spilled salt and dull luster.
Al the crowds around us
seem to boom and sing, towering
above the smothered tree-line and
those distant fleeing hills,
though once amongst that forest
giants steal the sun,
while weaving through those mountains
will waste most of a long-stemmed day.
How are we to know what burns
the brightest when everything ends
measured in the millions?
Once perspective is forced upon us
we always suspect there is a further
purpose just astride the horizon,
the transient magnitudes
waiting to be unveiled,
like ideal forms huddled in the ether,
like those reasons why we know
we must be loved.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

over the rainbow

All the colors seem colder,
boiled down to a stammer--
that tin-pan alley purity
feeling so hackneyed pressed
against such bitter teeth.
Still, because singing is your best
bet left, you might as well sing.
Never mind how far you have fallen
out of rhythm, so far
that each step trips before
all the trippings have rung.
So far that every breath is forgotten
the very moment of breathing,
that each heartbeat is beaten
even before it begins.
This morning, so vivid and blue
it bends the green all a-glow,
burns brightest in that memory
you will never meet.
Where the singing colors
the sun like candy, and
every bird on wing is blue.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

heartache

The ice cracks in the otherwise empty glass
waking you from daylight reverie,
startled by the way air speaks to water.
The melting seems like sinking and
you find some small lesson there.
Staring at the clock or the phone
you feel the moment break over
the skull of expectation, what is not
suddenly harder and heavier than
anything that is. This ache,
that settles like snow before winter,
that settles like air over ice,
bears the full weight of the arrhythmic
beating of blood stained wings,
the heart bludgeoning its own native tongue.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

exposure

Out from the vault of secrets,
the gaffed deck and
the table rigged with mirrors
that true face rises, shamefully plain--
bone and twitch and light
all the magic of the mask.
This transmission, this motion
between truth and story,
between thought and fact,
the haphazard map drawn
discovering the heart of art
lives like a book that passes
through many negligent hands,
dog-eared and cluttered,
margins full of invective and
phone numbers, doodles
made of stains and valentines.
A reflection of a reflection,
the ghost of twice exposed film,
the truth of that ache in your heart
the whole cloth of breathless beauty--
a gimmick so deft you feel
the separate conversations alight
between sun, shape, and shadow.

Monday, January 21, 2013

hateful

The devilish thing
I neither said or meant
crept up again behind
my crazy eyes and
many kindnesses.
That I do not say
ever that thing I think
is one of the thousand poisons
I sprinkle upon every
tender of affection and
mix into each sublime prayer.
I make no sense and
mend happiness with sword strokes.
This isn't working you say
and I laugh again.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

glass half full

I thought I was done with drinking
though the glass still has farther to go.
The tree bending with the wind,
the sun still harboring the work of ants.
Our labors are eventually all that is left
once we get to leaving. I can only stay still
so long, then everything has to have a say.
The paving stones, the broken bricks,
the sway and skip of so much green
lost in the creep of dusk.
Steel and ceramics, so many small birds
feeding on something scattered in the street.
This is the life, daylight so slow,
sleep so fleeting. This is the life--
so much lost still left to lose.
Cracks in the pavement skipped,
honoring the lay of the rhyme.
Everything over, and still so much
waiting to hate and favor.
Another portion yet lit so suspiciously with-in.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

cactus flower

Eyes closed I don't know
that you are sleeping.
Eyes opened I don't know
that you can see.
To begin anew too much like wishing,
to end at last too much like escape.
Over night the cactus blooms,
flaring pink and yellow
straight from the mystery of dreaming.
Change is constant

from the rising of the day
to the chilling of the flesh--
that insistent fever
bound inevitably to break.
The rising tide where I close
your eyes, the dream and the toil
give way to ash and polished stone.
The stars we only know
seem from long ago,
the night now lost
these blinding, writhing streets.

These last breaths rise,
a polity of chitinous angels
reclaiming the flesh as birthright--
so fierce and slow the motions
concealed beneath the earth.
The light passes, a problem of
sudden geometry. The rough
world averaging out curved smooth,
so hard to cling to when certainty
slips despite the dawn,
there is the silence of the answer.

Friday, January 18, 2013

memoir

How could the moon know
where to find me
after all these miles,
all these years far away?
How could it follow my trail,
when I back tracked so often,
when my story changed
like those address labels,
all those notices trying
to get what I owe?
Intentions and motives,
goals and loves and plans,
all the mayhem lived out
drizzled over precious days.
How could it know
I would stand so still
on a night so cold?
That I would stop lying
just long enough so
my words could catch up
with the name that’s left.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

promiscuity

How could I not love
this silence, thick as marble
pressing down the green weeds and
downy thistles, heavy in the air
like bees nuzzling the wisteria,
summer enslabbing us,
stifling in our premature grave?
How could this quiet not come
open-armed, a last embrace
spread like a dream of flight
above the drowned mirror
the lake plays for the moon,
the work of roots and springs
seething in the awful dark?
I am like the seasons,
meandering in indulgent repetition,
clicking my heels and tapping
my cane against the curb.
Soundless, I slip and fall,
all my clawing just another embrace,
my least failing blessed as love.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

albedo

I would want to disappear--
the space between ravens in the snow
when the ravens scatter into the sky.
Diffuse and clean I would weigh
down the green pine and blue spruce,
crystallize and trickle
over carcass and deadfall, gone
like a season lost to childhood.

My passage would be lit
by scant collisions, faint impressions
left by heat and force,
particles changing from flowing
wave to vague distinction
vibrating a particular band,
the harmonics of color compressed
within the history of my meetings.

They would feign interest
in how I spun and paused,
remitting only the mystery,
scant contact lingering inside
their slick and livid eyes,
knowing only how little is known.
Everyone mostly the other--
brightest in its absence, alive
like light lost climbing towards heaven.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

the mystery of the human heart (side B)

Find the blue cup of coffee
still steaming on the table,
find the light fixture
clotted with dead insects,
find a tear in the map of the moon--
the human heart remains
a well known mystery.
It says so in books; I could show you.

The first time I saw you
I was watching a bird through the window.
You scared that bird,
though probably not on purpose--
I saw you and thought
“She isn’t all that scary.”
No one knows anyone
here on the island of strangers.

I would miss kissing you more
if you would take that the cigarette out of your mouth,
I would stop biting so much
if you would unlock these handcuffs.
Together we were bound to lose our way,
the mystery made by starting with the end,
then working backwards, our story
so familiar you think you already read it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

the invention of time

Staring at the crossword’s blank boxes,
forehead cooled against the train window
while black bordered droplets
trail a little farther into the recent past.
Rice fields flecked with egrets,
the tensile strength of memory
dragging that press of self
down the narrow corridor,
the clatter of the tracks, the buckled
cabins rolling with such certainty.
Closing eyes and the words won’t come,
a couple arguing just out of earshot,
voices trailing like tears in a dark room,
falling stars burning scars over the horizon.
This noise, this glass-- reminders
the world is not made from metaphor.
Events suspended between
some things that happened and
the words that will bind them to this life.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

amputee

Cold toes wake me from abysmal sleep,
your absence an infinite sharpness haunting
the cluttered hallways of my bones and blood.
I walk to the bathroom barefoot,
the shallow spill of half a moon
threading my pendular steps together,
treading in the rhythms of your ghost.

Your essence sticks to coffee steam
the way footsteps stick to footprints
full of falling rain, your place
held then devoured, passing swiftly,
sand sifting after sand, a path
erased in creation, a map
made entirely of burnt history.

Cold nights when once you clung to me
now lay naked in plain electric light,
measuring my body and the icy air against
the still squalor of my quiet bed.
Gone so long, how can you be here,
a toothache buried in my heart?
How far can a shadow reach,
cast by a single flame?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

the anthropic principle

The silent nightly flow of glass,
clothes scented of smoke and coffee,
the jingling damning weight of needless keys,
spitting blood into the basin,
cheeks pierced while chewing gum.
Fixtures coated with a patina of incidence,
lamplight and running water and creases
feet scuffed into the green carpet,
boot-prints leading away into the dark.
This thrift of elements amounts to such bounty,
flecks of dust buffeted by the noisy sun.
The press of emptiness brushing my flesh,
walking down the long hallway
fingers dangling, drifting over the floor.
This face meant for mirrors--
the egg thus the chicken,
the roof therefore the rain.
Stepping kindling dry beneath a cover of clouds,
the self a banquet of greasy declaratives,
this heady alchemy, this confluence of scars.
Looking to the sky to see what light falls,
wondering what stillness can carry such an ocean,
how a river could snuff out the stars.

Friday, January 11, 2013

theology

Science is persuasive
we leave evidence everywhere
flakes and follicles,
clouds of dust and mites and
pheromones, our vast
palette sprawled out,
comet’s tail sparkling,
a plume of stink and grease and hair.
This moveable feast,
a minstrel show,
a slide smeared with something
so good you just have to
view it up close.
Down here, from these fumes and
spoors so bountiful
we are truthfully each a plurality,
teeming pungent brew
slick with bile and bacter
that outweigh us
by the tenfold, we wonder
that god scarcely listens,
the voice of our drizzlings
hissing vapor trails
louder than the tender bones
left our exquisite souls
might sing once
all the clever reckoning
leaves this self
a sailboat adrift upon
a black and thankless sea.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

secession

I wish it were a war for oil,
a war of things rather than one of dreams.
Ideas that can not be captured,
a flag’s pattern rather than the flag,
the geography of heaven and
freedom’s sticky price. This war of prayers,
these china pattern reasons,
fine blue tautologies that never
stop or start, ringed like ancient trees,
rifled like the embarrassingly simple barrel
that is sighted sniper sure
upon your quickly beaten heart.
I am at a loss for conflict,
this sleepy homeless house
smudged with the grease of dreaming
bad boys, their lack of grasp
the oil of hand prints left
on the ceiling, the horror joke
“Look Ma: no hands!” lurking
unseen in this timeline of all collisions.
Irony is words wearing out their welcome,
clinging again and again
to the molten smoldering wreck,
to the near black fan of dying blood
like a child pointing an asking finger,
like the exclamation of any standard.
I want to leave behind this prophecy,
I want to leave these wars unwon.
Let me walk into some midnight diner
only to say briefly just what I want,
linger at the counter with my eggs
and toast and coffee, silent
while the old men flirt with their favored
waitress, any plausible excuse
to be huddled together, so far from first principles,
war stories told around a campfire,
excluded from ordinary time,
exhaled like respite from causals.
Like bible begats spat
between the places where
stories have lessons to learn.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

stupid stupid moon

That dawdling moon--
that grisly shoe, that gravy boat--
so worthless, stuck there in the trees,
so poignant, a cradle carved from bone.
Just who does it think it is
that we should walk on eggshells
because it is suspended in fog?
The stupid moon drawls on and on
while we have jobs and
stop at traffic lights and
sometimes are killed due to our shoes or phones.
Who is it to watch our lovers,
who is it to make coyotes go crazy,
who is it to rhyme so much with spoon and June?
The whole deal frustrates--
that spinning slab, that cracked sphere--
so haughty, muzzling the stars,
so pale, an almond bit and skinned.
We strive and fail and die
lonesome and ignored
in these droves and crowds
while the stupid moon just hovers above
us and everyone looks.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

crow's song

I look forward, towards the falling music,
towards the song that breaks
the blue from the morning, towards
the sound that chases the bright
out of the window glass. Thieves’ throats open--
with black wings they sing like
the laughter of a ghost ship’s crew and
that barbed tune steals that small
prize: the fool’s promise that everything is fine.

We reap the convenient, white if it is snow,
red if it is too much sun. We hold fortunes
of seizure, stun and stroke. All of our jokes
wander into town without home or
remembered name. They leave us without home or
the thanks of laughter. We kiss murder
then blubber and drool spare our lives.
Everything is outside. The music crashes in,

throwing bolts through the church glass of another
blessed dawn and a sound opens and shreds
our warmth. The crow sings and the sworn oaths
shrivel, bunching up in clumps of cooling words.
The crow sings and laws drop cold Latin dead.
The crow sings and we know suddenly we are
enemies, naked in love and regret. I look forward
to landing when the icarus dreams land me
face first in a shock of birth and bed.
The crow sings, cleaning our bones.

Monday, January 7, 2013

crow

Stealth and the need to breathe unscavanged
air abound as the whole world is split
by black wires and the lightningstrike bare branches of trees.
A wealth of color lights below in the starestark
early hours, the wind an unwinding within
the measured strokes of wings. This and the dead are

each day. Find vanity in the things the sun loves,
find life where ever the living are careless. Whether
there are tombstones, you remember them as
tracing slivers and gleam, as rawbone and steam:
not a glimmer of approval, not a kiss of malice.
Who wants to know this bit of horizon as the sky

begins to glow at dawn? Who wants to know the price
of red and orange and questions left to answer?
There are no records kept of anything important,
all stored uncaring in the myths of a thousand
awkward motions, a thousand careless sounds. Only soul
survives, high in periphery, feathers and harsh song:
alive in silhouette, history lingers.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

chimera obscura

We are a hard language made
whole by the drift of definition,
balanced thing and word after
thing and word broken,
feathered words spreading meaning
leaving objects solid, alone.

The child winds up piecework--
the mother’s eyes, the father’s nose,
grandmother’s hands,  grandfather’s
easy way with bird and beast.
We see the stitchwork cleaving
the seams of the world and so
cannot help but pull at each loose thread.

Nothing remains itself too long
now that the symmetry between
name and named has faded,
each word a nomad sleeping upon the sand,
each item a rest stop for storied legions
leaving empty tracks to the wind.

Speak once, and the nested doll
opens, broken into tales woven:
tears to rain to piss to rivers
flowing like a fog, easing like
the dusk down upon a beloved horizon.
We stare hard into the eyes of our souls
seeing swarming words.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

faith

Knowing no more of music than what you hear
you see three crows fly across four
power lines and think: Music!
And that is seeing. And that is love.

Maybe it has been easy, the greasy spoon
truck stop perpetuity of the highway,
change on the counter, a quick phone call
home. Maybe it has always been about retreads
and tarmac, neon writing on the windshield,
halogen street lights, the hollow mirror
of cold and breath. Expect the sky
to darken she says, staring ahead,
blank-faced, wide-eyed to the road.

Smoke fills the view, fills the car.
A gasket has blown, oil is everywhere
under the hood, lacquer black emission
controls burnt into artifacts. the manifold
smoking, that sick familiar smell
is home, a hole behind memory:
mystery is mechanical, a koan
hood-popped as traffic passes.

In the morning, windows open, blue,
she says Always expect the worst.
You hear motel sounds, doors slamming,
dishes and constant laughter. And that is
music. You hear the deep rattle cough
of the air conditioning kicking on.
She is near. There are sounds and steam
behind the bathroom door. That is love,

that music, the ghost that heels close,
cleaves with your shadow, lives in periphery
with sight and mirror. More and more
you sense its presence in things
you counted dead. The sounds
from the juke box, that soundless hiss
just before the stylus finds sound:
you sit and she smokes, talking
as you imagine grooves in black vinyl
traveling in circles, moving
towards your name. That music,

that dark flight carries in echoes
image, relentless. She says Innocence
is a close call at home plate, luck
is a sailor’s kiss, and you feel fever
break-- it is something like the smell
of winter, like the confusion of lick
and linger-- suddenly it is language
in a foreign land and you see the ghosts
of the ones you never buried
in the still mirror, standing sad-eyed,
alone. The sky darkens, a blue-black.

It is deeper than you’ve ever known.
It is could and the stars are strange
and you know you will never again wish
to sing in a voice so pure and clear.
You know why angels fall and land
unconscious, forgetting what it means to fly.

Friday, January 4, 2013

extinguish

Bright eyes and heavy lids--
this feeling gives way with
the measure of a single blink,
that long stare so full--
longing and meaning and
unfettered animal bliss--
erased by a single instance.
Passion always tugs at beginnings,
polar attunements and the realigning
that makes such a mess of crossing stars.
Breath and fire entwined
those Escher tensions that impose
these sedentary limitations--
one thing then the other,
extinction imbued with noted choice.
Human limits seem the only things
untouched by exaggeration.
The flame embraced as eternity
snuffed without a thought.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

anhedonia

This retinue of finches
sating hunger from the sickened oak
move like the knowing of bitter endings
the self makes plain, turning
away from the mottled blossoming
spread through the lone acacia limbs,
lingering instead upon the hole in the sky
made by the seeping absence of clouds.
So eyes sweep never settling upon
flesh and shine and
the crowd of atmosphere pressing
down each fold of bright and green.
Appetite pools, then dries,
the self flitting from limb to limb,
faceless without a want to fill,
shapeless in this abundance of empty touch,
unknown and unseen in
the words and the weeds.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happiness

Tracing the crack in the  cold window
my fingers momentarily make a hand.
The hand weaves between
head and heart, touching autumn glass,
making me whole, a human being
wrapped in the litter and echo
the world wears when receiving us.

So the shadow is cast out of the house,
my shoulders stretching deep across
the wide yard riddled
with spasms of rain. Sense and self
clatter like guttered cans, gathered
only by my absent mechanical grasping.

The crack feathers the window,
slender with that shape of reach--
vein and branch and root stretch--
revealing no secrets to nested fingers.
I am happy even when happiness is absent,
touching the whispered shape of nothing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

loss

 Gone is the ghost stuck in the blinds,
 gone are the hands that knew the song,
 gone is the hungry tumble
 bright and screeching birds
 made of this muttering gutter
 frightened by the feet
 lost so far from the green trail.
 There is a black sinking
 that rises from this heart
 choked on distance and letters
 and feathers never worn on wings,
 gray skinned and smiling
 daggers and bayonets at
 the horizon glutted, force fed
 the unsettling need of the sun.
 The ghost is gone, wandering
 the glazed eyes and sore throats
 lost in the maze of songs and voices--
 the moment where all wonder is emptied,
 kissed blue murder dead.