those starburst barges glowing in the dusk,
but I can't read old Rembrandt,
his guarded eyes are jewels, like black men.
Even the loaned, marble busts
of kings and soldiers fail to arrest you.
It's nearly closing time. The elderly linger,
rapt. Who has looked at either of you lately
with such tenderness?...Read more
You inhabit a district delineated for wobble-headed men and blue-haired
women. Outside your window snow shimmers; a suet feeder hangs from a birch
waiting for a woodpecker; your darkened room's a liquid compass whose needle
you ride in your dreams as in your wakeful hours. No word intrudes.
We're so far from our ...Read more
I loved the things that were ours-pink gloves,
hankies with a pastoral scene in one corner.
There was a lot we were not allowed to do,
but what we were allowed to do was ours,
dolls you carry by the leg, and dolls'
clothes you would put on or take off-
someone who was yours, who did not
have the rights ...Read more
Your postcard said, Nothing like a little disaster to sort things out.
Blueprints, sketches, such perfect houses in the photograph on the front,
all the lines true and in harmony. I took it with me like a paper charm,
searching for home, hit the road, looking for the exact spot
of my birthright, down the rustling ...Read more
O Thou whose face hath felt the Winter's wind,
Whose eye has seen the snow-clouds hung in mist,
And the black elm tops 'mong the freezing stars,
To thee the spring will be a harvest-time.
O thou, whose only book has been the light
Of supreme darkness which thou feddest on
Night after night when Phobus was away...Read more
It sits between the Dollar General
and Rescue Alley, begging
for change, white sign
with a Jack Rabbit dressed
like a '40s gangster. Smug grin,
he leans against a lamppost,
his cane no more relevant
than the red suspenders
clamped to his slacks.
In the parking lot sits a trailer,
where ...Read more
The world, how greenesses
pop up. I'd forgotten. To be
found millions of years later,
mountains of bones ground down.
The tiniest with the largest.
You rise to the top
from the Great Rift
to meet me again.
About this poem
"'The world, how' is an excerpt from a book...Read more
for Jerry Ward, Jr.
Shallow curve of the land
between master and owned
I have dismissed you until I come
upon kin Since time my jaws
have collected accusations
from memory No logic
grinding my teeth I have not
been sold The telling of the coppers
between fingers (...Read more
My child is my mother.
There is a perpetual tug of war
between the child in my mother
and the mother in my child.
My spouse is not father to my child.
The man who is lover to his mother-
he too is childless, having been
son to his grandfather, but not brother
to his mother, or son.
The self-...Read more
Excuse me, lover. I'm busy foretelling
and protesting your end. Whether I hunt,
gather, barter, or sell, what I worry over
is the order: live oaks, shorelines,
wide-eyed and flammable
creature I adore. By day, I admit
no shadow as backup: crow, please keep
your clever forensics. What would ...Read more
I was not; now I am-a few days hence
I shall not be; I fain would look before
And after, but can neither do; some Power
Or lack of power says "no" to all I would.
I stand upon a wide and sunless plain,
Nor chart nor steel to guide my steps aright.
Whene'er, o'ercoming fear, I dare to move,
I grope ...Read more
Not wholly this or that,
Of alien bloods am I,
A product of the interplay
Of traveled hearts.
Estranged, yet not estranged, I stand
From my estate
I view earth's frail dilemma;
Scion of fused strength am I,
Nor this nor that
I'm always running ahead of my life,
The way when we walk you are always
Three, fifteen, forty steps behind
Taking a picture, or inspecting
A bottlebrush tree, a cornice, the sea
As it breaks white on the striated rock,
As though I can't dare look, and
I'm always running away from myself <...Read more
A chilly light pervades the empty room
bringing neither its current nor former inhabitant peace.
Rather, its immaterial lingering infests
both the air inside and what we see of the grass
outside-brittle, brown, as if it wanted to avoid the sun.
Inside, the visitor must be respectful
and polite, evasive without...Read more
I found it on your belly, and caught it
with two fingers. I kept the bird
on a little perch behind my ear.
I plucked its feathers, stuffed them
against my jaw like chewing tobacco,
and spit the black threads
into a styrofoam cup. One night
the bird died. Crushed beak, split
bone-we ...Read more
There are no stars tonight
But those of memory.
Yet how much room for memory there is
In the loose girdle of soft rain.
There is even room enough
For the letters of my mother's mother,
That have been pressed so long
Into a corner of the roof
That they are brown and soft,
My mother wouldn't stand up
to wave. My father made certain
the door locked behind me.
But when I went for your door
you came too. Your mouth
made a flute of my arm,
its music a glass on the past.
My love, my love, went its song.
Now there is no need to leave.
Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes
To pace the ground, if path be there or none,
While a fair region round the traveller lies
Which he forbears again to look upon;
Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene,
The work of Fancy, or some happy tone
Of meditation, slipping in between
The beauty coming and ...Read more
Some candle clear burns somewhere I come by.
I muse at how its being puts blissful back
With yellowy moisture mild night's blear-all black,
Or to-fro tender trambeams truckle at the eye.
By that window what task what fingers ply,
I plod wondering, a-wanting, just for lack
Of answer the eagerer a-wanting Jessy ...Read more
Untying ropes from flagpoles.
Motionless, reluctant, unchanged
even by the stillness of flags
in a century of ordinary flags. How
I love to ride with my brother
even if below our joy persists
a collective hush and something
like Lake Michigan in which we know