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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gallery for a Picture Frame

Querulous enough, I imagine,
To rate well in a certain region,
She pressed the base of her fingers
Along the lines of her cheekbones.

Fashioned isangelous in fury.
Blatant: peroxided and blurry,
Wearing a sword shimmering success,
Fangs silvered, rueful eyes gold-plated.

Everyone has seen her picture.
Its sensuous slouch and its slither
Exudes from inside its plain wood frame,
Evolves its envelopement of it,

Supercedes the gallery at large,
Lives inside its logical mirage.
No one looks, but if someone did,
He'd see her identical sisters

Impeccable replicas arrayed
Back in a time-capsule parade,
Displayed quite tastefully for the days,
With snakes and birds flying from their lips.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Visitors' Awe

Sad beautiful, they sang, Sad beautiful.
A child may die in this universe.
All weeping, we were all so dutiful,
Like a species of delicate bird.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

To Receive

Give me
A trash can altar
Where I can throw down all my luxuries
Before the imperfect goddess
Of this dubious sort of simplicity.
Give me
The beautiful ugliness
That infects a face too old
For the short amount of years
It's been left out in the cold.
Give me
Someone to worship
More highly than happiness;
I would fall down before
His feet in tearful thankfulness.
Give me
Trouble in all my waking
Hours and dreams in sleeping,
A heart grown used to breaking,
And hope for always keeping.

Brother Nicholas,
They call you saint now.
I would ask your help
If the times would allow;
If I could travel back.
Brother, Saint,
If I believed in earnest
And hung my socks out
To dry by the furnace,
Could you break in,
Santa,
When you heard me pray
My confessions of sins
And requests for wisdom,
For strength and for love,
Oh Santa,
Could you easily give some?
Would it suddenly appear,
Poured into my stocking,
Or a whisper in my ear?

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Drunk Novelist

Anything I had meant to the world,
Feels like it is lost forever.
I ponder,
Is my problem that I am too alive?
I wonder,
That all around me
Has gone ahead merrily
To its death, eternally unconsecrated,
Unfeeling.
Anything I did to speed my own
Precious demise
I did for need to not be alone
And breathing air
Cloyingly fresh from lack of contact
With human skin cells
Is too much to endure, even on the
Mountainside.

The spirit in the corpse glides through the earth
To and fro.
I want to succumb to its serpent teeth
I gave my neck to its famished tongue.
But it kissed my scar and told me
I was hungrier than it could withstand
Or understand;
And while it was a dead body
Who lapped up others' souls to survive,
I was a living body.
With no soul.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Story of Begging Forgiveness

Raindrops correcting my face,
Tapping at my eyes, patient,
Unconcerned with waste,
Stroking my neck from chin
To breastbone when I raise my head.

Sun rays breaking apart clouds,
Radiantly breathtaking,
Burning away sounds
That had formed my bass line,
Stepping with my stumbling steps.

Released from reality,
I wove together threads of
A new piety
Combining naturally
Snake and tightrope walker
With leaves I collected roving.

Seldom did I need to turn
And reflect on what I left;
The rain had taught me
This new way to stand still
And cleanly in the river's run.

Rampantly reading between
All the lines I drew for
Your supposed pleasure,
Those days I trampled you,
Those days I walked oblivious.

Teardrops standing before me
On your eyelashes and cheeks,
Burn away my dreams,
Slap me awake brutally.
Radiantly suffocating,

Raining on me with cold truth,
Realization shivers my
Body to its soul.
I was indifferent
Until now, and I finally

Beg
For
Your
Forgiveness

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ledges

Sleeping on the edge of
Dreaming.

I don't know why it happens:
I sleep on the edge of my mattress.
I don't know why I'm leaving room.
If it were for someone else, then whom?
There is only me.

Slipping off the edge of
Sleeping.

I don't see when it happens:
I fall from the edge of blackness.
I slip into dreams of falling.
I'm unclothed by something's calling.
Here I find my joy.

Sinking in the ether of
Dreaming.

I don't know left from right here,
And up from down will never matter.
I am in a state of dream now.
Time is a cloud, but cars laugh so.
Serotonin is a drug.

Waking on the edge of
Recalling.

I don't whisper any truths;
I never tell secrets to my pillow.
Every cell defaults to black.
Now I can't call those images back.
The dream remains a dream.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Nemophila

Misplaced, a frail light appeared on his hair.
Spontaneous, this visual blessing, this favor,
So alien to this place, so lost and anxious
Though careless for familiarity;
It was secure -- in truth, no less than smug...
And that much due to its nature and self.

So soft to mortal touch, the light appeared,
More velvet-delicate than chocolate cake,
More soft to touch than bubbles lingering, 
Lazing on the surface of luscious cream.
A hand cannot reach out to such a thing,
Act as if it were an easy feat to stroke it
And lest it perish more quickly than fated,
I can only refrain my fingers and breaths,
Hold them sweetly, loosely against my chest,
Neither impact his halo too hard with 
Glance of guileless need (an adder's weapon,
And no friend to charitable regard). 

Yet will it break under such shallow stress
As detailed consideration affords?
A risk, a chance, I neglect to fear to take.
This, I think, this apparition of light --
Light on his hair, on his brow, by his nape--
Is early, I think; and for comparison,
Imagine a spring flower shuddering,
Struggling to straighten its infant spine,
Weeping in the apex of winter's flaunt,
Casting despair at a galing sky's gray
Wailing feebly to a pitiless cold,
Last dying crushed by circumstances alone.

Too early, too early-- or, perhaps, too late.
In corresponding spontaneity,
Why does a flower in winter's dark day
Bloom before spring, or long after last spring?
This halo, weary and maladjusted,
Apparition feigning it is not flustered,
Why now? is all I ask to be answered.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dancer, Like A Feather

He floats like a feather on air.
She can see him moving --
But she can't see how he dare
Twist and spin like a record grooving.

She cups her fingers free and loose
Around her chin and mouth
And imagines a Canada goose
Returning from further South,

Soaring over her head,
Her hair and ears and brain.
Or else she imagines instead
That her love can make it rain.

But now her attention's arrested;
He has taken custody.
They have yet to be tested,
But they know that nothing is free.

The stop button has turned back
The advance of the music's flow;
The heart began to crack
Inside the stereo

But somehow it goes freestyle,
And somewhere the sound's still playing:
In the off-key hum from behind her smile,
In the tender things he's saying.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Doleful Noon

All alone this Tuesday lunch
When the sky has reached potential
When the sky-dust has a hunch

And absorbs the midday punch
Of the light before these eyes
It can reach, or utilize
Any process providential
To uplift and subsequential
Movement to that effect.

So there is only to reflect
On emotion confidential
-- But only what you might expect.

Ice sparks just inside the skin:
Is it cold fireworks snapping,
Scraping, tickling and tapping
With needle-claws digging in
Against the body's trapping?
Against the frail wrapping?

It shivers in the channels
Along down to my fingers.
It rings around and 'round;
It sings without a sound
That a bat could even see
And no cell phone ever found.

Is it a phantom dead and fading?
Sneaking, crawling from behind?
Is it in the body and spirit
Messing up a cracking mind?
If I turned around, oh hell,
What exactly would I find?

Paralyzed by icy rockets,
Tight fists shaking in my pockets
Unprepared for any kind
Of thought or word that could remind
About the past that raises panic
Behind the face and strikes me blind.

Its cause is buried so deep
That I die each time I sleep
So I never have to dream
And see again those things I saw
That made my sense of self feel raw,
Exposed like sand before a wind;
And see again the threat of end:
The end of good, of every friend,
To think of it was to scream.

All the horror my eyes could thaw
To melt across the brain and draw
Reactions forth to say and send;
My only hope was my only flaw.
At the last I had no tears to shed
There weren't enough for all the dead
But something must grow from deadly seed:

I'd seen horror and sorrow beyond all need
I had witnessed every evil deed.
Now whenever I look, my eyes start to bleed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lessons Learned

I'll raise my hand (there is glass in the window)
When I don't know the answer (it's too strong to crack).
And say your name; (there's a door at the back)
It will be enough for me. (For emergencies.)

And in the end, (when all is lost)
When the questions are harder (When we learn the cost)
We'll spend our money (Light it like tobacco.)
On the things that were free. (I am a bird with insect wings)

With two raised hands (stretched like rubber bands)
I've long stopped wondering (when you don't answer)
The questions that scare you (the ones you avoid)
When the answers are easy (and the exit destroyed).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lines of Horizon

Wreaking havoc on our gravity
(Fire endures eternity
Lunging ravenous for this,
Only to snap back and always miss.)

Shoes might as well be made of cement;
Our soles kick against the firmament,
Desperately clinging like spider's feet
To patio, grass, even garden seat.
A jump is a failure before
It even begins to hope to soar.

The heart mocks the eyes
When they see the wrong size.
The blue is so close to our fingers
But reach subsides although longing lingers.

Fingertips bleeding through penny-red hair.
The pain is hard, but barely there:
This pain we feel like a surgical knife.
"If only I could, for once in my life,
Cold turkey leave this dragging earth.
Like a more languid second birth.
Wash me sudden in icy cloud bath.
Show me the widest, freest blue path."

Looking at imagined lines between sky
And the world where all we can do is try.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Glass of Scotch

And thoughts for good company
On a Christmas afternoon.

A loaf of hopefully.
A slice of soon.

My life is not in a coffin,
But living it is like a poem.

The routine rhythms often state
Their intent to be ignored.

It's just a nothing; more to hate.
A tick to keep me bored.

The time it takes to wash my hands
Or light a cigarette

Is realized in the siphoning sands
And hardened lumps of regret.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Skyscrapers and Brick Walls

City where I've never been
On my knees I rest my chin
Lean my shoulder to the side;
Against the garden wall I hide,

And here I dream; no place I've seen
No place I've known, or ever been,
But I imagine: lights so bright;
Streets slick-cold and wet tonight,

Buildings building their own heights
Platforms for the seagulls' flights
Glass and steel climb up the scaffold.
See the clouds above? They're baffled;

The earth sends up these silver spears...
Heaven's been wary of them for years.
Sky's just space, and it's space they're poaching,
Sharply scraping and encroaching.

City where I've never been
I have to blink and count to ten
To remember where I am today
The place I probably will stay:

Sitting by my garden wall
Familiar and no fun at all.
The city conquering the sky--
It's there I wish someday I'll fly.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stardom

In here is this star I am holding
And it's as heavy as worry.
But I remember there was something
I was supposed to do with it long ago.

This star is burning right through
The substance of my house's walls
And going blind is all I can do
Because I forgot to give it to God.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Beverage You Are About To Enjoy

No matter where
We go our shoulders go with us.
And burdens there
Can be read in any language, any eyes
Stare at the ground.
Hair hangs down. Laden sighs.

One hand reach up,
Holding a heavy coffee mug:
Glaze-smooth cup.
If light curls around the turn of its lip,
Maybe you will kiss the sun
With a sip.

Hopscotch on high
(Numbers of stars, squares of roots)
In the sky.
If you lose you fall and die
And oh, what a glorious way
To say
Goodbye.

It matters not
When our shoulders follow us
To that certain spot.
It is where we learned to breathe;
And this is where we cry
And drink cold sunlight in our tea.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wing

The fair ones have been watching
And they seem to have noticed
Water, or some such thing,
Overflowing our eyes.
And that it is very touching,
They don't realize.

They cannot understand
Very much about our world.
All the rules still stand,
But they don't fathom why;
And now a break is planned
Because at least they have to try.

Saturation level sound
Twists like ribbons to our bones
Till we have to spin around
Just to keep our feet
From scouring out the ground
To the flight and to the beat.

Upward, upward falling;
Music like a mother's voice
So ingrained in us, its calling,
There truly is no other choice.
And there is no use in stalling.
Now it is time to take wing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ghost Gem Green

Shake me to wake me when we get there.
I can find rest just about anywhere
And stay half conscious for hours that seem like whole nights.

My arms are tingling like a grave blew by close,
And pins and needles dance madly on my toes.
I wonder how many years since I've sat unbuckled.

Beethoven's sonatas. Is the radio dead?
Rocks in my stomach and air in my head.
I'll twirl through a dream until the fifth symphony plays.

There is no black darker than black night sky.
Green ghost gems float on the glass by my eye.
Upside down out the window the stars never waver.

I'm so comfortable now in my discomfort.
I don't want to move; I'll stay in my good shirt.
Don't want the road to end, but go on always, all ways.

I can hear you breathing. Your lungs are speaking.
Your soul is so peaceful your silence is leaking.
It's so still I think sound is impossible in real life.

The wheels make a plush sound, a hush sound.
They scrape and I blink and I feel them all rush 'round.
I thought I was flying, was sure I felt my arms rise

To a height of a foot or so above the seat.
My head's over the moonbow and so are my feet
Dancing on a star road. My concentration further frays.

I'm a train but I'm freightless
And I'm heavy and weightless
Until we stop and home startles me awake with a jolt.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tastes Like Color

Sailing down the avenue
With boats strapped to our feet
Skate around the bend
Where the road doesn't end,
Where two other crosspaths meet.

When I kiss your eyelids
They taste like the brown they hide
And when I kiss your cheeks they taste
Of all the clumsy and thoughtless haste
Of the words that you let slide.

It doesn't bother me much
That you might have lost your touch
And lost your mind as well.
It's because I'm under your spell.
But I'm also in your clutch.

I licked blue raspberry Popsicle
Until it wasn't cold.
Red-like-tomatoes lipstick
Made you look like an idiot.
Made retro not look old.

The broken things we call our past
They're just calendars on the floor.
The new one's on the door.
And if we mess up that one too,
We can always reach for more.

Jude and Mary

Do you know the lyrics
To the song that's driving by?
I thought I caught a glimpse of them
In the recognition in your eye.

I don't need lyrics, sister.
They're just words and words make lies.
I caught a glimpse of something truer
Looking past the leather skies.

I think I heard the chorus;
It goes la-dee-da-dee-doo.
Stereo system was worthless...
But at least the car was blue.

I guess to you the music
Is static like a wasteland.
But how I see it: honey flowing,
Roses blooming, heartbeats hastened.

Sorry, I was dreaming.
What was it you just said?
Whatever we were talking about
Just went clean out of my head.

It wasn't that important.
I just wanted you to know
The way I see things different now
That I've found the right place to go.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Life's Roadblocks

This was the moment for him;
He reached the wall that blocked his path
And climbed it and looked ahead and back.

He added up the memories
And they amounted to something
He found somewhat surprising.

And he found it so comforting
Like a remembered lullaby,
Yet unfamiliar and brand new.

It took the space of a silence
(It could be a single shocked blink)
And a theme became apparent.

That day he learned there comes a time
When you know what you're doing,
Because you can finally see what you've done.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Can At Least Continue

Dylan walked on stars each night
And he wrote their names on his face.
Fire was his solid ground
And tears his outer space.

"Where are you hiding?" I called.
He answered with his longest laugh.
"I'm waiting for you in the cave
Where the stones are broken in half."

Footprints lead from the city.
Is it my Dylan I follow?
There's a place where the sun shoots through
Where water and wind formed a hollow.

Dylan told fables and truths
To honeybees, rainbows and birds
And they saw his eyes and hair,
If not the intent of his words.

Dylan has left the city;
He's left the hot glass for gray sand.
So I'll run till I catch up
And can catch hold of his hand.

Dylan never danced before.
The planet was never too hot;
But his soles can't stand this lamplight
When we pretend we are what we're not.

"What are you singing?" I asked.
"I am singing of braver days.
They happen in my head
When I drift into a daze.

"Sometimes I can catch a glimpse
In a handshake, a wink, a scream.
It's my dearest high ideal,
My heart's continuing theme."

Dylan walked on stars each night,
But now he has landed on Earth.
Their sparks would sting and kiss him;
On his eyes engrave their mirth.

Dylan walks the earth for now
And smokes his dreams in bed.
Magic falls behind him
And music streams ahead.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Personification

Ice crystals conform to the air -
Snowflakes, hugging the cool curves
Of the wind (with her arms and her hair
Tugging at trees and her toes and fingers
Receding into the cool grass down there.)
Gray today, or blue, or some gold?
By morning the sky will choose what to wear.
Now the moon throws off the clouds,
Slips out and leaves the bedclothes behind.
Glides across lakes, her feet trailing words.
Toes write on the water a story, unsigned.
A bird made of glass and courage and faith,
The swan and his kind didn't mind.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tent of Dust

Jewels rubbed raw,
The shavings that drift away on breezes,
Not a glimmer left,
No energy to raise our heads or open eyes
As spirit flies and invention frees us.

Metal beams ripped
In half like snapped and stripped green sticks
Claw at milky windows;
Concrete floors submerged in puddles of detritus.
This is where we practice our tricks.

It is breaking.
Rubble dribbles down its sides, leaving trails
Of dirty breaths.
Feathers flicker in and out of light patches
And dust coats the ground where one ghost still wails.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Forstalled

Reserve a place for me.
I have something I need to do,
But I'll be back in no time--
At least it will seem that way to you.

This is an unsung song.
Whispered tears went into its making.
The scream in my heart is caged,
But my smile's support beams are shaking.

I held my hand to the light
And its shadow fell hard on the wall.
My feelings only cast shadows
In my eyes when I'm hiding from all.

So I walk into the waters
Of the coldest lake I could find
And the bottom drags at my feet
Like the thoughts that I'm leaving behind.

I bend to touch the surface,
Cupping my hand like a leaf.
I scoop the sharp water and drink it,
And the action creates such relief.

The water has no color,
But all colors dance through it like friends.
And the black-and-white rainbows inside me
Are the meaning that God intends.

Shortly now I'll return
To the life I can barely survive,
I'll come back from the lake in no time--
Just allow me this one last deep dive.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Untitled III

Caught a feather in the sky,
Sent it floating on the lake.
"Blue, blue," the pigeons coo.
Decision isn't mine to make.

Light climbs down the ropes to earth,
Retains the miracle to shine.
See, beneath the mustard tree.
Solitude is a friend of mine.

Wash my hands in mountain streams
Wash the blood off lest I break.
"Blue, blue," they mourn anew.
Pray the Lord my soul to take.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Shade

A tree drew its own
Sketchy shape on the ground
Marking out leaves
Where the sun would have cleared
A blank page on the grass.

It colored it in
With purple and green
And blurred all the edges
Where the wind swishes past.

Then it proudly turned 'round
So the whole earth could see
And savor the sight
From every angle
From morning to night.

And it wept till the dawn
When its art disappeared;
Through the dark, moonless night
It shed star-like tears.

And the morning that broke
Broke against weary eyes
Like the tide folding in
On eroded, black rocks
With suffocating sighs.

The tree marveled to see
On the tear-bedewed ground
The painting renewed
And still swinging around.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eleven Minutes

There is a deeper silence inside the ears
Than anyone could achieve on purpose.
Find that place and you can sleep forever.
Find that purpose and you can wake up.

In this state we make the observation that
Paper turns black at the footfalls of fire,
But air traces the flames' edge with a blue
More deep and lovely than Autumn's best sky.

Walking on sticks is fine for some
But those with less balance and stress
Find joy in the slime, mud and grass
And can watch water fly if they laugh.

In the end, it's the light falling on all this
That makes sense and makes sense pointless.
Because laughter counts for something
And the clink of coins sounds more like illness.

Friday, September 10, 2010

We Built This Little House

Karl

We built this house and here we'll stay.
We have new hardships every day.
The children are ill with fever and ague.
Wolves took the sheep so we bought a dog.
The dog got rabies and tried to bite us.
Then the well ran dry. Just to spite us.
Our animals died without any water.
Indians came and captured our daughter.
You went blind from scarlet fever.
Friends are no help, they just say, "Leave 'er."
The crops are withered, brown and scrawny.
Before we even got here we ran out of money.
I'd turn to devil worship if I thought
It would bring me rain in this dreadful drought.
Now evil men with greed instead of conscience
Want to grab our land right out from under us.
I have to admit it would be easier to give in.
But this is more than a house, it's the home we live in.

Susan

We left our friends and family.
We came to the land of the brave and the free.
We've lost a lot and gained so much more.
Every night I kneel on the floor;
I pray to the God of the heavens and earth
To bless the abundance we've raised from our dearth.
I felt heaven so close. I didn't fear to die.
But life is God's gift, even without my eyes.
I can't see your tears, but I know when you weep.
Your heart's in my heart, it's your thoughts I keep.
We built this house together, and here's where we'll stay.
Take my hand, husband, we'll face another day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Survivor's Guilt

Meaningless streams of water
Writhe like living ropes
Made of glass (how very strange!)
Across the gray linoleum tiles.

The light fades in this room
To match the captured
Ancient light in photographs.
Time itself must be confused by this.

Two tears and some dominoes fell:
The aborted start
Of an imagined design...
A line that would never be finished.

Meaningless streams of water...
(Am I not human?)
Pulsing through vein and vessel...
And we all know humans die like flies.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Demon Hunting

We fall inside a sphere of masquerade and fear,
Streaked blood and dust all through, like little walls
Built of vanishing cards and formless souls.

Insistent and persistent lies, I idolize;
Above all else I worship any proof
That lies are real, more than the ugly truth.

And gladly death would take me in his purple hand
And squeeze me till I bled like warm, fresh juice
Into his cup. Look up; there's no excuse.

Full twenty thousand years, and half that time spent lost,
A laugh cracked out, unnoticed, edged, serrated.
Those who can hear it now are overrated.

An eye turns upward glinting like diamond facets:
Cold, wet, made of white marble with red veins...
And devoid of all that heals or sustains.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mastery

Oh, if I could just reach out
And hold back that lightning
Before it disappears!

If I were king.
If I had the skill.

I'd cradle its prehensile flicker
And marvel as it tickled
All my fingers.

If I had the skill
To serve my will.

Could I dance the same arcane steps
The light dances in its power
Across the storms?

If I knew how
I wouldn't be here now.

The terpsichorean arts,
I fear, failed me entirely.
Black days lengthen,

And moonless nights
Grow in proportion.

Mastery of all I see;
Master of masks am I,
On those moonless nights.

Truth and death follow after
As I walk backwards.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pure And Cold White

When snow is thick on the very waves
And the waves rise up like screaming witches
And the dead lie gray and cool in their graves
And the tailor ends his line of stitches;

When the snow covers over the windows
And drifts higher than the gabled roof,
And I can no longer watch where it bellows
Against the road, where you walked, aloof;

Then, only then, will I finally sleep
In a sleep like death, wherein I won’t dream.
So from now until Winter this watch I’ll keep
And sew another long wedding gown seam.

Trooped ranks of daisies, pure and cold white,
Tempt my mind to believe in the frost.
When a motherly breeze stirs them with light,
Pretty fingers so warm, my hope spark is lost

And its fire dies down to an ash-colored coal
And I prick my finger just to remind my blood
That my heart is still beating, and once it was full
And in Winter pure blankets of snow hide the mud.

And the diamond-clad ground any darkness will pierce.
Someday the seasons will swing ‘round their head
And smile again, with that smile so fierce,
On the one who returns, even back from the dead.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Before Breakfast

I walked on the moon this morning.
It was blue and cool,
Probably from the tides.
All they gave me was a warning
And the name fool;
And then I found my way outside.

I flew over Jupiter this morning.
If the sky is the limit
Then I'm breaking down the rules.
I light my path by sojourning.
Opposition can't dim it:
Light glows and flows and pools.

I found my home this morning.
It is cool and dark like hands
Holding me back lest I fall.
The hands of seashells adorning
The beaches and white-hot sands,
Where dances a child's doll.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Beyond Reach

My work is done. Now I must die.
It's the tragedy and it's the drama
That makes beauty melt like candle wax
Over a heart where it's vulnerable to heat.
It is lovely.

I want my life to be beautiful, but
I don't want my life to be a sad song,
Or conundrum, and end in unfurling defeat.
There are no thoughts to keep
My falsehood fresh.

There are no words to fill the crack
Between reality and wish.
I am speechless before my own sorrow
And weary of my eyes staring at me
From the mirror.

And I'm leery of leaving a comfort painted blue
And cold and hot at the same time.
And if there were a universe of perfection
Built with bricks fired in the heart of a sextillion
Beginning suns

It would be wrapped in a magenta smog
Stitched throughout with golden lightspeed
And breaths of green smoke like dragons;
The smog of irreality and life energy
Sets it apart.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Last Afternoon on Earth

Anonymous dreams curled through our minds like smoke,
But we knew them like old friends before the brittle vision broke.

Run out of the house with a paddle from her wooden spoon,
We drifted and soared while lying motionless on the dune.

On our backs and staring at the technicolor sun through closed eyelids,
"We are made of wings; we are just minds, and we're flying," you said,

And then I put my hand to my forehead and opened my eyes a squint
And what I saw and what I was were lost forever in that blue firmament.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Far-Off Smile

Re-defined, unlocked, remembered,
Two decades ago is returning tonight.
Havoc, amok, revenge unhindered.
Patience, in the final round, won the fight.

Tracing paths through mercury hours...
Dark violet furrows in blue-veined white.
Through wax and wane it never sours;
We flew to the sun on a yellow kite.

A distant smile lingers, then lowers
Down from the corners of dizzying height,
The teeth, unbiting, fleetingly show us
A memory's brilliance the eyes could requite.

It drops to the floor like a knife from a hand.
Sculptures of eyes have no sense of sight,
And sculptures of tears fall hard on the sand
And flaunt a sad imitation, eerie, of light.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

l'orange âme

Anything goes and nothing clashes.
Behind the closed eyelashes
When all that's left are glances.
Orange, yellow, blue-green splashes
The color orange dances.

Flaring sparklers, flashing shields!
Blithe stars dance in orange fields,
Far and wide without a night,
They praise the trees for orange yields,
Quirking swirls around the site.

Birds like jewels. Stormy weather.
Light, lightning and rainbows together.
Fire roars orange. Tiger's eyes.
Orange wing of orange feather.
Tiger leaps and tiger flies.

Vivacity and brighter faces
Of humans quickening their paces;
Laughing as they travel up
Spiral DNA staircases.
Drink the beaches, pass the cup.

Hurry now before it's over
Like busy bees on rose and clover
Before reverting to what they are
Homebody, comfortable, not a rover.
Take up the pencil, put down that star.

Something stirs and flares awake.
Out of all the risks we take,
Unveiled retina crashes,
And out of all the dreams we make
Behind the closed eyelashes.

Renewal

Does our world, our solar system,
Speak to God in its own way?
Do stones cry out, as once was said,
Or does it whisper every day?

Birds rise up, a pointing finger,
Lazy, languid, in the violet cold
Beneath the rubber eraser pink
Beneath dawn's crown of gold.

Spiky pine and feathery oak
Loom like waiting lion twins.
The branches are their gilded manes,
Tugged and tossed by tweaking winds.

Breath of water, halo of heaven--
Morning is the planet's prayer.
Footsteps fall bare and silently.
Sacred pervades the very air.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Withdrawal Into a Prison of Thought

The heartbeat beats, beats, beats.
It's all that I can hear.
It beats out a path, it beats, beats,
I don't even have to steer.

And on the path of mysteries
My footsteps beat alone.
Steps in ones and two and threes;
These stumbles are all I've known.

The path is black, polished black,
A polished deep black stone.
I watch the ground, my face stares back
And shows me what I've shown.

I wonder, wonder, wonder if...
If I could stop and turn
What lies behind, beyond the cliff,
The cliff my shoulders form.

For I am the edge, the very edge
Of my existence here
On the path, the path I pledge
To walk, however sheer

However sheer my terror, my fear...
However fast hearts beat,
There is no turning back, I fear,
Till now and future meet.

And when the heartbeat meets its beats,
When all things―all things―end,
What possessions, or what feats
Compare to one good friend?

What can I do or think or say,
Say or want or make,
That won’t be bloodied rags someday,
That won’t start seeming fake?

But now I hesitate and wonder,
Doubt my own assumption;
Wonder wonder, did I blunder?
Did I pay attention?

The heartbeat beats, beats, beats,
My footsteps beat a path,
But on that path beside me fleets
A footstep kin to wrath;

Akin to wrath, to strength, to hope,
Again, to light and awe,
A friend, a brother, king and pope,
A God without a flaw.

I follow the path alone, indeed;
It’s true: my heart, it beats
Single and unaccompanied,
In a row of empty seats.

But solitude can go so far
Before it’s too extreme.
Even day has its own star,
And coma patients dream.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Flowers on a Grave

Fireworks are flowers
Quickly blooming, quick to die,
Far above our tallest towers
In the independent sky.

Fire flowers. To remember.
They flash as fast as we forget.
History in July or in September...
The clash of victory and regret.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Later

This is that Later, so often mentioned,
Never believed in, but joked about.
This is the Later, the well-intentioned
Promised futures. It’s happening now.

The one last backward, longing look
Before the finality of the first step
(Before the fluttering page of the book
Turns lazily on a specter’s breath)

Takes back the strength of the recent past
And gathers it into the basket of now.
And a life comes down to this at last,
Reduced to the death-cry of a final rage.

Consideration of whether to waver
Died stillborn at the end of an age;
For time’s road ends at the eternity paver,
Where all yesterdays are fused into one.

Walking this road is like driving a car
With the windshield painted black
Your only guidance: the mirrors are.
And you’re stuck in drive, on top of that.

Resolved not to wonder, as is tradition,
Inflexible till comes the spectacular fall.
No one knows that trust is submission
And no one knows how to trust any more.

This is that Later, the one in your eyes
When you closed them and had a colorful dream
About surrender, and compromise,
About the loss of your kingdom and home.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Alone on a Rock

I am sitting hunched and chilled
On a plastic chair in a room.
The room is only halfway filled
With people; the other half
With predatory air from the cold-vents.

I am alone on a sun-warmed rock.
Stretched out, spread-eagled,
My arms are string and my heart's a lock.
There are no legs to kick me back;
This space is mine, and mine for all intents.

I am at a table too full of food.
My ears are buzzing and red
Like bees in a raspberry mood
Or thoughts consumed by drugs.
The candles are insipid like plastic incense.

I am surrounded by wooden men.
They have dice instead of feet,
And they're more faded than they had been...
But the squares just must be jumped,
So they round the board and pay their rents.

I am alone on a rock in a desert.
I am at school, at home and at work,
Talking, driving, dancing-- and comfort,
And comfort is mine as long as I stay
Exposed on the rock and you in your tents.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Perfect Canvas

Long...
Gray...
Walls...

Like an eternity of potential.
Like a sting stretched till meaningless.

Like thoughts too bland,
Uninfluential

And
Seedless.

Like going somewhere,
But paused in the going.

Like a photograph left here
Without even knowing

What was in it or why.
Like a brown-yellow dye.

Like a firefly in daylight
Like a black bear at midnight.

Like what you like
But not how you like it.

Like being lost in an ice cave
Without your fleece blanket.

An empty art gallery
Is like the loss in your mind

When you see familiarly
A face; smiling, kind...

And the name's on the tip
Of the pad of your tongue...

Something won't let you say it.
The suspense feels hung.

An empty art gallery
With long, gray walls

Where silence arises
And swells and then falls

Into the carpets--
They're red but they're dull--

And you walk slow at midnight
And hesitantly mull

Over the things
From which during the day

You felt unworried
And felt far away.

And now all the worries
And irrational fears

Arrayed on blank walls
Are invisible tears.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Contained in a Breath

History so vast
It became an entity
Then faded so fast
From the realm of the real

That we walk right by it,
Right through it, inside it,
And inside of us
In our lungs and our will.

What ages this air has existed!
It has not been fresh
Since universes resisted
The shells of their eggs.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wood Post With Rusty Staples

It is a mockery of its former growth.
It was deeply rooted in the earth
And it sang to summer winds
And sang above two roadways' ends
In a voice like distant crowds.

Deeply rooted in red earth still
It is a mockery; it has no will
To live, to grow, to bend, or throw
Its leaves up like hands
Flipping green hair out of its face.

Its leaves are long forgotten now.
Its leaves are stained printer paper now.
It is a dead thing, a dried-up dead thing;
It can not feel. Only for me is it a mockery
When I hear the others around it sing

And it appears to believe it is planted here
Where two roads' endings meet.
I feel irony whispering in my ear.
Does it think it is still a tree
Like the others that tower above it?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ingenue

Sometimes she tiptoes and dances
Lightly down the garden path at dawn.

And blows kisses to birds as she glances
Upward into the sweetly brightening sky

That unfolds like peach silk curtains
For the soft-hearted sun to waken by.

Sometimes she smiles imperceptibly
At the corners of her rose-colored lips

When white rose petals detach ceremonially
And in faith surrender to gravity's call.

Sometimes she hovers over ivory keys
Like a gypsy pensive before her crystal ball.

And the future is music, the kind that frees
The soul from the body like the leaves that fall.

Sometimes monsters wear masks.
A heart divided can only beat against itself.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Inspiratory System

It breathed a thought into my ear.
Inward a spire was built sharply,
Silver like glass and vertigo fear and
Smoke, cold smoke, twisting like liquid.

A whisper was all that was needed,
Barely a thread of the shadow of the spirit
Or soul of the wind, and I heeded.
I can't see the surface below, but I fear it.

It is chasing me, and I stand still.
Lying on empty, resting but not,
What is this lack of earth I feel?
Oblivion. It is my mind, it is thought.

Holding together the fragile fiber
Of pretend universes falling
Into the simulacrum of Tiber.
Half-made, half-extreme, fully my beloved children:

Dying in life because never living
They are.
Lost before found or born.
Far.

It is unknown. And more familiar to me
Than the skin that has enfolded me
In its warm embrace, not roomy
And not snug until after meals;

But no matter, this.
It is It, is all. The soul has undrawn pages
At the back of its atlas.
It is enough to feel the wind.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Palindrome

Dry.
I am a cracked painting, brushed with grief.
Between my eyes there's a frown.
My retinas feel ready to crack open.
What have I done?
What have I seen?
There's nowhere left to lean
And no strength left to run.
At the edge of the crevasse, I tossed every rope in.
And with no direction left but down,
To fall would be relief.
Cry.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Credulity

The sun never sets.
The earth turns between it
And our eyes.

Perception never gets
The ability to glean it--
The story behind our lies.

If we have any regrets
It's that we've never seen it--
The world, too vast to size.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dust Bowl

When the river comes
There will be water.
The fields will grow green
Though the sun may grow hotter.

We'll have rich, brunette soil
When the river comes.
The cracks in the desert
Will disappear like phantoms.

These bare crags will become
Soft, rolling, grassy hills--
When the river comes
They'll be bright with daffodils.

My mother sings this song
To the relentless dust storms.
We'll cross over and be happy
When the river comes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dog

Trot two miles silhouetted.
Golden day's-end-shine:
Burnishment above a black hill.
Slender knives of grass,
Black too,
Brushing past.

Eyes brown
Deep like nothing ever seen.
(Soil is brown and deep...
Maybe the incarnate spirit of soil,
Of earth and home.)
Hairs that belong to that sky.
Breath warm like friendship.

Trust radiates off
And mingles with the light.
Love is here, yes,
But it's a different kind of love.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Keymistress

Down through the tunnel, twisting and flaring,
Lightwaves and darkwaves and losing your bearings:

That is the path to the end of the spiral.
The adventure is thrilling; the obsession is viral.

Down through the space-time continuum's question.
Out of the universe, into the next one:

That is the path to the new realm of sorrow.
Loneliness, memories, distrust of tomorrow.

Bad Black and Good White in their long laughing war
Give you the feeling you've been here before.

Monsters won't kill you, or maybe they will
It all depends on your level of skill.

There's always someone, out there in space,
Who hates, for some reason, the whole human race.

Hate and love, black and white,
The fifth of all nature continues the fight.

Planets collide and nebulas glow,
civilizations fall and grow,

Time ticks away, in a line or a ball,
Time ends someday.... Cracks open and all...

And over the vast reach of Every Existing Thing,
A Keymistress watches and jangles her ring.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Joseph


Follow a thread through the weave of a coat.
Over and under like waves and a boat.
Red waves are lapping the top of each cuff
Blue waves zig-zagging, the sea's getting rough
Along the hem edge where it drags in the dust.
White and gold sash holds it up off the crust
Of the earth, which lends its light browns, grays and greens
To the collar above which the coat wearer preens
For a father who paid in good silver and stock
To dress prudent son like a lovely peacock.
Each stitch as articulate as nature allows,
Each color as bright as his eyes 'neath his brows,
The patterns and stripes follow predestined memes:
Bear pattern to hold tight, Bird pattern for dreams
Star pattern for solace, Tree pattern for strength,
Heart pattern for health and a life of great length.
Black for fathomless promise as far
As the stretching, unseen, black beyond every star,
Crimson like fire, flames reaching to grasp
Like hope, something there, just outside their clasp.
Gray rain is falling down back and both sides,
Brown wheat is growing from roots the seam hides.
Depictions of sheep, and cows chewing their cud,
Not intended to soak up a scapegoat's warm blood.
Maybe vanity, love-blindness, foolish mistake.
The catalyst for a lifetime, the clothes weavers make.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blue Silk Songs

Silk is a voice
With blue undertones.
Music is a choice
For all the left-alones:

All the orphaned babies
The girls with no close friends
The dogs with chronic rabies
Men on roads with no ends.

A rose is a thorn
With alluring bait set;
The same disguise worn
By snakes out to get

The lost little children
And the souls who weep
Over bones that were killed when
The mountains were still steep.

Blue is a poem.
And Blue is a song
And a color to show 'em
Where they went wrong.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Crazy Shades


All the ghosts are dead
And all the madmen live forever.
And many of the grassblades bled
In Pennsylvania's Summer weather.

Any ghosts may walk,
And any who care to sleep
May stand upon a rock
And very gently weep.

And all the crazy shades
From red to violet-blue
Are splashed across the glades
Where violence met its due.

Now mankind takes its measure
From an individual man.
The single king's our azure
In a sky without a span.

We give such high regard to death
And such little thought for life;
Forgiving all at graveside Lethe,
But the living's trifles stir up strife.

Fire, fire, glowing;
Translucent fingers fast as flight.
Fire quickly growing,
Quickly tearing up the night.

Fire bright and furious
Has no lips or eyes,
Yet roars at the sight so curious
When every thing it touches dies.

How important is our star,
The one we call the sun?
When seen from sufficiently far,
It's an insignificant one.

How important is an ant
Or a single human cell?
Held as sacred, in descant,
But in practice aimlessly expelled.

And all the crazy shades
And all the roads they paint,
All the sights and all the grades
Of reality make the saint.

And any good host
Will close the metal door
And drink a toast
To ghosts evermore.

Birds are flying now
Trusting well their own white feathers.
Find the word and find out how
Even the dead can live together.

Fire, fire, blushing;
Rushing upwards after dying sparks.
Fire, fire, crushing;
Pushing in and out of human hearts.

Fire in the mind and fire
Filling all the soul.
It's in our blood and gears and wire
Swallowing us whole.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Untitled II

You read them aloud.
You bite into emptiness.
Like eating magic...
Foregoing the lengthiness.
Your book is tragic.
Print storms inside; a word cloud
Behind your false eyes
Circuits don't connect correct.
You see your black lies
Making the white page not proud.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The One Hope When All Hope Is Lost


Patience.

Until the day breaks,
And you hear the sound a bird makes
And the sun breaks into sight.
Though there's silence now and there is no light--

Not even a glimmer to pull the trigger by.
When you thought that dying was a comforting lie,
And deep despair paralyzed your existence,
You had no energy to hear my insistence

That everything changes, everything changes.
Valleys can rise till they're high mountain ranges,
Oceans become deserts, old junk is the new must-have;
Depression will turn into joy someday; just have

Patience.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't Think. Run.

A lady shadowed dark in substance and
Silvered in moonlit outline
Stood as the last resistance and
Breathed in the meantime

Between comfortable sleep and peace and
Chaos. Chaos. Insanity. Death. Blood. War.
And she waited with forced calm like sea sand
Resting tensely undisturbed by the tides thus far.

Distantly a voice rose in barbaric chant.
As a demon's, this voice was many and was one.
It swooped over colorless hills and it slant
Around tree trunks and ruins of forts long undone.

"An enemy new and known in design
Coming down from long ago
And from yesterday's future line
Of light-up plastic hero

We are, and we have sacrificed mercy
On the bronze altar, from which some of its ash drifts
On the sky's sighs and floats up and hurries
On the stale wind in the red cloud to the black rifts

Where stars died screaming swallowed alive and
There the white ash dissipates.
We are enemies revived, and
Disguised reprobates-

Disguised as horror; in reality worse.
Lost. Lost. All is lost. Hope. Mercy. Life. Lost.
Death is our song and we'll sing every verse,
Turn you to dust, to desert, to frost."

The lady, black shadow against less-black sky,
Was not impatient, not caring, not looking for dawn
Rising head and rising lashes unveil an eye
With a fire inside that will burn on and on.

And she heard the death song
And heard the threats, boasts, warnings.
And the lady smiled. And she hummed along.
And all the nights, and all the mornings

And days and years and time and tide
And things accomplished and things not done
And thoughts and memories gathered inside
The lady. And she saw fear and said one word to it. Run.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Hooded Figure

*
Danger glides in the
Light
'Twixt dark and light
And lurks in the
Dark
'Twixt light and dark.
And the cloak of
Danger
Is colorless and ragged.

**
And the face of
Danger
Is deceptively sweet
And caring.
And slyly,
It is a good face.

***
Danger has long hair.
But is it a woman?
Or is it a man?
Danger has strong hands
And slender,
Grasping
Fingers.

****
Danger hovers above
The tattered black clouds
And falls
Like a falcon,
Wings furled
Taut and curved,
And snaps them out and drops and snatches with
Talons
And comes like a
Lightning bolt
Made of darkness
Instead of light
And cold, cold
Terror
Instead of electric heat.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Imagining in April


Spring has the strangest flowers.
Tulips;
Princess' turbans nodding atop pale green towers.
Jonquils
With brief, bright faces trimmed with frills
Riding their long-faced horse daffodils
Galloping in breezes, quivering with thrills.
Hyacinths
Clusters of baby faces painted bright.
Crocus.
Spring bulbs
That seem to grow and live and die in one night.
Spring brings with it unique flowers.
Flowers on trees.
White. Pink.
Gardens
Swarming with bees.
The cat stops to think
Then licks an idle idea away.
Spring is a mother with strange powers
And her children are delicate and fey.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

You Don't Realize


You don't realize
How pointless it is
To be on top of the world
Until

You learn how to fly
In the bottom of the sky
Above the world and the tops
Of its hills.

It's like an epiphany.
Come on, are you with me?
There's nothing to lose
Except

No, there's nothing to lose
This body is whose?
This life, is it worth it?
Except...

There are feathers on my wings
And I'm forgetting those things
That made my head spin
In a daze
Like I'm seasick and weary
And my heart shuffle in
From the rat's ugly, cold, dreary
Maze.

No, there's nothing to lose
Except

Gravity.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Masterpieces

There's music in the poetry
And poetry in music's footsteps.
Words and thoughts and sound mixed up
And color in the mind's recesses.

There's beautiful art in symmetry
And serendipity in new concepts.
Lines and colors and hearts freed up
From nature's law and processes.

The idea in the word is free
And words watch over their own precepts.
The book is the jungle, all jumbled up,
Predatory words stalk consequences.

There's soul and mind and ancestry
And blood and love in great depths
That fill up artists and all end up
In original masterpieces.