Saturday, March 29, 2014


You’re sure if you squinted at the stars enough
heaven might notice the trowels, spoons,
tiny coins left in the dirt where you once
buried the ashes of the family dog. Daffodils
and grape hyacinths sent up their
green apostrophes the following spring,
and you once found a ring in a gardening glove,
sure it was sent by your dead father.
Now you do everything with your father’s
shield and sword in your hands, as if he bequeathed
them to you and you hadn’t really just stolen them
from a hope chest to remember the quest
of his imagination. You are still so far from guessing
the true meaning, but can point at the constellations
and rename them all: Falstaff’s Wrinkle, Circular Bear,
Skeezix and Threnody. You have something
to get you home safe and sound. You have
a belt full of tools at your hip as you stand  
in the center of your triangle of fire.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I know a lousy handshake
when I receive one, half-meant.
The unfocussed gaze. Not listening.
Or the hug that is so light I can feel
the chalk outline behind it.

It’s difficult to keep from falling
into the big black hole that hides
under all those metal plates
you see on the streets. To be swallowed
whole, to disappear, to drown
or be blown away by a gale-force
windbag you met at a university.

Unfair. Creating meaning requires
a good amount of just staring into the air. Time.
I like to build an act or a house of words
to walk through, a series of rooms
outfitted with damask and china,
then let neglect kill off all the plants.
Creak out empty nails from the walls where family
photos once hung. The windows were blown out
with buckshot that burst constellations of glass
on the floor, left shards and shadow.
An umbra that howls at night
so much it makes your knees jerk.

I think you have to add a lot first
in order to subtract.  Unless
you want to be a totally charming
but bad star in the field of creation.

Ask me when I am 90 what I loved most.
First I will tell you it was being held,
second, the slip of buttons through fingers,
then I will get lost in a spin of all there is to love,
a rambly multiverse that makes you wish for silence.
Ask and you'll receive a hug so hard you’ll feel
my whole life ahead.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why It Isn't Spring Yet

Because we will it so. Because the song of traffic thrums
against the wrestle of city gristle and grime, disguised
and then revealed by March's greyed lens. Because we will it so.
There is a mansion of snow for the carnival players
who burn their scripts to improvise longing. Because we will it so.
Because a rose stampedes its red into the eye. Because paper,
when offered up for an autograph, deserves one, but not right away.
There is a pause. A breath. The absence glitters.
Because we will it so.