Friday, September 25, 2009

No Graying

People snipped away at my faith in people,

but at 13, the scissors slipped.

My insides ventured out and squinted

in the light.

Stars, enormity, light stomachs, fluttering, me, you.

Every person is a blowfish, and every

morning a validation.

She: paper chains, longer than I thought. You:

clothes made of locked doors and parallels,

and I: out by the river, the only quiet place

I could think of.

A cold blade, the water; my feet,

the renewal of winter, the twist

of a Coke cap, the forgetting of absolved sins,

the slick rocks kicked

gently along the bed.

Voices. A voice.

I confess, I have at times wished for Hell,

if only to be alone for a while.

But a doe on the other bank

reminds me of my need.

The Waiting Room

The TV has a happy ending

again: newborn baby,

glistening mother, father;

no longer to wait

for rescue. Every breath is prayer,

thanksgiving, star-linings, coloring.

Her eyes fall back to the coloring

on the wall: a mural of children, ending

with the serenity prayer

in the corner. The things I cannot change. Her baby

in the room, lungs pried by tubes. Wait

upon the Lord, like Abraham, father

of many babies. Our Father,

who art in heaven, coloring

the air with presence, angels like lilies wait

on you. For thine is the power. Enough ending

for now. The size of her hand, this baby,

this lily, the magnitude of her prayer.

David had been here, too, becoming prayer,

a heap of sackcloth, no father,

no water, interceding, all for his, his baby,

who could pray only with a cough, coloring

everything with gray and stillness, and in days, ending,

weightless, the wait.

What to do in the waiting room, but wait, and wait,

and in waiting, find that waiting is prayer,

and prayer is the beginning and ending

and middle of the unpartitioned Father;

dimensionless light coloring

existences and lives alike. Her pale baby,

eyes closed. Lily-white baby,

flying wherever she will. A hymn too: We wait

for Thee 'midst toil and pain, something-something sighing. Coloring

drains. It shouldn't be like this. Hannah's prayer

answered, and now David's prayer hanging, father-

ing the night. It can be only God's ending.

Another baby cough, fragrant prayer,

to wait more patiently upon the Father

of all photons, coloring, becoming, ending.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Driving to Albuquerque to Free Child Soldiers

Tectonic plates squirm. My seat belt is uncomfortable, an AK strap.
4 AM. There’s a dead coyote by the road, but we’re world-changing.
We read Isaiah’s “true fasting” to the tune of a Sabbath sunrise.

Sitting with Gödel in My Refrigerator

I need your atoms
to stare inside me
once again,

a trillion eyeballs
carving designs
in my pale skin.

Will you taste music
with me
from the same spoon?

Will you sketch
your waist
in charcoal
in my book of poems?

Will you surrender
all your seconds
and fly with me

to a place
still as space
atomless void
where even sighs
don’t break

the silence

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Hailstones stripe my back, welding welts as I bike one Holy Saturday.

Too-Tight Ties and Other Unfortunate Realities

Twelve forks, six rolls, four coffee cups, two candles. Dozens of smiles, forced.

The Poet as a Gladiator as a Reluctant Red-Tailed Hawk

Claw to top of poets' carcass heap. Wipe off blood. Get anthologized.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poetry Junkyard

Just past the city limits of my mind, there is a junkyard or Gehenna of all the the poems I didn't write before they skipped town. They're way better than the stuff I usually produce. You'll just have to take my word for it, I guess.

The poems in the Gehenna graveyard or junkyard cover a vast array of colossal topics, each more soul-piercing than the last. As I recall, they are alternately profound, hilarious, pithy, and devastatingly sexy. Passionate spirituality, mountain-moving love, the whispers of God and angels are all almost certainly discussed, although I cannot verify it. The poems all make love and progeny. The colony must be self-sustaining by now, if my calculations are correct.

I tried to drive there earlier, but the roads all end suddenly, in ramps, catapulting the unsuspecting traveler off the edge of the known world. I screeched to a stop just short of the abyss.


That lamp looks like an egg. Cars whiz by. I will never see her again.


Painting at Habitat. Community service: great for resumés.

As I Try to Breathe

Water will shape to fill the hole excavated in my warring side.


Covert op. Hiding my notebook, I write poems among engineers.

Sylvia Plath

Before the oven incident,
her best friend was a bee;
a leftover from Otto Plath's
harsh apiology.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Invitation to the Wild Ghost

in memory of Peter Wild

Be thankful that you are not among us
as the tobacco-squirting Harley you with tattoos,
the 1960 badass apparition riding free.

Be glad you're not the uniformed Catholic school you,
fidgeting for recess; the specter of a wagon boy
with a 1951 dinged-up brick of a radio.

Be grateful, because you could have been stuck
as the pipe-smoker, trying too hard, haunting us for eternity
in your poorly-fit 1982 sportcoat.

And though you hoped to stalk these halls
scampering around on your 2009 curmudgeonly cane,
I'm afraid you have been healed.
********************************From here on out, it's 1970,
and you will forever eat luminescent cottage cheese,
sitting reading villanelles in your first real office.

The Mustang

(ignore the *'s, it was the only way I could get that line break to look right)

When I finally got the man to pull the truck over,
there was already a long stripe of blood—
a new red-hot lane line slicing the freeway.
The bottom had fallen out of his horse trailer several miles back,
and, with a snap like an electric shock, the daydreaming mustang
was suddenly being dragged at 65.
*********************************The sandpaper ground
first through hoof, and then quickly through flesh.
362 horsepower against 1.

The beast's body swallowed by its eyes,
frantic, blitzed, boiling, thinking not of cause
or posterity; snorting exhaust, writhing,
running from its own stumped legs.
I realized I did not understand mercy
as the man shot it in the head.