Friday, November 29, 2013

Walking in Snow

The snow teaches me separateness,
the ice to be hard.
Though I was born in the desert
where the teachers are sand and rocks,
I could not hear them for my youth.
Now with youth spent I return to hear
the sand admonish me for isolation
and the rocks’ rebuke for a hardened heart.
Now that the curls of time have been
beaten out straight I seek a return to
an earlier language – my own scrawny language,
meager, unable to bear the weight of explanation,
words too remote, isolated, underdetermined.
The years have turned my ears to tin.
My tongue is the knot behind my teeth.
With age isolation calcifies, lost love
becomes a window in the heart,
language an uncertain chant,
youth a snowstorm on the high desert plain.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Closing Time at the Museum

Today is a wish,
or a halfhearted promise of escape
from the contrived hopes that scaffold my vision.
In the cell of my heart,
the hot tight center of my body,
there is neither youth nor future.
None of the contrivances of a public life;
only the strong sweet warmth 
of a private life -
the solitude of a landscape painting
and a single detached patron
at closing time.

Come visit dVerse open link night.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"A Blaze of Changes"

The Age of Water

Primordial Water

Virgin Birth


The first word
in the place
where it all begins.


The age of Twenty Tribes,
Twenty Languages
in twenty square miles of Eden.*


“Blaze of changes”

The Age of Two Tribes,
East of Eden, West of Eden.

Theologians’ courage
in the wilderness of tongues,
searching for Eden’s Fruit.


“A Blaze of Changes”

The Age of Wealth

Eclipsed the age of children
Eclipsed the age of women
Corrupted the age of men

Rising whitecaps
on ancient surf.

The Age of Water

Where it all began,
where it is ending now
in the soft slip
of surf on sand.


Title from George Oppen’s “Myth of the Blaze”

*Twenty Measures of Chitchat by Terrance Hayes

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Out of the Shadow

Shadows of mountains
guard the thin ground of this life.
The high dry canyons stretch
out among seamless dunes
in the magic Western plains.
Footprints in leaf rot,
the sweet smell of season’s end
in cool shadowed green.
The beauty of light
is cupped in silence
in cactus flowers,
ghost flowers,
in the trickling mirror
of freshwater pools.
Can we go on from here?
Have we the power
to lift the balm of shadow
for the silence of light?


Combed through trees
the wind brings secret motion.
The sun rising in the eye
of a silver needle brings
a golden rush.
The sea’s message,
a rhapsody, brings
the aria of taut rigging,
set sails,
and the hopeful voices
of men in search of land.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Searching For Goodbye

We begin saying goodbye,
become distracted by
the search for time -
attic, relics, the old street,
a man selling hot pretzels
and peanuts from a cart,
the doughnut truck.
Letters, old photos
tied into square bundles,
the thin ribbon of time
holding memories together,
adding depth to the confusion.
There should be another word.
One that carries the same weight
but is lighter off the tongue,
easier on the ear, that can be thrown
over the shoulder like salt, or rice
for the luck it will bring.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Among the Stars

The starlight’s fractured dance
across the chitinous skin of atmosphere
-who can believe the blank verse of night?
This much is true:
Veracity, the rare poetic kind,
is in the light of a million diamonds,
cold, hard, brilliant as the world.
This initial light shining
on the wet black road
is closer to home than it seems.

This Small and Open Place

This small place
with its invisible wall
and nowhere
to stumble
on the smooth black streets.
How do I judge it?
The house on the hill
catches the first low light,
casts its shadow across the valley.
Leaves are silhouettes
on high thin twigs
where the unknown
touches the known
How light the air,
the earth, the sounds;
what could be more evident
than infiniteness in time,
this open time.