Friday, November 12, 2010

Midnight Stubble, Dreams of Grandfather

Born in the quicksilver
of living and deep earth
born to you
I come to learn
you’ve been up at night
visiting the dreams of
your blood

Once, seated as Buddha
in a woolen robe
you peeled an apple
and cast your love
so it wound tight around
the bone

Last night
I sat on your lap,
a child again
clamped tight in
bear-like arms,
you told me the
troubles of your
old-man heart

and now to wring out
words to say
your cheek was like
the firmament, tangible
beyond even a last touch,
I am lost in blood,
taking my first breaths
on the day of your birth.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Waiting on the Winter, Writing it out

would wish it
open palm of
the thought, it
was blue
and then tasted
of mallow

the thought
that was the most

I make the window
a home, when you
go by in a sketch
of legs
of teeth

I am fetched
I am underneath

perfect, plain
entirely too lovely
in the cold-smelling

your face
festooned with
a promise.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Drinks and Ponies sometimes go together.

But poems, ponies, and drinks always go together....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fox Hunting to the Memory of George Carnaghi

known mostly
by absence

I know now
that I love something
we could have loved

and I see you
in the low, fog-saddled
fields just before dawn

or in the bright shouts
of late fall trees

often, I hear you call
my heart
by the voice of a hound’s
long, throated cries

and grandfather,
when I gallop,
I know you gallop too

Sunday, September 26, 2010

glacial decisions

a glacier
tucked under
a tongue
the expanse of
melt, lost
out of mouth corners

that was the saying,
the chewed gristle of ice,
rubble, and freshly formed

that was what you were
hearing, dripping
out of face and heart
and everywhere

the melt of making up
a mind
there gnawed or pawed
spat through that you might
see that flat awful
of white resolve


In this home of my body
there lies scarcity,
my chariot mouth
carries nothing profound
when it wishes to say

Monday, September 20, 2010

How One Must Treat Skin

the skin in the beds
how it severs
how it bends away
to reveal the temperature
of the mistake

it is something
to tear holes in,
what was gray
now opera pink

I am rushed
and have no wisdom
but was taught early
to appreciate a sketch

and fraught with color
the peel
of each new sky
is tugged away
is bent away

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Six Legged Marriage

And then I was called upon
to carry you

If not then
I would stand
behind fences
for you
and share the sky
for all it’s shudders

Or to know you
in all seasons
when your hand is
a brush taking the dust
from me

For then I was
called upon to be gentle
holding your direction
in the pink of my mouth

And to not strike
my hardness out
but leaving earth torn as
we went
you upon I
until there was only us
and the fence was gone
its cedar planks
fallen past this

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Scenes Of A Domestic Life

in moments of dust and color
home, a dark hutch, waits
beyond blooming

full bellied life
lined with objects on
every shelf, breathing
the glint of their thing-ness

my eyes crack open
to plain significance
when morning asks for more

for the desperate wish
of breathing my own
handled gently so
as one handles an orb,

I river through each
room of home
plucking here and there
the wilt
of life and togetherness

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In My Town (2nd edit, expanded)

In my town
and your love-hands
around my neck, points
or tips of
those bone ships
just brushing in,
such elegant
and precious violence
was my voice
slipped between the seats
and you,
oh how you made it
before your whole body.

The sea shipped and shaped
so many blinking on and off
fluorescent lights
the digital the tangible
a tactile illumination
of the loveliest sort
the presence of song
in the lacking day

no more no more more
I am shouting in every language.
I am every carnal
every icon
you are a spit roasting
late night talk show
jabber wars

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hay Field and Calendar

soon your broken off
piece will walk and talk
the scent
of that day coming
roars through
folded time

compressing swift
toughness, leaded lips
I’ll speak like cotton
and a spun wing
lifts such guilted face

you: a calendar.
my series of boxes edged
a perfect ribbon
and I: that field, a square yes.

but ever-ragged after the hay
is cut and bound, my senses
and stored. Rhythmically
I grow back
toward future, little
more than splintered

stalks twine the sun
in alfalfa roping,
lay like gloss
on the open square
of that month

and whatever piece
on offer
head and hands folded
open, my vast comes
forth to soak
the scent of time.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Portrait Of The Dark In June.

The fingers called swiftly up
each little character

flecks that stand so at attention
with a train whistle’s

Marvel then
an imagined page where
fullish moons once stood over
small bodies of lovers

breaking the embraces
of vowels in their throats,

that newly made riot
for writing letters

and the distinct waft
of violet and sea air

and crashing
on such skins as these.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Unedited, back from the evening barn

gravity in the glass
push or punch
that gulp in mouth
fascination wield your
flowered hands
just over my eyes

just touch me
in my density

grant your gravity
love leave
the parched solstice
or sweated out moon time
just a drop before
beneath calls saying

just touch me
in my density

I, your light bulb
singing the color of wheat
am esophagus
full of fields
the dusk and the horses legs

gulp bloom
your answer left secret
a crest call where I cannot
just write what you want
I say instead

just touch me in
my density.

Tuesday Observations

coffee: the love act
the clarity of the glasses on the shelf
foggy tears for a lost baby
one patch of dirty sun on the floor,
in it lays a hound
10 am voices on the radio
clatter their worries around the house
gushes of oily money politic
and deep summer
pungent garbage stink already
slinking early under the sink
2 weeks before normal bloom
in the large blue canning jar
that I love calm me with green
stems against these red walls
and red heart.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In Memorium to Mark Kidd I.

life wrapped around cages
so often this
spectacle you
a discussion of death:
your purple heart

a royal color
running together the blues
and reds of expectation
and you are dead.

heat in flourishes
danger born and broken like
rivers that make us up
to our necks leaving
only faces for kissing

we’re going
where we cannot
spend our horses

so your war dollars
fall out on the table
getting fine pinot noir
a mercenary chortle
we toast after the feast

don’t laugh too hard
you are dead
I saw your face
hiding in the mountains
in your teal pick-up truck,
purple heart swinging from
your rear-view mirror.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Antler Never Given

Because there isn’t anything that doesn’t feel like fiction already, I am unsure how to proceed. All I have between myself and fiction is trust.

Because I love them, I don’t go visit them.

I was born on my grandfather’s birthday, also Lincoln, also Darwin.
My grandfather drinks. Heavily. In the garage, among the hounds and the old tools and cans of oil. The door is always open in any season, so he looks out into the fields and watches the weather come in. Sometimes he just drives around, drinking Natural Ice in cans, thinking behind the wheel. I was told that what he secretly thinks about is his other family, but something is crumbling in the edges of my mind. I’ll build the story out of his debts, and my splinters of memory.

My grandfather could out-drink a bear. I decided to ignore most of my debts in favor of getting on with my day, something I picked up from him.
The jaws of a bear catch the time again. There his face hung on an antler, rocking through the sleepy bar, echoing up from a glass of Bourbon. In the outside: Salted roads, salted eternal, preserving,
lasting through each season.

It was as though tomorrow night didn’t look black as a riding boot, twisted up in the trunk of a car. Me, I’m always riding around, two hounds in my palms, so when they called to tell me he died, I did what I knew best:
Tilted my snout toward the brothy scent of day to suss out a next move.
Night waiting, like boots.
Over and over in my rutted stomach I heard:

He: a grandfather. Mother’s father, little boy of all the older sisters that craned their buoyant chests in every direction, laughing or kissing.
She: a grandmother. Moth-like, chewing up her own closet until fluttering out crazily, always returning to the lamps he lit, always.

Because I love them, I seldom call.

They are the north-country, the tellers of that crumpled city, upon whose streets I fold my hands. Hounds know them, and the dead horses listen from their graves in the south fields. The life they once had is now fiction, as is the slippery vertical of lost architectures, upon whose cornices I hang tears.
They: the still-living ancestors.
They: the fiction with no pages.
They: beating and breathing, anchored to watchful fields
opening wide to welcome them, to welcome me, clutching antlers.
All my life now,
clutching antlers.

A funeral that hardly required embalming: a grandfather considering it a Polish courtesy to save the undertaker some extra work. He had started the job years prior, lighting the lamp of his policeman’s heart each morning for her.
A widow that hardly required comforting: years stacked on the bedside table like so many unread books. She had been alone anyways for so long, in a house of hounds calling him from the woods.
A granddaughter that came from the city they left behind, cedar swamp eyelids closing over something not yet gone, clutching the antler he never gave her. Black boots, tall, and so shined. Night twisting itself around the corners of her mouth, a car creeping in on the gravel driveway.

Out is the in beyond the river that keeps the city from being too ugly on one side. From there, I can perch and watch all the ancestors, dead and alive, as they disregard their debts to each other. The barn stands so alone now, with all the horses buried and the hounds interred in palms. Thinking I saw lights in the rafters, I pulled my leaden body up the hardly-there stairs to find a bear pelt, giant and mangy black, strung up wide across the beams. It reeked of old man, half drunk at noon.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Maze On Graph Paper

Don’t with your heart
you will find me too replete
to go home, so
make new
a tilled smell
that answers some junky sky,
jagged like an oyster shell.

Don’t with your rolling smile,
or answer. I try nonchalance
but secretly study each exit
pleading for an entrance.

In a room
with penned in clatters, curses,
and billows of drunk,
this tent of quiet
over my eyes:
extol patience
beg forgiveness
finish my beer.

something has happened.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dictionary Lover: A Haunting

Rivers of fabric were drowning her in the morning.

how to find him? all the clothes left behind, the hairs in the drain. knit a new lover out of these things? give him charm and expensive taste, a love for back roads and boiled peanuts.

The house empties it’s contents all over her.

She writes an opera to raise him from the dead, thinking in gestures. A reach into space presumes there is something to reach for; this is more like a grope.

Living in a convent of language, she writes a womb back around her, trying to go inside so she can come back out. Somewhere dark, pink –A quilt of flesh.

She keeps a close eye on his complete set of Oxford English Dictionaries; they are changlings switching places on their own. The numerals on the volumes manifest codes in each new arrangement. They come out with Morse screams, dash dot dash dash howl. She pretends its not torture.

Secretly, she hates the sun.

the dictionaries have written
frantic couplets
in the dark
spooning or stacking
to show intentions and
hideouts like so many vowels
gasping from another world
so stop her
as she recollects the “we”
and she said, I live in a convent
of language
he would tell me love through
the pores of life
and death
I know him, I know he would.

The shelf holding the dictionaries has begun to sag in the middle, as though each day
the volumes were filling with more words, glutting themselves from the inside out. They even begin to appear plump at the edges, glossier, greasier. They are growing obese –ripe blue gold systems.

Ok, she says. She needs to know where he’s gone, the house is sagging now, the air got heavy, the pillows on the bed weigh seventy pounds each. Ok, tell me.
codes codes not numbers
letter codes
not riddles, sonnets
washing bright swatches
into the rooms showing
long fields acres
breaking between the pewter
he writes:
don’t believe
everything you read
in heaven. open
a dictionary. dash dash stop
dot dash scream howl

She stops, hefts up each greasy, shining volume into her arms, feel it’s fleshy jacket, inhales it’s pheromones. They are human? No. But she is suddenly filled with desire for them, as though they were him.

She takes them to bed, arranges them on his side, tucks them in, gropes them each morning. They feel warm, even soft.

channels in the earth,
the sinew of letters
or genetic language
ooze from my afterlife
through some night gland
in dreams to yours
I drip words
caustic or blooming.

you were all I was
or could think of as
I lingered over every kind
of geography,
haunt you they said
in croaking whispers
show her the love code.

Honey-blood, I
haunt you still.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Grow Selves

my I waiting for
your I
in the place
where you grow me

a forced bulb
in our warm
empty of a house

caught in lightness
they say
you don’t write
the new
sleep your words
in time’s anachronistic

so what if
my I was backward
once, am
the I me not here now?
you show
me a contemporary
show me spit or
casual garbage

I bloom you
in the grown place
now you
then me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I heart Bob.

I love you man.

shred of city

The press of you
on the drum
placards me,
or answers to some
question of presence

what let down
the soft no-squeak
of night
around us?
an emptied city
only bluish
on each edge

a street yawns
let us fill just this
little shred of

on the prow, the press
when snow enters skin
or the slippery vertical
of lost architecture,

we careen
before ourselves
in a bloom of guilty
music, me
filled toward tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sestina for why girls love horses.

In the dark many gulps
are teaching girls how to drink with a pony
at the end of each hand, an artifice
that is not really there, something beyond rustic
beyond help from boys, who wish to advise
but find the impossible cornered in some kind of race

boys who are the darlings abhor the race
their fingers gently pass over borders, elicit gulps
of pleasure, or dream in European tongues and advise
the building of small churches, where at their altars stand a pony
and a virgin made entirely out of tattoos, of myths so rustic
they hurt. All those girls in the dark, bemoaning the architecture of artifice

wailing prayers to be or nothing or just horses etched in the artifice
of each church wall. In the dark, shouts teach girls about the race
riots of moths, silk burning wild bright, stampeding holes into garments rustic
and uncouth with splendor. Let them in, the stampede of gulps
undertaken in unlearning static motion. Pony,
in a gallop of fingers, she said to me: Seek, advise.

Or rather, if you are a girl (said some boy): pray, advise.
It turns out the boys are jealous, mantled in artifice
they suggest walls doors locks keys. They hate the pony.
The shimmer of category in the morning; they love race.
girls listen close in the barn, many gulps,
many perfect arches of the neck, are they now rustic?

They are first cavernous, dark, like Conrad says. Later on, rustic.
Left to numb and chortle, girls secretly advise
each horse toward the love of air in naked gulps,
and never believing in the act of artifice.
In the dark continues the race,
each morning the winner is a black white grey brown pony.

Each sunset, the dark finds a girl in the arms of a pony.
Is it then the boy knows her as rustic?
No. boys see only the race
caught in the throat to reveal how girls advise
the dismantle always of the artifice,
that old succubus, an ancient liar with all the wrong gulps.

But they are fastened to one another through an eternity of gulps
and the horses begin to squeal and advise:
beware in the dark, girls, the boys who love your artifice.