So Many Nights

came and went, a million nights,

some whose ankles tied in ropes
pulled across the sky by large, dark crows.

This one, a summer storm, sharp
white-toothed whistling like an angry flute,
wet eyes weeping as if someone

had died suddenly.

Another followed swinging
long and wide between thin saplings,
its face pointed upward, the color

of moon and pale wildflowers;

it's mouth filled with flickering
silver moths and stars. 



Now immortalized, such an evening
creped in blue sky, shaken down from
white bough, crashed to flesh.

Darkness trickles from her cave,
a hidden grove undraped, defiled;
poison sprayed on flower,

milk-rust dried at the bottom
of a tiny cup, handfuls of
sweet grain scattered.

Venerating Flight

Here lies the fallen form
of death sewn to its bed, a snakeskin
torn by the final twist
of its unraveling.

Its eyes shut out from day,
their brilliance burned;  two stars
seeking comfort in sunken,
hollow spaces.

A chest, a shell, a cage
of bone whose inhabitant
a voiceless bird, wings folded down
as if venerating flight.


The Many Hearts of Nature

A wild circling rush of hawk,
from their dark throats the sound of a carpenter's tool
chafing steel or wood.   Also, the sharp cry
of the carpenter's daughter whose hand
slides towards splinter like hawks
slide against sky.

Like splinter or thief, the whirling hunters
find their mark ignoring obvious gifts-
small birds, ripe berries, grub
preferring to steal what has not
been given to them.

The uneasy heart continues
to shape itself.

Beneath them, scattered fists
of resting wolves like women's fur coats
dropped carelessly in the evening heat
of a garden party, their jeweled-button eyes
admire the birds's craft like tourists at market
inspecting trinkets they are not allowed
to hold or touch.

The quiet heart examines 
its forbidden treasures .

Surrounding mountains, immense, humped
backs of whale, barnacled dirt, rock and shell;
slowly emerging fog and clouds stream up
through their skyward mouths, earth-shifting groans
and howling wind like water forcefully
crashing around them.

The heart becomes larger, 
breaking surface.

Nearby a creature, once of nature himself,
Cephisuss cursed, arrested by glittering darkness & light,
he now recognizes as self.  How he's missed
the cries of hawk, the keen discernment
of the wolf's eye, the rolling, spitting hills.

Accepting its origon, 
the heart rejoices! 


Stars Over a Battlefield

Even in battle-  the stars like burning bees
trapped in their own dark honey, ignore
the dying.  Who can blame them;
they have their own worries.

Without compassion, the dead reshape
geography of bones, of rough-forged wounds,
of bleeding, memorize their own eulogies,
begin their slow descent

into violets and weed.

How can such beauty be un-mourned,
the un-natural in a natural world
confirm its certainty?

As for apathetic stars:  merely leftover
light on an unending journey, not unlike
recurrent dreams we have of resurrection.
Who can understand their jealousies,

their cold indifference?


The Unwanted Daughter

When I accept that fire is missing,
the unbroken breaking, the tone
of two voices whispering prayer;

this means disappointment,
the body’s commitment to grief,
the perfection of its fears. 

Only then, the reluctant heart 
expels what it couldn't refuse, 
builds hallways, windows and doors
to light-filled, private rooms

where someone else's daughter
arranges her hairbrushes, dresses
and shoes as if she belongs there,
as if she will never leave.


Exquisite Shining

We held eachother's ghosts,
a fist of sorts;  your blue claws
tight around my quickest vein, 

a dagger in my dark belly. 

A drum's chord bruised the rock
in mirrored waves; washed night
from limb, mist from hills. 

When you leave the bed 

I understand the sea, the quiet
deep organs of its body, the grief
of its constant pulse against
the waiting shore,

the way it shines exquisite
in the sudden brightness
of our morning.

Throat of the Bird

And they came creeping,
slabber-ing dogs or a lone hyena
ostracized from the pack
stalking a way in, a way back;

the civilized days are gone.

Somewhere in nature, a creature
is dying.  Nowhere in nature is written:

"reverence will sustain you".

The snow sets, high, now,
sounds of its silence
deafen the ear, tightens
the throat of the bird

that sings loud, that sings
loud and lives.

What I Did to Save Myself

You return.  No one has ever returned
unchained.  You believe you know what it is
to endure infinity, the way stars have preyed
on mercy, on darkness for uncounted years,

the way oceans guard their victims from
maurading winds, the patience of light
in its unending journey to end.

You came back and I am your witness,
your strange heart cupped in my hands, your eyes
filled with sweetness and sin.  I ask you,

"What sorrows led you here?  Whose flame 
have you extinguished; whose love have you spilled?"

You answer   "Yours."


Shucking Oysters

Daily, we are humbled like
tiny crabs scurry against
the shore, then senseless,
swept away to sea

where we were born.

Or so like oysters, clumsy
mineral shells built around
formless flesh, protecting
us in suffocating darkness

like death

until at last revealed,
lune-ruptured gifts, the pearl
so lovely gleaming
from our chests.

Dead Girl's Ballad

She became a type of stone, 
soft-hewn and simple, an egg
whose embryo is sleeping. 

Imagine a voiceless language 
like water, spider or dust,
what birds say each evening

if I could sing, I would comfort you.

Her mouth, the soundless dove
nesting in the brume of a steepled city,
her slippered skin, a verse I write

in the palm of a book with pencil,
a single metrical line- of loss,
of stillness, of grace.


Grey Wolves

In colors of earth & wood,
eyes like two moons moving 
through rocky fields,  

considered shadows
or exquisite nightmares
in their large dark cloaks  
creeping northward. 

Without using word or
wild or savage, their world
all grey, stone, leaf, tree
and dream is habit.  

So like river or raven
with virtues of flow, of flight,
of journey -  remain magic.


The Nature of Sand

I had always believed
and though unlikely,
a sand-colored beast created
from sand and heat;

a holy birth.

Accept my apologies
for wanting to see the naked-ness
of beauty at the very instant
it became


yearning is not

but could be.

Once the sensation
of hunger burned me,

I carried its glory.

Thou Shalt Not Ruin

Choose two stones the shape
of eyes, a cape of bone and straw,
a chain of teeth.

Confine your precious things
in silver boxes, forget their wounds;
they do not intend

to forgive you.

Tear down the golden hives,
let fly each winged mystery,
they will follow you


the wondrous creature's skulls
grown roots of leafless tree,
share their vigilance, study

their weakness.

In metered syllables speak
of sleep, tame its hollowed spiral
dreams.  Guide the innocent

away from deceit,

The feathered sparrow, gashed
and bleeding; it isn't wounds that
needed healing, but reconstitution

of half-digested berries,
scattered, wasted




you are like yourself, sad
and far away, a dark ruby,
a slow celtic dance by night-fire
when no one is watching.

See how the hills recognize
your singing, how they lie down
satisfied, their mournful brown faces
buried in their muscled arms

listening.  How evening wraps
its purple robes around your back,
a velvet funeral gown;  the earth
anchors your heart like root.

Again, the moon casts the cold
glow of her own loyal sorrow
across the wild strands of your hair
and dances with you.

Like a Blind Wing

All night the ashen bats
rush against our breasts
in short, uneven flight-

quick deaths.

Their fibrous wings
the wind, the darkness
sightless find

fresh targets-

their bite sweet
and final.

Death: a Black Wolf

Like fear, now
you cannot hear me
through the labyrinth of bones,

the body's malignant
frozen seizure, my cries

cracking teeth, viscous
winds, the howling of wolves

in a sudden blizzard

breath became blade,
your motionless body
arrested prayer-

wild and dark and still
like the gutted carcass
of a gorgeous star

limp and light-less

to earth.

She Drew a Charcoal Heart

Charcoal pencil, black
dust to outline what matters
most.  To consecrate,
capture light

as if to arrest
a wild beautiful-ness
as if existence were

made of want,
drawn by will.

Perhaps it is
after all two separate
pieces born from a single

desire, turn
and twist, climb
similar ladders,

decay and rust
in divergent skies

twin stars whose
arteries pulse, whose
blood cells rush,

split and die
in the simple sketch
of a human heart.

Holes in Its Pockets

No longer secret like
an over-sized hoodie, red
with the eye of God, the silver
Lion tattooed on its back;

the carcass it rides,
missing a heart nor recall
when it fell out.

Like a plastic shower
curtain in dim-light something
large and dark living inside

or the body encased
in stone unable
to crack or cry.

We are given
one line, a short notch
of planet, of plot,

a threadbare jacket

with gifts in two shallow
pockets.  Gifts that we held
so quiet and loved

and lost.


Garden at the City Wall

They are not here to warn
us;  you cleaved to suffering
the way matter binds

to memory soaked
in light.

They will find you
imbalanced, living in what
some may call

poisoned gardens,
diseased and dying.

Still they will not
spare you, give you
what you struggle towards

like ants in mud-

some obscure opening in
the city's malignant wall.

You be the judge.  See where
the bones of heart pounded
into dust resemble

ashes, resemble
an unknown animal's
drying blood?


Paper Girl

In the holy age of

she is folded like paper
is folded into small
replicas of myth-

angular swan, sharp edged
butterfly, screaming
monkey and dart-tailed

Small, random pieces
of non-existence
with white skin,

blank hearted

without the ability
to stand firmly
upright or

unfold herself.

A Natural Art

We hid long enough
from bombs and piercing
silences that inherently follow
anticipation of dying.  A mouth
of silence stuffed full with
sorrow like rags in the throat
of a hostage or pain before

climbing its ladder. 

When we could still feel
our nerves on fire, we picked up
our scalpels pressed into
the thin purple mark, shaved
away what we should not
but inherently are.

This is not a natural art
like God or lightening or
waterfalls.  This is faux scarlet,
enhanced blood and tattoo
scars.  This is laughter
in lieu of black flowers.

Rise up like bone buoyed
by water, travel along the surface
like glass carries light in arcs. Open
up your hearts like night unhinges
its jaw and swallows those
it obsessively loves. 


Broken Shells

This is the beach where
the invisible boy found
his invisible girl.

See how they dance
beneath the gull wing,
slap the weeping shore,

twirl and snap
between their fingers
broken shells.

Late at night you hear
them call like migratory
whales, then sink


What Comes Loud, Unbidden

he said our room had two
doors.  One to keep open,
the other to keep us out.

This place is private
like a dream about a bull
who kills you every night,

the floor sticky with blood
and love.

Beneath this house, root
and rot grown up into the walls
like children who come

loud, unbidden
at a funeral

or his ribs twisting, cracking
around his crumbling
plaster heart.

he said this is our waiting
room, our names carved

on the inside of our mouths
like secrets.


Keep Quiet the Stones

carry your burden, this is (not)
a request;  fill the useless ruins
with beauty, then disguise

the mark.

Borrow the imperfect
returning it with fire;  find
the red and orange blossoms,

shield them.

Prepare the wound, revising
circumstance to prayer;
remember the jagged
shape of sorrow,

how it tears and heals.

Keep quiet the stones
sleeping in their beds, if
they should hear you

crush them quickly,
they will bury you;

walk carefully
in the wild, untended fields,
you will be swallowed.