Any small thing
that outlives
its happiness

must learn
to keep
from freezing.

Slowly, the dying
flame quietly
tells its story...

"while there was
some warmth
left of morning,

she described
her dream-
the last one,

the lost one,
the one about
her absent lover".

Now, in the cold
trees, a vision,
a frozen bird-

stiff and white
and empty
as these words.



A note to God: here
is the history I promised-

the center of my city,
the mouth of my belonging,

the secret, serious invisible
longing, the stolen jewel.

Bless the younger life
that borrows its body,

returns- dissected
and touched and broken.

Bless the pages I have
torn and crushed

and thrown away-

the mistakes I've made.
In a long letter, I question



Haiku - Water and Sand (draft)

I am familiar with water. Walk
and the sand will walk
with you; water will only
run away. At night,

the blackness

and the water

with it.


A Simple Quest

Everywhere, light
fills itself with itself-

I have not knelt
in years or

watched the shore
with earth-colored
eyes, understood

the simple quest
of sky, the grey
complexion of sea,

the startling line
that divides them

How is it possible
to leave this

I should have
looked more often
for reconciliation-

the long gull,
tipped wing
that could

so fragilely
connect them.


The Stone Collector

I collect stones. My hands renew
the curves, the secret trauma
of treasured bones-
how nature's chisel, her strong,
relentless mallet
shaped them.

One, is like the belly
of a pregnant girl,
sandblasted egg-
a birth-button,
filled with foam and scent
of sea, folds inward-

almost human.

Another, sacred tablet
scrolled by gods
and dropped against
the sand- read now
by insect-crabs and feeding
white gulls.

Balsa wood, ochre
twisted sculptures filled
with broken, pearly shells-
strange and pretty dolls
of tide's children stranded
on the shore.

The sound of moving
water in the pebbles,
remnants of fireworks,
softly fizzle back and forth
fashioning the art, my hands
so pleasurably explore.

The Edible Part

My search is an old one.
I crack the seeds
with careful deliberation;

inside their skulls
are makings of flower.

I've ruined that now,
by exposing the sweet,

fleshy, edible part.



The last house in town,
a bridge, not the sturdy kind,
railroad tracks
no one has traveled
in a long time;

the sky shoved back by
a dark, invisible hand,
the only moon, a lamp
slow burned, three colored,

one in each eye-

a man must learn
to recognize what
lies within him.

A country, huddled stones,
the smell of it- raw earth,
gun-powdered loins,
dirty oiled streets,

serum gold, neon
tumored stars,
a river made of heat,
twisted veins-

a man
must wrestle with
his tangled nature.



Every so often, I make
an instant, infinitely


in spite of myself,
a memorable circle


How lucky to laugh
in this most-fear;

have you

questioned the immense
advantage of the fool?

Somewhere, while
the thought-less


slow, hushed,

the blossom,

(a metaphor
for duty)

opens air.

A Graceful Addiction *(First Steps in Snow)

I bring with me-
(remember, I have lived
harder and harder,
complete and impossible)

I bring with me
a beautiful planet.

For my light, somewhere
in this room, I give
my eyes to science, all
exiled, dreaming, secret
and unfinished- a perpetual infant.

I understand (one brief,
necessary moment) the heart,
the land, this steaming
island as if I, once
belonged here.

In a lifetime, once or twice
the soul moves gently
in its shell.

I leave (a graceful addiction
to this world)
unspoken words,
the language of my prayers-
who remembers in springtime
the first steps in snow?

*I bring with me
a beautiful planet,

for my light, somewhere
and unfinished- always

a perpetual infant,

I understand, as if
I once belonged here

the sadness of the feet

that made them,
those first few steps
in snow.


"What are dark things?"
not, strangely, the middle
of a fire, but... cold

black-seeded life, the small
uneven dots on the back
of feathered moths,

the dusty night-flower,
charcoal-satin clothed
beneath our window.

And other thoughts...
midnight grass, shy
purple green, dried leaves

fingered by the brown vine,
the earthen cracks it streams from-
immeasurably deepening.

Un-life, frail dark myth (despite)
a corpeslike gleam arising
from the center of our fires.


No one
will believe us...

our paths intersect
without moving-

moving, now
dense as grass

with its thousand
dancing legs.