The less I eat, the less
I want. Starving, the soul
loses its hunger. In an empty
room, the space grows larger.
It is not enough to trim the fat,
we have to hit the bone. Leave
the bread & milk for those attached
by fibers of this world.

Because They Know

Why are the birds
singing in the hedge
so loudly?

I think they know
there is an afterlife
that's just as good

as this one. I think
they sing today because
they must.


The Dream Darkens

When you lie sleeping in an afternoon,
the world aging around you, remember
the way light recedes back into its shell;
how slowly it moves away from everything
it loves. You will find yourself grieving
in the shadows, nearly blind; the room
in which you dream darkening. Nothing will
relieve your sightless groping. Would I be
cruel to wake you while your dying?


The Blessed Can Save Themselves

From a small house on the hill,
a voice was heard saying "save me".
The bird bones in the yard whispering,
dead roses in its garden praying "save us".
Out in the streets, no one is listening;
their ears are filled with pennies,
their hearts are buried in shallow graves.
The only one who hears the cries for help
is God and He is busy saving sinners.

A Change in Weather

There are subtle changes
in the air- colder, louder,
the smell of snow. Less blue,
more grey. I see my face
in the outside window clearer than
a mirror, clouds behind me,
eyes filling up with darkness.
You are cleaning the fireplace
like a groundhog burrowing
into the living room. The glass
between us, a wedding veil.
When you lift your head to smile
at me, I know we will survive
another blizzard.

Glancing Back

I've asked him
to love me.
Like a wagging dog
who howls into emptiness,
then bites the hand
that will not stroke it.
I can't understand why
you push me aside.

I'm in a place
where the manicured lawn
turns into wildness,
a dark path into woods.
You have turned in the doorway
of the house as if catching
an animal in a ray of moonlight
then quickly go inside.


What more can I tell you
about hell and fire; how good
it is to have survived it?
There are moments when the soul
forgets its dreams and puts
its hand back into the flame.

The Wolf

He was wild but
did not know it.
The freezing creek,
the ghostly snow, the iced
boughs cracking in the wind
were to him like Eden.
How could he know
the steel trap hidden
in leaves would be
his only knowledge
of humans?

The Color of Morning

At night, the lilies
are yellow at the hands
of the moon. Their faces
are closed, their eyes sleeping
downward in the midnight wind,
they dream of morning, of white
dresses and dancing in the sun.


The time has finally come
when I don't think of you
each evening or fear darkness.
I, who had become the darkness,
am turning towards light.
There, in the distance
is a wounded star dropping
from the sky.


The Party

Someone else has died.
It will always be
someone else until
it is you and you
will be the last one
at the party.

The Weight of Roses

I can hardly
tolerate my frailty;

my heart,
a wasting rose,

my spine
a breaking stem.

In this world,
there is more respect

for the dead than
an aging woman.

Dancing in Complete Silence

They say he is deaf. That his written word
became a beautiful voice, a silver ear.
That you could hear the ocean in a shell,
a child laughing on a swing, a brass bell
ringing, the rustling of bodies dancing
in complete silence. One man's deafness
is another man's music.

Dying Star

Where inside the mangled stone
are remnants of light, the fading
moss, the self imagining warmth?

One night, reaching through darkness
I touched a star. It was cold and damp.
Through my skin, its fading brightness,

like a dream of fire, reminded me
of a past life. There's not much more
to remember than what it felt like

to hold it in my hand.


The Vessel

No such simplicity
affords reprieve
as love. O golden
idol, cracked vessel
is it blood or water
leaking from the wound?


A Clear Blue

What is vulnerability? Does it
take a criminal to spot it?
There is some sort of materialism
required, because the dead are fearless.

Through a curtain-less window
an undressed child's face
is caught by light in such a way,
more translucent than sun,

more innocent, available.

In the heart of a child, there
are no shadows. No black or white
or grey just heat and flames.
Like summer on a clear blue day.

The Guns

Then suddenly BAM!
like a hammer striking
a bug. A metal fork
beating a drum, electricity
sizzling through bone.

Let's look at some hard evidence-

black burnt lines on wood,
jagged scars on the cloistered
red blood-pump, dark circling
birds in the nightsky.

Are they falling or rising?

Will they survive their velocity?
And so it happens so quickly, kills
quickly, hidden by clothes or earth
or time. BAM! BAM! BAM! goes the guns.


In Between

Not often enough
a good friend visits.
We are connected in
so many ways and some
so different. Will you be
the first to come or go-
definitely not. More
prideful creatures would
beg to differ. Let them
wallow in their plastic
pools with their underwear
on and a margarita. Even
the palm tree is rubber
and glue. I like to be
secret like cello music
played in the darkness.
Like walking in pajamas
through the midnight park
or drinking champagne
at the drive-in movies.
And though I won't be first
or last, that something
in between is good.


Like Me

I'm tired
of speaking of
humans. Surely,

there is some
forgotten species
that needs a language.

We could create one.

Lighter than a
molecule of feather,
shapelier like red dunes

in desert, strong as
tree roots wrapped
around eachother.

But will it smile
when it rains or snows?

Will it have a heart
that dances like a wind-blown
flower or a nose

that smells the lilac?

In my dreams, this beast
is nearly as inconceivable
as me.

The Bright-White Mushroom

The model of Hell
as Dante knew
was Hiroshima.

A child of ash
and bone and blood.

Like my child.
The flash of

a camera's bulb,
so bright, so bright

some might call it
beautiful, if they

hadn't lost their sight.

What savages
they were to us

and we to them.
Then came the mushroom,

its in-human heat,
poisonous powder,

thick black rain.
Which level of hell

are we destined for
if we do it again?

The Roses Are Lovely

You are soft and comfortable.
You are not for me. A bed
of needles, a tiger's eye,
a bruised, shredded flower,
my hair undone, dark & brutal,
a razor slit, a sharp, short cry.
I am damaged material. This is
the burning horse's back I ride,
the hunting wolf whose unforgiving
fangs are mine. Stay within
the confines of the garden,
they say the roses are lovely.



He watches me as if he's hungry
or could he love me? Imagine

how the moon looks down upon
the beauty of oceans, she wants it

as a jewel, a topaz ring. But
cannot see the teeming danger

of jellyfish or shark.

At last she sees the rows of teeth,
the polished fossils, shreds of meat,

the mental image of a planned attack.
And so the moon, jewel-less fingers

is satisfied with diamond-looking stars.


I'm not new to this show,
I've seen the clowns, dancing
girls, the uneasy lion, rubber
bodied jumpers on their wires.
What does this mean? Because
I've loved, I've lost the feeling?

Because I've torn apart the toy,
found its nuts and bolts and wheels
I'm disillusioned? Perhaps,

it is the simple things, the flawless
egg, the empty box, the golden light
streaming through a window, the way
a hand moves, pointing to the star
preserves enchantment.

When It Snows

Where is your heart when
snow first falls delicate on
the heels of winter? Can't you feel
its strings cold and tighten?
And when it seems the sins
of summer are forgotten, the winds
begin. Never a bird whose voice
so frightening or wooden flute
pressed the lips of mourners
cause the limbs to tremble like
a tired vein, the soul to stretch
its tiny feather, its snow-covered wing.

The Shade of Love

First, it was the boy
with cement in his eyes.
I fell in love because
he could not see stars,
or ever understand the depth
of blue or green.

He took his stick, his
bodyguard dog, a light
I'd never seen on his face
and walked away. Terrible
girl who sees everything,
turning it to black & grey.

Now, the road has narrowed,
the little flowers smaller by
the wayside. For years, my own
lack of vision phlebotomized
the tiny vessels in my eyes.
They say that love is blind-
or should be.


Down Below

I am looking for the undead.
I reach for flesh, touch wood.
The silver door of a birdcage
is open, it's impossible to say
where it has escaped or
if it ever existed. When the soul
is taken, there are no golden gates,
angelic voices, not a single bell
ringing from the village below.


I go through phases: everything is filthy,
doorknobs, sink handles, the carpet, curtains.
This is the manifestation of dying; it's a dirty job
but someone has to do it. Then there are days
when germs become the animal, somehow
belong there as a skin cell or a strip of bark.
The enemy or the protector; I never realized
I was the deformity.

The Ridiculous Meal

At first she tried to mimic them,
their long, sad faces, expressions
like blank pieces of paper. Properly
here folds the tablecloth, knives
and forks and spoons like some prestigious
ritual or an intimate way to control
the environment. Then one day she woke up
in a valley of earth with nothing to eat
but beetles and worms. No manners or
ceremonial rules. Just hand to mouth.


The Old Gods

From afar, I watched him,
disguising my interest.
Could this be "the one"
they found in the tunnel
of fire? But his hands
were so gold as if they
never held a shovel or rifle.
In fact, he was a baby still
swaddled in diapers. Teetering
between sunlight and shadow,
spiders and moth yet showed
no fear. How un-humanlike.
The old gods have packed
their bags, the new one
looked up at the stars
and smiled.

Mitigating Circumstances

He read somewhere, he
was an only child
like a one-armed man,
a type of tree whose
leaves never sprout,
turn colors or fall.

Even his shadow was
half of a shadow, limping
behind him. Some people are twins.
Do two eggs make an omelet?

Of course, it was his
right to feel alone
walking in a crowd
of brothers, sisters,
lovers. But he

could not have known
how singularly single
is the grave. He rests
beneath his headstone
feeling vindicated.


To Love or Die

It is more violent
to love than die.

The dead won't
remember gentle smiles,

the eyes that met
your eyes with gratitude,

the hands that held
your hand as if it

belonged to them.

But like an open
and closing door,

they come and go,
some for lying,

others for younger,
greener pastures, or

falling for the deception
of the deep, dark underworld

where death is
preferable to loving.

Into the Shadows

There it is again in the fields
the sound of horses galloping towards
the woods escaping sun's heat and flies.
If my purpose were as simple, running
home back through time to a gentle mother,
a spotted dog who deftly herded his cows
to the shelter of the barn, the bed
I counted stars from as if they were
silver dimes. How rich I was when I reached
a million. Now, leaving my body behind
I sprint with the mares and stallions
who inherently live in the moment
searching for nothing more than shadow.

The Boomerang

Well, I have to be honest,
no one promised me anything.
With that in mind, I have
everything I need if I need
nothing. I never learned
how to work a boomerang.
The theory is you throw it
and it comes wheeling back.
Mine never came back, they fell
into the canyons gorge. I blamed
it on the wind, a sore shoulder,
the faulty shape of the wood.
This is the reason I won't skydive,
I've anything and everything to lose.

A Small Tattoo

Not always known like
a murky figure in fog,
the soul may seem larger
than it is. Like a tattoo
on the back, covered by
clothes, what is its purpose?
Perhaps it is just that-
mystery, a piece of lint
in an empty pocket, a spider
hiding on the edges of its web.
A Chinese saying: if it isn't
there, it isn't there.
Or is it?

A Worm Dreams

It's been awhile since I've seen
the ocean, though its right beside me.
Fear is the blinder. Disappointment,
the great divider. The body trembles,
salt-water collecting in its ears. Inside
the dark jar filled with soil, a worm
dreams of being a porpoise like humans
dread becoming a worm.


First Song

Slowly, as is the nature of
the first bird brave enough
to sing.

Ahead of morning, not knowing
that its song wakenes lilies
slumbering in their purple heads or

jostles the roses from
red-velvet dreams. Maybe, I
could be that bird, fearless,
hopeful with anonymous wing

fades back into the beauty
of its musical kingdom.

Out of Grace

Why are you ignoring the symptoms?
It is important to point out the cracks
in a bridge or the chip in the cup that
tears your lip everytime you drink from it.
Nothing is pure but God and even He keeps
a discerning distance. Those among us
who are gentle and wise but bury grief
in the rich soil of the heart, we will
never find mercy. We were designed to be
imperfect, laboring towards redemption.


Speaking from the eyes,
speechless and shocked,
the girl moved away from
the second-floor window.

I could not tell what
she had seen, what seemed
so tragic or desecrated.

Beneath us, in the narrow alley
a couple kissing.

What Can I Give You?

What can I do now
to reassure you?
I have looked into
the future; it is
filled with the living
and the dying. In a small
corner of the world, I saw
a ray of light the size
of a splinter. Here is
a map and a pair of boots-
go and find it.


Electronic Head

The noise from the t.v. sounds
like poison. Who are these
artificial beings with their
electronic heads? See, one
is selling automobiles while
holding a chimpanzee. A woman
is baking fish with oil & garlic.
Behind me, the world is not so
colorful or scripted. The lonely
chair, the despondent carpet,
a room of silence and darkness
which can only sit and stare
into the blue-flickering machinery.

Drowning in Fire

What have you done with your love?
Maimed it, buried it, set its hair
on fire? I know we were meant to be
together but I could not survive you.

What I mean to say is: even the moth
singed and ripped, smoldering in that
blue-grey smoke will try again, again
to throw itself into the flame, any flame.
It's silver head a tastebud for the heat,
its black-tipped wings reluctantly follow.

Your love is like that singular rush
where heat and light become a beacon
of desire. To an offshore lighthouse,
its inconsistent beams of light turning
towards the shoreline, out over the sea,
it is the unattainable that drowns you.

All About Stones

Put your mind at ease,
I won't forget the size
or heaviness of that
four-sided stone or how
it tried to raise itself
in constant terror, from
the level of its pain.

All pebbles are not created
equally. Some weigh less
than eggs, others fit in the palm
of a hand and then there's
mountains where climbers freeze
to ice just because they can.

You can cripple a man with a rock
or write "I love you" on its skin.
If its flat enough, you can skip it
over a body of water or simply
put it in your pocket.


Far Better

Always, the rain,
a sensuous kiss
against the cracked
cheek of earth,
the river collecting
its beads and swells.
Runs first like a snake,
then charging lions
gnashing their teeth
on the cliffs. Here,
is where I want to live,
my soul a cold mist,
my spine curled under
its coat like a gift.
The sound of water,
trees and grasses
drinking liquid's sky,
is far, far better
than poetry.

A Child's Book

They tried to comfort me, I knew
they would. The less sane I appeared
the closer they held me to their bodies.
Who really knows what a headless man
is thinking or why his heart continues
licking its lips for the last red liquid
form of living? It happened so quickly,
as most children's stories do, with all
the colorful pictures exciting the senses.
But when that last page is turned and night
swallows the hero, the heroine, all
that's left is a frightened cartoon
struggling to stay awake.

Nothing to Show for It But Life

What can you tell me
that I haven't heard?
As if you've wrestled
with Hade's Cerberus
severing its hound-like
heads while I cling fearful
to your un-hemmed skirt.
For those who want desperately
to die, to rush into your
six foot rooms, I want to live
on this side of midnight
beneath a sky the size
of heaven. Put away
your knotted nooses, your yellow
pills, your sharpened knives,
I will live another day content
and empty-handed.


They staged the murder scene,
called it birth and everyone
was happy. For awhile.
At a certain age, after
the party, when fast moving
stars come to a screeching halt,
we become suspicious. Some nights
I can smell the perfume of
my childhood, like a tracking dog
I wind and wheel through tunnels
of my heart. Through light to
darkness and then the silence,
falling into water, gasping
for that first, virgin breath.


The Purpose of Wolves

The poisoned light has come
to change me

from healthy darkness where
I sleep hidden, formless

in my childhood.

Casting doubt, the blank
surface of opening eyes,

now I see everything.

I am worried for my children
before they're born, skeptical

of whether my enemies will
forgive me, let me live.

They are coming for the temple
of my personhood with knives,

with bombs and hateful words.

A stranger arrives
in the shape of a wolf,

leads me back into
the blindness of the jungle.


Of Wings

Heart, the bird,
white, into its tower.
She is beautiful tonight,
a cold, barren star,
her knowledge wild, soil
between her claws. Beneath
the shadows of her perch,
her voice the sound of night
beating in its barrow. Sings
the prayers of birds tirelessly.
Falls asleep dreaming of wing,
of sky, of cloud. Awakes
wrapped in quivering muscle.

A Plastic Doll

How privileged are inanimate things-
uneducated stone, the soul-less water,
a plastic doll, the dead nerve. They sleep
forever eyeless, selfless, strangers to the world.
At night, jealous winds knock down the doors
looking for the living. Outside, snow falls
mindless to the frozen earth, its essence vacuous
as shredded paper. Even words inked upon its stationary
can only invent what it means to live.


Factor X

What is potential? Sage
before it hits the oil,
a bird's egg uninterrupted
in its wooden nest, outstretched
wings before they hook the air?

While sleeping, darkness is
an envelope, sealed, anonymous,
a fist of roses in a bone-field
burning through the worm. What is
now can be what was or even maybe.


Being Here

If it's true we were made
in image, not the molten
liquid rock and star, would
it make a difference?

Ask the bird who has forgotten
where she came from, sings
joyfully, a little bell until
she falls and silenced, did she care?

And if you question the mountain,
his snow-fleeced cap, his jagged
quiet mouth will not tell you
how he came to be.

Because the infinite has no name,
no photographs of cradled planets,
no wise old man to reproduce
a blueprint, it doesn't depreciate

the value of being here.


Why kill the fly when
all the windows are open?
Just give it time to navigate
its wilderness of air and soon
it will inevitably
liberate itself.

The Snare

A book of verses, opened freshly
wherein lies raw, wild creatures,
their cryptic artistry of hunting
for the heart. With sharp, white

teeth, knife-edged claws, an appetite
for living- do words know hunger?
Can they wound their favorite prey?

And there it is lying at the bottom
of the ink-black pit, fallen for
the baited snare, the poet's trap,
a morsel of discernment.


The Forces That Keep Us

Not knowing what sits unseen beside me,
where sea is steel, sands the powdered bones
of whales, with heart the size of whales and night,
a closed, latched door, I understand the terrible
blindness of stars. This world isn't about seeing,
rather reaching out into unimaginable darkness,
touching rocks and trees and soil, listening
to thunder, its booming wings, feeling rain
lifting up our eyeless faces towards something
beautiful. Now I understand the forces
keeping us primitive, innocent, unknowing.


The Softness of Light

I recall the kindness
of a face in the shape
of a bird sleeping on
the arm of a birch, fragile
as magnolia petal, just as
lovely. Lying asleep in
the shape of moon, I turn
over falling like a ray
of light, soft as wing,
never raised back up again.

Undressing Love

Are you willing to intrude where
stars are fond to go, obliterated
by their mass or failure to relinquish
a fading radiance? In this way,
the privilege of love and joy gathers
pace and blood like light and light
where it rushes towards the rose
burning like an empty house, a fever
in a dying child, colors that which
it devours with brilliant red. Undressing
love, hands on fire, blinds the eye, strips
the soul to its naked, natural splendor.

Dead But Beautiful

My heart, early like
the winter pine collects
new snow, rebounds morning
light into the mouths
of strange, misshapen hills,
becomes a blue, cool glow
growing towards the wood.
In this place, the wound
is darkness, first the cold
then numbing sadness. The origon
of ice, clear conscience freezes
water, enslaves the living cell,
my heart, dead but beautiful.

Closes Like Shell

Two minutes a day,
shameless joy,
the rest a terminal
journey towards
the ends of earth,

the buried treasure,
the cemetery. Inside
a room disguised as body,
its invisible seams,
fluttering eyelids,

a pearl resides within
a craggy, bony cradle,
an unwashed jewel.
And so the soul, pink
and round seems to

smile even at
its funeral, then
lies down, quiet
terrible and hidden,
quickly disappears.

Something Sweet

Wine in the morning is
either a sign of success
or grief. Like bees
to flower or a body,
face-down in mud, the heat
fermenting the grape or
flies swarming meat.
An intoxicated ghost
leaves the body searching
for something sweet.