Midnight Rider

This is psychological. In a dream
that is not a dream I rise from

my blankets and there are wolves
blackened faces, wire-like fur,

their light-soaking eyes follow me
to the field where we keep horses.

A two year old quarterhorse I raised
myself, anticipates our midnight rides,

his long slender legs, thick muscled
neck, beautiful velvet nostrils

blowing ice-cold mist. And here
we are, species who could not be

more different. Here beneath
the blackened sky, the moon

a jealous spectator we gallop
and fly like a single organism

clinging to eachother.

Stay Awake, my Heart

I don't want to sleep, tonight,
I know it will be the end of you.

And me, like some sad, old woman
who should have kept her eyes open,

like a wild brown owl focused on
a blind, oblivious victim. I want

to swoop down, tonight, a night
in the seasoned past, the night you

disappeared in cold, white flame
breaking my bones in the beak of

your mouth and never returned.


And I knew I would carry you,
ignorant of myself, even to that

last cold house whose doors
are frozen shut, whose windows

do not see out. I should be
grateful, then, that the you

have forgotten me, a prisoner
to myself. How could you

understand you have betrayed me
where love is some dark animal

dying in its steel-toothed trap,
the irony of mourning for

that which kills you?



There, between us, your sinister gravity,
my immutable ritual of holding onto shiny
things even when they're useless and crude.

There is no confusion in our confusion.

A hundred times I have dismembered my love
for you. In four languages I write your name
in the shadows of sun, on the smooth black

river with its quiet, thoughtful stones.

What was once beautiful has been broken down
to pain, the anonymity of calling into darkness
and darkness explaining that you are not there-

my own body, a dying star, outlasting decay.



You are a man. Nothing
but a man. A clot in the heart,
an aneurysm reaching maximum
pressure before tearing
the frail-walled vessel.

Then, you are a device
of death, an open red mouth,
a river of blood. How so
like wine, rich, sweet
intoxicating and love.

To Fail as a Flower

It is my face I pray you recall
when you are despondent. Like a room

you walk blindly, yet sure of where
the chairs are scattered. And every

line within your fingerprint filled
with knowledge of my neck, my shoulders,

the small cup of my back like some fragile
flower. When you pray, I hope you hurt

the way I hurt, when you cut me away.


The Clearing

I will not relinquish
what I have earned:

the right to admire
your beauty. Often

we are left without
souvenirs, clawing up

the mountains; even our
dewclaws ripped and torn.

In a small clearing,
you finally gave me

rest among the flowers,
birds to sing our songs,

strength to persevere
the long trek down.


The Unseen, Silent

We think we are above it,
tiny cracks of earth where
beetles lumber toward
the twigs, a cracked seed.

I've always thought
the unseen or the silent
holds the greatest secrets.

Pay attention to the wolf,
his head held down, his nose
a beacon towards mysterious.

Somewhere in his brain
the smell of life inspires,
keeps him riveted.

Laconic Beauty

It's time
to appreciate
beauty. Small

silver wings,
faint green and
and purple veins;

also the brief
temporal pause
as its heart

gives out.


I Am Finished

I am finished
with rivers and roses
and light, the one-eyed
moon, the large embrace
of sky.

Even, the sweet
mysteries of night,
I will not revisit.

Instead, a small gray
stone placed carefully
in its tiny jar, alone
to remind me of where
I came from.

Hospital Room

I saw his heartbeat
slowly fail. I was
an angel waiting

for collection.

And I said, softly
in his ear: do not panic,
you're taking me

with you.

The Blackened Drain

In a country of ants
there are many hills,
some man-made, others
by the wind or sea.

Who stands against
the ocean like a giant?

Whose trembling wings
challenge roaring winds?

In a universe of stars
there is much death, more
light and traveling round
and round the blackened drain;

in a quiet sky, the comets
streak like fire of the mind.

I Choose

To love or not to love
is not the question-

it's arrogance.

Some days we think we know,
then suddenly we don't.

Which is worse, to be
gutless or heartless;

to be darkness or lightness?

Neither singular state is favorable
to life. Of all the human plagues

and sacrifices, I choose love.

As It Falls

It's not what you expected,
life, from the beginning
they told you: Go in fear.

Then, sweet milk, odiferous
flowers also at a funeral,
the smell of death and what

it means to feel. Greetings,
goodbyes, the inbetween of love
and yearning like some small bird

shot in the heart, clinging to
its favorite bough, glancing
upward as it falls.


Brown Rice and Beans

Bread for him, wine
for her- a small kitchen
in the house of dream,
of darkness. And so

they gather for a prayer,
quiet, calm but hungry,
recite their prayers, napkins
folded by a priest. Fish,

brown rice and beans.


Orange Blossoms

The wrists unfold, softly
as the bud's tight fist unravels
to the gradual light. It is
a decent happiness to be alive.

What worries me is hour's stale
bright outline. The heat becomes
a furnace in the heart. Soon wilting,
all petals charred and coiling.

And now the gardener with sterile
gloves, clips the stem and bough
sending all the birds away, pores
and cracks puckering, sapped over,

the smell of orange blossom.


Bleeding again, this body hides
its scars from the inside, a
natural cauterization to each
vein, each artery. What dwells

in the eyes, windows in a house
where immovable chairs collect
dust, creaking, dried wood
and nails betrays proof of life.

They recently said "there's life
on Mars". Carbon monoxide, mountains
and valleys, the face of a man
looking outward. Proof or is it?


On Dark, Sad Earth

Forgive yourself, beloved,
I know what haunts you.

There is a place where
fathers leave their sons,

you cannot heal your wounds
by loving all your children.

Forgive him, my beloved,
for the scattered seeds

on dark, sad earth,
harsh winters, the first

snow fallen like white
rice in the fields.

Release me, my beloved
from your memories as

I no longer struggle
to extinguish yours.



We are folded together,
fleshed origami

or spaces

between cut-out dolls
where the arms should be.

I warned you
of fusion, of kiss,

of dipping
into bowls
with your fingers,

the reflection
of someone-else
standing behind you
in a mirror.

Only God survives

the silvered skein
that shines pearl
and purple.

So we slowly
unravel, a little toy,
a top, a spool of thread,

to become
what we are not-



Envy of the man with few words,
coarse hands, his heart fugitive

to joy. Late into the quiet night
he wonders if the stars have meaning,

more than his. More than pain,
more than burning. And then

the window to his bedroom draws
a desperate swarm of moth.


It is not enough
to love or is it?

What muscle moves
to light and darkness


Whose mind soars
and dives repeatedly

in clear blue-purpled skies?

Finally, the heart
says yes, the heart

and mine.

This Morning

Underneath morning's cloak
the song of birds, the cold
night's stones, the shy hands
of light emerge fresh and willing.

Tell me what day this is
outstretched and shaking
like river reeds, a nerve
of green and yellow.

What is this gift of silver
ladder, crystal thorns of
vining promise, thawing hills
that lead me onward?


On this cliff, in rain,
ocean below, sky weeping

I fling myself forevor
into storm and ripple

a tiny stone skipping
over water.



If soil were words:
rich, brown, grainy
root and blossom.

If leaves were birds:
tender little spirals
of feather.

If clouds were flower:
white magnolias blown open
then away.

If stars were fire-flies:
bright, shiny bodies

If hearts were planets:
enormous orbs of valley,
mountain quietly



Spirit World

Just as our eyes were beginning
to value what they've captured,
the light is retreating.

What is painful in life becomes
numb in the flickering shadows;
body clings to skin and bone.

And then great wings, white-fur
feathered limbs reaching out and in
lift us naked, blind and shivering

into the spirit world.


What Guides Us Home

No one understood when we heard:
take these bones and prosper.

We are slowly dying by our own hands.
The wind is gone; what it carried is gone.

Without us can nature bear its cruelty towards
its own or are our angels cutting out their hearts,

passing into fire like the sacrifice of moths?
Wait for night, evening homage, listen to

its black guitar, silvered flutes, haunting songs;
even as we're lost they guide us home.

Throat of the Bird

...and they came creeping,
slabber-ing dogs [death]

or some lone hyaena
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.


The Spark

Sometimes it's difficult,
obese with intentions
starving for deeds, my life

like an artichoke, each stiff,
waxy layer peeled; and Death
like salt and lime rimming

the ring, grainy white, green.
What am I to do? The fire says:
change the space between living

and ceasing to burn, thought
followed by action, forces
the heart to be tested, strained

like two sticks rubbing eachother
fiercely together in the woods,
in the night, in the rain.

in the woods, in the rain.


White and Cold

There are reasons why
your hands are white
and cold. What have
you held and who is
holding you? Take note

from soil clinging to
its trees and flowers;
how it swallows, mourns
its dead by building
more. Or the sea

that wide-mouthed lion
devouring its offspring
regurgitating seals and
seaweed on the grave of
littered, rancid shores.

Now our bones picked over
in the pile, reserve no sense
of heat, desire. It is hands,
the heart, their constant need
for flame and fire.

The Sweet, Great

Once, I wrote: the sweet, great
heartbreak remains. Past years,

past thoughts like wild flowers
choked in tall grasses, weeds,

still the heartbreak, the secret
weeping. Even that strange blue

light ahead offers no reprieve.
Now I write: the stars are guilty,

the moon conspires towards my grief,
wings of moths beat against my window,

endlessly, are messengers of sweet.