A Heart is Shaped for Loss

Close your eyes;  I don't want
you to see grief.  

Unexpected, sudden accidents
that sneak up on you

like the impact of a road bug
slapping the windshield

with all the juices of its body
a long grey streak
provides a buffer,

the sound before
the blood.

You will feel it inevitably
like other creatures

what waits patiently
in the darkening

will feed on them
for years.

Unnatural Forces

There are differences between
a natural and a man-made beast.
Both deserve pity,

only one bears blame.

How simple it is to change
instinct than erase

as one hunts for food
while the other buries
its soul. 

The sun goes down,
both exist for morning;

nature with its never-ending
glory and man's everlasting


Primal Knowledge

This is complicated like
a children's story written
in cuneiform;  primal, encrypted 

but it translates:

the idiot savant
in all of us, the humble
will save the doomed.

From a dark bedroom
she watched her mother
and father kneeling

under the Christmas tree
in the living room
carefully arranging gifts

beneath blinking lights.

And then she saw
their death and hers
like a hole in a dark sky;

the doomed looking back
on shiny fragments of dust 
from a star exploding

in slow motion.


Before We Remembered

Not a moment or moments
moving through us
at the speed of light, 

not coincidence
or souvenir

but a series of 
unrelated events, 

a strange set of
disconnected marks,

what makes a body float
in salt-dense water,

the lifeless with their
absolute lack of use

for oxygen or tears

makes us surprisingly

there is no cure.

After worry, before
the terrible consummation
of inner darkness

small dots of puzzle
created to create a sense
of reassurance

instantly disappear.


The Ruined

A forest of spiderwebs
with predatory insects
larger than a man's thumb 

in Kansas backwoods.

My father in his flannel
plaid shirt and work boots
striding straight through
their strings as if they were

placed there to be broken.

He showed me clover patches
my brother planted to attract
deer, then ambush them with
his bow and arrow

and the half-hidden moss
covered stones running
crooked and misleading
through the underbrush,

a decaying reminder.

I fear large arachnoids but
the web I admire especially
after rain, architectural water
drops that shine like tiny quivering

diamonds beaded together into
a deadly geometric trap.

What I mean to say is my father
teaches the damaged to move
through ruin trusting the displaced
homeless spider will expeditiously

spin another.


Even Pain is Real

Rampant runs
the animal's ambition,
the heavens over it 
a steady blue hand.

Each wanderer,
the way they will,
intoxicated change 
paths or destiny with

with fury or love.

The relentless
glittering and shine
of pleasure, the untimely
rhythm of sorrow,

broken faith

a mysterious wheel
rolling in wide circles
repeating itself.

Still, every beast
wants a beginning,
an indescribable need
for worth.  Perhaps

a crown of white
flowers, a sharp thorn
that pierces the foot.


Life in a Doll House

You've stared down this
mountain before, a porcelain
doll behind glass.  An old doll
now with more incentive

to jump:  your simple parts
rusted together, arms and
tiny fingers, legs with fragile
lace socks, black plastic shoes
and creepy holes for your
child-like white blue eyes

crusted with dust.

It's hard to feel real when
everything you're made of
is factory. 

The Best Pieces

Was the universe made
for pleasure or meaning? 

To create meaning
eventually to take apart;
often to repair, re-purpose

or destroy.

When particles disintegrate
who can escape it and 
who collects the debris-

angel or demon?

Light and brimstone
both generating heat

the furnace fanned
by two great enemies

who fight for the 
best pieces.


Night Shift

At a quarter to 2
in the morning from
a concrete building 

in one of a trillion windows
of the world, a face meant to 

be noticed by no one,
not even itself,

cheek pressed to glass
for a few minutes of 
a ten minute break 

becomes a modern,
distorted Mona Lisa.  

But the question remains-

is she smiling
or wincing?


He was first to go, the white one
with mascara-lined eyes.
He turned to say carefully
a final word


Some climbed invisible ladders,
others drifted like plastic bags

in updraft, spineless forms
twisting, folding,


Like a song playing
in the silent mind or
the retina's blind spot thinking
what it hadn't seen

had fooled it.


Ripped Open

In the jacket of this book
there are no rich words
or original stories; 

clothes I wear, threads
recycled from the dead.

Senses of the body
touched and probed
reveal no mystery

but resemble a surface
where many stones
have been hurled,

cast ripples, then slow
to unbroken.

Imagine if angels 
were sworn to secrecy
drowning in their own
sweet emotions,

their minds filled with
knowing and dread.

The reason to fear
the flesh is when its
ripped open

what's left?

The Relationship

You said "look, there is
a full moon!" as if witnessing

a newborn's head cresting
from the tight, dark groin
of the underworld,

as if this planet
with all its silence
and poverty

could be saved
by a floating pearl.

And that missing, unseen, 
round bodied shadow 
we recognize as self 

with its secret jealousy
of unobstructed light

keeps faithfully spinning
beneath our insensible feet.

Saving the Dead

To carry the uneasy
towards dread, the empty
into darkness, dim the last
star in the hand's well;

sometimes the burdened
create burden like water
breeds rust or great thoughts
lead to sadness.

But there, in the depths
when trust resolves blindness
and the sleepwalker moves
without prejudice on a nail

covered floor, when pain
is shockingly obvious, the invisible
becomes clear.

The hammer of weight
and gravity aren't punishment,
the fire each one of us 
intentionally builds, the light
that hides beneath the surface

was meant to be shared.


Steel Anchor

Two parts of life, one anchor
the other a tethered hawk, wings
beating relentlessly, a mightier
journey in mind;  

to bear down or travel.  

Outside darkness evolves
like a sickness, white pocks
of light on blue-grey skin;

someone somewhere in trance
praying or struggling to breath.

In between, a passage, a narrow
bridge joins earth to dream
its far end a pier sunk in

black waters where spirits
swim, luminescent shadows
with human hands.

And further down, great ships
steel fastened to coral cities
with fish of un-imagined
color exchange poison
for oxygen.



Depleted, we strain 
to escape erasure;  proof
thrust upon us.  

Too many came
before us-  the dead 
or after-  the unborn.

One trapped on earth 
in smoke and chain, the other
visible from a distance 

in newly formed light 
of their only window.

Should we pay the price
of absoluteness to be
ignored or should

the soul's child pray
damaged and beautiful
before each night's test?

Together alone, marked
each star placed carefully
at its designated distance.

Oh darling hear the wolf
howl like a heartful of teeth
at the cold, dark night

so sure of its existence.