So Who are We?

They left me; even I left
me as a dress falls from its form,
a ring slides easily off its finger, a man
whose name is Death demands
an open door.  There is nothing

left to hide.  So who are we
when walking alone in the snow,
footprints of who we used to be
frozen as if pointing the predator
to the path of the hungry soul.


Now I Lie Down

I know a lot about acceptance;  it's taken
a long time to acquire a sense
of closure.  But still

when sleeping, a falling, fatal bird
anticipates crash & crush, the last breath
a strange forced song rushing forth

away from memory; its silence demanding
no apology, no calculation of loss, even less
a determination

of value. Even angels acknowledge limitation,
submission and want;  their hollowed, white winged
prayers simply

an instinctual act
of submission.

This Habit

There are a lot of different places
to get your information;  don't always look
here.  To the extent possible,

look inside.

You remind me of a silver lining
in a black coat;  why don't you listen
before you hide what's beautiful

about you?

How many people have you infected
struggling to immunize who you love
with who you are afraid of...

this habit?

This is me closing a large door
with stones in my pockets;  I can't
see you but I can feel

the weight.


Dark, Hungry Happy

Is it gone, the dark, hungry dragon
turned into a small voiceless bird?  Unbearable
to be so happy


Through and Through

Is it really about life?  Always about life?
Some say it's more about love and how faithful
you are.  I knew you once, but I didn't
know you.  I didn't love you then

and then I did- for awhile.

Look through the long window, see green,
all green, until you don't.  The sky, overhead
hears our prayers each night and methodically
forgets them;  deaf in its thick, grey vest

the moon has other things to worry about.

Each star sings its singular hymn of light,
a constant choir, so constant we cannot hear it,
like the rush of cars on the freeway or the chatter
of children in a play-yard or a tv left on

in the dark.


Delicious Love

I remember the cat with her crooked teeth
and the wolf with teeth like jagged pearls

who ate her.

And I loved the wolf for his hunger,
his honesty, without plate or fork
or napkin or insincerity.

Who knows what the wolf
will consume next-  the unmoving stars,
the watchful moon, the lazy cow sleeping

in the field, the crazy fox chasing
roosters like children playing tag
on a warm afternoon.

Nothing really disappears
even when it should.  The most important
thing is love-  and who says love
isn't love even if it tastes good?

All Things Invisible

In wide open spaces we confess
our love for all things missing. We have
no secrets, no wounds, no burning destiny,
no sacred tablets to deliver us

from invisible.

There is a story about a boy
who swallowed light; it ate him
from the inside, until he became light.

On the subway, a woman cried out
"Jesus!" and burst into flames;
no one noticed the fire.

In an alley, against a brick wall
a man drank himself to death;
beneath newspaper and garbage

he disappeared.


Cultivating the Soul

Behind an electric fence, the over-protected soul
plays sullenly in its yard, sits often
gazing out, planning escape,

envisioning freedom.

And what of wild souls roaming
wood and vale, victims to the hunter's trap
who covet what they wear

and violently remove it

or the wary soul, like frightened deer
who stoop to drink the river
with every muscle trembling

incapacitated by their fear?

What would we learn if each of them
told the truth about their lives?

I am not liberated, I am not
the history of suppression; I am
exactly where and what I'm meant to be,

the horse who waits patiently
for the open field, the saddle and whip
draped across the fence like

a patient teacher, the rider's knees
pressed firmly against the chest,
puts the animal through its paces, the crop

resting on its flank
ready to strike.

We Were Built for Ascension

Barnacle goslings at two days old
jump off 400 foot cliffs crashing into jagged
rocks to reach the base, their wings tiny
featherless thumbs, their bodies pliable,

their instinct confident.

Say plummet, density, gravity,
say inevitable or courageous,
say death but only temporarily; 
say "jump, fall, crash to ground

but only briefly".

You'll see, the dreaded descent
won't last long

like glancing in a mirror
before saying goodnight,

closing your eyes in the dark,
oblivious the next morning-

remember we were built for ascension,
the bounce, the up and out, the dangerous

graceful trampoline act where
falling down always leads

to rising.


The Weightlessness of Burden

The nature of rain says "don't despair"
as if it knows resignation.

Perhaps it does

flinging its tiny body into the mouth of flower,
gliding down the spined bluegrasses

sinking through ground
to anonymity

obedient to gravity.

How like the best of us,
the sacrifice, the tears.


Have You

Notice the fractured colliding;  I'm here,
you can tell me anything- the dreams of burning,
becoming beautiful.  How you wonder
what happens to light when it ruptures
into darkness.  Each night's purple veins,
its pulsing silence; not everything
is visible.  You've heard it too?
I won't pretend I'm not frightened;
neither should you.



Mother of Pearl Set in Silver

Behind the external I listen,
an ear leaning in on itself
and the space where I go

to meet my mother.

Prayers of a mother waken
the daughter;  no words
but silent hands skillfully

kneading the teat
from its single rope of milk,
a seamless, glittering string

of pearls
clanging rhythmically
inside my silver skull;

gone now

like a season of flower
or the rolling, broken buried
shells beneath the sands

whispers at night
to the restless seas
and sad, grey clouds

"Duty, my daughter, 
is the quietness of soul 
not the deafening doubt 

that delays your chores."



A Song of Things Forgotten

Thoughtful, her eyes and ears
and mouth wrap around moment;
a new child's fingers traveling over
the curved skin of its mother
smells milk, soap and bread

vows to remember what cannot
be remembered.  In the night,
a small wolf imitates his father,
a weak howl, a song of earth
and blood and struggle.

It too will forget his father's eyes
wordlessly shining through darkness
a secret message of pride and fear
much like stars, through pores of light,
speak to those who are dying.



What Do You Think Love Is?

We climbed the mountain, my feet
remembering these never-changing stones,
cragged vertebrae link past, present, future
into spine. The wolves remember too, 
will die with this map of rope
wrapped around their animal hearts 
like a mooring.  


What is Trapped, Burns

I always knew this creature would devour
and take me in; father's dark castle,
my mother's fluttering wings and me
inside the wolf's throat-

a fractured bone.

After the beast's journey light filters
into skein; the animal's organs on fire
from within. All night
its taut glowing ligaments



The Freedom of Silence

Eventually words become a net
around the most irridescent thoughts.
For now, I am letting mine run free
like children in a summer's rain
dressed only in their boots.


Moth Hunters

A kind of gothic ritual, desert bats
hunt night moths in seamless arcs;
ash-white wings, the skeletal remains
of cathedral windows, glass blown out.

Nearly soundless, their claws crack
soft backs like jaws crushing popcorn.

The moths, with sack-cloth coats
and sad eyes reflect the sudden
interruption of light and snap
like tiny matches quickly
burnt out. 



In the blindness of night, the invisible foxes
gather around the farmhouse with voices of desperate
babies left out in the forest to die.


Taming the Soul

There is nothing left
of the breaking wave;  like a perfect wound
its skin dismembers like an unwrapped bandage.

Once carved from cloud,
frothed with white air, its curves become formless;
every evidence of wildness disappears.


When no one was looking, shadows
devoured the mottled brown moth,
its tendrils and cloth.  The housecat licks clean
the remains on the windowledge-
fine grey wing-dust.


Dutiful Cold

Arrested at the cathedral of pines
on the ledge of the ice-bound river;
here is where a sense of authority
is corrected by nature-
a sudden interrupted geography,
the diminutive practice of standing still; 
not according to plan but intangible force.

Looking back on vaulted-snow hills,
a coyote follows;  he also stands fixed,
understands the wisdom of surrender,
a disciple of winter with one devotion-
to belong there.

The Light Rests

The light grows
weary at the door;
lies down quietly,
a dog napping.


Sorrow and the Tramp

The crow and moon are over-used;
one for darkness, the other for beauty.

Black-spined, the bird, the horror
of its deathly duties perched on
stone-tomb markers, screeching
anonymous songs of sorrow.

And moon, speechless
as a stupid girl, gives herself
to everyone.

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.