Dawn of the hour,
sweet-bound bower,

the flavorful seed-

what secrets

the bee?

Dead Soldier on the Front Page of the LA Times

Whose face
did you steal?

What young woman
died in your head;

what brave soldier
sealed his own grave,

a ruined star
absorbing its debt

without flash
or ambition?

Praise be
the tin-god

whose cup
has been violently




Like a bullet
or a bald man,


the quick, fastening
wing to sky,

sleepless, seized
hostage speed

the body
to its stunning


Prodigal Journey

From the west,
the heart speaks,

its voice changing
on the journey

east through desert
into sand and bone.

When it finds
a river, swims

drinks, purifies
it's vision-

its afflictions

to the faithful salmon,
hunting bear and

cedar cones, then

the nervous deer,

the waving fields of corn
recognize the accent

of its origon, its slow
and burning song.

Whose ear abandons
innocence; what leaf

yields and falls

what home prepares
it's entryways, its rooms

for the returning
of the prodigal?


From the Levee, We Watched

the sculler's boat, carving
razored waters; the wake delayed
behind the oar thrust, streaming
like hair of a submerged girl.

The tenuous nature of wood,
fragile as pod; repelling the weight
of black water catching the hull,
heavy as paste, yet slips

through like an oiled sword.

The muscled-back rower
flexes, a butterfly testing
its shoulders, his arms poised
forward, baiting the rhythm

of pull with his chest,
shoves out, thighs tensing
like bullets, heaves rearward
and pauses, the world

and the rower stand still
for a moment as the boat
glides away.


God Among Insects

A man can walk
on all fours if

he chooses;
no more noble



sweet fruit.


The Keeper

"even in laughter
the heart is sorrowful"

Proverbs 14:13

There are many names
for sorrow, the first
is mother; black flower,

wide, silent berth, a place
for dreaming. Hands,
breasts, a constant source

of grieving. Bones
of my bones, shadow
of my shadow, a light

listening, a voice reading,
a candle gathering memories
like moths of making, sensible

unending keeper.



I taught myself
how to open

a flower, gingerly

the resinous shroud-

see how tightly
the petals resist me,

how quickly
they shrivel

and fade?


Gutting Bluegill In a Storm

Cod-fodder, grey weather, Bluegill blood
smeared on the chop-boards, a dark pond smell
of mud, rain and grass from the quick-slit belly.

Thunder disturbing the walls, the downstroke
precipitous cleave disengaging body from head;
flashes of bright, crooked needles piercing

through cloth. Gem-like beads shaved from
the flesh, glinting white, silver and red
in a scored metal pot of entrails and gills

as storm clouds digest the leftover light.


Early Spring

Young, incomplete
seed of story; ocean,

mountain, meadow,
tree. Snow melting

in moonlit

the reed bed.








Simple As That (or is it?)

Like proverbial roads, I was not chosen,
despite a will with grave intention, desire
with practiced, calloused hands; of talents
nature rarely gives to intricate inventions

favoring the thoughtless rose, the vacant
star, the mindless, howling winds. To be

is not the question, nor is decision found or
granted from within; the conclusive opinion
determined by a raw, imperfect accident...
initiates the inquisition: how and when and why?

If moral is a story, if dictums teach the halfwit
how to live, if faith is such a blessing then
what purpose can we have for meddling with
oceans, measuring the sky, constructing theories,

making queries, rearranging heaven for
the everlasting, contemplative "I"?

* Send your self-addressed propositions to:
10001 Confusion Ave. Suite RU4- Real
Backlogged, Rhode Island 77660


Ken and Barbie

We draw the shades to hide our clutter.
The dogs one black, another yellow
dream against the floor, clicking paws
across the hardwood; the sound of brooms

sweeping out a cellar.

You remind me to check the doors as if
what we've kept secret here, could return
and rob us of more; my right hand
purple-grey- a dead man, a careful thief

twist the locks repeatedly. Tonight,

there is no wind or heat, through
the skylight, a willow-fingered palm
slices through moonlight, a knife
through cheese or wet hair falling heavily

over a naked shoulder. I feel you

somewhere in the house preparing
for disappointment, drawing up
your knees, a uterine heartbeat slowing,
slowing progressively, an urban disease,

a neoplastic amnesia, like me-

a synthetic doll who lowers
the shades, locks the doors, ignores
the missing pieces, designed to fit in
perfectly, flawlessly, beneath you.

Like a Saint

I'll sit here for hours, the effort
of conjuring the dead or the words
to describe belonging or
how this relates to loss-

is an act of endurance.

I know, from experience what
it feels like to have your head
held forcibly under water,
to understand commitment

strength of the arms
that force you there,

the inevitable stillness
of muscles gasping for air,
how clear and spacious
vision becomes when you cease
to resist, to exist; the silence

split-open and weightless.

Belonging: to be part of
a moment that borrows
its meaning from touch,
from care, even, from rage

of another living being-

and loss? Could it be
leaving down long, white
stairs, forgetting, forgiving,



Finding Oz

I dreamt a room, a house,
a family of five; I was
daughter and mother.
There was no way out,
I wondered- who
had let us in?

Every floor, familiar shame,
in one, I died a virgin,
another, filled with mis-fit
keys that opened nothing.
Where were the gifts
that I'd been given?

In this house, time grew
hallways we traveled in,
our bodies moved but walls
remained unchanged; a furnace
never lit but stocked with coal,
our matches damp and spent.

When we escaped, my mother
and I,we bargained for the same,
brother, father, sister, lover
all fell asleep in a poppyfield
knee-deep and rising when
my dream began to rain...

ping, ping, ping of
the alarm clock ringing.


Waking Up in Kansas

You begin by assuring yourself, I can
tell this story... how easily the hill
sloped down to the garden like a giant
breast, the way sky hovered
over it- purple and swollen,

the sound of the windmill's
three-jointed- fingers, steel
bones glued together by rust,
the squash vines of Kansas
coiled up in its gut, the bells

of its flower tinted black...
in the skull of night, eyes
of clouds rolled back, the whites
flickering anemic fierflies
caught in a child's trap,

the smell of root, worm-warm
soil, clovered and moist as steam
rising up from the drinking well or
ghost-like haze pluming the pond
lifting its dark, heavy face.

A single cock, a rooster whose feather
shines and glows morning's favorite
colors- yellow, white and silvered-gold,
proud and dusty and old as the windmill
that woke him up... begins to crow.

Lie Still, Awake

Outside the door
the rain
found the dog
sleeping; what good
is pleasure
to the storm?


The Seal

That year, four and twenty
seals washed up on the shore
poisoned by algae. We found
a suede-brown female, yet swinging
her muscular throat as if to warn
what was left of her world-
nature is large and unforgiving.

Wider now, the horizon, bleak,
surprised and evenly matched
by her petition- like the jawbone
of some great, dessicated whale
opening and closing to the rhythm
of sea, stared back and agreed
this was not beauty, this ending,

this slow and graceless breach
from living. When her body became
an emptied shell and her eyes,
startled and dark and frozen
as a forest deer- we buried her
in a mound of stones and left
her there.


Go Quietly

You don't own
lonely, cruelty-

the price I've paid
for waking up

in a family
ruled by men.

How can you envy
a stranger's smile

when it mocks
your goodness

or steals
your little pills?

I am faithfully

at the back door,
the last chair, while

the final star seen
gleaming from

the bottom
of the stairs, says:

go quietly, go



Like a slit in the hood,
a dwarf's eye, the shape
of an eel swimming

sideways; its always

to describe
the simple things.

When I say "this is
my flaw, my broken skin"

the body is emptied,

the fluid spills out
and dissolves

like salt
against porcelain.

To say "my worry
is splinter, a sting
in my veins"
is to know

the primitive,
unqualified words

are the words
that will teach me

how to explain
the truest things.