It's best not to worry
out-loud when the heart-attack

comes pumping,

its cobwebbed strings
taut and shocked like

an old priest's prayer;

when a bullet leaves
its barrel, it will find you.

There is no mystery

to that which cannot be
avoided. We clutch our chests,

we press the bloody wound-

we wanted hope and all
we got was this?


Playing with Fire

They say to play
with matches
is foolish.

You horse-whipped
me as if this race
could be won by


raised your arms
in victory before
my muscles stopped


When I asked-
could you love me?
your hand came down,

an animal bone
and struck me.

You take
the things
you love

and hurt them.

I am not surprised-
the wounded feed on
the wounded while

the burning play
with fire.


Scratching the Surface

For awhile, this
is what I thought
it was: embryo's,

blood and hands.

Then, like creeping
fig climbing up
a plaster wall

I recognized

the efforts of
a journey.

Now, through night
like claws of wolf
I scrape and scratch

the surface,
clamber up

the rocky hills
towards steaming
rays of sunlight.


House of Sky

No one knows when first the stones
learned to whisper. In a mother's womb
the circling river tells stories

of burning light, the halo
of a door within a door,
a house of sky. The secret

egg listening.

That which is missing makes
the loudest sound. Like the house
without a door catches wind

and whistles.


Caught Between

Where I've come from, first
a white room, then the city

full of voices and flashing
colors; the world lengthening

every year darker than the year
before. Someone with bright skin

and dancing hair looks into
a mirror. The mirror sees nothing

it hasn't seen before. Now
transformed my aging body walks

through fields of wheat and corn;
buried alive in trees, the dark

green creek, the rocks and
grassy rolling hills.

What compels an innocence to end
its life with happiness or joy?

To that last bird caught between
the sky and storm, a certain thrill;

where it came from, where it will
surely be destroyed.


Fully Drained

You did not expect this- the waiting, the heavy
rocks sewn into your pockets, the counting of
vultures wheeling above a carcass, the distance
of wilderness you woke up in. A man begins in dreams,
rising from a river with no memory of struggle. Then,

a stranger says: "You are what grows inside you"

You want to share the things you've learned to love:
your body, cherished words, the light that draws
the moths to flutter against a windowpane, nights
that come like creeping lions over the hills. Defying
gravity, you give until your heart runs dry. Then,

you realize you cannot save anyone.


The Color of Loss

Each day brings longing;
light and love of light
on a dark, remote island.

The night is also desire,
flames of black, the sweet
scent of shadows widening.

In a small room the student
is taught lessons of loss-
the color of stones.


Blue Tower

Please, let's go like tameless
winds wandering the sky. If we
were wind, earth will miss us,
the moon will be our mother.

Two proud hawks twisting up
together in an arc, let's go like
birds towards that blue tower
rising in the midnight shadows.


Like a Dream

You tell me what you've seen
or heard usually at night

your slow, dark voice
a shroud, a glove or

soft-petaled flower.

I've listened to your songs
before; I know you even as

I know the heat and bright
moon's trail will be there

fastened to this quiet world
and I call it dream.