Sunday, April 8, 2018

How to Find Water (found poem)

1.

Before sunrise,
lie down flat

placing the chin
on the earth.

Take a look
out over the country.

Then, dig
in places where vapors are seen

curling and rising
into the air.


2.

The following test should be applied:

Dig out a place
not less than three feet square
and five feet deep.

Put into it about sunset
a bronze or leaden bowl.

Smear the inside with oil,

lay it upside down
and cover the top

with reeds or green boughs.


3.

After applying these tests
and finding the signs described above

and if a spring of water is found
more wells must be dug.


4.

Such places
face away from the sun's course

and the trees are thick in them
and the mountains,

being themselves
full of woods,

cast shadows of their own
preventing the sun

from striking the ground.


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Mayakovsky

It is 1912. Pre-revolutionary
Leningrad. Excuse me,
St. Petersburg. You see
a teenager
with a square head
under a square hat
smoking sticks
of dynamite. He asks you
if you have the time. He asks you
if you have the time to read a  poem
or collect rocks to throw
at the czar's procession.
Life is hard, he says.
But he says it with a smile
and you believe
what he will go on
to prove eighteen years later.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Landscape with Shed

Horse as actor.
Horse as avatar
for the person you would prefer
to be. Horse as stage
on which you act out
your better self, informed
by the earlier possibilities.
Horse as landscape
with apple tree and shed,
hay spilling out like so many ideas
of what the future might look like.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Point

The point of any conversation is to reach the end,
the conclusion. Do you want more coffee?
How long will you be in Nova Scotia?
How about that game last night? Or maybe not. Maybe
the point of any conversation is to keep the conversation
going, like a dog chasing its tail into sleep
or the line of climbers, tethered together
picking their way up a mountain.
You cannot see the summit
until you get there. Ditto the conversation
that circles in on itself
only to end up
somewhere unexpected.
As if everyone in the room
were waiting on the unspoken,
the implicit, the proverbial
elephant in the room
to speak. At which point
we can all speak freely, unafraid
of appearing stupid or needing
to fully understand how and why
we arrived at the point we are today.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Snowy Egret

Uncommon. Elegant. Fragile.
Like lace curtains in an open field near water.
Wineglass stems for legs.
He is an expert at standing
perfectly still.
The fish only see him
by his shadow.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Song

— for Alex

In the end, he couldn't teach me to sing
anymore than I could teach a dog to talk.
But he would whistle under his breath:
a little Brahms, a little Beethoven, a little bird
song of his own making
to let us know he was there.
And he would "talk" to us
telling us what he had done that day,
that he heard cars in the street,
or that the sun was shining.
And we would answer
in the only language we knew.
Until even I learned to squeeze out a note
or two in greeting, low and unbird like,
which could not be mistaken
for song or speech,
but a bit of both
even he knew
how to respond to.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Today is Fox

Today is fox
as if sleeping
next to the highway.
No visible sign
of the obvious
trauma that wrote
this story. He lies
on his side
back towards us
as if all danger has passed.
What more damage
can we inflict
on the little sack
of bones and fur
that used to be quick
as a, well, you know.
Today is fox
and tomorrow
may offer us
a glimpse
into yet another
universe it seems
we can neither protect
nor be part of.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ailment

Transported by love.
Riding public transportation.
Wearing love's raiments.
Wrapped in affection.
Call it what you will.
What you want to be
is attracted, attractive
to those around you
like a person seen
waiting at a train station
wrapped in secret wings
about to take flight.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Answer to a Question no one Asked

The wave hides in the ocean, the way
rain hides in the cloud, the way
wine hides in the  bottle: darkness
surrounded by a world of darkness.
The bitter stories we tell ourselves
to justify this or that behavior.
Standing ankle deep in the tide
waiting to be swallowed up
by something we can't see.