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.