Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Reading

There are dark spots on the map.
You don't have to stare at them.
You don't have to steer
into oncoming traffic
or towards the bridge abuttment.
Avoid the one last elm tree
next to the deserted road.
Don't drive so fast
into the curve you know
is dangerous. No.
Go to the mall. Somewhere
colorful, crowded, and well-lit.
Read a favorite book.
Listen to a record you keep
for just such occasions as this.
Sit quietly in your house
with all the lights on,
hoping no one finds you.
Hoping someone,
anyone,
calls.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Daylight Psychodelica

I am covered in stars.
Speak to me.

The sun is at 80%.
Leaf foil. Spider thread.

Dusk is a verb
rapidly approaching.

The shadow dance of the trees
has been going on
for thousands of years.

They have more hands
than we have hearts.

I see it now: they are waving
goodbye, as if

this is a party
and we are the last to leave.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I Was Trying to Forget [reverse translation]

I was trying to forget a line by Walt Whitman
in the back of a taxi on the hottest day of the year.
You looked like a ghost, but more real
to life than you ever did before you died.

You were an emergency in red lipstick
as always. You poked me in the arm
and giggled at some private joke.
The same one you always told yourself
when you were nervous.

But that's where the dream ends.
Like tall buildings reflected in other buildings
because there is nothing else to see
except a narrow thread of blue the clouds
cross when the light turns green.

I was trying to forget before it was too late
to remember what it was you wanted.
What it was you wanted
me to understand.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Three Poems

 -- after Lorca

Dawn: A few notes
on an abandoned piano.

Dusk: the janitor plays Beethoven
on a broken clarinet.


Midnight: a stranger
in the dark, whistling
the most beautiful melody
you've ever heard,
interrupted mid-note.

The silence that follows.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Backbone Flute

(after Vladimir Mayakovsky)

I place my hand
across her lower back
where the ridges form
finger rests
like a musical instrument —

a flute
hidden inside her body —

then blow
ever so lightly
between her shoulder blades
to make music.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Torn Earth

They tore the earth
to make room
for the highway
entrance ramp

healed over as rock face,
it doesn't talk to us
anymore.

It weeps ground water
here and there
and whispers saplings
like stitches and scars.

Pain we mistake
for experience.

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.