Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finding the Footprints of Harm


What anyone may call a good walk waits,
a last bit of measuring I take today.

Like breaths in a temper, or sheep to sleep, I’ve counted
steps from the click of the house door, down the slate stairs.

My time passes in how used the toys are:
The yellow plastic trike with the push handle

is freshly discarded, outgrown. When the children are young,
one day has twenty smiles, or thirty.

And when their suits stretched, too small, we said they were
eighteen months, because they had no years.

It seemed forever before their feet held them.

I can not tell how long
I have tried remembering when the small things changed.

Yesterday, you fell only twice. You said, “God!”
You said, “no, no, no,” and I am still surprised.

You said, “I am too young to feel this old!
What did I do in my last life that left me like this?”

And I have no idea what is going on, I have used
up all of my schooling, and now put my imagination into

stamina. We are outside the city limits, and I am lost.


There is self-examination, interrogatory
contradiction in harming to stop harm.
Sera, re-breaks, traction, chemotherapy, torture.

And you would spread open your own breastbone
Looking for a warm heart that is completely unknowable,
(the adversary is alive in God’s stead.)

Slink with the alien abductor, (to know what they know.)
Fly on the Sabbath night (to see! to see!)
Find yourself in the gray bridal gown, stalking a misunderstood prisoner.

There is no charm, there grows no bane for the unnamed harmer.
The witch and the werewolf are called out of their night’s sleep
to fight for the crops, and the side of right, in Jesus’ army.

Just so, chronic pain is a molester during rest.
A woman may take canis lupus as a totem into her hands,
even as grip gives way in neurological deterioration:

The terror is living by choice.
Forcing a twisted limb into your chest should look like
transcendent reclusion, but it is merely how angels are modeled into statues.


Rain continues to fall and I am
ashamed of my naiveté.

Let me give you the dead of winter:
ice sadly parts for the cold rain,
that later impishly freezes and grips.

Attend the blackbirds,
we can ignore them no longer.

See the wing print they leave
Sweeping into the garden--
angels of death without season.

Pitiless as the morning star, blackbirds
are the only living thing in the stiff January skies.

Eating the old seeds, huddled under gusts,
They bark at dawn, skim low and
dawdle in the road.

The rain stops.
The blackbirds go on.


About things we make together:
children, opinions, a peaceful view
of falling birches beyond the patio door;

More often, I am agreeing with the dog.
When you are away, he waits by the door,
and howls his reprimand when you come home.

Come home. Even if it is to retrieve
a thing forgotten --
When you go, return.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


You have been after that banana for days,
had junky food up to your eyes,
had some bad water in seventy-five,
dysentery, too.

They start so green, the plantain,
so spider-rich and rigid, they are
dismissible in the contusing dawn
of straw, black, blue, goose and salmon

So at noon, soup.

Later comes thunder in the snow storm,
you step out of the kitchen,
down the stairs, into the garden, to see.
But the sound is gone, the night holds all
that is gone: somewhere in the snow
lie lavender and rose.

Back in the kitchen, rooting through
the cabinets, for flour and baking soda, salt
all pouring white into the bowls,
you can only peel and mash the banana now.
For bread, and a warm oven.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

to Business

From the time I recognized
the road to Taso-chi,
I realized I had nothing to do
with birth and death.
-The Song of Enlightenment

These desk descriptions, I say,
I will read on the train,
Everyone I see is reading this morning --

a marketing report, the mix of newspapers.
Across from me a bald man is translating
the Italian sheets across his briefcase
with a red mechanical pencil.

Surprised, I read the upside down headings,
“Caso di incestes,” and “Fornicazione,”
while he stares into the dance of grammar and tense.
I can watch his translation pass across his face
Into the pencil notes, the margins of his work.

Whispering a curse, he digs into the dictionary
And checks me with a guilty glance.
This is no business for me.
I will read on the train --

here is a silk sleeve
with a simple spade leaf imprint design,
rose on rose.
here is a train trestle
grey against the rising Wednesday smoke
and the working sun.


I can’t seem to put my talon on it:
The deep, darkroom depressions,
whiskey-soaked breakups,
all seem to be part of an ascent.

Mosquitos could drain me for hours
and I would stand up and walk the blood
back into my legs. Maybe it was cold,
maybe summer, and the road dogs chased.

They will tell you I was morose in those
aeries, that I flitted fitfully in puddles:
Stories we can agree on, like we were walking
in a graveyard, or we were at the shore.

When I came crashing out of that heaven,
there were no clouds left, shredded stars
lit my aura, the world was in other peoples’ eyes.

I am no longer a gargoyle, and that
is what is startling. Not alone
in the low cielo. Where I fell there was
a book to read, a chair, and my stars,

Monstrum after Prometheus

Where were you when the blacksmith struck?
Smuggling across the Great Smokies,
or the Sudan, with the cows so sad and dry.
Well, everyone took your story for their own,
Nestle, and Kennedy, and choristers
from Coptic novels:
The Titan asked the God for favor,
and was punished for defiance.

That we were shackled, not by our actions,
but by our enzymatic presence:
I shoveled the snow, my neighbor held
the screen door open, fed my dog,
and I watched the kids –
that was the twist. Living in the same building,
we pulled each other into a gut-wrenching future.

We know you lied, having now the tools to tell.
With the quantum well lasers in our toys,
And the world wide walkie-talkie in our hands,
The end repeats again:
Tail feathers light on the gargantuan sea.

Flight and the Wine Dark Sea

“Gravity is our future.”
- Michael Douglas

The picture you have seen is set in marble on a parapet. We are in profile,
etched in motion, my arms outstretched, his flailing.
It looks, for all the ages, like I have pushed him over the edge.

I work in stone and wax; reed and thatch; I mound moss and help the herms rise.
There is no trick with twine escapes my eyes, my fingers figure knots,
plot the plait of tangles in the finest hair. I am a crafter.
And as if that were a crime, the gods keep me as a pet.
I can not create. I build or form, mold and make, but I am not free.

There are no gods that live by pattern long.
There is Protocol, the god of social norms,
whose minions are timing, polity, spelling and grammar.
There is Sanitation, the god of the anti-bacterial whose song is the squeak.
They are invisible and difficult to relay to a child.
How big a bite is too big? Are your hands really clean?

Or explain how Harmonics uses Wagner:
let the slow tripping of the pizzicato bring you to a glen’s edge where sun beams
among prickly leaves sawing in the breeze too easily. How can a brass horn
sustain and abate a major chord to trick me into thinking I have laid down my head?

A god can grind psychically to a halt
and command the Minotaur to tell us there is no escape,
not in the way we watched our giddy children held by spinning in place.
Nor is there captivity, as the boundless bell of the sky rings fiercely down,
and one is pinned.

Listen to me son - Daedelus pushes, over and over. He is precipitous or possessive,
panicked or simply potent. Some say that on another tower he killed the partridge Perdix.
The boy always falls to earth, taught by a goddess to fly, or caught by men like Bruegal.

Find me in these divine constructs, unable to stop solving mazes and puzzles,
in the webs and strings I weave into ravenous wings, prepared for you to leave.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

lasing eye iris
was found running in the lane
ruddy rose robe rent
from the barbed wire. couldn't you
see tears from your most high horse?
horse hair pocket liner:
the souls of these cat-killed mice
must be made to repent.