30 April 2011


May 4/30

It will come
ease yourself as if into a hot tub

Release the tensions

The stars above blink a Morse
and the clouds become smoke signals

Everything is a quiet pause

There will be a violence tomorrow
where everything opens
nothing sleeps

Today – please – it is May 1st

Wait one more second

29 April 2011


Netherward 4/29

Go down

Like an ivory root – blind
deaf and breaking

Here –
in the dark
in the wrapping dark
the street lights turn – the
little blue orbs of light become
stepping stones – become
a pathway home

Go down

To the street – bind
your eyes brace yourself
to the night

Press forward
and wrap around the colors
become a part of it
and allow the coolness of it
to make leaves of your fingers
and bud your eyes

28 April 2011


Precinct 4/28

The child places a circle of stones
clears a space in the center and

27 April 2011


I was fired from my job today.

Morrow 4/27

I open up the drapes
take a deep breath of the cool air
and blow the dust off this year

Green vines wrap slowly up the walls
of the apartment behind my apartment
small purple flowers blink like stars

The red brick glows beneath
the vines a woman opens a window
and a few birds fly off

I want to take everything down
clean it until it is different
but the blinking continues

It is so perfect and simple
everything is held up against the world

26 April 2011


Braaivleis 4/26

I hold the mirror below my face and allow the rays to cook my face
Voices raise from next door – tongue I do not recognize
I hear a sizzle come from everything

25 April 2011


Upfront 4/25

Here is a body – standing
between the imagined and the real
waving the flag of bodies electric
trumpeting across the waters
of Brooklyn and Seattle

Upfront – the body
wraps itself in a gauze of protection
the gauze is armor is the Brooklyn Bridge
cathedral against the anti-Americas
rising up from all coasts

What is rising? – from where?
what is coming is a sense of separation
that bridges will not close the distances
and this side is not yours as well as mine
these arrows strike and draw blood

The water is muddy with blood – the reeds
on the banks are turning to rust turning
to wire wrapped along the abandoned train
tracks of the world the abandoned towns
anti-America is not outside of us

Here is a body – standing
slumped shoulders and hung head
we are circling our wagons from each other
the imagined and the real divides
turn into grand canyons against us

Upfront – this body
is trying to raise her hands
step from the pedestal surrounded by weeds
and blood and burn everything away
she drops her torch in the water

She walks into the harbor out to sea
everything seems to be burning in the haze
coming off the river

24 April 2011


Choco 4/24

Hold them back
and wait

Those reserves

Keep them off to the side

In case
everyone else dies

23 April 2011


Faculty 4/23

I am in my right mind

my parts all function

I am unsure of my step
my knees seem to want
to give

And my mind rattles
hums makes with the
clunking of a rusted

If a sigh would ease

I would sigh all day all

it would not make my
steps solid

It is an infection deeper
than the knee

It is an infection of my
faculties of the mind of
the ground itself

I am in my right mind
when I say that it has
taken itself and turned
loose its darkest rooms

these are night terrors

real enough to be paper
cuts on the soles of feet

22 April 2011


Bard 4/22

There is this story
of a country with a history
of taking from its people
while keeping many of them
separate unequal under

There are two versions

In one the country
is torn apart by war and
public strife and by itself
and a lot die and little
is changed but enough is
to placate everyone

In the other
a lot of old white men win

Both versions are
pretty much the same

21 April 2011


A week ago was the 150th anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War.

Over 3,400 died in the Battle of Shiloh between April 6th and 7th 1862. At the time it was the costliest battle of the war.

Renewable 4/21


Peach blossoms fall
gentle – pink rain
over green everything


The earth is an oil field
of blood

Scrape earth with a toe
it wells
bubbles and froths

The trees nod


Smell of peach blossoms

There is cycle
each time a fall comes
the buds will fist
into coming warm weather

The fruit will ball up
blush like drunken cheeks
and drop gladly into
thick grasses

And someone will eat into it


20 April 2011


Gala 4/20

What sort of breaking
is this giant crystal room that
fills with candy-colored people

It is a wave of language
coming up over the heads
of each partygoer

One woman will hold up
a mirror and gaze at her
smoke-filled eyes

They will widen and she
will turn just in time
to see the rhetoric raze

19 April 2011

18 April 2011


Paddy 4/18

A rolling blank hill
                        unforms in your mind

Think of green
a rocky expanse of bog

Think of the North Atlantic
all rushing dark waters and
snow capped harsh waves

It is hitting against you

Return to the hill
                        walk to the top
                        find yourself at a tall tower
                        a plaque tells you something
                        about St. Michael

Now there is fire everywhere

Think of fire
the rocky expanse turning black

Now drink until you forget

17 April 2011


Muffle 4/17

The sun hits my face and
it is warm and good and breaks
a sweat across my forehead

I am walking Brooklyn and
everyone is wearing light

What is moving inside my head
is the sound of children on
the playground the sound of
buses exhausting on 7th avenue

The desire to throw everything
down run naked into the first
store I see and scream
about the loss I feel inside
is overwhelming but denied

The loss is only in my head anyway

16 April 2011


Porcelain 4/16

You were balled up in the rain
rocking on the sidewalk near
the Palace of the Governors

The monsoon was heavy and
sheeting the plaza I ran laughing
and a block away from you I
worried and almost turned back

And your skin was that pale
color that happens when you’re
cold or wet not quite purple

You would go on a shelf be
the fragile thing you are and be
safe behind some glass door
maybe you would still ball rock

Years later you are off the map
in some institution it will
never be clear to me

It will be sheeting rain and the
sound of laughter and the leaves
whipping in trees and the color
of your hair and a rocking motion

15 April 2011


Multidrug 4/15

They are warning against drug resistant tuberculosis
that it could be a new plague – a new AIDS – a new
anything but what is already

It would be like Paris in the 1800s like England in the
1400s like Southern Africa in the 1900s

When was the last time you took pills for a cold and
when was the last time they worked

14 April 2011


Melodica 4/14

There will be history in
the room with you

It will come in chords in
light in color

The room will fill with
your breath

13 April 2011


Chelicerate 4/13

These armored spiders
crawling broken-backed
across the sand are some
sort of metaphor!

At night there is a glow
in the waves – the jellies
are huddling from a storm
out at sea

We cannot mesh the sun
and the death the rolling
foam of salt and coral
with the sound of guns

I scrape my toe on edges
of reef – on door hinges
and I think about glass
breaking in shop windows

All along the world there
are people hoping some
for peace and some for

12 April 2011


Bulkhead 4/12

So I’ve shut myself in – have
made myself watertight

Here I am ocean

Where are your rolling waves
gulls – the dolphin pods

I want to admit the iron in my
veins how green I am in all

Ocean – I am Sargasso

Where are your filling waters

These bulkheads do their stuff
and my brain is dry

But everything in here I’ve
seen a million times

These books are done ocean

So much ink – clouds evaporating in sun

11 April 2011


Guestbook 4/11

A list of those who came to watch
your funeral : People who wanted
to be remembered for caring : Who
wrote themselves into your story
People who got cards sent to thank
them in our time of need : Flowers
dripping on the mantle : It has been
four years and the plants are still
alive : Propped up with a ruler that
shows how tall they are : The cats
bat at the hanging leaves that look
like raffia : The leaves are covered
in writing : Are quiet reflections :
Kept alive :


Windy 4/10

The sky is a slate
and you run your finger
across its surface
leaving small prints
drawing your name
smile faces

09 April 2011


Odds-on 4/9

I look out over the city of Santa Fe and I see a tilting plane of desert – a cracked paper surface and scared face of earth – the buildings are growing – a giant’s causeway – the sky is the inside of a bowl glazed in turquoise and silver – I look over this place and see nothing of the poor children the inequity the people – this makes me heartless – I look at your face and see light radiating from your pores – it’s something like your soul – something like mine – this makes me unable to see individuals to see myself to see anything but the molecules slipping into bed with each other and forming things – my finger – yours

08 April 2011

Pay Grade

Two things that are awesome in front of the Brooklyn Museum today:

1) The fountain was on for the first time in 2011


2) this...

I believe that this means it is actually spring

Pay Grade 4/8

I’m worth this much
I deserve this much
Give me this much
I want this much

07 April 2011


Three places to submit in April!

Octopus Books has opened their doors to manuscripts for one month only

Jewelery maker Jeanine Payer is having a Poetry Month postcard contest

APR's annual Stanley Kunitz Prize gives you $1000 for ONE POEM

Because poetry is like war!

Chevron 4/7

White paint on green doors

In Iraq in 1992 – the Hummers
all had chevrons

Hanging quotation marks

They screamed – I’m here
don’t shoot me!

06 April 2011


Request 4/6

The sweeping hills of Pennsylvania are vast – are tiny – are green and full of deer finches opossum ground hog beaver bear trout – are full of nothing but wood lice brown recluse spiders and chipmunks – everything is an upsweep – weirdly pressed down – it is large and small and everything and nothing – it is like everywhere else and more so – there is nothing that can be done to explain it – anything – language is lost and regained but the words will never come to make this tree standing here larger then it is the fields more full of soy beans and corn and wheat – nothing will make this mountain more in a mind then the words – green – mountain – Susquehanna full to overflowing and logged with ice – Amish – black frock and large-brimmed hats – horses and goats and pigs and that smell – Pennsylvania is a spot on a map yes a spot and nothing more every inch of every space is as quiet as every other inch everywhere else – maybe there is an end of things making sense and a space where things are vast and getting vaster – the mind is a black hole and the universe is slowly filling it –

05 April 2011


Doddered 4/5

The trunk is the size of a car – arms won’t reach
It is knobbed and made of stone – there are
faces stretching up this oak’s sides

You’d think it would stand tall and wide – but
it stops 30 feet above in a strange broken tuft
The side branches on crutches

Everywhere a hush – the animals making berth
around this matron – it tilts in the wind and
drops leaves on our heads

A ship wondering a vast ocean without a compass
relying on however many years it has
as a guide

03 April 2011

Hot Cross Bun

Martin Usborne takes pictures of dogs left in cars. They are at times haunting, sad, frightening. They are always interesting:

Leaving a dog in a car is something we do without really thinking about it. We cannot take the dog into such-and-such a place, so it is left. Hopefully with the window down a bit and hopefully not on a hot day.

But we don't think about it.

I'm fascinated by these things that are never thought about. The things we do daily that have a place in some ritualistic past.

Hot Cross Bun 4/3

We stand – behind a counter talking and you say
I wonder why such-and-such came to be

Everything was ritual that slowly vanished into time

This line across this roll – you think it’s got something to do with
it rising in the oven – not popping open and being ruined

But it’s a devotional to god – a reminder as you eat

The roll would turn out the same either way
So it is with anything really – we do things this way because we’ve always

And why change something we’ve always?

02 April 2011


Alternative 4/2

A.                                                B.
There is a sun                           Night is a face
rolling on the horizon             with gaping mouth
carried by chariots                  and witch’s hat
and horses                                casting mist

You will take this                     Purple flowers open
red moment and hold             like pinwheels in the dark
it in your chest                          everything glows
like birthday candles               everything is secret

Of course you brown               Your eyes are pale fire
in this light                                circles of calm are paths
Everything darkens                  Everything lightens
You have choices                      You must walk one

01 April 2011


McClellan 4/1

If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time.

McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war.

Probably no soldier who did so little fighting has ever had his qualities as a commander so minutely, and we may add, so fiercely discussed.