Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Season in Inference

Every now and then a hand will appear --
an eager bird indigenous to glass, itching
to be relieved at last of its lot --

our lottery; how we scratch and scratch
to win its regard -- two benumbed
degrees apart, we fortify the window.

Friday, November 14, 2008


We wish to wash our hands clean of it,
undo in ourselves any hint
of having entered it -- pit after pit
through untold corridors: we spent

our innocence for access to the other side
of a story -- half-formed, unmeant
for even mirrors -- with trembling hands fed
ourselves a part of the pulp we rent.

Reader, the story, overwrought,
refuses the bait of a coined phrase; that day
we live to recant -- what shade remains pent

in our minds like a contrast dye --
forms the closest tint to a pint
of blood our systems can tolerate.


written in conjunction with my friend Katrina's Weird Vegetables blog entry. Please check it out!

Friday, November 07, 2008

On Reading One’s Own Work

Many people will say the poet is gifted; I believe the poet is cursed-- doomed to seek the assurance of others to tell him that the thing he holds in his hands is not a corpse, but a child.

What an existence, this second-hand knowing!

The poet carries blindly the thing in his hands-- nurtures this half-formed promise to become accustom to the weight, this child or this corpse, and the ache of having carried it so far.

Many people will say “if you created it and will starve it, surely you should see yourself through to its drowning!” They cannot understand that what the poet holds in his hands is practically himself-- that this man, trying to see that the thing he wrought is vanished entirely into the water, wades deeply with it. Deeper still. Farewell.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The House

In the break, there was the beginning,
in the beginning there was the leak:

the sweat and blood that built a house
that would always break,

for it had been built by a being that bled--
a carpenter who carved his own mistake

in the wooden frame, to reassure a place
for his hand at the other’s stake.

Little hand made of wood, you are no more his own,
than in a dream--- the father and the tyke

scratched the itch with the same hand, not one
holding the other, but one asleep and the other woke.


for M.H.

From a mutually ruined city, you call to me;
ashes to ashes, in an aria exceedingly alarming:
reader, we have fallen into one another as watchmen,
each unto his tower bonded
by a fascination with the other's fire.

You are not you, exactly, but what we look out on
together, over and over again
until what we see inspires the same breath
split between us, not quite at home
with ourselves in our disparate desperations.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Once, he did put his hand against your image,
no longer the liquid that once wade himself,
but a self-evidence, accumulating fingerprints,

where it was written
that each page unread would
steep its owner’s weight in water;

little half-drowned thing, without
enlightenment, you will not know
the pleasure of having been wade entirely.

Friday, October 17, 2008


A long time you have been making the trip
from Boston to Amherst, turning over
sad thoughts in the snow--- embodying that trope

of winter, the perverted figure of the traveler
traveled too far deep in virgin snow--- nameless
example of a fervor that urges only to disappear.

You would put your blood-filled shoes behind glass,
if it meant such allegory--- would easily swallow
the sculpture cement to harden, as a callous.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Colors for Georg Trakl

To know the moment as blue
and not as red, is to see it for the first time
as it has always been, in inches,
bestowed through snow,

how it enters white and turns to blue
when you remember it: a kind of sleepy
process--- digging the sheep
that you’ve forgotten out of the snow.

Shepherd, alone, with the shovel in the storm,
what white bulk, becoming blue, do you turn over,
remembering your sister’s wrists--- what path
do you dig that has not already filled again?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Of the bread muffling his mouth,
he writes “not believing myself
the semblance of grain, the world
is for me bone drawn out of water.”
Lot’s wife sifted through my hands---
with the cut you kiss, in granulations, preserving
the point of entry, my first mourned for,
you will lose yourself, with me, in my blood.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

At the airport, saying goodbye,
had a sense, finally,
I was at home

between us, the plot of land ever moved
to ice by our in-turning hands---
gestures approaching snow:

there, as if firstly, felt my fingers on her
red hair, not as fire, but as color,
deprived of its object.

What she was and is now
to me is as the arson and his charred
no different in color.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

There fell a feeling on or in your skin,
a coldness akin to immersion--- you swam
yourself out of the damp, the residue
of a paint as blood as clotted red.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

These tragicomedians of the world’s end,
will they not remain laughing when dead,
or else pulled through the black hole
would they not remain cosmic dust, laughing?
There fell a sense of something unwelcome,
its notion not of a strangeness, but a bonedepth
eclipsed by itself: doorways within the home
which open to night in the house’s shape.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Her red hair you leave as thread,
through the blizzard, behind you,
you use to tread back to yourself:
the blood soaked snow inside you.

Friday, September 05, 2008

He cannot tell the shard apart that he touches
from the eye of the carrion; proverb of glass: that he
who manufactures it shares his burning body,
its smoke, exposure of an interior.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


In another life I would tell myself it is not me,
spare the audience the question of what he saw
or did to axe his head, to ask, instead, his hand
skewer my skull, and offer
the face before its maker a different angle.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Nearness--- who has lost his eyes and his feet
can enter the other world, can feel the warmth of it
bearing against his body as a knowledge half-understood,

understanding only that he’s come to an end,
or the purgatory of ends, always in a language,
which knows nothing of him.

Hers was the wound that lost him to the wandering,
shut out--- an eye before light, given over
to the world of pure gesture as a body immersed in water,

but if he could take himself by the hand he would know
the same pity for the damned in which the murderer
returns to sing the requiem.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


for M.H.

It is not your face to emerge through the door, nor 
your voice yet to stricken my day with its toll,

and, till then, not to you to whom I offer
my animal semblance of song,  my howl, 

bearing not the matter of its lament
to magnify, the fact of its master's tongue---

therefore I pause here, dumb and terrified, 
though you still seem a dreamy proximity,

knowing tomorrow would wake me
in fire, if you deigned enter my day. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


for M.H.

Focus, follower, your hand on the ache
where the it of your eye fell, riddled

as arrows back to their archers
shaft, even glutted by a graze;

this fallow loss is my fall,
will bear your face in my blank

overwhelmed, as only pain can
fellow itself--- barren.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


to M.H.

A flower, or face, orphic, for my oxygen
exhaled from exile:

may song suffer her echo, knelled against
supplicant’s throat, an altered prayer---

may oxeyes follow her back in mourning
knowing herself their knoll.

Friday, May 30, 2008


for M.H.

You will not remember the dream
which you derived from, found

your appetite to that fruit,
where your tooth was confined---

ache-relic of the turn
from blindness to blindness.

You were my voice then,
a surrogate idol moored by my hand

to this world, no longer
nourished by God's light

with our threshold of pain
even the needle's eye bears.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


for M.H.

Mouthsifted down to breath,
down to the silence of the Cross

conceived, sieved
through a surgeon’s glove,

under skin, under terra firma, under
archives of pain--- the two of us induced

into this purgatory
before blind Justice,

who holds a nerve like a tablet
in each hand; two roots

in which the buried
find themselves awake again.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Some fire that would show the moth
how to feel, or at least a hope,

some spark, perhaps, beginning
inside a mute’s mouth--

a man’s up in smoke
dream to become a voiceover.

It’s a film I once saw, or meant
to see, the audience given rocks

to elect the end--
pebbles that burned in our hands,

carrying the cold lips
of an echo in the stone.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Realist

He did not know the difference
between good pain and bad pain.

Quote pain for me has always
been a kind of memory game--

to prick my fingers through
the strings of the guitar was a torture

each fresh ache tinged
with a lingering fear of death.

It was always something with him:
a sore finger, a sprained penis, a pulled ego.

I told him, in my days, you could
lose your ear by day

and still muster enough strength
to paint yourself in the moonlight.

Well, he started to believe if only he lived
in portraits his disease would be cured,

and here we are today: a real pair
of numb skulls-- his song and his scream

inseparable, as he bemoans a new
pain in each plucked string

and me, painting him over
a decade now, trying to reconcile

the pain of his song with the pain
of knowing him.