Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dream Song

The moon loomed large in the sky that night,

Copper shafts of light filtered

Through the endless layers of rushing clouds

That ghosted ‘cross her face,

Revealing glimpses of her bright regard,

The surprise of her smile;

The girl dreamed of slender trees,

Their pale fingers reaching from grassy isle

To water-color sky, delicate green touch

That sang with the breath held inside her;

She dreamed of a diamond,

The heart of a star deep in the cold pewter expanse,

Born in the fires of the universe beginning,

Dancing itself into facets

Beyond all sense of time;

She dreamed of a cave full of water and light,

The motes of Another’s thoughts

Rising like fragments of gold,

Like glittering new snow in the lights of a town,

Like the particles of her own dreams

Written and sung beneath the beaming

Of that slowly spinning

Brightly shining

Beneficently eyeing orb

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


An astonishing moment of silence

Solitary walk to the corner

Uninterrupted by engine

Or shout or whine of airplane

Just sky and your song

And my throbbing soul


fountains of copper sparks
spray out from dark wheel rhythms
exclamations illuminating the rain
highlighting the drops
like halved black pearls
set into the endless steel
that runs to island's end
and back around
in this breath-fogged night
it links us all in weary waiting
for the cars to come


I stood out on the street
as the drunken city hurtled past,
the rushing people
broke around me in eddies,
I was the creek stone--
the bit of bracken changing the flow
with head hanging chin to chest
my top-most branch snapped,
let me down,
and I sank inside
as you turned on your heel,
disappearing into the too-bright darkness--
into the cabs and the tunnels and the noise,
back to continue your unknown,
while I was left
to weigh this aberrant ache--
this unexpected denial,
against those mysteries
locked behind your eyes
and my eyes,
and against everything I can't be sure of anymore...

My breath steamed in the thin air.

Then I too walked away.


Snub-nose silver trains
wink red letters in dark tunnels,
run roaring and screeching below our feet

This room twists around me
choking on the still, flat summer air,
hemmed in, pinned down,
pithed by the absence of trees

Climb the cracked and pitted stairs
the corners filled with ash and memory,
gulp in air and rooftop views,
strings of lit windows
like shining stars across the black river

The moon deigns to show her face
and, for a moment, this feels like home
this haven temporary,
torn apart by screams and shouts
from the filthy alley below


Curtains of heavy rain enclose the city this morning—

I would not have believed that anything, even the rain,
could encompass this place,

Yet a single cloud of fog (much more than mist) obscures her
peaks and spires

Leaving only the dark and tangled streets,

Running like animals in some dark foreign jungle…

Waterfalls of rain and offal gush down the brick walls of
the train station

And spray those forced to escape to the Underground,

While on the streets, umbrellas lie broken in the gaps
between buildings—

Or hang from the trash cans into which they were thrust when
they failed…

And some twitch helplessly against parked cars,

Twisting in the wind that pushes through the corridors of
topless towers,

The shrouded island seems to erupt with a fearful sadness,

Wrapped in soft unending grey, damp strands of hair, and
sodden newspapers

That wind themselves around the ankles of those trying to

Down pavement turning quickly to swift-moving streams and

The smell of the sea is everywhere, reminding me of how this
place was claimed—

Raised from the surrounding salt water first on the back of
a great turtle,

Then with piles of sand and soil, sturdy concrete pylons and
spikes of steel…

All feeling of place disappears in this fog that smells of
the sea and I feel it is possible

To slip away from Fifth Avenue and into the mysterious shoals and swells

Of the cold Atlantic...

summer's fleeting (joys)

today there is a sky so cloudless blue
cloudless blue even as the wind
is scented with the end of summer
this is the time for wood-walking
for walking away along the shining river
and finding the place where the sun sleeps
for sleeping in the rain beneath white pines
before crying out the loss of leaves
before all green things go to ground
and I feel the frost creep into my veins
into tree veins that will slow for the long darkness
darkness that wraps itself around my heart
even though the sun still shines out
as though it were time to harvest strawberries
instead of the late raspberries that we have plucked
to steep in glass jars filled with vodka
to sip while wrapped in woodsmoke next summer
if summer does come again
in glories of heat and dust smelling of carnival straw
and green curling vines of everything that grows
everything but apples which will come soon
in a bittersweet taste of long lazy days
and regrets
of tired new chances in a place not yet my own
my thoughts are my own and full of whispers
whispers in the velvet-dark of a mountain night
smelling of the wet insides of new leaves
of soil and summer cigarettes sighing smoke
the sigh of nylon sleeping bags in an insect-green tent
the hands resting on my sun-warmed skin
rubbed smooth by lake sand while we
floated on driftwood with buttercup chins
devil's paintbrush lashes framing our eyes
our cheeks daubed with stream-wet shale
riding the warmth of weather and contented breaths
lips curving in smiles that no longer exist
for the endless days of dancing through the trees cannot last
summer can never seem to last
even on a day like today
when the sky is so cloudless blue

To Forget

I came to you
that rain-soaked night
And the trains roared overhead
as you carried me to the bedroom
my legs wrapped around you
We spoke very little
but I felt my heart expand
and contract into nothing
as yours pounded beneath my chest
My skin wet from you
My lips dry
and full of your sweet salt taste
We were miles apart
my head on your shoulder
a leg flung across your hips
My fingers tangled in your hair
holding on to pieces of moments
to bits of phrases
thoughts and desires
half-formed and discarded
You laughed then
And I understood
I looked into your eyes
and knew you were already gone

what good this loop?

restless like the moon was full, clawing walls and (tough, so tough) eyes burning holes in the backs of muggers' heads,

draw in breath and shaking head i plunge into the swirl of dark and sound,

faint smell of incense, heat and everything turns and watches...

glimpsed familiar eyes recede into unknown faces and it all blends away,

regrets wrap my tongue, make it heavy, thick as i climb the stairs,

the way remembered but i am missing and unknown,

my long white nails strangers in this half-light burst of strobe, that glow of red and swirl of black...

tip back drink too quick, try (with muddled head) to unravel heart fibres (pain-bound muscle) clenched around five ancient years,

follow old trails back to when i wore my love (indecisive) in lonely tears, blood and scars, words and words and silent screaming wishes to be anywhere else, anyone else...

choke on memories and rum, charge out into noise and heat to banish thought,

(better lose self in movement) don't stand still too long or broken pieces rising up will overwhelm,

please don't sweep away Contented Now with endless nostalgic obsession,

thoughts [what if] and [why didn't] and [should have] get me nowhere in this cultivated gloom,

and i still know nothing at all,

so i give up and go again, hands deep in pockets,

(tired and) huddled against this dark night


Lassitude creeping,

A jug of quicksilver in my veins,

I had dreams of the moon once,

She filled my soul—golden image in my mind—

But now there is silence without stars

Like cosmic pause in endless turning

As years rush by in moments and

Moments loom large like birds of prey—dark things with wings—

Seen through the half-light in silhouette,

No more night, just twilight grey—afternoon grey—

Dawn grey and the feel of fur within…

Too tired for tears to come,

Those glittering smiles winking in the lamplight of memory…

I am at the center of all that once was

And my thoughts are tiny boats in a treacherous crossing,

I wander and am lost upon a clear path—

Leafy walls high as can be surround me,

Waves lap at my shore but I cannot see,

Only hear them from a distance…

Water and darkness and nothing inside…

Palanquins and dreams of flying…

Rain fell softly through elder boughs above

And what light there was dappled mossy ground,

Now there is an empty room—soft flannel grey and quiet

While teeth slowly crack and fall away,

Falling like snow, falling like me in pieces,

Swirling creamy self blooming loops and rivers in my coffee,

Sighs and sleep without waking,

Waking from no sleep,

Everything without dreaming,

And without dreaming

There is


A Goodbye Day

Tiny clearing calling to me,

Hooves have long since sunk into damp soil,

Chickadees flit--startle me--in the bushes,

Discovering the magic pop of seeds my father once showed me,

I came this far not knowing what I sought,

The desire to fly away--to melt into the trees--seized me...

Golden sunlight of afternoon plays across the trees here,

The bittersweet sigh of autumn fills my heart,

If magic could be sought out--caught and held--it would be here,

Under the drum of the woodpecker,

But I only feel a chill as a cloud passes the face of the sun,

What I wouldn't give to be those clouds

Soaring over the blue sky,

To be a golden leaf high above--shining in the sunset--

To be an amber toad leaping from the path of a deer,

To be the log on which I perch--so full of other life--

But this must end and I must roam again,

Content not even here,

Among life so unlike my own

Walking Through Moonrise With Ansel Adams

Sun on warm gardens,

A house fraught with memory,

Hot stone high rises in sandy fields,

Colonial columns and cool white birches,

Tiny town huddles on the horizon,

An oak views dawn and dusk,

Your heart is a perfect rose,

And so is mine

Thoughts On A Western Night

In this cool-flagged back room,

Standing at night before an open window,

I am suddenly seized by the wild impulse

To run bare-skinned through the rain;

My lamp shines out

Past the bright path of wet stones

Glistening in the dark,

And I lean out

Feeling the warm rain on my shoulders;

This night is made for escape,

Running free in the damp sand valley below


It is well beyond the witching hour

And I am restless in the early-morning night,

Dreaming with my eyes open

As my lover sleeps on

Unaware of my wanderings, a pen between my teeth,

My fingers twisting this hair too short to be my own (and yet it is),

The passing cars move so fast

On the road below my window,

And out beyond my sight

Something is pulling the tides in my veins

Stirring my need to escape--

I'm strung out on waiting to recognize myself

In this place that seems haunted

By the ghosts of dreams,

I wander and my thoughts stray to desert nights

Ancient as two summers ago,

Hiding from the burning sun

In caves filled with the images of hands

My hands on my bare shoulders--

Crossed arms holding in a thudding heart

As the radiator here and now

Bangs out a protest to the hour,

I throw my head back

Hoping all my doubts will pour out,

Feeling, perhaps, like the sweat

Sliding down my spine,

As I seek the rusted-out places within me,

I press my forhead to the rain-washed window--

Streetlights blurred by the night

And my eyes that burn with the need for sleep,

I imagine my wounds not gone

But sucked down deep,

The scars raw behind my eyes,

Their ropes binding my breath,

Squeezing it into sighs

And gasps of half-forgotten terror in the night,

And I wonder how others can sleep,

If their lives, like mine,

Come bubbling up like mercury--

Dangerous and tempting beads of silver

Slipping away from the pressure of thought,

And out into the night


the waning moon

veils herself

against the pewter starlight

of the galaxy,

the sea sweeps

slowly in

as the chill of

autumn creeps

gently closer,

I am

small and warm and alive


Squeal and scream

The blood pools like tears

More red than eyelids in the sun

Lap it up like honey

Soak up pain

And drain it as with tea

Panic wells in my belly

Warring with sick desire

Run and don't look back

Fascinated crouching

Rocking in the road

His shock buzzing

The sound of flies

In my ears

The Sky While Walking Home One Day

There is nothing real about this sky...

The sun falling toward the edge of the world

Has dyed it--an over-turned bowl--

All ruddy golds, blending blue, and orange-crush clouds looking painted on.

I feel disproportionate; more than human-sized

In this planetarium that contains the city where I am living.

The limits, the boundaries of it are palpable,

So close above my head, tingling my skin.

And I breathe deep, a fervent prayer

To those powers that push the tides, that fill the moon,

And scatter the stars into the velvet folds of the night,

That when I lay down the love

That binds me to this vessel of flesh,

My soul-flight might begin

Under a sky so dramatic as this.

That this peculiar twist of perspective and hue

May create an arena of curious beauty

For that final fleeting moment

Of infinite clarity.

Two Haikus


Bare bones in the sand,

Desolation presses me,

I am a mirage.


Blossoms fall like snow,

A petal lands on your skin,

Which is more lovely?

November Song: Part 1

This is my autumn song--
my November song--
Memories shimmering gold and russet,
a pile of words to leap into,
The past holds me close
like smoke on my skin,
Bare black tree limbs, midnight wingbeats,
I am falling into torpor--
soul sleep--
Everything is time and rivers,
stones we once climbed
and sat atop, feeling the world was ours,
Everything is the damp smell of waiting,
of Future locked just behind the heart,
And swallows diving,
last before the frost,
I am trapped in amber,
I am spinning into dormancy,
I can never forget


rivers stretching away
running out from me
from my soul
carrying my thoughts
out out through trees
through great grass fields
into night
the moon
a river of stars
running smooth over stones
river stones rolled round
waves moving out
rippling slowly
motion always

Into the Black

Last night, driving home along I-90, the fog rolled in--
deep and soft and quiet--
muffling the sound of tires humming on asphalt,
the street lights winked and went dark,
my radio cut out,
and I travelled into the black,
I've been lost there ever since


Stories of fire and moonlight,
Of walking paths of stars
Through a land of bare black trees,
Of creatures with lamplight eyes
Burning secret and strange,
Hiding just beyond sight,
Stories of rivers that wind away,
Starting inside you and spinning out
Past all you know and might imagine,
Of the dry cold smell of leaves,
Of frost and wind and
The loneliness of an aching need,
Stories of restless wandering
That takes hold of your soul
And carries off contentment,
Of the fierce joy of darkness,
And skies that cannot be contained,
Of wild souls released,
Stories of returning from consciousness
Back to the joy of a dream,
The embrace of a journey