small talk

say the weather
it is small talk why
even talk about it
The weather is like God
You can protect yourself to a point,
but you always live inside.


i am not a clarifier
nor answerer

i am good

and not take me bitterly
as medicine not trusted

The wind is still a friend

The wind is still 
a friend blowing through you unmovable
letting you let go

emptying your shoes of blood
opening both your right and your left eye
sow with both hands

your body heavy with dreams
dropping like a cut anchor


Pinches of food, pungent, but
out, way out, 
away from the house
untouched except by ants and flies

I kept at it
nightly watching the waves of dark
lap and twist
around a form denser

My imagination grew strong waiting, cast 
like a fine net into shadows
sunken from view
I, outside or within

make my favourite sound

the day the train does not
sound like a man on a train
pulling with all his weight
on a whistle
when everyone is deaf asleep
just to wake some one
to hear him make that sound
trains will not make my favourite sound.

rules for rituals

is it still sacred
if we talk of shoes
seconds after the verses are sung
after a moment
turn to conversation unmetered
spines and throats settled
into the small familiar?

i was

i was a liar
intricately convinced
confused how little
sense I could make

How honest

When I caught you telling someone how
honest I was. How rare.
I wondered and wondered.
I am still wondering.

beneath the wheel

say write
and not know
i write of shining
clouds of callus
of the wheel turned
and ground
til i can recite
every stone on my tongue


Went to wetlands
there are long smells there
tincture of earth
a thousand times upon a time
industrial debris as soft and hallow
i stared at a bird hard
flickering bird, scrap, bird


Train warmed cymbal sky
warmed fluted hollows
A whole pit
practice scales
The score nightly

Winter Dunes

half dune, half prairie
her body gets heavy
praying to Lake Michigan,

that lapsed incarnation
of a dream
of a belly
that once, long ago,
was a sea

sliver moon

you charm,
filed fine by the year
worn still finer by the hour,

we children,
fathered by days
mothered by nights,

feel you crumble on our skin

fires feed

fires must feed
on seams of black
the dark dream billowing
the dream,
a wild mouth of bone glisten
the dream, a mouth of gristle
the dream, your worst,
burning close and clean


i want this word to make it
if wrapped in paper
folded corner to corner
would the cost in coin not do
it flutters.
the seam gasps.
a damp feather,
a crust of bark for veneer,
and the moon of my fingernail
that came off with it?
it banks
like a gull.
fishing line weights,
shavings of rust
and bread,
a half-hollowed back tooth,
a wad of chocolate spit,
drawn blood with a sewing needle
pinned through vowels.
will it go
straight and stick?
i want this word to make it
bangled and tattooed
totemed and tabooed


a holy wind arrives
gathers the shaking all
buries terror in her roaring heartbeat
altogether more gently than she came
drains ache, heart and all,
from her left arm.

record keeper

i sort our things
i catalogue
into a pit
swept for
arriving tenants
i practice interviews
in a mirror
i practice saying
no to demons.

first secret

ladders of afternoon light
you could strip under
losing your shirt felt like losing
nothing at all
losing your way, nothing

stepping through barbed rungs
rust in hand
straining a prayer slow and sure

bare spine cool
house at your back, far behind
ribs softening in the sun slide

fallow field
you were not to cross,
but that
you would

icarus and lucifer

eclipses bare teeth
strike mine
how large
we who plummet

live idol

shipped my weight in gold
zagging mountainsides, dodging passes
now carried openly
straightening streets
a graven image to be struck down for

when bearers bungle that weight
will it walk or lie
broken stubs of poetry, bone, heart fossil-
a rock once bone -

sweep and peddle grubby bricolage
tinkering for distance
and never return,
re zagging mountainsides, dodging passes.

smooth edges

taut cirrus clouds squeeze star
light onto my skin
i have tramped out to be seen
and shored up as the moon
burnished and hayed field.


here land muscles under
a black wing rising
her throat
releasing cries
barbed deeper in root than stalk
civilizations of hollowed sockets
lice fooled ochre and olive
roofs squatting
on land
meant to be ridden


the deeper the warmer
deep as the translucent flesh of dream
alone i strip habits to helix

come to my bright lights
hooked from miles above
be warm and form me

mountains apart

then i will come
you barely speak my language
i never spoke yours
but to ask for food
we will meet in eyes and say
hands hands angles planes
any year any miles
waves, mountains apart

display case

the brains
ever larger by degrees
adorn eyes rinsed of colour
seen by and seen
uniformly worn.

the hearts
progressively larger by degrees
weigh nothing
burnt coal bright by time
uniformly nigh live.


plant paw
lift another
plant snout
in ether


a forest
sets no boundaries
but embroiders an expanding hem
pattern senses and their silences more
woven than you have ever lived
you will learn by heart

by heart you will be led
venture braided root and rock
fed on river and lichen bark
belong so wholly there
one day you find
no heart but honeycombed shade and light


i saw a cat today
crushed wet
eyes bled
her teeth, tiny furies opening
again again

sound sound sound

saw her woman lean
collarbones wet
her mouth a quiet wound

i hoped they had traded
dying in one another
what other prayer can hear
that sound


love her for her many
dogs, roses, daffodils,
chimes, hearses, chestnuts
guns, ailments, inches
pale and heavy hair


the man with a last name like another country
a smoking jacket in summer
says things i want to hear
"it's been like that for everyone"
but nothing is clear
he walks out
as stranger as
he walked in.

was sky

was sky
if i can run an arm along it
push a boat across it
to the bank of stars
eat of it
dream then wake to it
light and dark it is, it is


spokes of growing old
a mountain crumble
a still center
cast shadow
cast light
cast of itself in the sky

by spirit, by fire

this fire
so ready to be us
not only licks kindling clean
but sends bouquets to our snouts
across rocks, strokes our faces
lifts our skin, something
to remember me by,
once we've shed this baptism


supposedly morning by low
angled light
but the bell struck until i
cottonwood spores
swirled into beards
for old webs
brained bouquets
dandelion clocks
beside a field of kin
still lit root to fuse
counting ribs of river current
that bell rung

caught god

wings spread on web
heart fast
a single copper string
struck once for all
reverberate time
through air
through webbed marrow
thousand needles in your eye
just once i would
see you caught
what mouths
would come for your heart

orb spider

how does a spider begin -
i am never up or still enough -
beg in the morning -
tell me -
she does not stand to be watched -
who could watch better -
or begged -
those who have time to beg
should be occupied -
she packs up her mansion of bridges -
covers herself with the invisible strands -
something to munch until dark


it goes okay
i go okay
come loosened
body more like body
than snarled rope
space to hold
weight held
not this line
tracing itself
into maze


mountains go and go and go
present on and on and on
surely one must have
rung the bell of them before
so echo they rhyme
against and against
my open mouth

sleeping brute

in the hallway
outside the dorm of the sleeping brute

my own bright hurt
rises in my ears
and his

blue rainbows

my feet have nightmares
beaten senseless
removed on account of infection
pretended out of existence

would i not
trust waking consequences
if not also their dark left
hands hired in dream

blue rainbows
lean on you
i will even
where you will
and ache i will

stone pockets

paper shirt
limp surrender
the winded river takes
no prisoner

baptize the shirt
from skin
until bright as clay
vermilion clean

screw nothing down
pockets with stone
pulse with throat
fingers with rings

leave nails
for digging


body fed on fever
bed on body
while thumb sized hearts
spaced through swell
and whiten

without them nothing
fingers and feet drain
wax without wicks

must we sing

for spring you must
bow and twist
lure salty vesper
with swung hips

but now how long
since snow
locked over days
people explain glaciers

to other, incredulous, people
for winter what
must we sing

little fires

when you die
people fold bits of paper into birds,
boats, for-your-eyes-only letters, lanterns,
set little fires
and tell what you would have liked
and how much
it is not a lot
but it takes up an evening, some evenings
of their living lives
they snub little fragrant bits
of their own lives
in with the ashes of yours

stop-motion tide

there is a bay
filled with the lights of his whole life
it is night
while he moves and shakes here
and day late into his night
promises make him live this way

when his imagination clouds with memory
he watches the ellipse from a tourist camera
twenty-four hour post
while it is still light here
even, he looks,
recognizes the lights

but mostly, in deep early mornings
when sleep is of less worth
than watching a lone swimmer
arrive, strip, and disappear

porto germeno


i cannot hurry
every fever i
every layer
wrapped around a finger

stare at me and marvel
my wild concentration
reverent wander

i remember every breach
so as to shut you
again behind me

jan, 09

the one with broken hips

loose from the joint but faking it
believing in but all the while
mourning the miles the extra miles
she swore silently to see through

flying kazoos

geese come this morning, bellow expletive
joy noosed at the neck
regardless how linear they strain
geese, for the thrill of pain, force
learned praise
through their bodies like kazoos

for scattering our nights

the birds do not wake
but keep me up
harassing: you are not sleeping
be honest

late for the dawn
my lasting winter friend, the willow
captures the moon for a heart
i can hardly walk
knowing her fate within the hour

past the hundred rowed eclipses
sowed orchard
between me and the liquid horizon

if every one has been lifted to purgatory
and i reserved for some colder wake
reserved to remember how hands smell up close,
i accept the empty robes to pray

nothing to say i repeat
your name, not the one, but them all
a prophet once showed me this use for names

under the high beamed morning the dog and i sit
my eyes sore as a rainbow slick
she blinks slow: like this

be filled with light through warehouse panes
smeared, broad, warming pianos
where they wait

a vision come of honeycomb
quiet as it yawned awake
stocked with swarm, not from fear
but a population kept warm in dream

ceremony over i touch the willow's breastbone on my way
resting her wings, empty
but she does not weep

save our ship

breaker dawn.

wrecked ashore.

salvaged bow.


every splinter.

darned the rest with drift.

history of january

the history of january
myself unfamiliar
not someone i could easily
talk to
slunk off to strange hemispheres
more home when away
every january
i find myself


truth is a secret kept for someone else
less raised and unnatural, duller
than the nightmare of truth
because the blade had been sharp - a mercy - 
the cut dazzled without pressure
until the inside made out
truth and all
secret and all 
wetter, darker, it looked deep
giddy, all senses nurse the gash
how to understand
a wound in the back
near the spine
blade between blades
the position of 
the past caught up
sliding its edge in long enough
to tell the truth. 

car sick in snow

snow scabs black flank and face
wise men tip from rock slick
with flare light
over baby jesus braided in a basket fastened
to a hole black river
blueing key
in a stuck lock

make sense

one breath takes in another
the hungriest sense
taste intentions, states

one ear put to another
the starving sense
hear an ocean overhead

but eyes crushed closed
the nauseating sense
until time to focus, to keep late watch
over one still center

come she will

on easter
frets mangled in song
ribs reshaped
tenderized, boiled
bent around this new thing

seeing ducks

in the excess
rainbow river
fractal flash
and shimmer strata
they were common
only alive

now all that world
threshed to stalk
they are anything but common
the only alive

impossible necks sluice dried blood water
come up shining
more marvelous for the shadows
rolling off beak and eye


crepe and ashes
salt stung lashes
gnawed from matchsticks
sung low for latches
left open
counted upon
to rust eventually
in kissing humidity

feb, 2014

last chocolate

very last mound of christmas fudge
last flush, 
sugar, chili, warm
mumble in the ears
up under wound neck 
cold packed
mouth shut at the lips
opened at the teeth
opened at the tongue
cupping air
to that last cinder
kept from turning stone
in the throat. 

feb, 2014


on my way
a black mulberry branch
some too early blossom
pared from late winter

i thumbed its knots for a rosary
until my hands smelled wrist to nail
of that specific chemical consequence

the old turned live again
in hands tender with first calluses

deeper snow

she takes her grey bow of a body
in search of deeper snow
sneezing at the scent
she does not need sight
or much sense
to trail the blank depths
to understand the importance of snow.

get well

again i dreamt
i was in your hospital
eventually you had to come -
i was a patient after all
you fell ill upon entering
laid in a bed next to mine
i kissed your eyes and nose and ears
and between told you
i tried i swore
but forgive me
i could not get well

from one invertebrate to another

cicada shake down
sucked from armor
mouthless slept and dreamt

multitudes and states
up scales down hatches
a core with instincts
prey and die
pleasure the perishing

making sugar from velveteen
music from whoring
making want and wishing
to dredge the wanting.


kingdom of god
where vultures black
circle tighter, answer
knotted light.

comb marrow
survey the kingdom for
strangers ready for

we wanderers live
lob interruptions
through lowering shadows.

the mad month

February, you come on
in prayers and licks
removing the hinges on locked knees
the spirit falls toward you
but the body pulls back
you grind the sky out
shake your cuffs of the ash.

February, you come on
in sojourns and suns
smacking flat imagined worlds
complete without space and time to cross
smacking mouths dry
you rattle the compass
roll cardinals in your palm like dice.

February, you come on
in sutures and teeth
bind up wounds that need to breathe
and biting out seams
come to count as bones
you measure pulse for temperature
and not for speed.


i prayed the sky would break apart
you confessed, you prayed the world
hordes of wasps beat inside
only snow can campaign in such numbers
they gather, pressing toward our voices
inward and out
buzzing threat
gusts of nightlong marvel
we prayed gently, but with power: battle

and this morning, i'm not sure what's left
it will take some weeks to know
we sat so still
rigid conductors of defeat and hope
any collateral
will shake loose from us slow
so we prepare to move

finally, you go - seeming whole enough
so i go - whole enough as well
only, here in the path,
a perfect graphite bird
pressed in snow
her open eye reflecting sky white.


this is
the story of my skin.
its underpinning,
nerve and furnace iron,
cannot be told,
given, received.
a sheathed world
only shared
in those dreams
without skin

to the river

to assume and assign
the names of every rill
would drain the senses
supporting the liquid world

me with it
leaving a column
ancient salt
licked clean of savor

i won't gather words
translating dream
as if you
had turned concrete
pillar yourself

skeletons of the universe
its ribs and vertebrae
our bodies dreams
not broken by names.

derring do

let's do some deep dreaming
let's do those flying kind
those jumping from heights
no landing kind

that time you shook
until all the sand of your mind
settled in your legs
and you felt more solid
than ever
that kind

the one where
you breathed water
for miles
and saw water
and spoke and were water
for miles

let's dream again that time
i recognized you by your dress
of severed feathers
you recognized the mud
in my fur
added together and good
even before the sum

let's do that kind of dreaming
the ages of midnight
worlds on worlds

and not these scoops
of flaking despair
too thin to grow
and too shallow to bury anything


i have been
white on white
cloud shadow
over snow
breathing through the gap
as a drowned body
is taught to breathe again

the crew

squirrels unfurl,
hitching heaven
to earth,
trunks of deadwood rope,
from balloon
to basket
around our flat,
unsteady feet.


and i followed her
from train car to car because
it was love
that improbable

horse hair

handfuls of her hair
coarse and exactly elastic
as the hours
long but not forever
and the ends are finest
as they ruin
your knuckles

there will never be much to say
about her

breakfast fire

one scent, specific
as the crease in a palm,
pressed under cloudcover
brought here, or sent
folded in atmosphere:
sachet of salt
sleepworn skin
tea behind teeth
and tongue
swelling over coal
fire breakfast
bowl, thicker
than the belly it fills
the room sucked
of air but our breath
atom for atom
the pulse left blue
but boiled 
for fuel. 

prayer furnace

stacks of hands
dry together 
lichen and termites 
drop from wrists
die together
saps age
mould and tannins
season under fingernails
rest the furies
fade the black effort
down to concentric prints

squint games

better the enemy you know
circle me ankle, waist, neck deep
grey silk water, most familiar fear
resting as one can over the jaw of another
squinting, my only game, playing
this is not this, but that
bones clotting the mud bottom
logs, all logs. washed clean. left after storms
squinting to see it. squinting until shut.

in that new dark dream
light the color of lake
bones aright themselves
assemble seaworthy raft and mast
lift me up like kin. we glow like kin
i offer my skin
sail the lake indifferent
to storm or light

not a believer

not a believer not
a marcher not
onward nor upward nor
further nor
no scribe no
orator no
translator no
scholar no
judge nor juror no

but a tea reader but
a star reader but
a palm
a card
a handwriting
reader but
a body
a breath
a vibration
across rooms
and skin
drug bow
on string
but a reader

spilled milk

if you woke from a nap blind,
would you whip your ears to twin peaks
summiting high over your head
and lean against the world's thighs
rubbing your rump against its belly
would you pump the air through longer tunnels
scraping every mite against your handkerchief of cells
test every follicle of stone or wool for flavor

or would you bawl
water those roots
shriveled as spilled milk?


all day
we grow older
and take things in
our arms to hold us aright
then there are six hours
after the sky tips
over soiling the colours
the part where the music turns
last ditch giddy
and we grow young
somehow it's enough
or it never is, but we accept
the compromise and go home
propped up all the way
with the things we never let go
even as we flung
the rest of the night
we grow back old
older again
the things we took in
to hold
end up soft swirled
piled on top
keeping us warm
pinned to the night


the wind
blows his smoke down white to me
and mine up to him
spent and spending
i imagine and he
is not as i imagine
the stars
blow down on - we -
(he is gone
a curse sloughs
smoke and five point leaves
riding histories
and down

kite after noon

a long broad kite at the end of the bed
tossing sunlight at me for conversation
flick a silken angle
breathe open a crease
relax eventually
bored of it the game of catch
loosen as for sleep
without thinking
crawl up my side
eyes in the shade of my head
feet warm in the last of it
bend your angles broken thread

the butterfly orgy

in a room pink and dusty
from all the heave and ho
almost a hundred bare bodies
coiled into still bunsens
boiling desire as clear as cold water
from one apparatus to another
under several layers of skin
and under several layers of sewn feather
and when as an orchestra the temperature was reached
almost a hundred timpani blew the layers to the beams
i saw so many powdered wings tagged with postage stamps
and legs without feet stamping
stamping despair desperate come clean
cold water drown down us drain us
drive us into the -
but here i joined the stamp
and remember nothing else.


you would like the breath taken from you
and put you care not where
it is a hard request
most thieves
do not know how to steal
or what they have
or how to hide in plain sight
and no one else

Venice 2

if you take for a guide
whatever first found moving
in any direction
in this city
you shall lose your way always
if you lean against the walls
you also carry them away
in your hair and knit

dreaming us

i dream these dreams on purpose
of our street darker
window light deeper
i call them up
exact replicas of here
but for time
folded coordinates
matching degrees
press together
in dreams
we argue the same affection
for many possible eternities

how we talk now

it was like love
first and shy
from your corner to mine
we wished to hold hands
but it seemed an ocean
sunk into that space, our faces
pained with smile
less to say than we had
this reflection between us
this surface
black, whitecapped
took your gaze
sealed and sent it
i could read your lips
but not your eyes
like i said
it was like love
all first and shy


i was a reveler by the fire
you were a bright bloom wasting
we took turns on names for god
hallelujah, latecome blessing.
down they poured
shaken, seeded
apart we shuddered
fording shallows, swimming secret.
names slick across our skin
dislodging bits for narrative
we recited omega and the end
the river listed reverent, relative
more it asked, more we sang
til tow filled our mouths, drew us under
giving up that bloom, that flame
we sank our names in the dark leveler.

bodies by mine

since bitten tongue
struck foot on stair
pressed hand to wall
or face to prayer
numb turns noun
state of weight
come skin to bone
take on nerve
only sensed when severed
by bodies by mine

the prisoners

marble wrest,
swim, love,
from scoria
gnawed block
womb gnashed
only ligament and animus
barer than the newest born
cleaving light
your only carapace

To the Executions

we go to the executions
you watch
to burn off the blood
i, to burn off the love.
from our tame trained bodies
sweat breaks
from our indoor skin
fumes lift, mix, ignite.
in the aftermath
we half hallucinate manners
you offer the skull of a helmet
i hold the muzzle of your gun while you collect.

dec, 2012

Breathwork For Two

at the last moment
broken by the straw of that
least breath, mine,
your own lungs brimmed,
and though you may have clamped
your teeth
your surprise
curse hissed there
swirling - through the conch shaped clouds
swirling - pressure in my ears
swirling - brine and tang
frozen crystal on crystal
your breath fell back to me
slivered and shaved
with just a hint of all the sweat
put into that prayer
 dec 18, 12

Tattoo of Honey and Soot

tattoo of honey and soot
the bees did not swarm
the woods did not burn
every blessed sear and sting
tendered for warmth
pain blots into a body
a hand traces it into form
working with available light
blood born into ink and reborn

dec, 12

Robes for Beggars

these walls collapsible,
night of tissue dyed,
these lungs canteens
of blood and ether
hold us over
the slow forever crashing,
so little for gravity
we'll catch the heavier teeth as they loosen,
fraying weft to wreck,
gathered for our necks,
the thin world -
robes for beggars

dec 18, 12

First Communion

silent morning, holy morning
city so drunk dreamt
even apnea cannot startle
a swarming light
hoarse crackles over
stay stay stay

jan 1

Cello Craft

to bend the bones
to place
to shave the swollen
jumping organ
to a shapelier
something deep that takes
the whole body's worth
to drag one note
breaks blood vessels
and nerve columns
and bread of a whole life
to draw one note
to the next.

jan 2


slip stone
to slip
the cross braided with
turquoise and choice
chain rising as you rise
dropping as you fall
until its rhythm is your heart
and your heart is lost
you may spend the current
tight panic and scramble
sunk in silt
to the wrists for the symbol
go on
the chain glints at the bank
in the sundown
in the exhaust
you spread
your limbs
your head
your belly and back
upon that last
unabridged gap
that last
effort you cast.

jan 2


when you touch
that upholstered brick
that bribe
unholy bible
of mine
lacking latch or lock
lying in trust within your reach
as you talk and in between
trace its raised upholstery.

and i might try
not to see
not to breathe
its flipped cover
space fanned through the seams
i'm blown like love
lost leaves.

settling your hand -
lest it rest -
let it read
it is a press
for tensed membranes
too laden
to cling.

dreamt mythology

draft the horse and the unicorn
life size monsters merry
through the morning
loam and lee
you'd mouth
the magic road you'd lap
the blue dress
the flood
the goat's eyes
the waking hives
from dreams
the faces met
through wither steam
the cut hair
the myth the history

Numb Tongue

the dog's warning and farewell
antlers and hooves
hummingbird water doused
your dislocated hip
the nameless numberries
oozing houseplant stalk
through the column of you
sleeping sleeping
talking in your sleeping
and forgetting just as
just as then
just as soon
just as well
as waking.



the old,
young woman
medicine bottle
rusted tight
faded vague
in case you cannot
what in the end was
me or you to poison
the symptom, written
in red, mildewed
and bled

dec somthing

Lock Jaw

Put a bone cold pink
apple to my lips
behind my back
slip knot my wrists
and while you drag
a stone along a spike
kiss my jaw
say i should bite

nov 20