Archive | January 2010

A Blanket of Words

When I cannot sleep for fear to face again
The unspoken and unheard voices that would call down fire
Upon every folded-in flaw;

When these mute unfeeling creatures hover round the edges
On wings of bootblack leather,
Threatening to smother that voice which speaks most clearly;

When I sit and rock with worry that this melodic whisper
Of truth–comfort–breath and bone music
Will cease speaking for me forever;

I wrap myself in a blanket warm of word and wonder
And enfold my starry eyes, glance into darkness,
And pour forth onto paper.



We walk upon these wooden floors–
Worn-down paths and broken boards,

Until a splinter breaking free,
Passes every boundary,

Wends its way beneath the flesh
And aims to merge itself with us.

Some mirror of life unlived, untried,
Aims to bed its starry bride.

Tear through dense skin, remove this root,
Feel the tension in the foot,

Then release as wings unfold
And our feet leave the ground below.

Are We Looking or Listening?

The problem here:
Blade beneath surface,
Severs bonds between
Calmwater depths and roiling waves —
Those ropes that anchor flesh
To something other,
Something deeper.

On a stage,
Under spotlights,
Two women pour out souls–
Sweet-voiced birds
That swoop and reel.

Heart rides melody,
Turn with tears
As you bring out a compass
To chart
Perceived imperfections.

Must be why
I stare at the line–
The number–
The dimpled flesh.
Surface measurements.
Haul up an anchor
And cry mad with seabirds.

Perfectly drawn figures
Subjected to an
Ever-focused lens
That reveals
Structural defects–
A nose misshapen,
Eyes not quite right-sized,
Skin too white,
Skin too dark,
Skin too marked.

My ship is rocked,
Telescope on the horizon.
Above me, dark-eyed angels
Obscure the stormy sky.
But birdsong swells.
And below the surface
Floats the scar
And long-held fear
Of judgment.

Covered, Uncovered

There are just three sounds in this whitewashed landscape.

The rhythmic ice-beat of skis as they glide
Back and forth,
Back and forth —
Over the winter path,
Putting the miles behind.

My breath coming in sharp fog-bursts
As I move.
Inhale and exhale,
Inhale and exhale —
It condenses in the frozen air.

And the wind that howls in my ears
As I traverse the snowy marshland.
Ebb and flow,
Ebb and flow —
It bends the branches low.

When I stop, add a fourth
The pounding heart,
And rhythm and wind.
Now move again.

Snow lines each branch,
And not a bird to be seen.

But a red-tailed hawk —
Thick-feathered in his
Wintry watcher’s coat —
Swoops low
And then high,
To settle in a nearby tree.
He watches my progress
And looks for the tunneling under-snow creatures

And I marvel at this:
That just as I add a manmade shroud
To hide my form under warmth and weight,
Your very bones are revealed.
Their starkness cuts me to the core —
This dark, organic architecture —
Once hidden in deep-green and humid cloak.