Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A few I've been working on

Even the Single Stalk

A single stalk of grass,
                        caught a moment
            in the moonlight.

The last drop wrung
            from a hand-towel, resides
                        an instant and evaporates
off the kitchen floor.

            Far from here, two men
walk silently alone
            within the shadow
                        of a mountain.

Last night I fit first
                        my knee and then my upper thigh
            into a narrow crack
                                     in the bark at the base
                        of a redwood.

Oh indeed!
            what a beautiful thing it is

                                                            to be small.


The footpath before me is thin, time
worn, edged on both sides
by deep grasses.
It diminishes here
and there, disappears
in open fields
and reappears again
as the forest
before me.

I have followed
consistently for days.

Where has it led me?
down low canyons?
through collapsing pine groves?
across prairie wastes?
up the solitary mountain ways?

How can it be
so many topographies live
within such short distances?

Years before, this path was set
by calloused hands
who sought the way
through trees, removing
them when necessary.

They blunted axes, broke saw teeth, watched tenderly
the skin on their hands
recede to a shredded foundation;
rebuilding again each night.

But they have gone,

and I would like to say
                                           the blissful air remembers their wake, the shuffling canopies, the
                               still small voice of grasses wavering;
the only things alive now
upon this plain are my two small feet.
They have heard
that slow enchanted metronome
which overcomes
any wanderer
and spirits him away,
each pace becoming
too many
to count.

I have come,
so far,
to this place:
the peak of
the smaller mountain.
me stands
the vast array
of monstrous peaks
dwarfing me,
this peak, my whole
life. They grow
gold bullion in the sun,
plunged behind, a moment more
and I cannot see anything
but golden light. I am now the speck
you see slowly drowned out
whenever you stare
into the setting sun.
A moment
of peace
like this
is all
I ask.

So I have walked
through untamed landscapes
broken by wild men

So I have walked

to the edge
of my own mind.

Ode to Snow.

In Minnesota, we love to complain
about the cold and snow and the cackle
of the winter crow with its dark disdain,
reminding us of nights, shallow, ample

as accumulated blood, discolored
skin or waking to the cold, shivering
world within.
                              In Minnesota, smothered
in snow, we remain frozen, wavering

each morning at the door, we leave to chip
the ice from cars until our fingers go.
We watch clouds and clouds, brimming to the lip,
the cup they carry as they come; fresh snow.

Me, I still find love for winter. Somehow in pain,
the cold, my love, all mingle in a dark disdain.

I Have Mountains

I have mountains
inside me like lightning
climbs inside a thunderhead
I carry them with me
into the city, nightly
fronts build
against the range,
memory fills the cloud-
less sky
with streaks and lonely
holes in the void and that anvil
on which Zeus displayed his hammer
holds back rain.

Once, when I neared the summit,
I saw the world darkened in shadow
then consumed in white.
Motionless, blind,
cut into mountain furrows
carved out by glaciers, I listened
to words no one would ever say,
heard my name, spoken
by the earth itself.
The ancients only knew
gods this intimate
and if they too had names,
they are now this mountain
pinioned in a cloud.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Don't know who cares...

but a year later and I write again.
I found this old thing and will try to post some new shit here.
also, please visit:

and see some more poems (not mine).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lamentations in the quiet

In the quiet
like fathers
who leave home 
and forget their daughters' ages
and birthdays, how
can they remember?
in bars
with tears
inebriated, they swear to fix it all
but really, how
can they bear the guilt?

I too
forgot your are, or at least how long
I knew you

I looked for sage advice
on the matter
but there is none 
to be found For a while
I tried
tired to be myself
being a little more passionate...

What will befall us when
we have proved we can end
         up parked drunk 
         beneath an overpass, at last the hail falling harder than
         we want to get home
         and larger than any father's

unanswered question?

where is your presence in this world in the quiet
because when I forget, you disappear
maybe you do

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

early morning lamenting the dawn

listen, dears,
who dream life out

a new morning
for each
of your anxieties

warm sheets a carved pillow--

cuddled, comfort
generally leers
at us

from the other side of

the bed we were never comfortable in
sleeping on shards
of the sun-
bleached apocalypse tomorrow
          an echo of each former day
          sleeps with us:

we too have seen affliction

we grew accustomed to the darkness

our eyes have not adjusted to the light

Monday, December 15, 2008

#4 There and Back, Again

Lately, I have been on the move. 
Every morning waking to a stiff neck and crumpling back. 
Every morning waking to an old man in a grey
and tattered hat.
                              My mind is an intricacy of winding
roads and I'm coming to realize that even the trees
can be articulate. I hope they can explain my departure.
I hope they can explain it to me.
I grope about in dark tunnels,

some great power, my burden
brings nothing but my own doom. I want
my bed. My feather bed and a world observed
through closed and half-open eyes.

My eyes have been wrenched to see a world darker
than I imagined, yet some say
I cannot chose my time. 

One day, kings will kneel to me, yet I will never feel at home.
The earth will open up before me like a morning glory
and I will walk aimless among crabgrass
and barren places. I will sit in the comfort of my home and ache,

knowing that at the very end of my journey, I did not bleed
or say a prayer, but looked into darkness, feeling
less fear than I ever felt, I closed my eyes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

When Spider-man Opens His Eyes (revised)

Sometimes, when I fear to be alone,
I entertain the night, the only thing
I can't get out of my mind.
It is Blanchard Lawn.
I have left the city behind,
that contracted darkness.

I wake in the morning. I roll over
and gaze into the sunny eyes
of my magazine-cover girlfriend.
I don't feel much of a hero anymore,
more like a normal man.
I will kiss her on the cheek,

the step out the window.
Buildings in this urban landscape
string out before me 
like the beads of a rosary;
my nightly wanderings
become my most earnest prayers.

I escaped my room again
last night, drifted in a maze
of suburban town homes, the dust
of a million commuters, pilgrims
on the same dismal paths,
to which I have seen no end.

I find freedom in the fight
and the desperate pain
of a forty-foot
fall. Sometimes suffering
gives me gratitude
for life in all its forms-

sometimes I wake in a sweat;
I hear voices over me.
Escape. It is still Illinois
and I don't know what to do.
Those nights, I watch T.V.
to keep myself from sleeping.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

#3 When Spider-man opens his eyes

When I wake in the morning, I roll over
and gaze into the sunny eyes
of my magazine-cover girlfriend.

I don't feel much of a hero any more,
more like a normal man.

Sure, I face my daily dilemma, the undisputed 
morality of a vigilant observer,
engaging a life of great responsibility,
envying everyone else.

I will kiss her on the cheek 
and step to the window.

The urban landscape is
strung out before me like
the beads of a rosary
and my nightly wanderings
are the most earnest prayers.

I find freedom in the fight, 
I awaken my mind
to the nearest criminal 
activity and the desperate pain
of a forty-foot
fall. These things
give me gratitude
for life in all its forms-

my girl's eyes,
her morning breath
and the way she holds
my bruised body
when I tremble
and the pain
is too much.