“…Yesterday you told me about the way
forestry affects your mind:
hunting poison ivy, leaves of three
with greater poisons in hand,
your mind twists and grows
into moving shapes, tesselations
of trinities, hidden in the brush
like a Magic Eye painting.
The movement of growing things,
the taste of green gets under your skin…”
“…Come with me, when the coast is clear,
to the Gideon’s call of foghorns
and the rush of wind in your russet hair.
I want to see the cold playing your skin
and draw maps of the constellations
of your freckles. I want to discover
the highways and fire roads in you,
your back country, the icebergs that break ships
and the lounging sunlit seals…”
“The secret of leaving things behind
branding the flanks of the world,
It’s not the buildings they burn,
It’s the songs we hum
while we work.
It’s all the things that don’t make book.
Rain gnaws the edges of my small-town street,
baring cobblestone teeth.
Forgotten dance steps litter the dirt
in layers under the grocery store,
and I’m thinking about legacies
and the thin halocline
between living and dying.
Where am I on this river? How much time
before the salt trickles in,
pulling me home to the ocean?…”
“…Tonight I’m connecting the stars on my own
in a house the color of midnight.
I was experimenting with electricity
and found a rip in the galaxy—
an open circuit, a breach in polarity
where the mysteries of trinities glow
Is it too much just to be happy?
I don’t need to invent the microwave
or write a symphony.
I just want the simple pleasures
I’m waiting, and waiting is a sentient life-form
you can feed snacks…”
“Oh, what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
In your sleep, listen
to the hum of latent sunrise—
the crickets of dawn receding
as dreams trickle
down the celestial bolus
like fireflies into your open veins.
against the edges of blackout curtains.
The entire universe is trying to trespass
with all its available light,
and you’ve mistaken it for a burglar.
Mars is insistent: this isn’t a joke.
Will the sound of glass breaking awaken you?…”
(Ekphrastic homage to Jean-Michel Basquiat, with borrowed words)
do these accordion players keep playing
in the middle of the street
to incoming traffic?
Bellows spread open,
taped and stitched, dissected;
parting a red sea of love notes
over and over, purses bloated with life,
pockets of coins scattering
from a currency that wasn’t current,
change that didn’t register
until the impact finally hit.
It’s Sunday, September:
after storms, a high-contrast day
so bright I can see the future
glowing like the variegated orbs of apples
in this barn, each in its wooden bowl
into tastes of permanence.
The cider press extracts elixirs
and ferments liquors while donuts fry,
pies bake, sauces simmer.
The hurricanes passed.
You were here with me,
like you’ve been through them all
under the waves as my towns submerged…
…I feel her pushing against my rocks,
evaluating the surface.
I feel the tug of her roots descending,
cotyledon bursting, Kermit-green:
a heart-shaped inquiry
I can’t help but water.
What will they bring? Will this be a quick harvest,
a crop of radishes—lunch for the skunks,
or the start of a garden?
It’s hard to say, always. I lie under the covers,
trembling, osmotic—thinking of the other beginnings,
these inceptions I didn’t expect.
I turn over the soil, remembering them all.
I’m strangely calm, like always; my membrane thins
and I paint my cortex with the colors of her skin…