I'm back to writing a poem every day, whether they stink or not.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Self Improvement

I'm sorry I barely spoke
over supper tonight.
I'm tired in both lungs.
I'm tired in the tongue.
It's this old divorce that keeps
splitting, splitting different seams.
So I'm tired of reading
poker-faced promises,
of building scrap-metal,
thumbscrew consequences
for her anemic mother-love.
I'm tired of advice.
I'm tired of laying my life
on the workshop bench.
Tired of the tools
digging their grooves,
tired of the glue . . .
I'm tired of finding
new ways that the work isn't done.
But I am on the bench
and somehow, my tongue
got lopped off as we
solder on new teeth.
Please keep talking.
I'm sewing my tongue back in
with that sour old thread.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Meditating at My House Near the University

Some mornings I sit on my porch and do nothing
but drink coffee and listen to squirrels chirp,
car brakes squeak, and bulldozers shatter a house.

But I can meditate back into that morning-porch body
in the middle of the day if I listen to my breath
until the greasy machines rattle to a halt.

You know the machines: one practices cleaning the house,
one makes invisible money, one makes love.
One machine splinters a warping wooden porch.

Now the bare ground of my body has a tremor
of caffeine underneath and the engines send up
the last blossoms of smoke over the rubble.

The University is one big Buddha. It’s fattening
into the neighborhood. It’s meditating everything
down into parking lots under quiet lamps.

This Buddha awakens in my direction. It wants
its fields empty. It wants to wake up with the engines
cold and still, the wreckage gone, the squirrels chirping.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Sometimes a bird builds a nest
in the jaw of the letter “e.”

One could wield a cross like a dagger
and stab a man through the heart.

I caught my wedding ring on a box.
It planed the skin back and left a scar.

Every garbage truck is packed with symbols.
Metal, paper—--uninterpreted

I’m falling in love again.
All the small, solid objects are growing nervous.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


–after “What Weighs” by Elaine Terranova

or football fish,
inky opaque.
Vein to vein, they hold on.

The male, a swimming syringe. She,
wooed by the barbed mouth,
the dissolving head.
Joined by a point of melted flesh.

But, oh, to be taken so completely.
To be scorched to a single
organ. Joining.

One kiss, oblivion.
My eyes melting through
the soft torso to the womb
as they go blind.
But nothing is so fully spent
as the undigested flesh.

Once joined, his sperm
chambered and waiting,
she feeds the piece of him
remaining with her blood.

When she’s ready
their spawn is a soft sheet
of translucent eggs, two
feet wide
and thirty feet long.

Friday, September 07, 2007

untitled poem requiring much revision

I get these little wounds that I don’t remember taking,
I’ve found them on my chest, a short slash
and the pink swelling edges. But mostly
I get them on my legs. One bled into my sock
and dried before I noticed. I like the way
blood turns hard like lava out of the hot,
weightless core of the Earth.

All bodies have gravity. If we were falling
in perfect emptiness forever, one day,
we’d notice how much closer we’d become
and then we’d have to make decisions.

Like the Earth, I have a core warmer than the rest of me.
But let’s stop there; bleeding doesn’t make new
islands for my body or even my soul (at least,
these quiet little rips and punctures don’t). They
aren’t the kinds of wounds that cool
in the salt-bath of time, leaving a small
rich-soil perch where my mind’s little raft
washes up on the sand.

Let’s stop at the place where the body
is like a planet, and as I find these
tiny wounds, my mind is on that raft,
watching the little sparks dance like
fireflies at the mouth of that crater
just over there on the mainland.