Koibito no Kirei Kuchi (My Lover’s Pretty Mouth)

Your mouth, your beautiful lips, I love them.
Your Japanese –   its elegant music lives there,
that secret sea cave of sound and thought, it’s ancient.
Sharks swim from it –hunting, undulating in cold black currents.
Look! Unsuspecting seals glide to shore – too far away
and not fast enough—the sea is a blood broth now.
Death’s echo in its wake, the shark
disappears, understood.

Anata no kuchi, utskushii kuchibiru ga daisuki desu.
Anata no Nihongo no miyabi ongaku wa soko ni sunde iru,
are wa hitoshirezu umi no dokutsu no oto to shiko, kodaino desu.
Sore kara, same wa oyogu, samui kuroi no choryu ni kari to unette iru.
Mite! Utagao koto o shirimasen no azarashi wa teisen ni subete iru—
toi sugimasu, ju bun na hayasade wa arimasen—
ima, umi wa ketsueki no dashi desu.
Mizu no midare sore kara ni, shikyo no hibiki ga arimasu,
same wa usureru, wakata.

Video Poem Links Here


The Emily Poems


 I went right up to her
and sat down. She looked
at me – straight at me, her
eyes, dark and deep set.
She reached for my hand, and held it
for some time, tender and present.
She didn’t flinch or demure.
I spoke of her, not to her, not appreciating
her precious grounded presence.
I took more than I gave.


A deer appeared in our neighborhood today,
and a moth circled my head.
Emily died yesterday; she
was a light burden on the gurney.
Dragonflies thicken July’s purple dusk.
One hums in my cat’s mouth.
Let him go, Anna; he’ll eat mosquitoes.
The deer has found all the gardens on our street,
and seems quite at home.
Emily’s roses have survived her.
A cool breeze blew in for relief.
I cried goodbye to her last Sunday,
as she held my hand and prayed
through large doe eyes.
The moth isn’t afraid, and mines from me
a rare gentleness. I abide its electron dance.
A neighbor says to me, have you seen the deer?
Yes. The undertaker drove her away.

Sandra’s Constellation and the Black Hole in Conroe

She was baking cookies when
there was a knock at the door.
She opened the door to a blast
and went down, got up
but the second slug
laid her down for good.

Life ran out from
deflated lungs and
two ruby fonts, seeped
away in deep red streams:
the caring, the cookies, the little
hospitable and accommodating
things she did for her son,
her patients, her killers.

Small ordinary kindnesses
she offered to everyone, and
those mundane duties she
might’ve anticipated with a humble
gladness in her mind’s static
behind the lists and ideas
and phone calls, and errands
she ran in her red Camaro.

It happened so fast.

Her death—discarded in a lake.
But her dying, here it was
pooled on the floor and sprayed
on the wall, constellations
of crimson flecks everywhere.

The lights left on for days.
A television flashed and chattered.
Two and a half rows
of cookie dough mounds
mummified on the kitchen counter.

Video Links Here

Poem for the Inauguration

This is the world
that put you to bed.
It woke you later, called you back.

It’s the world in whose
immenseness you are particulate;
you’re krill in the mouth
of a great blue whale.

This is the world, aflame and aggrieved.
It forgives and forgets, and reconstitutes.

This world, it’s your shelter,
and the force from which you seek shelter.

It is the dream and the dreamer,
the substance and ether,
the iron fist and the revolt.

This is the world in which you’ve slept,
and it prays you’ll awake with righteous volition.

Dinner with the Hemiingways

Published in Apeiron Review, Sept 2014

 He can’t sleep
so why should you.
Lights are on
at the morgue; they’ll
unzip him for you.

The man on the slab stops at the neck.
His hand is cool between yours, and
you’re shaking when you find
the divot in his finger, proof
of that last exertion.

Brown, curly hair fringes
his opened skull, the interior
exposed like the rubble
of Coventry Cathedral.

It’s catching, they say—the melancholy,
the lassitude, a germ in the tears perhaps.

You’re afraid, but
you might risk it, knowing
once you close your eyes
you could fall long into
that hypoxic darkness too.

It took a while.
After a few false starts,
putting it off and putting it off
until the time was right­— when the money
and the gun met, then he finally
lost the argument
on the drive over.

The view from the St. Johns bridge
is a postcard bearing bad news.
When you’re ready, go stand
on that exact spot, look through
his eyes, and try to change his mind.

Video links here


Elegy for a Hymen

It’s a strange prize
that bit of wafer.
What is it exactly—
this small  ribbon of a thing?
A moment?
A boundary?
A sacrifice?
An eventual man worthy
of such sterling virtue—
this chevalier—he is her rescuer
he is her murderer.
A man among men, but
underneath the armor,  where
is he soft and perforated?
And what does he become
after the bleeding?
An odd quarry
like a fox gone to ground.
Hounds— the hounds sound
their awful music.
Their work is done,
their master approaches.
The pelt is relinquished.

Video Poem Links Here