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

 

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Revenant

Light your sage, smoke me out,
salt your windows and thresholds—
pray there’s a light for me
and one for you as well.
Physics be damned, and logic…logic?
There’s a world—ultra-, infra- to your
spectrum, your matter cage and confines of reason.
I number among a nation of spectres
cavorting in the static and phone wire
ing you sleep, and not sleep, listening
to you wonder about me. I could brag of
how it looks from here: the mystery, she’s naked now.
But gloating is what the lesser do. So
I’ll blow in your ear, brush by you, place
what was once a hand on your shoulder,
insert a remembered face into your dreams.
Your grief is a cold rain, to pass.
I am the filament beyond it.

Video Poem 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

It Hurts

so you keep touching it:
Paper cut, glass shard,
hangnail, splinter—
abrasions, eruptions, small
dermal breaches: those slight
vexing snags you can’t
leave alone, so you touch,
tap, pick and pull until it
doesn’t hurt, while still
needing it to do just that.
Go over it and over it
refiring the sting.
Nerves gossip, synapses alight;
closure refused again.

Video links here

Ecology of Atman

Were Heaven just a garden,
and life its soil, and we the seeds,
and death the sun, and dying spring,
where pneuma blooms perfume the air
lit upon by bodisattvas of the meadow,
then all we’ve really never known
is how we are so tended to.

Video links here

Children of the Nephilim

There are some cattle in the meadow.
Gentle and content in their community, in their
simple rhythm of grazing and rearranging
large bodies in a tapestry of black
and brown and white.

Unhurried, mouths full of clover and
hooves wizened to the sloping fields
and rockier soil, they arrive
at a creek, lapping water, cooling
their broad tongues.

Interlopers have mingled
their scents with the cattle’s.
The aggressing odor casts a spell
of dullness, embeds complacence
so they don’t startle at the sound
of machinery.

Finished at the trough, the sweetness
of the corn reminds them
of violets in the spring grass
even as it roughs their tongues
and abrades their bellies.

But no one realizes, that shoulder
to shoulder in the paddock, waiting
as the tapestry unravels hide by hide,
they have learned to count.

Then enclosed in the shoot,
hope is wasted on the concrete floor—
rivers of it, as each witnesses
the awful devouring of even
his angels by insatiable gods.

Video Links here

Elephants

 

(for Blake)

Stories exchanged, details halting
from constricted throats, the air—
a somber pleurisy pierced by welcome
occasional laughter; we remember
our dead in this way.

Like elephants, we pick up the bones
and kiss them, handle them, feeling for
pocks and notches, their wounds and wornness.
We fold the remnants into our long memory
then in tender uncoiling, replace them
on the ground.

A gray procession
lumbers home; our giant tears
muddy the path.

 

Video link here

 

Published, February, 2016 in Timberline Review