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

 

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 revenants
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

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

 

 

In A World Without Cats

Mice proliferate, lay down the law.
Birds are arrogant, and take advantage.
Surfaces are hard and cold, we
know nothing of plush.

Upholsterers must learn other trades.
You have no proof of miraculous returns
from the brink of death, over and over
again, even up to nine times.

You cannot practice unconditional love
for someone who would kill you for food,
kill you for sport, take or leave you,
indifferent to the end.

You keep thinking someone is
at the door, wanting to come in,
but that’s impossible.

Bells

The fruit is ripe
the husk is yellow.
This is how
the light goes out.

A pond settles in the throat
and grows white lilies
under rasping toads.
The body breaks
against the wall,
the stone partition
between Earth and Heaven

and turns deaf to those in vigil
for the distraction of the bells
that call him to them; it’s almost time.

The air is sweet
with sun-steeped violets,
the warm incense
of decathexis.

The bells peal
in his honor.
They’re singing brighter—
he won’t be late.
Nearer now to those bells;
he is so close to music.