Simmer Is Smolder

The fire starts a bird
swallowing its own tail or
stairways winding across
abbreviated weather.

At the end of all this straining
a wrench a basket
likeness or water
inevitable distress of wind.

Pulse is the open
body only a curve or
flight tending to spray
a quiver of feathers.

The key has changed
kiss a sprout of umbrellas
leave me sore with dew
a circle in the mouth.


I Was Going to Use the Typewriter

We turned the chairs to face each other.
In a moment there were memory of sound.
The scraping of leaves against the birds,
against windowsills.
When I was a child I was most afraid
of opening the curtain to a face on a ladder.
Between the keys of the typewriter is untold depths.
A watchmaker god, the clock wheels spinning.
Often I am permitted to return to a meadow.
There the boughs bend but never break into song.
Attributed to caterpillars, facing a journey of grass.
The violins are changeling into crickets, into species.
The shellac is rusty from a dog begging for treats.
Winter came late this year, at least we told ourselves.
If there are raisins in this dish I’m not having it.
You’re crying because the guitars accused of genius.
Wait to decide on college until you’ve found
the right pond.
Across the gate there’s different road noises, untold.
The holes in this paper make concentric circles.
If you pull the window shade too quick, you’ll never
get it down, and won’t you be sorry
when the time comes for you to be making love.



defers fence
our first fruits



I blend into two
refract a mosaic

circle a vast sphere

now museum
now you don’t

outside the snow persists
inside the blanket

if skin diminished
its element

light only a mirror
poor dust languishing

under the carpet
cardboard doubles

witness to years
these piles will topple

under the weight of
their leaning

I give in
to blending



Do not
put on

the cross
he is

the king
but that

he says
he is.

I have

that which
I have

It is



We’re Doing

We’re turning the orchard
into a planetarium.

We’re producing the film to fulfill
the promise of mass communication.

We’re taking down the altar
and putting up a stationary bike.

We’re meddling in the lives of others
who have no business in others’ lives.

We’re making sand castles
out of melting ice cream.

We’re circling the spire
under a canopy of cauliflower.

We’re putting the computer
to sleep.

We’re asking for repentance
or perhaps dodecahedrons.

We’re withering under the weight
of shoelaces and air conditioners.

We’re separating the colors
before the spin cycle.

We’re masking our tutelage
with rice and other delectables.

We’re showering gifts
on unsuspecting umbrellas.

We’re spacing the margins
evenly with not a little guilt.

We’re pulling the drawers
and replacing them with escalators.

We’re tightening the screws
and fitting the frames.

We’re basking in sour slices
of unripened tarragon.

We’re working our way
back to beginnings or something.



They’re performing superficial renovations on the pavement. Some make do with a face. Some swear by a hubcap. Reach the speed limit. Parkway. Closed for destruction. Acres of dotted yellow lines. Sign here for deregulation. A matter of swollen debris. Potholes reveal years of patches. A definite curve tending to slope in the center of the road. See we’re above the sidewalk. Measuring distances between two points. Surveying the landscape. Terrible thing they had to tear down those trees. It hurt me something terrible. I swear since they cut through this town I haven’t been able to sleep at night. Day neither. If only they’d put up a light or a sign. Do you think that would make a difference?

Have At It

another still
life tragedy

sunset face down
in the rotunda

you mailbox me
orange lens

shift to vague
mouthful of house

dear sweet olive
branching to kiss

my skull match
flame slate trail


You Are Here

Concentrate on
your position

or the undertow
will pull you in

that’s what it does
the weigh of its how

and there is no
escape, or glance

the sun stands still
resolute, solution

not unimaginary
but separate

leaving existence
to detritus, the muck

that pulled you out
of the ocean, friend.


“Leave Empty”

said the sign on the library shelf
said the last page of the book
said the glow of the television screen
said the chair
said the symphony hall acoustics
said the path to enlightenment
said the signifier
said the question to the questionnaire
said the page not found error message
said the last few years
said the vacuum cleaner
said the half eaten apple core
said the cardboard box collapsed
said the broken vase full of flowers
said the fullness of time
said the pulse to the blood
said the eye to the window
said the pie
said the last stop of the bus route
said the grocery bag
said the current
said the holes in the cement
said the ink cartridge
said the button to the buttonhole
said the shirt to the torso
said the evacuation procedure
said the body
said the picture frame
said the patch to the rip in the fabric
said the weakest link in the chain
said the flower to the sunrise
said the blowhole to the whale
said the verb to the noun
said the pot of gold
said the corn to the husk
said the raindrop to the cloud
said the glue
said the plot of land
said the narrative
said the duck to the goose
said the wave to the microphone
said the light to the flash
said the hallway to the stairs
said the mausoleum
said the stain
said the brick to the mortar
said the ring
said the mouth
said the last words
said the empty.

This space left intentionally blank.