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Before Completion

from “Rendition of Change,” a work in progress

The old tortoise-shell cat slips

cautiously through the grass

as the storm approaches.

This-too-shall-pass provides

small comfort in the moment’s

chaos and fear. Lightning strikes

often and nearby. As rain

starts to fall, the cat watches,

motionless, from the stair.

(July 3, 2019)

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Confession as a Form of Explanation

My story is true in so far

as it is my story. The lines

I must maintain for my belief

to be justified are many.

I fear questions lest it all falls

like a child’s tower of blocks falls,

tumbled across unstable ground.

Although I know that the truth lies

for I formed each one on my own,

turning them over and over

like rosary beads until smooth,

they still allow me to believe

each stone lies firmly on the next.

With no one to doubt what I say,

the facade I have built is real

I explain to myself myself:

I live forms of happies

As long as the ever after,

and the hero is always me.

(June 30, 2019)

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One’s End’s Ambiguous

The labyrinth

bends into itself:

one thought feeds

bits of fear to the next;

until, teeth crack

on broken bone,

and it ends

without a beginning

to begin again.

One’s end’s ambiguous

as one’s beginning.

Indecisive and vague,

the end’s no different

than any contingent.

The end ends

with a flailing

of the mind

through a stark

unawareness

of where we are,

where we have been,

and without a why

to justify

the confusion

of the scattered pages

across the floor,

and the ash in the air.

(May 12, 2019)

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Marginalia

The ghosts in his forest sift

between the bramble, collect

momentarily in clearings,

and compare notes on their

unconsummated affairs.

His apparition slips along

her edges, begging the margins

she ignores. Annotations,

without context, entangle

his thoughts, growing a life

of their own, a meaning

of their own, as blooms

of moss on the forest floor

disguise the broken trees

in a green effulgence.

He try to trace her designs

within her fractured words.

Each turn he takes leads away

form yet another possible exegesis;

until, he falls into a clarity

forever uncertain and voiceless.p

(May 5, 2019)

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accents shift

from one neighborhood

to the next — one town

over– no more sounds

like yours or your friends

at the corner pub

where even the odd

and unloved fit warmly

at a table in the dark

where the fog follows you

home into a darker wood

until your voice tangles

among incestuous roots

and a knife draws

a line along your throat

at the possibility

of a misunderstanding

(April 22, 2019)

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Coupled

At home, they sit across from each other

like a pair of stone-silent gargoyles, when

he sighs to himself as if with remorse.

Looking up, she asks, out of politeness,

“Is something wrong?”  He shakes his head, and says, 

embarrassed that he had spoken out loud,

“Oh, Nothing, just thinking, at least nothing

important enough to say:  just thinking.” 

They watch each other with a quiet calm 

like the still center of a raging storm; 

each happy enough at home not to stir 

up any conversations to avoid. 

Slowly, they fall into their silences,  

starkly alone with their thoughts together. 

(April 18, 2019)

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Motion

one stands always at a beginning

a new door opens to a passage

which leads to another door

which opens wherever you are

there are no keys no locks no doors

only you standing within time

in motion without moving

yourself a passage a sluice

through which apparitions slip

taking on your form like robes

then quickly cast away replaced

by yet another without end

each moment embraces death with a kiss

each moment finds your self reborn

(April 16, 2019)

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Turn


a turn toward the other

whether in body or spirit

a turn toward some other

than myself to complete myself

a turn toward the other

like the horizon turns east

always seeking after light

a newer day to exult in

the earth’s curve the curve

of your breast silhouetted

in dawn’s light slipping

through our bedroom window

I turn to you from the dark

seeking your warmth in turn

(April 15, 2019)

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Just Another Name for the Devil



Perhaps the thousand-thousand

unpronounceable names for god

wait to burn your tongue,

if, by chance, your babbling

could bring you to the brink

of intelligibility. The thousand

monkey’s theory of Macbeth

could prove true given enough

time. Yet, we’ve been at this

for so long now, one would

assume our relationship

would be stronger somehow,

that I would know your name;

since, I know you know mine.

I’m unsure where you are, or if

you are, or, perhaps, I’m speaking

to myself—all those years gone,

as I puttered randomly about the house,

pulling books off the shelf, reading

a passage, thinking someone nearby

was speaking directly to me, but

only within the context of that moment;

never a sustained conversation,

as between long-time friends.

What can be said, when there’s no one

to hear? If you are not here, then 

what consequence can I be, beyond

these words I speak only to myself?

Unless perhaps, what I speak, and to whom,

are enough of a signature, a singularity, 

to pronounce, with clarity, if only

for this moment, my name into the dark.

(April 12, 2019)

unpronounceable names for god

wait to burn your tongue,

if by chance your babbling

brings you to the brink

of intelligibility. The thousand

monkey’s theory of Macbeth

could prove true given enough

time. Yet we’ve been at it

for so long now, one would

assume our relationship

would be stronger somehow,

that I would know your name;

since, I know you know me.

I’m unsure where you are, or if

you are, or, perhaps, I’m speaking

to myself—all those years gone,

as I puttered randomly about the house,

pulling books off the shelf, reading

a passage, thinking someone nearby

was speaking directly to me, but

only within the context of that moment.

What can be said, when there’s no one

to hear? If you are not here,

then what consequence can I be, beyond

the words I speak only to myself?

Unless perhaps, what I speak, and to whom,

are enough of a signature, a singularity, 

to pronounce, with clarity, if only

for this moment, my name into the dark.

(April 12, 2019)

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New Normal


Trouble pulses, like cicadas

along oak branches through

summer’s heat: pervasive

and cold. It permeates

my blood like a poison.

I worry the times — for nothing

can be done – How does one

take on more than one self,

yet again? Don a new mask

to project a calm certainty

when fear’s fires rage and burn?

I have no place to stand with 

surety. Answers are simple

without people’s constraints:

the constant tug and shift,

like the tight tectonic grind

as ground slips over ground.

(April 2, 2019)