Dad at Work Repairing Antique Furniture

There was always a way; a way he knew

to map an idea out of the landscape

lying before him like an unfinished 

puzzle; some way to reshape creation

with a simple jig. His mind danced about

the problem, as he rose and sat, sat and 

rose to walk across the yard cursing his 

thoughts for not seeing it: so simple, so

obvious. He’d lumber back to the bench,

pick up the pieces of wood and begin

to cast the abstract into the concrete.

Beneath his broken hands, he would divine 

a new pattern from the pattern inscribed 

in the broken palimpsest of the wood.

(September 26, 2021)

mirror mirror

the well offers no echo

for the truth to rise upon

to allow her to step screaming

from the water’s cold depths

to shatter the infinite mirrors

where we live out our lives

(November 1. 2020)

Pushing Upward

from “Renditions of Change,” a work in progress

Close up woman hand writing on notebook

I write as I have

for years—I have,

through time, come

to understand:

I write to write,

doubting praise, I write

in silence to silence.

(May 14, 2019)




“chiseller of inaccuracies”

–Fernando Pessoa


I would not speak

if I knew what to say.

There would be no need

to form words around

an unrealized dream.

It is the unsaid

which must be given

shape; which calls us

from its shapeless dark

to speak into existence

what we cannot know.

Yet, I know so little

about so much, I must

speak about it all.

I start where I am

which is always here.

First, I must listen,

discern the shapes

before I can speak.

My words carve out

what is there

from what is not

as the silence unfolds

a new kind of truth.


(August 23, 2018)

I Sit Beneath a Calder


–Chicago Art Institute, July 13


slow shapes turn about

each other as they turn

together through larger

fluidic constraints


the whole turns slower

partly to the left until

a  pause then moves

in a manner to the right


others speaking Japanese

move through the space pause

take a picture and move on


changing the room’s rhythm

which changes the slow shapes’

turn about each other and me

Rothko Chapel: a meditation



like stepping into a still pool

deep in a primal cave—

you slip into this silence:


the light breathes, a liquid

luminescence, in slow

arrhythmic breaths,


and you are changed—

you see what you want

to see; desire, fear, hope


flicker across the surface

like faces of the dead,

hesitant and fleeting


until you see only your self

stripped of all significance


(July 2, 2018)

the words were why I wrote when young 

the words were a way out

between the rigid definitions,

the expectations carved in cant


the words slipped along fault

line’s edges; the incongruous fissured

like water through the undefined


the words wore meaning there,

bare and taut, shrugging off

all social niceties for love


the words were love for the world:

the laughter of the sun rippling

the horizon further each day


words were a way to a salvation

from what I was not to become


(June 25, 2018)

It’s Being




“It embroiders us with error.”

            –Christian Bok



as error

becomes change


warhol’s prints

print awry


a chance shifts

with each pass


its being’s

okay then


as so you

each morning


wake anew

yet again


to sleep deep

into you


until all’s

written out


and what was

said is said


as always

an old tale


only heard

in passing


(November 9, 2017)

frame works

“All such talismanic uses of photographs express a feeling both sentimental and implicitly magical: they are attempts to contact or lay claim to another reality.”
                                                            –Susan Sontag
1.1           motherwell
ravens and spiders perch watching
upon hidden shapes of words blurred
redactions black bouldered mute
the least possible answer erased
crushed beneath it all a swimmer
struggles to emerge or submerge
to the left in a blue hazy field
a woman’s ghost screams thinly
before a partial door frame
or perhaps a window where
vague light draws shadows
like a slow breath’s inhalation
hints of black flames
char a cauldron
as distant fires burn
banks during riots
random with meaning
a man’s shape’s absorbed
until no difference
beyond an evanescence
like fumes boiling hot
into the desolate air
fat swathes of lightning
vague and tangled
gash a path in the dark
while molten slag flows cold
a velvet tapestry of blood
2.1             surreptitious keyholes
down long vacant hallways
past thinly veiled windows
through suggestions of doors
into stark grey rooms
unexplained visions lie
framed and then framed
for you and then for you
again and then again
like mirrors in mirrors
open unsuspecting exposed
a sudden focus like an iris’s
opened dark desire for light
all else falls away blurred
like someone’s vague childhood
fragmented without context
2.2            projection room
on another wall
as if through a window
as if across an alleyway
as if to another window
as if a framed outtake
of a movie still
sliced from the film
then left on the floor
a young man lies
his back towards you
as a faceless adult
possibly a parent
holds an open book
or some blurred picture
almost an admonishment
for which you feel guilt
for someone other than you
delineated without context
3            self-portraits and candids
even as themselves
they are not themselves
they become us as we
turn to shadows
the object as subject
as subject to object
tight prisms reflect
origami’s neat folds
you view our center
as if a distance
enclosed within
yourself as another
we dress the part
a film still frozen
yet still no film
but mundane dramas
like other family’s photos
strange yet comfortable
in the discomfort
we feel about each other
4            japanese sex hotels
staged rooms 
await set players
we provide scripts
within given frames
as well as players
to perform parts
out of character
for our set lines
lines we know
but never would
trip off our tongues
as if our very own
without this space
opened here
5            every atom of me
between worry and joy
transitions of time
without time
we change into ourselves
in each moment
then again
6            sorrow
through it all we walk
as if through an amoeba
music haunts the walls
a herniated chant
calling and calling and calling
each day into being
like the slow onset of tears
(August 14, 2015)

Suburban Life

I miss living in central Austin, except for the people
and the traffic, (fourth worst in the country according
to  The New York Times, right behind Los Angeles
for Christ’s sake), and of course, all the noise from all
the people, who would have thought death had undone
so many, as Eliot cribbed from Dante, and the traffic
makes me want to scream like a Siamese in heat
desperate for a mate. But what can I do? I just want
to see the Monet to Turner exhibit downtown
at the Blanton before it leaves to some other artsy-fartsy
city much farther away than Austin, the only town in Texas
I can stomach, liberal oasis that it is.  So I jump into
the Honda, hybrid of course, and head down the interstate
to take in a little culture, as the owner of Shakespeare
and Co. accused me of doing in Paris thirty years ago
when I didn’t respond fast enough to his overly interested
queries as to why a skinny Texas boy was wandering
around Europe for months looking  at pictures
hanging in the Louvre and other fancy-pants
museums which seemed to be in every city
all across Europe no matter how small. But that
is neither here nor there now, the Blanton is
the Blanton and right here, and Paris is so
far away, that I gird my loins, so to speak,
and brave the lethargic interstate’s quandaries
in search of somewhere beautiful to be.

(July 31, 2014)