Self-Portrait

This is me:

laconically bored

sitting in the stands

watching from above.


This is me:

focused on the moment

tracing a rune

across the killing floor.


This is not a mirror,

a simple reflection,

rather, a dissection,

a slow flay, where


skin peels off

in thin sheets until

only raw red bits

of sin cling to bone.


I am a myriad,

shattered.

I am a scar,

angry and raw.

(October 14, 2021)

Set and Setting

“till we turn to see 

who you were, who you are, everpresent, vivid 

luminous dust” 

            -Denise Levertov 

Like wolves feeding on a fresh kill 

steaming in the snow, each dead second 

is pulled apart. No matter the effort, 

time disallows the past to continue 

fully formed. The future devours us 

leaving little tufts of fur and bone bits 

to decorate our current troubled paths 

and explain away our broken sorrows. 

I am hungry for something I don’t know, 

a freedom from imposed obligations, 

an escape to a place I am not known. 

Yet, where I am, and who I’ve been tangle 

like the strings of old puppets in a crate, 

waiting for someone to haul them away. 

(September 28, 2021) 

Confessional

“what I lack is myself”

—Susan Howe

The door’s full like words

in an open mouth,

blotting out the space

it opened onto.


An entrance becomes a wall,

an allowed space disallowed,

as keys and locks

become ritual.


Such small sacrifice

the tongue becomes,

burning clear

any lost syllables.


Nothing’s left to say;

everything’s unsaid.

Night Terror (a reading)

Night Terror

“When are we not in a dream?

…when are we not skeletons?”

—Sy. Hoahwah

I don’t remember 

the dream before,

I cracked my head hard

against the wooden night stand;  

the fine grained ephemera, 

which held the dream together, 

burned like flash paper into the air.

A lightning ball exploded 

my darker vision, as the dream,

too agile to cradle, threw me 

deftly from sleep onto the floor.

Not existing fully in the fluidity

of sleep, nor the concrete warmth

of the morning window’s light,

I held my head in my hands,

eyes shut, as the lightning flash

faded, leaving only the muscles

in my neck to burn like trees

broken during the night’s storm.

(July 16, 2021)

Metaphor’s Comfort

Flying free

through the blind night,

bats,

with their high lyric cries,

justify

the walls around them.


(July 19, 2021)

We See What We Will

He plods down a street,

head bent, watching 

the ground as if afraid

some detail will be enough

to tumble him into hell.


Every moment’s an edge

as each letter in each

word inscribes the air

cleanly, like a tattoo

cut freshly into skin.

(June 9, 2021)

The Whispers Drive the Narrative

The wild mustang grape vines

its way along the fence line,

further obscuring boundaries

between what is said, 

and what is perpetuated.


The past is of no consequence

beyond familiar stories to bolster

today’s latest interpretation,

which momentarily coalesces

to cloak in ambiguity

the Absence as it festers

in vague nostalgic shadows.

(May 30, 2021)

We are One

How do we maintain a balance

between apart and a part?

Lean too far one way, one lose’s

humanity, too far toward the other,

and one loses one’s soul.



I am I, as you are you;

yet, I am also you, as you are me,

as well. There is no other way,

other than each other. The hope

of god’s redemption lies with us.

(May 30, 2021)

how history begins (136)

maps do not speak 

as vaguely blurred 

vowels along riverbanks 

where second cousins 

two counties removed 

slur to their mates 

nor sift for finer 

details in pap’s 

bourbon tongue 

(April 26, 2021) 

neither knowing nor unknowing (#134)

there in the day

to day constancy


there in the grain

of our tongues


as we speak

each to each


of the most

trivial things


there is where

the how arrives


on soft cat feet

oblivious of the night


there is the story

you said then said


along the seams

between dark and light


the story we heard

the story we tell


stitching our scars

along calloused lines


one strangled knot

woven into another


an embroidery

of nooses


until we’re hardened

to brittle words


which shatter all

we once were


thin crystal slivers

from a broken glass 


scattered like stars

across the floor

(April 19, 2021)