there’s always a door
an emptiness to cross
unknown spaces on maps
filled with dire beasts
a perpetual threshold
to move love through
like a bearded iris unraveling
into a crisp spring morning
with no latch except hesitancy
a hand lingers on the jamb
as if time can frame
a portrait on a wall
containing as a thought
the next step and fall

(August 10, 2016)

One Less Filter to Intervene

Worn thin, I remove my glasses,
and the myopic world readjusts.
Clarity’s a matter of degree:
step to the right,
step to the left—
Hokey Pokey, Hokey Pokey.
She sat behind you, one row over.
(You were soul mates! Truly.)
She knew, but was afraid of love.
You, you never knew. Hokey, Pokey.
There is no sadness here,
not even a cynical joke.
Must everything be ironic?
Yesterday, I tried to write a poem
about thinking and dreams—
hokey pokey, pokey hokey.
All very philosophical, yet vague,
like art, and life, and laughter.
As once, when late at a party, the person you came with had left without you knowing. You were exhausted from too many small conversations, too many convivial shots of bourbon, and a woman you don’t know who was sitting close to you on the couch said something deeply profound, but your cynicism missed it. Until much later, after she left, and you were still sitting there alone. Step to the left, step to the right.
You read a poem again, years later after never really understanding it the first time, although you always pretend that you did. You read it again, perhaps repeatedly. You see a bit of light in a line, a phrase, a word, some fissure, and you enter. The walls tight against your shoulders, the dark pulling you forward in slow pulsing throbs of fear toward the light, until you cry gasping for air. With the beauty of your comfort ripped asunder, traces of blood slip across your face.

(July 19, 2016)


not the glass
shattered on the floor
not the silence after the shots
not the incongruity of blood
expanding around you
like red scarves unraveling
in a soft wind
none of the phone calls
none of the tears
none of our friends
with their warm hugs
arriving through the night
none of the moments after
matter before

(May 18, 2016)


Avoiding eye contact,
I  looked askew
to her vision:
almost parallel;
yet, by degrees
we crossed,
then parted – –
a slow divergence,
a way away.

(October 16, 2015)

transitory conjunctions

and then
you’re thrown in
our vast
ignorant sea
to swim
or drown
and what else
is there to do
but stumble along
to find a way
to some new space
other than here
other than now
and then
without thought
you’re not
as if
you could be
else again

(August 23, 2015)


a stillness
within quiet voices
and paper
we are here
in these spaces
for another breach
another pebble
to leap along the surface
such light steps
like dragonflies
dancing nearby
no time for boundaries
no need to define

(July 17, 2015)

the silence after

My heart’s arteries
entangle my tongue,
puppet strings to pull
a curled locution
from the deceptive air.
I’m unsure what to say
that can remain mine:
what agency am I allowed
within joy’s paradox?
Yet another clichéd trope
offers only clichéd
responses as sacrifice
to unsought desire.
Words can no more
serve as an arbiter
to a languishing love
than broken plates
scattered on the floor.
(June 7, 2015)

paradigm shift

some time
opens some
a lesion
in stasis
a slow ooze
into a world
turning now
beneath tired
broken feet
a transition
to quickened dust
like the last
blood drips
from a slit
throat into
 the sand

(April 30, 2015)

A Cautionary

honesty is best revised
the flash of wit rewritten
never you hear never
say what’s on your mind
(February 21, 2015)

What’s Why

No reason to explain our reason’s
details: truth remembers more
than you, or my lost vows, past
the fissured surface’s skin, into
substrate’s fractured fault lines.
She waits with patience to shift
violently away at once; even before,
my first tongued tremors play along
the  length of your taut skin.
Such tensions tune themselves
in key to your determined wants,
driving you deeper to mine
the resonant scraps in my heart.
I stand across your divisions, and wait
for time’s breach to tumble us together.

(October 12, 2014)