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Permissable Topics (108)

we cannot talk about some things

because that causes them to happen


We cannot talk about sex

or death or injustice


because they do not exist


we cannot talk

of our experience


because it contradicts others


we cannot speak to each other

because that could build bonds


we cannot speak of the voices

that await us at school

at home and in our heads


we cannot speak

we cannot talk


we are not allowed

(January 21, 2021)

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ambient fear (100)

on the edge of a field a rabbit

sits still as a new wind stirs her fur

with the resonant dangers nearby

thus the day’s anxieties flow

through my skin as if I were a net

tossed into the ocean’s pulse to collect

the bits of how I am defined

by everyone but me

the deeper I drop  the darker it becomes

and I am too tired all the time

to watch my last breath rise

in swirling bubbles like butterflies

lifting as one from a field of flowers

(December 6, 2020)

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how much self-denigration must occur (96)

if i gnaw out my fragile heart

canines slavering through flesh

the way wolves trapped

will desperately gnaw off 

a leg to escape the hunter

will I be free with only a blood 

limped trace dropped like roses

through freshly fallen snow

to mark my passage like stale crumbs

scattered across the frozen forest floor

a vaguely cogent sentence fragment

to parse a meaning into salvation

will I see in time the breach

open wide enough to squeeze

rock against chest between

tightly held breaths balanced

on a desperate fear that I have

lost the best bits of myself

(December 1, 2020)

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What I Imagine When Someone Explains my Poetry to Me

He stands on a small rock

in the middle of a river;

the water rushes past

an obvious metaphor.

He ignores the danger,

and leaps the gap to land

on the next wet stone

barely within his compass;


And there, as he teeters,

searching for his balance,

he hears the falls hunger,

then is neither here, nor there,


but lost in the churning froth

of some other’s creation.

(September 6, 2020)

Lines Written in a Pandemic a Few Days After the Summer Solstice

from a work in progress: “Process, Not a Journey” (67)

our earth wobbles its way

about the sun like a drunk

unsure of her footing

moves again

toward the bar

*

day by day minute by minute

plods toward darkness

for the next six months

each day grows darker

by one minute

*

not quite disturbing

the dullard doves

who coo complacently

on the fence

cardinals and jays

fussing constantly

slip after each other

between tree branches

I watch and listen

to this dance

for hours

and can do nothing

*

as it was in the beginning

world without end

(June 23, 2020)