How Poetry Works

An image like a flower,

something simple, a cliche

even, to distract away

from the slight of hand performed

beneath the mark’s open gaze.

Like now, for instance, you turn

your attention from the poem,

secure in your own slow thoughts;

what you trust to know trembles

as if a leaf in autumn.

Here exists my truth and yours.

I can explain myself true,

in a way that you cannot.

Thus, seeds grow into flowers.

(November 25, 2018)

Storied Definition



Within the parameters

Which define me,

Am I who I am,

Or who I have created?

I revise a simple story

Of which I am a part;

The story compels belief,

And I comply completely.

I am only a part of

this story as a voice

I hear, which stays near

Slightly behind all I do:

I am this voice, this story;

I am my only limitation.


(November 20, 2018)

Circle Maze



“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

–Ludwig Wittgenstein


Emerson once wrote

that the first circle

is that of the eye.

My self fleshed in words

falls in a circle

that binds me to god.

My world’s in my voice

which whispers close by.

The first circle sees

these limitations

inscribed in thin lines

along the edges

of my fragile skin.

The weight of my words

holds me to the ground

where the air grows thick.

No fairy circles

exist to conjure

magic from a dance

only a few know.

I know my own dance;

each step a new world,

each thought adds new flesh

to my empty bones:

my thoughts embodied

in the day’s motion.

I wander slowly,

head bound in prayer,

obsessively lost

in the ancient turns

one must take each day

to gather the strands

that were left behind

by all the others

who tried to escape.


(June 14, 2018)



A Confession Must be Heard


Much of what I write these days

sounds like a rote confession;

yet, I am no savior, even to myself.

So to hear the nuance thicken

around a verb in my own ear,

I must speak a native tongue;

and like all true stories I tell,

I shape myself to a form

which best suits my desires.

I collect what is at hand,

charting all my little failures

as profound, as if the paucity

of my life could ever be enough

to transcend these humble clichés.


(May 31, 2108)

This is a Portrait of Me



Despite my resistance,

or perhaps as a result,

I live within boundaries,

yet am unable to discern

clean edges, as all walls

fall into grey on approach.

The poem is dark, as you,

who like a peeping Tom,

slip through these words,

hoping to glimpse more

at the window frame open

before you than can be

imagined on your own.

This is a portrait of me

within a frame, a simple

frame, not minimalistic,

certainly not ornate,

for either would provide

far too much that is not

a part of me as if it were;

and, you would believe

these thick lines to be

exposing more to you

than I could possibly

reveal on my own,

as if I do not know

what it is I write.

It is arrogance to think,

on my part and yours,

without blinds one can

see all that exists

within a well-lit room

while standing on the street,

as if life were a simple

sentence tucked neatly

in a proffered book,

like a love letter

marking a certain poem

lovers shared in secret.

Oh, do not tell me how

to see the lines I write,

nor open my words

to finger a wound,

probing for pock marks

to read like Braille

along bloody bones.

Yes, this is me here.

Yet, it is just as much

not me. My borders

extend like language

blurring dialects

with familial tongues.

I refuse to speak

Into the silence

simply to speak,

as if any sound

by itself could be

enough to save us

from our muffled

dread always near.


(May 27, 2018)