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shadows near shadows far away (103)

as if trapped in a net of shadow

afternoon light through the window

struggles on the opposite wall 

to form a coherent pattern where

a difference may be discerned

between shadows near and far away


outside the oak and elm stand mute

allowing the air to whisper for them

allowing easy cliches to answer

decades of hardened blood

to answer questions never asked

to form opinions from shadow

as old palimpsests below the scars

re-inscribe the day hour by hour

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Reflection’s Projections

“the other is the figure of my truth, and cannot be imprisoned in any stereotype (which is the truth of others).”

                        –Roland Barthes

He is no more this, than she

Permits outside the walls

He hides behind. No trope

To be conjured within, she

Vaguely files her nails,

And thinks of him less

Than what to have done

At the spa. He knows

Her as he imagines,

Not as she is told. She

Believes she does not

Change outside herself,

As much as he desires

Her to be more than both.

(June 15, 2017)

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to divine the past (102)

from any chance moment

wherever you happen to be

like light and dark dancing

across the forest floor

memory without warning

will step out from a phrase

to raise the ancient dead 

the way dust devils 

on cool autumn afternoons 

will twirl lifeless leaves into the air 

like moon-pale bacchants 

arms twisting above their heads

then within your next thought

let fall still trembling to the ground

leaving you ashamed for some act 

of cowardice or petty remorse 

at best remembered less if at all 

and then only as a trace of flame 

flickering shadows upon a wall

(December 21, 2020)

Infinite Watched Pot (a reading)

Infinite Watched Pot

“That is, if you write it has it happened twice”

—Michael Palmer, Notes for Echo Lake

I woke and now it is now; the sun’s setting.

Was the writing the thing that happened?

Would today happen without being written?

Are they two events or one?

I see something—

like a car crash,

or water boiling on the stove.

One’s disconnected,

one’s intentional, possibly

even a causation; for example;

I’m hungry, so

I hop in the car for a burger.

She was in a hurry. It was

raining. She slams through a yellow light.

The driver in front of me dies

on the wet street. Or,

I’m still hungry. I hold dry

pasta knowingly, and watch

as the tiny bubbles form

on the bottom of the pot.

Did anything happen?

I am hungry, and will be

each time you read this,

even if I was the driver

who died, or I just wrote

it down; even if something

more than this

was in my thoughts

as I waited for water

to boil.

(May 3, 2020) 

Agoraphobia

Outside,

the trees and bushes seem

to vibrate in the bright heat;

as if any moment, they’ll collapse

into their own shade, exhausted.

*

Inside,

they are framed in the window.

I watch them from across the room

from the chair I’m sitting in.

I am cold in the conditioned air.

*

August

has begun. Soon, I’ll be back

at work, teaching my students

to find meaning in the mundane

details which often overwhelm us.

(August 3, 2019)

Perpetual Reinterpretation Machine

dark-forest-2

 

It is familiar enough

to be familiar, but no

more: a scratch in the dark

which stops when you stop

to listen to what you think

is a sound somewhere nearby,

but it’s just you thinking

in the silence to the dark.

It’s absence breathes heavily

as if aroused with metaphor

still clinging to its half-formed kiss.

It waits on memory to form

a shape which conforms to desire’s

simple reduction to a truth.

 

(August 17, 2018)

 

 

 

All Memory Wears Nostalgia’s Taint

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It’s not fair to compare

one to the other where secrets

are apropos to a love affair,

or some distant war as far

as that goes. Yet, what’s to be

done to stop it? What metaphor

within yourself were you willing

to sacrifice? As long as one

doesn’t mind water swallowing

your words, it’s simple enough

to drown in any nearby river.

I, too, hold my expectations

at a distance in order to live—

I’m not sure what occurred,

or even if we were just lovers.

 

(August 15, 2018)

Dream Journal #33: Projections

 

images

She infused your words with hers

as you did not say what she intended.

The words in the letter in the dream

swirled and slipped across the page.

You began to read like a film voiceover,

then her voice became stronger erasing

your words as she spoke your confession.

You knew she knew you knew she wrote

to you she thought; but was unsure

the letter, your letter, her words said

as much. If only she did not know

the letter, as her desire, was a dream;

and no amount of bland exposition

could explain away her obsessions.

 

(May 2, 2018)

Necromance

native-spell-in-South-Africa-or-Johannesburg

 

As blood from wine,

He is transformed;

The words solidify—

Lift from the page

Like a starling murmur

flows in morning air.

Obsessively, his thoughts

Turn and return

To the slightest wisp

She might, in passing,

Have whispered.

Memory is present

Always to form

A different future.

He writes and revises,

Remembers and reforms,

As if a candle’s smoke

Can reshape a flame;

As if all the words

Are uttered correctly,

He will be reborn.

 

(February 5, 2018)