what’s to be done but misunderstand (129)

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with a thousand toes to step upon

scattered across the ballroom floor

he negotiates with a nonchalance

reserved for sinister seductions

each phrase she said like a rabbit 

testing the air for the slightest sound 

to announce the wolf’s ragged debut

yet the wolf is off in some other forest

tracking that red-caped girl and

the wind carries sounds 

from some other tale as 

everything we once knew

crumbles into sullen ash

(April 2, 2021)

Each Moment Re-inscribes the Present (123)

like the good china handled

with delicate hands as if

the people pictured could be

shaken from the scene and lost

they are only brought out on holidays

or as we gather to bury the dead

who were the ones who knew them all

these photographs that stepped from context

as soon as the shutter snapped

the aunts uncles cousins friends pictured

within a tangled patchwork of memory

at their own holidays their own funerals

look back at us with our familiar eyes

wanting to know who we are what we’ve become

(February 25, 2021)

One Way or Another

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (58)

the day to day distorts

easier than cataclysm

they bend like fun house

mirrors a reflection

of a persistent truth

rather than shattered

into shards to slice

the skin into tatters

the blood seeps beneath

a blasted bit of bone

one seduces

like a lullaby

one 

a merciful kill

(April 29, 2020)

two small poems

from a work in progress, “process, not a journey” (42,43)

everyday today

flowers bloom

.

.

fortune

a rose lies

crushed

in the wheel’s 

rut

(March 22, 2020)

winter’s end

from a work-in-progress: process, not a journey (40)

blue bonnets bloom in the backyard

as a new plague floods the city

fear all that has changed enough

to become a normal day yet forget

what patterns have been replaced

by emptiness reweaving a past

which should have existed like flowers

found pressed between the pages

of a favorite book marking the poem

you read to me when we were in love

instead of these tattered nets I mend

as best I can from wisps of memory

in the hope a better world will blossom

like the wild flowers in the backyard

(March 20, 2020)

What Each Transition Leaves Behind

He entered the water,

and drowned.

She entered the earth,

and decayed.

He entered the fire,

and was consumed.

She simply vanished

into the air.

Between her words

and the sediments

of his desires,

they were transformed,

becoming more the other

and less themselves.

Like beasts who love

in shadow’s spheres,

they entered metaphor,

and returned home.

(March 5, 2020)

days proceed to the end of time

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (21)

the moon hangs on the horizon

a waterdrop waits on a leaf

we are on an edge

like acrobats along a wire or

a knife at our voiceless throats

I don’t know where we fell away

(January 30, 2020)

amorphous

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (14)

forgetting the pattern of fear

and doubt tangled about me

I fall out of sleep and remember

what parts of myself I need

to continue some resemblance

of the day the inessential shades

my ghosts as darkly as the essential

each shifts its position evasively

when questioned like a cat

slips through shadow and grass

(January 21, 2020)

the future was a threat

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (13)

in school we were always on the move

field trips to museums to math class

with Mr. Buesing to middle school

to high school to college the future

was a threat brandished like a whip

by degrees our world turned

then it stopped and I stumbled

and found myself here in the mud

like a body dropped from the door

of a passing car

(January 18, 2020)

Fairy Tale Endings

from an untitled serial poem (2)

tufts of dark fur

scraps of red cloth

broken glasses pools

of wine the remnants

of someone’s meal

are splashed across

the cottage like blood

on a butcher’s apron

she is not here

neither is he

one fled

one’s dead

birds hop and sing

on the window sill

a family of rabbits

nibble grass

along the path

the door lies shattered

on the ground

dry splinters of wood

punctuate the grass

with unvoiced cliches

(January 3, 2020)