Metaphor’s Comfort

Flying free

through the blind night,

bats,

with their high lyric cries,

justify

the walls around them.


(July 19, 2021)

The Whispers Drive the Narrative

The wild mustang grape vines

its way along the fence line,

further obscuring boundaries

between what is said, 

and what is perpetuated.


The past is of no consequence

beyond familiar stories to bolster

today’s latest interpretation,

which momentarily coalesces

to cloak in ambiguity

the Absence as it festers

in vague nostalgic shadows.

(May 30, 2021)

Chagrin

Outside, a butterfly flits

across the sun-dipped tips

of black-eyed Susans

swaying in the wind:

While inside, I struggle

with what to write.

(May 21, 2021)

how history begins (136)

maps do not speak 

as vaguely blurred 

vowels along riverbanks 

where second cousins 

two counties removed 

slur to their mates 

nor sift for finer 

details in pap’s 

bourbon tongue 

(April 26, 2021) 

Four poems from a series (115-118)

each breath (115)

a butterfly turns

from the chrysalis’s shell

then flutters away like breath

(February 4, 2021)

problematic poetics (116)

each image resists

the metaphor’s

transformation

(February 4, 2021)

each tongue a border (117)

i struggle to translate

my language to words

i may speak with others

who are closest to me

and who are said

to share my tongue

(February 4, 2021)

vocabulary impediments (118)

talk normal 

there boy

(February 4, 2021)

doorway (113)

formed out of these walls to shape

the air to separate here from there


beneath the dark winter quilts

my skin presses to your warmth


longs to be more than my limits

more than what’s contained inside


more an opening to other spaces

other ways with different lines


to cross with a limping accent

a creole to hone words into an edge


I know only what I know

my cell wall’s textures memorized


through the season’s slow change

the light and shadow through the bars


play their fingers in the silent air

like puppets alive to the string’s pull

Narrative’s Default

whose story

your story

my story

some other


someone speaks

some listen

some believe

some obey


here the page turns

hear the page turn

slow whispers

form a deaf ear


control’s the word’s

darkest destiny

(August 13, 2020)

Structures and Forms

I started a serial poem back at the beginning of January. The plan was to write 140 poems, each poem’s length pre-determined by a random number generator, ranging from 3-140 syllables. It was to follow vaguely the rules of a renga, where each poem grew out of the one before it somehow, whether through theme, pun, image, or a reply. The number of poems was determined by the number of syllables in a sonnet. 

I have reached 80 poems in this series. I hit 40 back at the end of March. I have 60 more to go. I would like to finish this by the end of December, which means I should speed up a bit. LOL.  I have never really written under a deadline except for required essays in grad school. However, 80 poems in 7 months is a fairly phenomenal pace for me.

I will now begin to move forward with the third ‘stanza’ while collecting and tightening sections 1 and 2, in hopes that as I reread and work over the first two sections, the third stanza will continue the conversations, if you will, that began in the first two “stanzas,” and the themes and images will continue to echo and grow organically in section three. 

A little obsessive, but then what about life is not.

(July 27, 2020)

even now I hear them

from a work in progress: process, not a journey (72)

“Sea, I am like you, filled with broken voices”

—Guillaume Apollinaire

insistent demanding attention

soft whispers curl at my feet

like cats they claw at me

with their sharp reminders

lightly pulling at my skin

until the ground is awash

in the blood of memory

and then slightly below the surface

small phrases embedded in dead

conversations rise like tattered faces

from the sea to mouth their silent

vowels like fish dying in the sand

until the raw scraps of language

in which I am tangled 

are cast out in a storm surge

far out among the dark waves

and I drown choking 

with nothing to say

(July 6, 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)