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It’s a Familiar Enough Lie (a reading)

It’s a Familiar Enough Lie

With a headful of sighs,

I move from room to room,

stand in the doorway, then turn,

followed by dark regrets

which waited to slither back 

from all the obvious corners.



I promise myself again

as I slip further away: 

it will only be a moment;

then days, then years vanish

before the wait will stop,

before I walk out the door.

(September 19, 2020)

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As in the Last Days of Pompeii (a reading)

As in the Last Days of Pompeii

In these next darker days,

Shadows walk in laughter

upright and self-righteous,

and we have no where to hide.

Ash floods the bitter sky

filling the streets, the rooftops,

our lungs with  thick death.

With no time to cast bones,

our glazed eyes watch

the portents unfold into heaven.

Panicked, we rage in the street,

or cower next to a wall,

 a silent witness to the fall.

(September 17, 2020)

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even now I hear them (a reading)

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)

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Contained & Vanishing Point (a reading)

Contained

“I contain multitudes”

-Walt Whitman

I am not a voice,

but an echo of silence—

before and after.

Like dried flowers in old books,

I live pressed within these folds.

(May 27 2020)

Vanishing Point

“Falling is one of the ways of moving.”

— Merce Cunningham

Finding walls

where there were

none before,

I stumble,

and fall

toward a point

perceived as distance,

yet, always here.

What I see is

only what I know;

perception’s a deception

one swallows entire. 

The eye’s led on

from the outside in.

(June 2, 2020)

dark earth (a reading)

dark earth

from a work in progress: process, not a journey (60)

obsessively the earth gives birth

to its dead rich and fertile

safe inside itself unseen

unvoiced like ecstatic dancers

beneath a moon-bright sky

the earth lifts the rose

the oak twisting and throbbing

into the air so i burrow deep

beneath the black soil a worm

gnashing rocks like prayers

until i find a darker god

and somewhere in the black clay

an old woman natters

lost in perpetual disappointment

as a death skull’s laughter’s

trapped in his life’s delusion

(May 7, 2020)

my face blurs as well (a reading)

my face blurs as well

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (57)

i walk out into the brush

into a world not home

and there in the stream 

in the moon-bright sky

i look from mirror

to water to window

and the air

blurs what I see

when I read it blurs

everything i’ve read

and like memory it becomes

what I know now

what I knew then

the story is seen

as what it is

always present

always a lie

(April 25, 2020)

Afterthought (a reading)

afterthought

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (56)

a residue lingers in air

it curls like cats purr

their self-absorbed song

between your feet

and the lies you stand upon

most days the end of the sentence

arrives long after your focus

has blurred and you’ve slipped

from the book stunned

by the light in the street

no one but you sees the rabbit

scurry down the hole

for like a wolf the brush devours

any trace of stillness that remains

between the bluebonnets and clover

these are your thoughts your dislocations

like a floral hint upon a breeze

they vanish as you turn lost

in the thought you lost in turn

(April 24, 2020)