Teaching

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I’m not sure I do much,

but open doors, set up chairs,

provide a place to read,

talk, write; which is enough

and yet, is not enough

to beat back the belligerence

barking like a spittle-flecked

beast. I can’t save them

from what is to come,

nor always be there to speak

amiably into their distress,

and voiceless traumas.

But there is this room,

an open door, and a chair.

 

(March 27, 2018)

Fishing

fish

 

Poetry is existence: the bark

Of the primal tongue gnawed

Into the first cave’s wet clay.

I summon myself with words

Others have spoken. They offer

A bastion, a solace to live out.

Each line defines, creates tension

Between what I know and silence;

Where I am, where I leave off.

When reading late at night,

Or walking in morning fog,

I vanish into some other

Like a fish blindly mouthing

Voiceless O’s into the air.

 

(February 28, 2018)

A Mirror Sees Only Itself

“my nature/is a quagmire of unresolved /confessions”
                        –Robert Creeley, The Door
I resist autobiographical
Interpretations others imply
When they ask about my work.
I do not write to you, nor
Even for you. I am no
Placebo to numb your pain;
No multi-car pile up
To drive by relieved
That it is some other;
No prurient desire to linger
Over, dripping hunger
Like an open wound.
Yes, I write this; yet, you
Come only to see yourself.

(October 12, 2017)

i sound out words in an unknown language

“pale light by which it reads itself’
            –Michael Palmer, Light Moves 3
almost morning almost night
the cloudy day verges on rain
i know figures on the wall as wall
a cuneiform by which i’m accounted
a permanence impressed to clay
to which i’m owed as recompense
i understand little i read now
the words slur thick in my mouth
inarticulate i shuffle a dance
hoping my steps fall sure
beneath this pale neon moon
tell me again i sing who i am
(September 3, 2017)

My Thoughts are my Own Alone in the Hearse

            –a response to a pedant
“It is June. I am tired of being brave.”
                        –Anne Sexton
The hierophant explains with a sigh,
this line’s often twisted and de-contextualized…
Perhaps, or love for the line itself–
arbitrary time (with its attendant meanings
of spring’s rebirth and clichéd weddings)
weighed down by a vast unknown ennui,
divorced from  the solitary sad pebbles
along the path toward a grave echoed
so–solidified all for the moment,
then like a tide emptying into the sea,
re-contextualized within an anonymous
infinite collage where meaning’s framed
often only in a confession to trivial
interpretations rather than strict
dogmas of convenience preached
by those privileged and O, so, unaware
that there is often a vast divergence
between what is said and what is heard
yet still moves someone to speak again
the fragments, scraps, and wisps of air,
what little bits remain within the mind
like sea glass left unsung upon a shore

(August 8, 2015)

Tracker

As broken ropes
flail the wind,
sentences unravel
as I read.
I cannot sustain
the unrelenting line.
Only fragments
torn from phrases,
sinews flayed
from the spine,
rise into the air
before me
like smoke wisps
from a dead fire.
Easy enough now
to see the trail
which led me here:
this door opened,
that door closed;
before me,
behind me.
I entered, or not.
Despite memory’s
clarity, my choices
currently run vague
beneath hardened ice.
I squat on the edge
of this river, and
note the cold margins
of my understandings.

(February 5, 2015)

absence shapes

don’t try to read me
into the lines before you
seek clarity in yourself
what resonance still hums
comes from your blood’s
primal pull and pulse
what you see as me
are but bats’ echoes’
understandings
your own utterings
alter upon return
to shift a direction
as a butterfly’s wings
adrift through the air
touch the nothings there

(January 26, 2015)

and then a breach

For decades now I have been
reading toward certain books:
I glean traces over time,
strains of thought’s swirls
along different writer’s trails,
mirages of edge’s beginnings;
until a permeable membrane
coalesces with sufficient integrity
to gather enough subjectivity
in order to discern the two or three
shades between black and black
to form a rift through which to cross.

(January 25, 2014)