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Safe Passage

Amid twilight’s slow dance,

along a moment’s periphery,

always some other lurks close,

whispering him toward the rocks:

“Don’t stop. Over here, no here.

Somewhere other than where

you are, someone other

than the person you are.”

As the voices rattle like bones

in a box longing to be heard,

he barely notes the susurrations,

never knowing where he goes.

Thus, the lackadaisical waves

slip him limply past the shore.

(January 16, 2019)

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Ars Poetica: The Fiction of Truth


Since I do understand the importance

Of narrative, I tell stories without

Telling stories, like now, as I write this

Poem. I’ve created a fiction of me,

Truthfully, yet still a grounded fiction,

Who is speaking to you, someone absent,

As if we were strangers ordered to share

A rough table in a pub. But instead 

of talking about the local football 

team, or rudely about the government,

I talk to you as if you are in love,

Listening, as I speak, rather than write,

These simplistic thoughts upon this blank page,

And pretend you did not leave years ago.

(January 11, 2019)

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Whirligig

“Desire is a moment with no way out”

            –Anne Carson

I parse each moment’s possibility

Pretending the past can be reconciled

With present desires. Memory wears me

Like a palm stone smoothed from idle handling,

Until no difference exists between 

Me and what I have perceived to be me.

The unstable threads interlace with all

The lies, the truth, the last dry sip of gin.

The metaphor for myself unravels:

The little that was left unsaid is said,

And the air sparkles with embarrassment.

I have built constructs out of Tinker Toys,

Vast whirligigs of simplistic ideas

To clack and flail in an ignorant wind.

(December 6, 2018)

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Parasite

I project myself onto a new world

Which is not mine, but simply becomes mine.

These become moments when something happens

And nothing happens. I exist tangled

In marginalia, a handwriting

Stitched upon the edges. Another book

Becomes a palimpsest to my tired thought,

A filter to strain away the slither.

Roman priests examined the intestines

Of animals slaughtered for sacrifice.

To devine auguries in the moment,

When something happened, and nothing happened,

They would take the eviscerated signs-

The clots of blood, the bits of flesh, as truth.

(November 30, 2018)

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Weeks Before Winter Solstice

W

                                      “and I am

out with hanterns, looking for myself”

                        –Emily Dickinson

Despite the lights in the house,

The darkness penetrates.

It assumes positions in corners,

Presumptuous in its domain.

Like lions pace a cage’s confines,

I am lost in loops of thought

Looking for a set of keys

Which will let me inside.

Yet, there is no rest within

Nor without which can comfort

Enough to bring a closure;

Locked in my obsessions,

I worry each item in turn,

Tangled like tumblers at a fair.

(November 26, 2018)

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How Poetry Works

An image like a flower,

something simple, a cliche

even, to distract away

from the slight of hand performed

beneath the mark’s open gaze.

Like now, for instance, you turn

your attention from the poem,

secure in your own slow thoughts;

what you trust to know trembles

as if a leaf in autumn.

Here exists my truth and yours.

I can explain myself true,

in a way that you cannot.

Thus, seeds grow into flowers.

(November 25, 2018)