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Layers (122)

the cat slept all day

turned tightly into herself

a sublime wisdom


snow begins to fall

silencing the day’s hard sleet

the night grows colder


ice brightens the moon

along the bare branches’ backs

like a hot whip’s snap


by morning the snow

drapes the yard as if with light

the chimes slowly sound


a lone mockingbird chirrups

inside the house the cat waits

(February 18, 2021)

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Blatantly Obvious as Well, to Answer Your Question (119)

another story’s offered

as talisman against

the last day’s horror

i’ve listen to for years


and despite the slow

unfolding I understood

sentences ago i wait

for the last syllable to fall


grace allows misunderstanding

to slip away like ash

from ember as easily as

truth falls to lies


so yes i understood you

each and every time

(February 7, 2021)

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shadows near shadows far away (103)

as if trapped in a net of shadow

afternoon light through the window

struggles on the opposite wall 

to form a coherent pattern where

a difference may be discerned

between shadows near and far away


outside the oak and elm stand mute

allowing the air to whisper for them

allowing easy cliches to answer

decades of hardened blood

to answer questions never asked

to form opinions from shadow

as old palimpsests below the scars

re-inscribe the day hour by hour

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what silence waits to give voice

how much must be

etched across the glass

like ice across the lake

before I can hear

the ravens in the wood

caw out their hunger

before the dark wings’

fluttered descent disguises

the sharp peck and pull

that is my final vision

what silence waits

as an echo’s first reflection

before it wraps itself again

around the trees like snow

(December 24, 2020)

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)

What I Imagine When Someone Explains my Poetry to Me

He stands on a small rock

in the middle of a river;

the water rushes past

an obvious metaphor.

He ignores the danger,

and leaps the gap to land

on the next wet stone

barely within his compass;


And there, as he teeters,

searching for his balance,

he hears the falls hunger,

then is neither here, nor there,


but lost in the churning froth

of some other’s creation.

(September 6, 2020)

radius

The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated with end.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, Circles

I do not know where I am

nor by extraction where you

are in relation to me

other than someone else

.

when I look at you you become

the object of my sentence

a reference toward action

that is wholly defined in me

.

my eye contains the complexity

deep within the oyster’s pearl

layer upon layer’s luster

shines with time’s light

.

an accumulation of vision’s

blind devotion to itself

(April 14, 2020)

the lethargic day’s disquietude

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (50)

time does not flow forward it folds and turns

as mind rattles from thought to thought like rain

drops into puddles making the water

wetter as it vanishes from itself

.

the flow turns inward like the subduction

of one tectonic plate to another

it circles back in an eddy’s slow twirl

until its start is lost within its end

.

time takes its time to tell what time it is

what with the past’s present nature

contending with the present’s obsession

with tomorrow’s constant unravelling

.

then quite suddenly it’s no longer there

like your last stagnant puff of fetid air

(April 9, 2020)