The Dance Takes Shape

As he arranges his explanations,
He dances a quirky dance,
More of a twitch and stumble
Than Fred Astaire’s monochrome
Grace. All his interpretations
Are framed in such a manner
As to hide his ragged edges.
He has become the illusion
Of flickering flames: seen
Then unseen between shadows
Dancing light upon a wall.
Yet, he is no cave dweller,
No shaman dancing the night
Beneath an occluded moon;
He shuffles stories like tarot cards
Flipped before an anxious heart.
The closer he comes to know
Himself, the farther he slips
Away from a larger world.
(August 19, 2017)

question, my muse

if you knew
I wrote poems
to you
as I have
for years
would you take me
to your bed
and let me
sing my songs
to you
throughout the night
or would you
laugh
at my lines
and walk away
without so much
as a quick goodbye
(from a work in progress: “Arcana,” IIcups, March 15, 2014)

Erato

She lives within us like the sea,
a pulse in the dark at the center
of the earth resonant with stars:
patterns, woven within patterns,
to be traced like capillaries past
the origins of a transcendent love,
where words and thought fuse
into an inarticulate desire for
something other than now.

(from a work in progress: “Arcana,” Queencups, March 12, 2014)

staff work

the form is basic enough
parry riposte block deflect
then repeat as each advance
comes toward me again
year after year after year
even on such shattered ground
the pattern’s familiar enough
each question carries doubt
specific enough without being
at its center entirely wrong
yet it is wearing to explain yet again
what it is I do 
who I am 
that is not you
(from a work in progress: “Arcana,” VIIwands, March 12, 2014)

Message

My obsession consumes
without consummation.
My passion whispers a kiss
without touching lips.
My fire leaps along the wind,
never touching the ground.
My words’ seductive flood
rises above me like love,
until I drown.
(from a work in progress, “Arcana,” Knightwands, March 11, 2014)

The Heart Slowly Overtakes Reason

I plod past dreams
to pass the day.
Truth lies
beneath a soft surface
of a song I sing
to you of love’s desire.
I lack experience
with such seductions
to turn my intentions
beyond the shapes of clouds.
I stumble my words
in exaggerated failings
to transform the ground
around you to include me.

(from a work in progress: “Arcana,” Knightcups, March 5, 2014)

Self-Recriminations

Blindly,
I embed
each razored
word I speak,
like dormant seeds,
into the surrounding
ground.  Then wait,
without surprise,
for the vindictive
vines to snake
along my legs
and spine stripping
flesh from bone,
like butchers applying
their keen knives
to the unvoiced
tendons of
the dead;
until I wail
long ululations
of despair
to the wind,
as if my coy
innocence
had not vanished
like breath
into the icy air’s
silence
with the first
soft words
I spoke
to you.

(from a work in progress, “Arcana, VIIIswords, February 27, 2014)

Open the World

I set out on a new trail again
confident only in familiarity
with the process the motion
one foot in front of the other
the slow amble giving time
to look up and wonder
why it took so long again
to shake off the cold doubt
to transform fear into hope
to breathe curiosity
and laugh with each pratfall
not caught in grace’s illusion
            I step forth from my life
            into the radiant world’s blur

(from a work in progress: “Arcana,” IIwands,February 26, 2014)

Even at Rest I am Tense

Amid the books and cats in the front room,
I sit content within the labyrinth
I have wandered aimlessly through for years.
The familiarity of the ordered
spines lines up across the shelves as if fate
has spun out a net within each chapter
to script my thoughts, until they finally
arrived in this room defined by my books,
like old city walls to shelter my self,
and all I love, from the coming onslaught
of the sneering ignorance battling
obviously within me at each turn
of all the random pages I can read
within the growing shadows of the room.

(from a work in progress:”Arcana,” Xpentacles, February, 24, 2014)

the verge

I step between two low trees
onto a small stoop of grey granite
jutting into the emptiness of air
a thousand foot drop to the ground
and twenty miles to the Adirondacks
lurking blue on the horizon like ships
sailing toward some promised land
despite the clichéd romantic vista
to an implied unlimited future
emerging from a convoluted past
one more step in this tableaux
yields fear for with where I have been
and with my dawn blinded visions
one more step propels me toward life

(from a work in progress, “Arcana,” IIIwands, February 20, 2014)