You Find a Poem You Wrote Years Ago

It’s like seeing old pictures of yourself

long after the camera’s cold click. You

have a sense of familiarity,

a recognition that you were once there

in that moment, but not of the moment

before, or after. The lines have taken

on depth as their specificity blurred,

the colors clarity fading through time

into generalized gestures, and

you stop short, stunned at your oblivious youth,

the clear lack of fear, the unacknowledged

audacity that spoke with more wisdom

then, than you ever knew you had, and have

since lost like someone waking from a dream.

(October 21, 2021)

No Partitions

Beneath the bed, I hide

my sack of broken secrets.

They leak into my dreams

like drops of rain sift slowly

through limestone to form

deeper pools, darker caves.

I wake to put them on again

still damp, clinging to my skin.

Through the day, they etch

their strangled blue runes

onto my hollow bones

with a cold acid. I become

a flute to my fears, a crescendo

of trills like dying birds.

(October 8, 2021)

I Move Slowly Toward an Understanding

The mud thickness

on my shoes,

as I plod along

singing.


I bend slowly

into the earth;

my voice swallowed

by the wind.


Except for names

of the dead faces,

I remember most

versions of the past;


the storied details

reassure me

that what I knew,

I know. 


Despite other’s 

revanchist revisions,

I hold to a path

which will lead me home.


(June 8, 2021)

turn turn turn (140)

with spring’s violence flowers burst

into bloom from winter’s death

as chimes toll slowly in the tree


mere weeks ago ice creaked

tightly along the chase tree’s

twisted branches as the chimes

hung limp and people froze

to death alone at home

(May 9, 2021)

forgive us this day (135)

“lesser christs of dim aspirations”

—Apollinaire

as an early spring front approaches

and dark clouds push across an empty sky

the first line begins the separation

from who I once was to what I’ve become

the slow dissolve from silence

into a momentary resistance 

to the callow acquiescences

and the nodding submissions 

imbued in these day to day devotions

this moment turns without motion

without thought as though it were

not there as though I was not ever there

as i was not the day before nor after

but only now in a field arms outstretched

the cold rain washing softly over me

(April 25, 2021)

Each Moment Re-inscribes the Present (123)

like the good china handled

with delicate hands as if

the people pictured could be

shaken from the scene and lost

they are only brought out on holidays

or as we gather to bury the dead

who were the ones who knew them all

these photographs that stepped from context

as soon as the shutter snapped

the aunts uncles cousins friends pictured

within a tangled patchwork of memory

at their own holidays their own funerals

look back at us with our familiar eyes

wanting to know who we are what we’ve become

(February 25, 2021)

Four poems from a series (115-118)

each breath (115)

a butterfly turns

from the chrysalis’s shell

then flutters away like breath

(February 4, 2021)

problematic poetics (116)

each image resists

the metaphor’s

transformation

(February 4, 2021)

each tongue a border (117)

i struggle to translate

my language to words

i may speak with others

who are closest to me

and who are said

to share my tongue

(February 4, 2021)

vocabulary impediments (118)

talk normal 

there boy

(February 4, 2021)

adrift (114)

in the dark a red thrum quickens 

the edge of remembrance like light’s 

first glimmer across the sea 


I trace my gnarled fingers along the slick 

interior walls to justify what it is 

that pushes back my intentions 
 

like the egg in childhood’s experiment 

which floats in a glass of salt water 

I drift seemingly unsupported 

 
with vague suppositions and 

innuendo to tangle like seaweed 

trapping my voice below the waves 

 
and what I would if I could speak 

drowns in my first breath 

like a fish mouthing silent words 

(February 3, 2021)

doorway (113)

formed out of these walls to shape

the air to separate here from there


beneath the dark winter quilts

my skin presses to your warmth


longs to be more than my limits

more than what’s contained inside


more an opening to other spaces

other ways with different lines


to cross with a limping accent

a creole to hone words into an edge


I know only what I know

my cell wall’s textures memorized


through the season’s slow change

the light and shadow through the bars


play their fingers in the silent air

like puppets alive to the string’s pull

neither a whimper nor a bang (111)

the last whisper’s echo went

as if the silence was always there

behind his last breath which fell

away like ash from an ember


simply not there any more

not even a hole where he once stood

(January 27,2021)