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


(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)

accents shift

from one neighborhood

to the next — one town

over– no more sounds

like yours or your friends

at the corner pub

where even the odd

and unloved fit warmly

at a table in the dark

where the fog follows you

home into a darker wood

until your voice tangles

among incestuous roots

and a knife draws

a line along your throat

at the possibility

of a misunderstanding

(April 22, 2019)

Among the Wreckage



 “. . . . . . . . . . I want in the heaps of rubble

at last to hear my voice again

which was a howling from the very start”

–Ranier Marie Rilke


The flailing screams

have been left behind;

most days now, I speak

with a calm bitterness.

My anger’s directed inward

toward my personal failings

more than to worldly disdain.

No longer like the nascent shock

of a newborn’s confrontation

with the air, I write now

in a desperate determination

to witness the insidious lies

I tell myself to survive

the language of the ruins.


(May 3, 2018)




“to write against the ghost”

                        –Susan Howe


I am simply more nothing

to be overlooked, an absence

to be removed, like a hole

filled with fresh corpses,

then coyly landscaped

into an ubiquitous green calm,

easily assuaged and forgotten.

I speak in simple tongues

without need of translation:

such is my metaphor,

eraser crumbs brushed

aside without consequence.

Lost in the muck of language,

I claw across my margins’

sharp fractal edges, then fade.


(April 3, 2018)





little of what’s said

can pass without


to encompass within

a new language the old,

a translation unfolds


my metaphor of cloth,

my change of clothes,

my understandings,

like an old television,

flickering in the dark,

slips frames unfocused:


alone, I do not know

What’s left to put on


(February 26, 2018)