Archive for June, 2013

Catch and Release

June 29, 2013

Our words seem to form in the clouds,
like rain against the weeds,
for they are still tied to the land,
and they insist that water is a metaphor.

So when a frog jumps clear,
the sound echoes so sweetly in
the lake, it might be a huge
illusion, its allure, a bell of thought.

The fish strikes. A bass, glistening,
a line runs out, taut and miraculous.
The fish has caught nothing more than
a nest of hooks, our lure.

More than that—
Poor thing, how could it not
know that it was meant
to leave existence today?

It weighed two pounds, three ounces, dead.
Alive, its life was as long as
a pencil’s width, or a crayon, smudged
blood-red and submerged, and lost—

The solemn food, our words for them are
words in salute to the clouds. We praise them
so the fish will spawn again. All clouds end in rain,
and rain is tears. The earth fulfills .

Flowers, Peddled

June 16, 2013

It’s for sale, Miss Hortense, to rise and hear
seventeen years of silence in a cicada’s drone,
a flower sale, fresh daises far from home,
stately petunias—

Why, even the earthworms
have come here for the peonies.
How fearful salvation is in the intense glare
of an empty holiness, eh, Miss Hortense?

It is as if you too had been buried in
a kind of flooded earth,
one bee circling a last tulip
in a sky you can’t begin to believe in.

So rise. Pretend to become a lion
on a final lonely hunt,
seeking its scent-markings in the soil—
imagine the mountain phlox, violets,

extravagant wild roses,
all peddled and beheaded,
their fragrance resolved.


Hortense, her Gown

June 8, 2013

As Hortense cloaks herself—
butter-soft hands, beneath a nest of silk
and cotton wraps, her gown,
the same morning sunlight that shrouds
the same swelling sea, hides itself
from her intimate past, not ancient history,
mind you, but the prying eyes of yesterday,
bloodshot and ruined from their struggle to see at all, much less peer into the future,
which, clear as night can be,
begins as quickly as it can—
a fist that pounds and pounds,
as if it had no choice but to destroy
the gown that yesterday it had found so swell.

Is Near

June 4, 2013

If I left the ending
which is the air you wished for
—Jesse Seldess[1]

The old attic is near.
Where he lived is near, the old man.
Where the string pulled taught,
had left his eyes bulging in pain,
his mouth a bowl of salvia
he could not swallow.
Where he almost drowned.

Say. The lake is near.
Say, the lake is on fire.
The swamp is full
of ooze, monochrome darkness.
So still. These balls of air,
too black to wear,
too sharp to capture.
The balls of hair.
Is near. Dear.

Is near.

[1] From Left Having, Kenning Editions, Chicago 2011.

Morning Song

June 3, 2013

Morning Song

Poetry or Livestock

June 3, 2013

A certain Miss Hortense dispensed
the licenses that controlled
the prices of all the tea
that London imported from Bombay—
and while she did this almost invisibly,
as if behind a fence, there was
a kind of making sense for her of both
experience and innocence,
like that nice Mr. Blake,
who had come to secure a license for
a zoo, or so it seemed—a tiger,
imagine—she was not at all
responsible for poetry or livestock—
that was down the hall.