Archive for October, 2013


October 31, 2013

What could it say that wouldn’t spasm us back to ourselves to be bait or a dead prayer?
–C. K. Williams

The rabbits are scattered,
left with nothing left
but their astonishment.
Winter has placed its silvery hands
on something growing in the ground,
a root and leaf, fresh in a nest, and it looks,
well, rather gracious in there, inviting,
a hutch for winter’s groundlings.

And yet, a rabbit trap is just
another old tin bucket with
a spring to seal it tight. It does not
take life, it snares it, leaves it whole
and whimpering. The cold will do the rest.
You smile, I know. As if to say,
Go ahead, lift it. Take a peek.
For there can be nothing underneath.

By God’s grace, starvation.
All is—and all must be—persuasion.

Refuse [Yes, say it three times fast]

October 24, 2013

Must the morning  mist,
almost mystical amidst
the moss, amuse muse

And mistress, but con-
fuse a Mr. with a Ms.
and not a Mrs.?


A Parchment of Bones

October 20, 2013

The last wasps inside the temple
—oh, only two or three are left—
un-fold their wings and prepare to die.
The temple grows in the silence.
A skin of frost forms
across raked sand, across
the carefully placed stones.
The garden browns.
A spider inside and outside the temple:
A last wasp twists in its web and dies.
We remain sitting, the last to celebrate
our innocence in silence,
the first to approach winter
as a parchment of bones.

A Leafless Tree

October 12, 2013

A leafless tree should be
like an old man falling in love,
the way, he imagines himself
by imagining his bride to be.
She warms him even as
the winter ice stills his blood.
Call it the vitals of our being.
Call it a last breeze, our marrow.
Suppose a leafless tree
is a poetry of the self,
a great rhapsody of frozen earth
holding and preserving living roots.
Suppose the song it sings
is inside an ancient and specific man,
a mystery tree growing there.


October 4, 2013


Porphyry, his Seed

October 2, 2013

For the philosopher, Porphyry,
the sun was not so much a real thing
as it was a name for that which we
could not possibly name. A name for God, say.
Every day he set out his seed
to toast in the hot sun.
He thought about how a shaft
of light can transform a fire from the safety of
a home and hearth into the majestic
destroyer of woods and fields.
How quickly the dead leaves and the birds’ nests
are set aflame. Why, even the cobwebs must briefly glow.
So why not burn a man? A spark,
then smoke rises into his limbs and lungs.
It is as if a whole world were on fire.
A singed sky, a poem and metaphor, all in a man.
And all point to flames even higher.
A spark. For what? To lift our souls?
Porphyry could not have known
about the inquisition. Or the burning
of heretics. That lay too far in the future.
He simply knew the Christians had
misunderstood his philosophy.
That was enough.
His trees would not burn.
He would live in history…

After his walk, Porphyry popped
a few seeds in his mouth.
They seemed to help his digestion
and they tasted so much better for the sun.