at the level
before temple doors –
at the level
before temple doors –
like an old ship
and sunlight slants
through the lessening –
all day long I wait
for winter –
survival of the fittest
my rib cage aches
along the sides
embers burn and cool
in the low hanging night –
unto the horizon
a stammering journey
netted in concert
February floods –
a red-winged blackbird
a pine cone
in the old barn
the inner guru
in an ancient state –
and in January
snowmelt / staining the white pine / all the way / down
colobus monkeys crying
in bamboo stands
outside my window
and the song of tea pickers
passing the day
and I remember
the absolution of sins
bleeding from my knuckles
in the wash basin
and sukuma wiki
“to push the week”
and I remember
we always did
It's raining but the dog won't come in.
All morning a sobbing sky
leaving no room for imagination.
His naked hands in November, like that, but colder
just before the heat.
That's how it is losing a heart
to the highway – like the sun sinking in half
degrees or like eating the moon
down to the rind. East is the story I make believe
in the middle of a Michigan night
with broken blinds, either always drawn or always exposed.
Oh my northern lights!
My bleeding sand dune screams and whispery pine songs!
The boats are empty now
the shores without moors.
I remember when the sun warmed my clothes
hot shirt against sweating skin
Will it rain for 40 days? The wettest yet; the impossible get.
Is it not you
looking for something to burn?
A jonquil sunrise
and ghosts of quatrain lines
pouring whiskey into the wishing well.
Is this a tango or a waltz?
Wallflowers the size of broken hearts. I saw
fingerprints on her guitar in the 23rd Psalm bar light.
Lay me down, good shepherd. Wrap me
in the lashes of a willow. Build the ark.
Sail to Nineveh.
Just do something before we drown.
and a bald eagle scraping
the pines –
how the open road says
make a wish
sawdust moon –
a strangled light
over impoverished fields
bed blankets of time
stretched out as hours
by dawn or dusk or black sky sleep
I cannot be the monk
his face disappearing
because it is all terminal
yet dilution hems the want
with the expectations of others and the honor
which god demands this night-scape?
in the hills purple and dusty blue
pines grow together over cinnamon
and armless spindles forcing the eye
upward for an anchor
the swish of floating whispers speak
volumes of everything we haven't said
autumn and I would talk all night
blotting the dream path
unaware of the moon perhaps
that is what aloneness is for
door-framed thresholds –
the smell of fog
and summer's quick kiss
in the room of glass
next to the open window
I listen to raindrops
falling from September's oak
and draw maps of summer
on paper airplanes
to keep in the drawer safe
from harvest winds
pacing the glass room –
they see me and
I see them
more than light passes, you know?
the barrier existing
over and over lifting
and the beauty
Acorns already –
the danger of it
remove the throne
and the two worlds meet
a benefactor to none
shimmering through the veil –
why do you keep hiding?
I fall apart
blue jay squawks
and the doctrine of summer
when moons swim in puddles
one could bury the creator
and the created
yet “Am” rises
through the soil
the cicadas prattle
is to meet winter
it will all spill
if one allows
the amicable yet misguided
turning away from this
I watched the swan with a dirty neck
and the tan of eternity
all over my own face
He preens. But for whom?
another July swimming away –
staggered stops before wintertide
A warm place to tread water
Pines watch the moon
drift into them
How slightly the night draws in
blue light torching
thought into hot ash
Which universe careens without the mind?
I float spring-fed on the lake
under bluejay skies, losing feathers in an arc –
an eyelet made for threading
It'll only hurt for a bit
This is how I beg for the endgame
A fawn in the may apple patch
noticing a hawk –
the peep of dawn
on ninety degree days
so hold still now until it cools
The part of me that sleeps
Nameless grasses and the errant
untethered silken strands
of rainbows reeling
and I watch with Tom Petty sunglasses
in a filtered murkiness
of summer solitude
Can't you hear the deer gently chewing?
Soon it will all be adrift
a frosted glistening in the air
too cold to walk the dog
The white backs of sleeping bears
huddling along the shoreline –
six months of unbroken gray
The imagination winter lacks
With what is left
handfuls of blueberries and freckled kisses
and the way ladybugs gather on screens
that won't leave
until after ten
Maybe a few more strokes across the bay
Of winter's exit wounds. Of swollen buds and their secret rooms. Of the night's invitation to shoulders and chilly hands. Awake. Allow. Of dew-wet licks on morning feet. Of ground softening. Of standing wither-deep in the impatience of creeks. Of box turtles. The bees' uneven cursive. Of pine sap tattooed on forearms and of heavy-headed peonies dodging the shadow play of oaken sentries. Of sheltered skin, freckling, coming on like the leaves of October. Of love's cheating with careful abandon. A kissed photo. What cannot be found until the first firefly. The delivery of summer's woodsmoke. Of skinny dipping as the moon floats nearby. Of perennial ghasso. Blue racers in lake-flicked grass. Allow. Unscripted trees and shores and dunes. Of distance. Of cedar cabins and waxwings. On water. In woods. Allow. My hummingbird heartbeats chest to chest. Of summiting. Of hunger and sweat. Of lavish blue, calling. Of August sand turning cold at night. Silos filling with shorter days and scalped crops. Of maples on fire. Thistles signaling death and migration. Green to gold to grey. And frosted tombs. Of hunters. Allow. December's iced focus on oblivion. Of spindrift. Of snow shovels and effort. Of sleeping under all the blankets for once. Days and days and days of outstretched granite. Of irrepressible darkness. Of tracks in the snow erased already. Pining east. Praying for light. Straining to remember the heat of being near. Of meeting eyes. Of anticipation. Of allowing the rise and fall of all that must.
Alone to write or maybe to make a space
for the things that are not allowed.
He says he'll be right up but I'm selfish
There is more than combustion involved.
That is the only promise I can make and mean it.
The night breaks down into barking dog
chaos with the sky on fire and deep cannon
blasts raining over clapping crowds in awe
of what they do not know.
Please tell me you have fireflies
in July and woodsmoke in October
in February. Please tell me the color
of the blanket on the floor and the temperature
of the river that carries your glance
and the sound your steps make on the old wooden bridge.
find a way to say what was never meant to be
She asks me to go to Connecticut in August and I would.
But what if I love it. What if I stay.
And what if I visit Amherst and walk around with coffee
under the summer's late sun visiting
graves and other points of interest?
The poem is not the poem and
the visit is not secure. Yet the words birth the sentences
as the placenta ruptures on the heirloom table
my parents used to have in their dining room
at Gun Lake.
Thinking is not thinking
and I'm done
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