The Wettest Yet

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.

Seiche rising.

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.





crumpled up

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

of perception

which god demands this night-scape?

in the hills purple and dusty blue

pines grow together over cinnamon

and cones

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



Acorns Already

pacing the glass room –
they see me and
I see them

more than light passes, you know?
the barrier existing

Heiden's Sonata
over and over lifting
and the beauty

always nearby

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

to ignore
is to meet winter

it will all spill
if one allows

the allowance
the fall
the amicable yet misguided
turning away from this



July Swimming Away

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
into me

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

steady now
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 

blackberry bruises
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

And light
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.



I'm Fine

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

and fine.

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

and evergreens

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

said. Betokened.

She asks me to go to Connecticut in August and I would.

But what if I love it. What if I stay.

The sea.

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





Summer I Need

Summer I need


and your confetti of petals and wings and light.

Shudder me

with your percussive storm clouds

and misty rainbow apologies seeping into the scars

of December. My skin rises to meet your mango

tongue and marigold residue

and the impossible starburst of clementine


Summer I need

the leeward side of Lake Michigan

sending an army of infantry grains

from your dunes

into barefooted places.

Summer I need

farm fields of fireflies disco

dancing and turtles breaching glassy stills

and campfires pushing the night

back just far enough to say

what if.

Summer I need

to follow your birds home

because when they leave I am left

here borrowing time

treading water until the ice comes

and all there is clings to the last flashes

of feathered rouge picking leftover

seed from frozen footprints on the ground.

Summer I need

to stop saying goodbye 

and sending blessings on your way

because I don't mean it.

Summer I need

you to stay.