Monday, March 17, 2008


The human sternum cracking as some wings
expand to burn to brown in sullen, heat.

Dear you, at this point I feel compelled to rush
away from trouble, to take the elevation

as we whisper our discreet. Love, you.

Sullen, heat, in weather suppurates the spine
just slows, you, down. I have a lie

telling to tale you. Dear you, how many
people are we? Love, you.

How many am I escaping in the high
loft of the sky within the sweaty

atmospheres I fluster at your privilege
ear to hear me question.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Dear you, a human licks skin out plucking
new blue feathers, white tail. Love, you.

Your flight is oblique, the sun
a bare yellow light.

A human panics into a bird. Sprawls out the house
through the windows. Migration of any kind

loosens the sky cloak. Dear you,
we're not appalled, love you.

But at some point the work to return to.
Your home, your life, the light

supper of soup and bread, your white
bedding gently illuminate.

Dear, you're an elegy to flight the moment you brush
ground's heady flora and brunt landing.

Walk in through the door, upright
with all your limbs.

The other humans eye you steadfast.
Say, I've been away.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Be Kind To Me

A friend and I.

C’mon. I tug your arm near out of socket. Or are you just stone.
You have to imagine how she’s like right now she’s. Distraught. Remorse. A pile on bedclothes swathed in flannel.
I don’t try tactics like listening to her apologize for her thick and matted hair. No I just twist her arm and say. You don’t have a chance unless you. Come away now!
Just my hasty.
Then she moans to be left. Curling under the longest corner of the sheet. Then she moans to be forgiven.
Don’t think we can’t outrun these marauding humans I seem. To be alert to her. She budges her feet one against the other.
Anyone can stroll by and just perch their words on her.
You could come with me I cajole. We could gallop through wide
alleys with sacks of bread and cheese. Or we could haunt the orchards living wild from apples.
You don’t come with me just pulling that arm away. I know what’s wrong but can’t quite say. Having committed an error.
Now you do look at me. Your eyes fall down longer than before.
I rustle my sack. Some dried fruit too and fresh
underwear. Those humans won’t be handing out hygiene supplies.
She stretches her foot one beautiful callous. Otherwise doesn’t.
Let them come she seems to say. Let them spill vowels across my femur and scalp to organize a shape. I’ll absorb.
But I’ll absorb. I vault over the sill into landscape. Burlap sack thwacks motion on my thigh. I’ll be hungry soon.
I watch her through an inner
spyglass crushing silence with small noise. Her let out from pent. Some dried roses stumble in their vase.
The heads of blossoms toppled from bloom to desiccate. Eventually she shifts a leg. Her name is Emma.
My name is Emma. I’m also shifting a leg.
What my sin is. Little starlings whistle.
Yes I’m shifting beneath some sheltering stump and green. Cutting that block of cheese to press against dense bread. I prefer to sit alone right now. I’m tender and smarting and keen.
I say inside my mouth just to my head. Why are you running away? The air burns autumn cleanly.
Emma lifts one arm from the mattress.
What have you done that you’re running from? My teeth buzz and sing strange cacophonies. What haven’t you? Emma wets her
lips with water sips.
Oh yes and I’m Emma listening to vocal ranges attached to other selves of fugitives sheltering under varied branches in the orchard. But then I think the conversations are just stray thoughts belonging to me.
I don’t listen. Just Emma and the tufted grass. No I’m just asking my fingers and toes to stay put.
We’re going to sleep beneath bowed canopies until I get up. I have to push away to not look. The orchard and orange
sunset puckering light.
Emma swallows another sip. The water forms a ribbon of the outside going in. Her evening falls lightly among shadows against long walls. Shallow diagonals.
I shake my brain just by where I cast my eyes. I want her out of her incumbency. She says.
You’ve taken the loaf and the cheddar. What will our distances eat? Someone surely will come and sway open the door.
Maybe she scatters her hair across the pillow after a long day. She lifts her wrist to feel the weight. A lot of events take place in our sleep.
I wake in the bed as I always do.
Sunlight. Clear water in the clear glass.
Give me your flesh and your will. She says that. And stretches one arm from shadow to daylight. She has flesh
inked across her back her neck torso ears just everywhere put there by tongues and a ghost.
I’m different. I scrub that skin from bony with sharp brushes. Won’t look in mirrors except sideways and just glancing.
I never see my eyes. Just grey memories of storm
sky or an icy lake.


The bed feels cool and satisfying. The glass of water filling with light. Everywhere are doors I don’t open yet but just sink into bolster.
You can come away. Someone is frantic. She’s packing snacks. Dried fruit. Etcetera. I’m hearing but not listening.
Won’t leave because he’s coming.
Wouldn’t be here when he slipped through the door drifting past the walnut table in the hall-
way with the grey-blue china bowl for keys.
The wooden door creaks. She hurdles the window frame that sack in hand. He fills the room around the bed.
All humans possess an unwillingness to be touched.
Of course he doesn’t actually utter a word an echo or a gram of sound if noise could have a physical weight. Who I am is dangerous.
I take and don’t take his language. I think and don’t think for both of us.
Emma please un-turn your shoulder un-walk the street past glowing lamps oh you’re cold I’ll warm you up.
He doesn’t mouth any words no just seethes. Emma please. Stop your tracks just swivel heel and run to me back across thin
crusts of snow I’m begging take my arm and show me love how vast you are.
Yes the wooden door splinters shards. I keep reliving a specific time and place. He’s crashing through and lurking near the kitchen.
Emma you’re making him.
A human isn’t rubies in veins or a glass heart. When I hold out my hands in another’s body I find runny
blood and quivering pulp. How alive you are my friends my little chickadees. I let him come to me with the specific time and place.
Sometimes I press my palms against the mattress and contort my
body in a way that could show sorrow.
Sometimes I circumnavigate him trying to recognize culpability. What I did or didn’t do. Emma sprint across that powder
crust and catch me from behind before I to home another night unknown un-
listened yes imploring catch my navy coat or woolen scarf. I can hear his voice in mine now and know this is what I’m running from.
How I fail to extend.
I can see you Emma I tell her waking from her hammock in the orchard. See your grey eyes the sudden rain.
Emma I tell her. Run from your orchard to the bus stop catching it barely for my sake traipsing up three
flights of stairs breaking down his door with small fists.
When I let. Him. Speak to me.
Be kind to me. Who’s saying what to whom spills out volumes in silence. Be kind to me the morning spreading entrails of light across slatted floors and cream walls.
I drink my coffee with warm milk. He’s here alright.
In a quiet moment I look for her out the window. Just tugging fine muslin curtains. I can see her.
And she sees me from under her canopy of apple trees. I think she must swallow the pips. Looking behind my shoulder.
He’s slightly asunder. Actually there are a lot of other ghosts crowding the room. A lot of other specific times and places.
They chorus.
Emma won’t you whip through what you said or didn’t like a doorway and turn the hallway past the kitchen although it’s dark you know the way and please find us in our human
conditions just mending unknown and unlistened—
with what I would say to anyone if I knew—
unfelt and unadored just meeting the light trembling across the floor and splurging descriptions of individual
nature our Emma we’re someone somewhere wishing for meadows sticky sweet and milkweed but trapped indoors just trailing over your window sash yes some-
how please keep letting us speak.
Put your palms up to the fragrance.
I swallow. Swallow again.
He stands amidst the crowd. Then we’re in the orchard living wild. Ghosts wait.
Air. Pollen. Here is my body. Here are some words. I don’t know what is true. I change all the time. Bark. Fruit. The overheard.
Tiny stones. Sun flashing across the surface of a woman and her second chance. An excavation has to take place to reprise a certain
time and place in order to be alone and just notice your failure.
Third fourth and fifth chance. A few tears leak out. Then you can come back to yourself.
Then you come back to yourself. When I find her she’s sobbing. Cheeks just blotch and vein.
Emma won’t you screaming with her lungs she asks if it’s too late.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


No light but morning the window's
provision just blue cloak.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Sun through blind slats alerts enclosure to freshen
hours some mornings just sour and clock.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Your servant, things, and brash honeys I do
love with breezes and anatomy.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Uncanny Couplets

I recently purchased a lit mag called Cranky at Pegasus in downtown Berkeley and then proceeded to take it home and read through it cover to cover (at least as far as poetry was concerned), interview and book reviews included. With exception of the books written of in the reviews, I think it would be accurate to say I had never read any of the poets represented in Cranky before. I can't say enough how often I sit down to read a magazine and put it down. I feel sort of jaded a lot of the times when it comes to literary magazines. I can't help wondering if the fact that these poets in Cranky are, for me at least, working under the radar screen allows them to be more imaginative in the way they present subject matter, etc.

For me, though, the most satisfying moment came in a poem by Julie Doxsee called 'Unfold.'

Here's the couplet I'm talking about:

out to be the hungry noises
you would whisper into my

If only I knew more about grammar I could talk about that floating my without its other part. Of course, the other part comes at the beginning of the next line after the stanza break. But whenever a poet breaks a line on a word that normally serves to qualify another word, I, as the reader, am left in a state of uncanny fulfillment. Suddenly 'my' (or 'those,' 'these,' 'your,' etc., even 'the' or 'and') becomes a complete entity in and of itself, not just conjunction or pronoun but noun. This is especially accentuated here coming as 'my' does at the end of a couplet.

Splitting up the 'my' from what it qualifies serves another purpose, I think. Here's the next couplet:

mouth if the pretty
omissions died.

'Mouth if.' Hmmm. Suggesting that the mouth is not a sure thing at all and its existence is instead qualified by the action of another entity. Which echoes, it seems, the unwillingness of the 'my' to affix itself to the 'mouth.' Maybe for safety's sake, for self-preservation? I never thought about those 'yours' and 'thoses' and 'theses' at the end of lines as forming a protectorate of sorts. A way to shore up the speaker within the lyric, whatever that could mean. A way to remain undefined by additional entity.