A Brief History of Edges
This road leads nowhere. I live at its end where breezes
wilt and the sun still burns my darkened skin.
I’ve sailed to Oman, but have never seen the Dakotas.
My friend searches for the concealed parable in this truth.
An early clay map depicted Babylon surrounded by a bitter river,
and an island named the sun is hidden and nothing can be seen.
Fitting the limitless within boundaries, she remembers no one.
The lighted sign says boots, but I see books.
Venturing from the shadows, she offers an accord: intersecting borders,
we must retain ourselves, deliver what calls.
In our place between the hidden and the invisible, consider
that neon gas possesses neither color nor odor.
What lives in creases and at the periphery? The isle called beyond
the flight of birds has crumbled from the lower edge.
Where I stand defines my portion of the spherical earth.
Crossing lines, I look to the sky, its bisected clouds.
The Fog (after H.D.)
I am dead.
You avoid me.
I open like a shell.
You expose me with your breath.
What am I, heartless one?
H.D.’s poem “The Pool” was the launching point for this piece.
My poem “Agave” is one of five featured this month on poems2go
poems2go offers poetry to take with you, tuck in your pocket, your wallet, or to share. Five poets are featured monthly and multiple copies of their poems are printed on 4″x 6″ loose-leafed paper and distributed to selected cafes and/or bookstores for patrons to peruse and take 2 go.
“Agave” was first published in Ijagun Poetry Journal, and is also included in my micro-chapbook,You Break What Falls (Origami Poems Project), available via free download.
Calm (after H.D.)
I flow over the ground,
healing its hidden scar–
the scar is black,
the bedrock risen,
not one stone is misplaced.
I relieve the ground’s
burden with white froth,
I fill and comply—
I have thrown a pebble
into the night,
it returns to me,
settles and rises,
a white dove.
“Calm” made its first appearance in March 2015, and was written as an exercise, using a poem, “Storm,” by H.D. as the launching point. I’ve tried to emulate her diction and rhythm, with mixed success. Still, it’s fun to try these on occasion.
How we grieve the simplest
truths: we are
less than the sum
of our bodies. I cannot see
but it smokes like
the color green
burning, but not of
flame, and once
the knife enters
you must avoid
and peel the flesh
what hides within:
of a word
my lips cannot
“Irretrievable” first appeared in a slightly different form in Vayavya, in December 2013.
Left to right: Christine Beck, Katy Chrisler, Robert Okaji, D.G. Geis, Pamela Paek, Ronnie K. Stephens, d. ellis phelps
I was so pleased to read with this group of incredible poets, and to meet in person Kirsten Miles, the Tupelo Press National Director for the 30-30 Project. She is an insightful, multi-talented and absolutely delightful person. I wish we’d had more time to chat. My portion starts about four minutes in, but please take the time to hear Kirsten’s introduction. There are six other videos (poets have their own videos), and I urge you to watch them all.
Tupelo Press 30/30 Reading, Austin
Thank you to the staff at Malvern Books, and to Jeff, Cate and Plain Jane for sponsoring these poems last August.
For more information on the Tupelo Press 30-30 Project, go to the 30/30 site, or feel free to contact me for a participant’s viewpoint.
End of the Road (2002)
Neither expected nor sought, truth arrives.
One phrase, a minute turn of the
wrist, and the beginning reverses itself, becomes
vessel versus point, illuminating
the reach: one sign, two paths. The agave.
How far we’ve come to affect this place.
Last season the flowers were gray and we knew nothing.
Even the stones quivered with laughter.
And then it rained. And the creeks rose, and the bedrock
appeared as if to say your efforts lack
substance. Look underfoot. There lies the truth.
Neither expected nor sought, it arrives.