Beneath the surface find warmth,
the fruit of decay and mastication,
of layered mixes and intermingled
juices. Disintegrated or whole,
still I strive to speak. Bits of me
meld, to be absorbed slowly; I
process and am processed: here,
within the pepper bush’s deep red
berries, there among the dianthus.
Scattered, deliberately placed,
having been, I shall emerge again,
forever changed, limitless, renewed.
* * *
“Self-Portrait as Compost” was first published in Issue 125 of Right Hand Pointing. Thank you to editors Dale Wisely, Laura M. Kaminski, F. John Sharp and José Angel Araguz for taking this piece.
I Have a Bird to Whistle is available for purchase now.
From where do these poems come?
The seventh poem in the chapbook, (salt, mask, descent), was begun two months after I’d survived a heart attack, a particular type known commonly as the “widow maker,” and only a few hours after I’d learned a friend had died. The questions that arose from both events have never been answered.
The book is available here to U.S. residents for $7.50, shipping included.
Non-U.S. purchasers can order it directly from me by emailing aBirdtoWhistle@yahoo.com.
Thanks very much for supporting my work. I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am to you all.
My poem “Flame” is up at Poppy Road Review. “Flame” was first published in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second; the chapbook’s title is taken from a line in this poem. Thank you, editor Sandy Benitez, for taking this poem.
February 25th marked the official publication date of my new chapbook, I Have a Bird to Whistle (7 Palinodes),available here, and if that wasn’t enough to get excited about, I also signed the contract for my next one, The Sadness of Old Fences, which will be published sometime in the distant future.
Thank you, poetry community, for supporting my work!
Fixed yet not immobile, I watch bits of me drift
over the wavering grain, a diaspora of disparate
selves once gathered. Some openings are blessings.
Others encourage dispersion. Yesterday’s coat-breech
is now a hole from which I trickle. Think of politics,
and how the tiniest crack may expand and engulf
its body, how one lie gains heft through repetition
at the expense of truth, driving fear. And to what
end? More wealth by exclusion? Power? Everything
dissipates. Even those mountains looming over
state houses, even the sun and its gravity, even your
idols and their power over reason. Had I no purpose
I would gladly rip open these rags and beg the wind
to carry me high, piece by fragment, to mingle with
the clouds and the rains to come and the refracted
light from afar, perhaps to glimpse something greater
ahead. Perhaps merely to dispel, to become undone.
* * *
“Scarecrow Ascends” first appeared in Sleet in August 2018.
The publication date for I Have a Bird to Whistle (7 Palinodes) is February 25, and Luminous Press is currently offering copies for $7.50, shipping included, to U.S. addresses, through the 24th. Unfortunately, Luminous doesn’t ship internationally, but I will take care of those orders myself.
I built a frame of apricot
wood. This was for you. The clouds float
through it even as I sleep. You wrote
once of wild herbs gathered and brought
to a lovely girl, an offering not
of passion but of some remote
desire to hear a word from the throat
of the Lord Within Clouds. I thought
of this as I chiseled the wood.
Last night it rained. I listened to
it from my bed by the open
window, hoping that the clouds would
not leave. This morning two birds flew
by. It is raining again.
Originally penned in the 1980s, “Apricot Wood,” is included in my 2015 chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform. It was first published in 1986, in SPSM&H, a publication devoted to sonnets, and was featured on Autumn Sky Poetry Daily in March 2015. It’s interesting to look at my writing from this period. Some pieces seem to have been written by a stranger, long ago and far, far away. This one somehow seems closer.