Let It Remain
Comfort of name,
pears falling, and
I will take no
from this day
but let it remain
here in the knowing,
in the tyranny
of the absolute
and its enforced
both flight and
of fruit grown full.
“Let It Remain” first appeared here in September 2015.
The reconciled, the residue of one’s
virtues displayed or absorbed
that within become the basis for
talk: furtive movements, the knife’s
gentle persuasion, wine
afforded the quality of enhancement.
We must preserve the truth, and other
disingenuous phrases, as if we may
admit our tastes only at great cost
to our politics and sense of being.
And fruitful loss – the reduction
sauce, or stock evaporated – which
attaches in dissipation
the grace of subtlety. To be more
with less. To be apparent yet
concealed. To be, in turn, aware.
“Osso Buco” first appeared here in March 2015.
How to Write a Poem
Learn to curse in three languages. When midday
yawns stack high and your eyelids flutter, fire up
the chain saw; there’s always something to dismember.
Make it new. Fear no bridges. Accelerate through
curves, and look twice before leaping over fires,
much less into them. Read bones, read leaves, read
the dust on shelves and commit to memory a thousand
discarded lines. Next, torch them. Take more than you
need, buy books, scratch notes in the dirt and watch
them scatter down nameless alleys at the evening’s first
gusts. Gather words and courtesies. Guard them carefully.
Play with others, observe birds, insects and neighbors,
but covet your minutes alone and handle with bare hands
only those snakes you know. Mourn the kindling you create
and toast each new moon as if it might be the last one
to tug your personal tides. When driving, sing with the radio.
Always. Turn around instead of right. Deny ambition.
Remember the freckles on your first love’s left breast.
There are no one-way streets. Appreciate the fragrance
of fresh dog shit while scraping it from the boot’s sole.
Steal, don’t borrow. Murder your darlings and don’t get
caught. Know nothing, but know it well. Speak softly
and thank the grocery store clerk for wishing you
a nice day even if she didn’t mean it. Then mow the grass,
grill vegetables, eat, laugh, wash dishes, talk, bathe,
kiss loved ones, sleep, dream, wake. Do it all again.
“How to Write a Poem,” is included in Indra’s Net: An International Anthology of Poetry in Aid of The Book Bus, and has appeared on the blog as well.
All profits from this anthology published by Bennison Books will go to The Book Bus, a charity which aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.
My poem “Letter to Schwaner from the Toad-Swallowed Moon” has been published at The Hamilton Stone Review. Much gratitude to editor Roger Mitchell for taking this piece.
I Praise the Moon, Even When She Laughs
I got drunk once and woke in Korea
with you watching over me.
Odd, how you spend seasons looking
down, and I, up. If I lived in a cloud,
could you discern me from the other
particles? Perhaps your down is
peripheral, or left, or non-directional. I can
fathom this without measuring scope,
yet I feel queasy about the possibility
of being merely one vaporous drop
coalescing among others, unnamed
and forgettable, awaiting the particular
atmospheric conditions to plummet to my
fate. As if we control our own gravities!
One winter I grilled pork tenderloin under
your gaze, unaware that the grass
around me had caught fire, and when I
unwound the hose and turned on the
faucet you laughed, as the hose wasn’t
connected and only my feet were
extinguished. Dinner was delayed
that evening, but I praised you just the same.
I look up, heedless in the stars’ grip, unable
to retrace all those steps taken to this here,
now, but still you sway above the branches,
sighing, lighting my path, returned once
again, even if not apparent at all times. Every
star signals a departure. Each is an arrival.
* * *
“I Praise the Moon, Even When She Laughs” was published in Sourland Mountain Review in January 2017.
Directive to the Circumspect Texan
When the vowel trips through the consonant and knots
the tongue, remember this: artifice. A making. In one
hand, a knife. On the table, cured flesh and fermented
products. Imagine uncertain lighting, laughter, a narrow
opening and the uphill walk three days into the parametric
world of occlusion. Tell no untruths. Mention refrigerators
and your proficiency with duck. Admit failure and order
a second pilz. Listen. Discuss heat and issues of space,
personnel logistics and the pleasure of July departures.
Cite advertising and Ashbery. Savor what is rightly not
yours. Embrace inadequacy. Forego dessert. Express
true gratitude. Say y’all. Shake hands. Find the door.
“Directive to the Circumspect Texan” first appeared here in December 2015.