My poems “The Body Gives,” “Drawer of Possibilities,” and “Riddle, Dollar, String” have been published in The New Reader Magazine, which is available for free download here. Many thanks for editor Dominique Dela Paz for taking these.
(This first appeared here in March 2014).
Quite the interesting mag back in the day. This particular issue saw the likes of Bukowski, Ivan Arguelles, Lyn Lifshin, Norm Moser, Sheila E. Murphy, and, well, me, among others. I was thinner back then, as was my poetry.
no more than
the slow grace
of light turning
the leaf so
patient in the
air and colder
now that sense
of permanence unfurled
it is not
long to wait
as Wang Wei
said in his
letter I listen
for a sound
but hear none
This Island Is a Stone
Raking the sand, I leave only the infinite
trickling behind; our first bed bore your
parents’ memories. This one grows weeds. The
heavenly bamboo (a shrub and not a grass)
issues white petals and inedible red fruit. My
fingertip callouses have softened from disuse;
coyotes no longer answer my yips and howls.
Who replies to liars anyway? A snail’s love
dart impales the object of its affection, but
often inconveniently. This is not a metaphor
for bad sex, but a means of transferring an
allohormone. Today the overburdened creeks
erode their banks and 492 seconds after
departing the sun a ray greets my lawn. I snap
the towel at the fly on the door, but miss
again. The once sacred now lies open and
emptied; a few months ago my father could not
remember my birthdate although he recognized
the season. Some totals may never satisfy.
If I collect my life’s accumulated wastings, will
that sum temper me or merely accentuate the
fool? Nothing is as it seems. We mark our
remaining days with unread books. These
waves are plotted creases, this island is a stone.
“This Island Is a Stone” was published in MockingHeart Review in September 2017. I am grateful to editor Clare L. Martin for publishing this piece.
Incomplete, it rises
only to dissipate
like the griefs we shape,
beyond reach but felt.
Last night’s moon, the glance.
Forgotten stars, a withheld
kiss, words we never formed.
How difficult to be lost.
So easy to remain unseen.
* * *
“Night Smoke” last appeared here in June 2016.
A return to that
time when silence
reigned. The neighbor’s
guinea fowl have long
departed, but three cedars
drop needles in the driveway
even as reluctant growth
pushes out from the oaks’
limbs. Nothing circles
below the clouds, no
roosters crow. Feeders
hang still and empty.
The wrens remain
cloistered. You read
these events as separate
birdless chapters, all
hushed in the dappled
air, passages carried
yet confined by nearly
suspended from the
persimmon tree. You admit
a status as sentient
protein, one meal among
many, while you rest
the soft ticking
of eighteen eager
on the porch screen.
“After Before” first appeared here in December 2015.
The Language of Birds
Something thrown beyond
light: a stone,
words. The language of birds
evades us but for the simplest
measure. And how can we comprehend
those who live with the
wind when our own
bodies seem far away? In the darkness
certain sounds come clearer, as if in
absence one finds strength, the evidence
gathered with every breath. Speech is,
of course, not the answer. We release
what we must, and in turn are released.
* * *
This first appeared on the blog in April 2015 – another oldie dug out of a folder. I wrote it for my niece perhaps twenty-eight years ago, and don’t believe it was ever published. It felt good to finally release it to the light and air.
Aubade (Inca Dove)
evokes the evolution of hand
and wing, a growth
reflecting all we’ve come
to know. Two doves
sit on the fence, cold wind ruffling
their feathers. What brings them
to this place of no
shelter, of wind and rain
and clarity defied? Fingers
often remember what the mind
complicates our mornings.
This last appeared here in October 2016, and was originally published in The Balcones Review in 1987. Seems I was enthralled with birds back then, too…