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.
“End of the Road” first appeared in April 2016.
Awakened, He Turns to the Wall (Cento)
Then, everything slept.
Where were you before the day?
You see here the influence of inference,
whereby things might be seen in another light,
as if the trees were not indifferent, as if
a hand had suddenly erased a huge
blackboard, only, I thought there was
something even if I call it nothing,
like the river stretching out on its
deathbed. No one jumps off.
* * *
A cento is composed of lines from poems by other poets. This originated from pieces by: Larry Levis, Jacques Roubaud, Lorine Niedecker, Gustaf Sobin, Denise Levertov, Elizabeth Spires, William Bronk, Vicente Huidobro, Ingebord Bachmann
For further information and examples of the form, you might peruse the Academy of American Poets site: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/poetic-form-cento
As in a day’s long
or with cold drink
shrinking, a little
some salt, her
relax, put up
I’ll take care
a full moon
Dream of Wheels and Lights
Bells clang in the night. The lamp post belted
by mist offers little comfort. A stone’s
toss away junipers curved like melted
spoons shudder silently. There are no phones
in this place. A thought sneaks into your mind
quietly, like a straw piercing the oak’s
armor in a bad wind. You turn and grind
the thought with your heel. A wheel rolls by, spokes
flashing like scythes. Crouching by a puddle
a man studies his face. He looks at you
and cries: “All I want is to be subtle.”
You think you know him, but you’re not sure who
he used to be. You throw a rock and shout
at him. The wheel slows and the light burns out.
Originally published in Amelia, in 1985, and posted here in March 2015. I remember writing this, but it still puzzles me.