The Politics of Doors
With every doorway, decisions.
Accept, deny. Turn.
How to resist the ajar,
the barely closed?
Is what emerges
expelled or escaped,
free or released?
Resistant as always,
pause to inhale.
No snakes here,
but a little voice
says the mice
do you prefer,
the one that
on your plate
or the one
under the house
“Politics” first appeared here in January 2017.
If We Burn
What flares instead to replace our
privileged nights? And which
assemblage of words could reorder these
deaths into comprehension,
change I can’t breathe from epitaph
to actuated plea for help?
Are words ever enough?
Can we stack our indifference and fear
into a mile-high pyre, and torching it
watch them rise to nothingness,
disappearing through the clouds
into the streaming light of cold, dark stars?
Raise your hands and sing. Blow softly
upon the ember. Inhale and recall.
Do you still feel? Will you breathe?
Every fire needs oxygen.
* * *
“If We Burn” first appeared on this blog in December, 2014. It’s also included in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform
Not imposition, but welcome. The way
cooperation welcomes coercion, turning the
tenor of the intended phrase, opening
the statement to interpretation, opening
a point without dissension, in the way
of politics, agreeing which fact will shape the
morning, which truth will determine the
next word and the subsequent, as if opening
the issue, claiming to have found the way,
one way, the only, but never actually opening.
* * *
A tritina might best be described as the lazy poet’s sestina, consisting of ten rather than 39 lines, with the end words of the first stanza repeating in a specific pattern in the subsequent two stanzas. The last line includes all three end words.
The last line uses the end words in sequence following the pattern of the first stanza.
This first appeared on the blog in March 2017.
What good is a rock
if the people fall, if truth
remains but no one
hears the long grass
rattle, and words
burst into flame
and gas, and life
poisons itself with
greed and the deficit
No body exists to bury.
I am trying to return
to a place of open
mouths, of nests and
groves left standing
despite their value
to the market. Which
pocket do I empty,
what song do I leave
yesterday, and today
flakes away into chilled
ash, carried over
rooftops and clouds,
never to be seen again.
“Returns” first appeared here in September 2017.
Palinode (egg, politics, pathology)
Who determines completion if not the morning’s best
layer? The answer is what comes first, not the
question, which replenishes the old deviltry: I am not
whole: I am partial: I am absent: you. Please define
node. Taking exception, rules mediate the norm. Fried,
poached, scrambled, radiated, coddled, baked, raw,
boiled, I serve myself, and in turn am served, when,
truth be told, I’d rather serve you. Twice.
I’d rather serve you twice than be pushed aside, a
thimbleful of nectar fermented and forgotten in
someone’s late pantry. Or worse, cast into the Pacific,
swallowed by a Fukushima-fed tuna, caught and
auctioned to an Alaskan sushi chef and left to molder
at week’s crossing. The point at which a wave has an
amplitude of zero, or a pathological swelling. That one
moment of clarity before night’s fall.
That one moment of clarity before night’s fall at
Juneau’s 716 Calhoun Avenue, which posits the
ability to see beyond sight: the blind hen produces
more, never pausing to consider repercussive issues.
Progeny, pathological swellings, statements of the
incurious. Do we use squirmish? I take, or am given,
offense. Without you, I am the silence preceding the
letter, an untoward growth, the silence remaining.
Without you, I am the silence preceding the letter
terminating at vision’s end: a fence, the Phoenician
form which birthed H, or two posts joined at
midsection and later, abandoned. Breach. Enough.
One’s last egg brought to fruition, a terminus in
thought or language carelessly placed. A bruising
point between vanishing waves or carted through
our long nights. Denial. The pathology revealed.
“Palinode (eggs, politics, pathology) first appeared at ISACOUSTIC* in October 2019. Many thanks to editor Barton Smock for his tireless efforts to promote poetry and poets.
In the past few months I’ve been fortunate to have work included in two anthologies. The first, Indie Blu(e) Publishing’s As the World Burns: Writers and Artists Reflect on a World Gone Mad, is a 348-page “anthology of poetry, prose, essay, and art inspired by the unprecedented events of the year 2020.” Featuring 114 writers and artists from ten countries, As the World Burns chronicles the madness and horrors of the past year. The voices are diverse — raw and polished, young and old, experienced and new — and they reflect a populace whose needs have been unmet and ignored all too long. In time this volume will stand as one of the most powerful literary artifacts of this mad year.
Edited by Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray.
Available through Amazon in paperback and via Kindle.
Unlike As the World Burns, No More Can Fit Into the Evening: An Anthology of Diverse Voices is not a collection of themed pieces. Rather, its purpose is to offer a substantial grouping of poems (5-10) by each contributor, allowing readers to obtain a more nuanced flavoring of the poets’ work. Thus the 350+ page anthology presents only 39 poets. The anthology includes well known writers like Terence Winch, Kimberly Blaeser, James Janko and John Looker, as well as lesser knowns like, well, me. This is a perfect winter’s evening read. Dip into it and perhaps you’ll find a new favorite poet. At the very least you’ll find hours of entertainment, and much food for thought.
Edited by Thomas Davis and Standing Feather
The book is being distributed by Ingram, and should be available (if not in stock, through special order) through bookstores in the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It’s also available through Amazon.
If Ahead I See
Gray skies filtered through light,
eyes adapting space,
the possibilities of the
horizon or a foot
lashing out in reflex,
what do I learn?
The house finch sings as if
all air will expire at song’s end.
Falling, I release this misplaced trust.
The path, muddied and crowded with fools.
* * *
“If Ahead I see” is included in my 2017 chapbook, From Every Moment a Second.
Listening to Cicadas, I See Charlottesville (Ghazal)
Shedding one coat, you live in the red, apart
from the rest. Never together, forever apart.
In this sun-drenched field, the cracks drill deeper,
wider, dribbling soil and small lives, expanding, apart.
What falls truer than any words released from this man?
Once divided, never again to touch, always apart.
The electric shrill fluctuates pitch, in unison. Hundreds
of tymbals, shredding dusk, now together, then apart.
You narrow your eye to a slit, but still see the entire
spectrum. Wing clicks, stridulation. Whole yet apart.
Shearing syllables, I learn the language of half-truth.
What is my name? I reach for that fragment. It falls apart.