Palinode (soubasse)

corn

 

Palinode (soubasse)

In the land of two-dollar mornings, those things
we barely sense take precedence: uncaressed
skin sheathed in ivy, the punctuation mark diverting
power. Insidious corn, the cries of distressed trees
(cavitation in the xylem), soubasse, the ghost note,
prickling from below. Singularity. The appointee’s
hubris. The defining weight of a zero’s center.

A zero’s center defines emptiness, meaning nothing,
or, diverted light, a vacuum. Regard plenum: an air-filled
space, or a complete gathering of a legislative body. And
how did we arrive here from there? From the body we
compose units of measure: an ell, digit, fathom, the mile’s
thousand paces. I expose film to light, concealing yet
establishing a rational point.

Concealing the point implies position without extension,
a moment shedding its cracked sheath and giving rise
to the divine: above, below, male and female, hot or
cold. Reconciliation. A plateau. The still place linking the
infinite to the open hand, limitless black. Burning, I
calculate oxidation and dispersal, tendrils, a flaxen leaf,
its proposition to endings.

 

This first appeared, in slightly different form, in ditch, in January 2014, and was posted here in September 2016..

 

hubris

The Theory and Practice of Rebellion

arrows

 

The Theory and Practice of Rebellion

Such small lives we’ve led,
diffident, quiet, until
provoked.

Remove our words,
we become steel
and sharp stone,
fletched softwood
splitting the air,
string reverberating,
singing resist,
resist
.

Fear not
who we are now.

Consider tomorrow.

 

 

“The Theory and Practice of Rebellion,” first appeared in Outcast Poetry.
Many thanks to editor Sean Lynch for taking this piece.

Strollermelon

 

Strollermelon

In the summer I roll them from grocer to bus stop, little bonnets
affixed, cooing all the while – cantaloupe, watermelon, honey dew,
casaba, canary, sugar, you name it, they all come home with me,
in pairs or solo, snuggled tightly in blankets and ensuring
dropped-jaw, raised-eyebrow gapes from those who approach.
Don’t they look just like their mother, I ask, and no one ever disagrees.
Everybody is so nice, even the teen-age boys who no longer offer up
their seats. But Damon, who recently purchased new pants to impress
Wanda-I’m-An-Attorney, enjoys whispering secrets to us. Did you
know they’re actually berries? And that some are called fruit,
others, vegetables? They’re not much good for pies, though. I just
call them “Mel,” which is funny because I know that you’re not
supposed to name something you’re going to eat, and really, I do
recognize the difference between sentient beings and plants, but
then candidate Harumph comes to mind, and how do you explain
him and his followers? When cool weather approaches, I turn to
squash. Happy acorn, the elongated, sad butternut, pumpkin. Each
holds a niche in my heart, and I love strolling down the sidewalk
with them, humming tunes, adjusting stems, planning meals.

“Strollermelon” was first drafted during the August 2016 Tupelo Press 30-30 challenge, and was published in Quiet Letter in April 2017. Thanks to Plain Jane for providing the odd title. One never knows what’ll arise from sponsored titles!

Take Away

 

Take Away

Take away the blackness,
what does night become?

Remove arugula’s bitterness,
the reddened prints on a slapped
cheek, or yeast from leavened bread.

The coroner’s mask denies emotion.

We possess no less now than we did then.
One hand holds the root, the other, a trowel.
Soil, compost. Ash. Water, dreams. Renewal.

The economy of dying continues.

One mother stands alone, cradling pain in
both arms. The second shares her shadow.

“Take Away” is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for order now via Amazon.com and Finishing Line Press.

If Ahead I See

 

 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 chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for order now via Amazon.com and Finishing Line Press.

What We Say When We Say Nothing

glass

 

What We Say When We Say Nothing

The rain has died and everything follows:
black, white – the law’s supposition. Their bodies

glisten only in memory. One says look at me from the steel
table as the scale registers the heart’s

weight. Another cries uncertainty in the most certain
of circumstances — laid open, emptied then closed,

the simple mechanics of ritual and form. Throughout my
dreams a line of dark figures shimmer in the cold

corridor, end-to-end, supine and unmoving, assigning
loss. I have fifty-six years and more questions than

answers. The drought testifies to a wrong. A woman
visits her son, a father weeps. Our silence, complicit.

My poem, “What We Say When We Say Nothing,” was published in Glass: A Journal of Poetry  in January 2017. Many thanks to editor Anthony Frame for taking this piece and aligning it with some great poems.