Even at Night

 

 

Even at Night

That year it snowed
and possibilities sprouted
like secrets opening to
chambers in the deep cedars

lining our hills. What did you read
in the vultures’ loops, in those
spaces within? I recall striding
through a field of labor-drunk

bees burdened with pollen. Now
we trek from house to hovel,
carrying books and drills,
water and planks, moving

glass and stone and the dying,
finding absolution in task, in
ritual and folly, in soil and sky;
the sun touches us even at night.

 

“Even at Night” was first published in 13 Alphabet Magazine, out of Bangladesh, in September 2018.

 

 

Genealogy Dream


Genealogy Dream

To recall but not recall: family, the swift curve
of evolution’s arc. One moment your knuckles
scrape the earth’s surface, and the next you’re
pinpointing mortar fire by satellite phone. Or,
having plowed the field by hand, you fertilize
with human dung (no swords in this hovel),
only to wake into a dream of high rises and
coffee served steaming by a blushing ingenue
who morphs into an uncle, killed in China
on the wrong side of the war, leaving his
sister still mired in grief six decades later
under the Texas sun. On this end of memory’s
ocean, we know poverty and its engendered
disrespect, neighbors’ children warned not
to play with you, for fear that the family’s
lack of nickels would rub off and contaminate,
that your belly’s empty shadow might spread
down the unpaved streets and envelop even
those who don’t need to share a single egg
for dinner. Years later the son will celebrate
his tenth year by suffering the indignity of
a bloody nose and a visit to the principal’s
office, a gift of the sixth grader who would
never again employ “Nip” to disparage
someone, at least not without looking over
his shoulder in fear of small fists and quiet
rage. Which half measures harder? In one
hand, steel. In the other, water. I pour green
tea on rice and recall days I’ve never lived.

 

“Genealogy Dream” was first published in August 2018  in Issue 4 of Lost River literary magazine. Many thanks to editor Leigh Cheak for taking this piece.

ICYMI, the Order Link for My New Chapbook is Still Up

I Have a Bird to Sing (7 Palinodes)

In case you somehow missed it, my new chapbook, I Have a Bird to Sing (7 Palinodes), has been published and is seeking readers. If something prevented you from ordering it (the dog ate your homework, you had to wash your hair, or yes, yes, I know, indigestion from incessant self-promotion), fear not, it’s still available:  Order here.

Many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing. I sit alone in my shack to write, but you are there with me, just a keyboard away. I am truly grateful for your wisdom, humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.

 

 

A Word is Not a Home

  

 

A Word is Not a Home

A word is not a home
but we set our tables

between its walls,
cook meals, annoy

friends, abuse ourselves.
Sometimes I misplace

one, and can’t find
my house, much less

the window’s desk
or the chair behind it.

But if I wait, something
always takes form in the fog,

an arm, a ribcage, a feathered
hope struggling to emerge.

Inept, I take comfort
in these apparitions,

accept their offerings,
lose myself in mystery,

find shelter there
in the hollowed curves.

 

 

N Is Its Child

 

N Is Its Child

If darkness produces all, from where do we obtain nothing?

As a line becomes the circle, becomes a mouth, becomes identity.

In mathematics, n signifies indefinite; in English, negation.

The no, the non, the withdrawal, the taking away.

A heart with trachea represented zero in Egyptian hieroglyphs.

My mouth forms the void through the displaced word.

Conforming to the absent, the missing tongue serves soundlessness.

Aural reduction, the infinite unclenched: n plus n.

Shiva, creator and destroyer, defines nothingness. As do you.

One and one is two, but zero and zero is stasis.

Pythagoreans believed that all is number, and numbers possess shape.

The letter N evolved from a cobra to its present form.

One may double anything but zero.

Unspoken thought, disorder. The attenuated voice swallowing itself.

 

* * *

N Is Its Child” was first published in Issue 4 of ReservoirI am grateful to editor Caitlin Neely for accepting this piece.

 

To the Lovely Green Beetles Who Carried My Notes into the Afternoon

 

To the Lovely Green Beetles Who Carried My Notes into the Afternoon

Such beauty should not be bound,
thus I tied loose knots,

knowing you would slip free
and shed my words

as they were meant,
across browned lawns,

just over the cedar fence
or at the curb’s edge,

never to be assembled,
and better for it.

 

* * *

This appeared in riverSedge Volume 29, Issue 1, released in October 2016, and is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second. I first encountered riverSedge in 1983, and vowed that one day my poetry would be published in this journal. It took a while…