July 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

Oh Death, I don’t like you today
and can’t abide by all that nonsense
about your birdlike grace,
swooping like a darkwinged owl
to snuff a breath and cradle souls away.

You’re a boor, rude and self-absorbed,
overdressed and loud—
abruptly pulling guests by their elbows from the room
as if yours are the most important needs.
You swing your boorish arms while you pretentiously quote poetry,
knocking people’s drinks from their hands.

I don’t buy the stories
that you’re cordial, but misunderstood,
“just doing your job,”
an archetypal instrument of fate.

Unlike the folks you interrupt and shush,
you have nothing new or interesting to say.
It’s always the same,
and I had plans.



The Open Road

July 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

Nothing but sky
and rolling hills
inviting us
in lyric tongues and gentle curves

to gun our engines up the slopes
and let up on the pedal as we
glide back down
to shady dells, skirting
creeks with tiny bridges,

to find out
what’s around the next bend, and the next,
to chase the setting sun
down the curve of the earth.

We are the first.
We put up cairns.
We tear them down.
Perhaps we’ll be the last.

Let’s stretch our arms out the windows,
let the motor steer itself;
While we rarefy the fuel,
it will keep on seeking heat
and lay a path.



July 3, 2016 § 2 Comments


In the context of
the vigorous expansion
of a woody stem,
its core mechanics
white and wet and pulpy,

In the context of
the artless spring
inherent in the infant leaves
unfurling like vaginas
and deep-space nebulae,

The branching of its arms
which are not arms
but more akin
to skin or skeleton or lungs,

The branching of its feet,
akin to feet
but also tongues that lick
and swallow earth,

The care of potted plants
involves their constant recontainment,
outgrowing home,
outgrowing my ability to lift them.

Thoughtfully arranged around
my living room in genteel tubs
of black, electric dirt,
a thousand crisp, white hairs
dispatch a supple and insistent inclination,

Unmapped until my fingers wrap around the humid ball
in vague, but gradually evolving awe
for this, so unsuppressible and
ethereal, yet at the same time
such a filthy mess.

“This time,” I think,
“I’ll be my gentlest yet.
The new soil flush
the crumbly cluster
sweetly more,
loving more
than ever, ever, ever


Thought I’d drop by

June 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

Ok if I borrow this spot by the sea?

You can have it back when I’m done.

I won’t be here long.



The Rat Man

June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

The rat man retired in October.
A month later, I left Wales.
Falling stars and
the slow, generous wave of a man’s hand.
Today started out the same as any other day.
I only meant to run out for a second.

It was the dignity of tragedy that drew me in,
that lifted me up, like a stranger’s strong and loving arm,
out of the futility of childhood.

Let her laugh.
Let her arrogant, elegant pleasure
rub my face in the ashes of my great and hideous failure.
Let her smooth, sure voice
inflate in icy pockets beneath my skin
as she, endorsed by God,
lists my inadequacies, my iniquities.
Let her be right.
Let me be wrong.
And let us both know it.

The Little Drummer Boy…
The Little Match Girl…
(I would cry and cry and cry)

Let her smooth, sure voice ring like a bell.
Let me be alarmed enough to cry
in front of her,
which would cut me to bits, which would bury me in a canyon.
But let me resurrect the joy I killed
because I didn’t want to feel anything.

But tragedy never really vindicates.
It only hurts the little children,
and postpones the piper’s invoice,
accruing interest,
wearing thin the patient grace
of his Rat Wisdom.
He showed me again and again
that to kill them, to kill them well,
you have to love them.

If I would hold the hand of that laughing bitch
and walk with her, and tell her
about the heart of the Rat Man,
then we could find something new to believe
and set each other free.

It was me that hung the death knell on the bell
when I ran out, just for a second.

It was only ever really just a bell.


Photo: Rupert Jefferies, via Morguefile


In and back

June 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

​Like the sea,
they were never ours—
only a privilege to enjoy
as its gorgeous chaos tumbles toward us,
hovers for a moment,
and then recedes.

June 4, 2016

This will do

April 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

poem-thiswilldoThe earth is rising up
through floorboards and wood laminate
to draw down my roots.

I hear
birdsong and faint machines,
turtle flapping and splashing in his tank.

I have
a pen and fat notepad,
and my second-favorite coffee in my favorite mug.

All my hard work,
and the work I didn’t do,

has brought me here.



October 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

I am
full of holes,
a tattered sail,
a lacy curtain in a gale.

I am a solar flare,
a molten lariat.
I’m pretty sure it’s big, the reach of that.

I sat down by the big river
to be ruffled by its roar,
but I think it’s way too loud now—
I can’t take it any more.

So I’m off to the mountains
where the river begins
to hear my own heart beating,
and to drink from my own spring.

I am a solar flare,
a crackling ring of flame.
I make enough damn noise myself
but it may be just the wind…
it may be just the wind.

It may be just the wind
whistling through me.

Melody and plunky uke by me.
Arrangement, keyboard and backup vocals by Tal Day


Black Holes

May 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

(In the end,
the flesh falls back against the bones.)

We may scramble for the nearest handful
of postcards and ticket stubs
before they slip beyond the blurred horizon and fall

Not swallowed, but heard

Someone has torn a tiny, dense vent so they can
listen and listen and listen;
On this side there is no hush more perfect.

They are so, so quiet
that our sensitive machines
panic and imagine things,
when it’s really just the
whistle and pop of histories
snuffed by the fall.

We may lunge for desperate fistfuls,
but whole lives, and the stories they kept
wrapped in songs and handkerchiefs,
slip through our fingers
and are gone.



May 23, 2015
Image courtesy


8 AM

May 12, 2015 § 2 Comments

Like a bird
on a slim pole,

my pen
to this point
just after the
letter e.

I do not
but rest
and then
spread my
dusty wings.

like a bird, photo by Pippalou


May 12, 2015
Photo by Pippalou

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