blackbirdonline journalSpring 2011  Vol. 10  No. 1
print version


A blossom spirals outward over the meditating eye. Dog licks himself. Forgive. Dog sneaks onto his master’s chair.

Purple rabbit’s foot, why is there thought? Wind leans back in a rocker. No symbol fits a life.

The futility of houses simply passing for houses . . .

The clock speaks to the horizon, the pigment to the keening, the ocean to the footprint, the reckless window to the stone—

of the wilderness in law, of the casting off of futures, of the flowing in the granite, of the virgin deck of cards.

Now ten thousand time capsules lie buried worldwide. We walk between ourselves, with our bitter teachers and their wisdom. Love,

your letters never finish me. That’s our correspondence. Anything is possible but not everything.

Beneath the tripped-over, dislodged stone: a socket of black earth. A man repeats himself in different ways. Hear? On the other side of the wall, the rake-rake of a skater working up the hill toward Big View.

Is there a thinner, emptier thing than I

when I crave to be the brightness defining my shadow?

Pebble and moss on a bed of blued deadwood: each thing intricate, unique and general, combined admiringly—

yet a graceless wish,
missing sun and cloud, the god arrangement (mountainside).

Beauty comes to ash, morning light to ferns. Night teems with “What if?” Are you, too, stuck awake?

I split a green walnut: clear juice and milky meat, the odor of citrus. My love rolls on her back, her soles to the sky, black with earth.

Her talk draws talk from me I can’t draw from myself: When such wings are torn off, friend, wings are granted.

Falling asleep, I startle awake—to stop my fall from the first tree. A million years pass in my opening eyes, though I see now my dead father’s face.

Days without my lips touching hers, though we talk, we tease and argue. Loveseats in the park speckled with bird droppings. A girl kneeling on a skateboard in the street.

Where are you now, who lay across my shoulders like a plush fallen arras? You,

catastrophe. The elm doesn’t mourn the grove that once surrounded it. In the channel, anchored ships are still leaves in the current.

We must treat each other lightly, lightly,one thinks, alone, under island pines, We must, we are such weight.

Now the candle flames all lean one way.

That hat. That lamp. That hidden ticket. Each object has its moment to cry out: You’ve aged while I’ve aged, you’ve forgotten while I’ve remained, you don’t know about knowing. Come back, dust, to me, the one thing!

The tombs in the ground where archeologists sought gold . . . now refilled, brimming with gravel . . . And I have all these fine emotions!

So puzzling and remote, the beauty of wisdom—the offered kiss ignored on the landing . . . and at the Truth Commission hearing: laughter in the spokesman’s gravity. See the bottomless record, the plummet of our funding . . .

Climb higher, says the moment. Descend, replies the watch, and pack your things to leave.

A speedboat in the pasture. Birds mating in freefall. Every god weaves.

Pity the poet whose poems have been loyal.

It’s not your death I carry, love, but my idea of your death—which your death will strip from me should I live to meet it.

Twins greet a man between planes. One gets a kiss. The river, gray with filings, glitters in the clear morning. How can we not trust appearances?

Most of us is here in memory: the hurricane in a forest leveled, sawed for logs, cured or burned green.

Satisfaction? The tender hand loyal to here and here, the third superfluous coin, three peers and one superior acknowledging . . . Then comes sweet renunciation . . . and the hearts that could be ours: black, unquarried granite; an opened safety pin sewn into a jacket lining . . .

Says the roar in the cells, the baton in the mountain, the gold dust in the rampart, the hammock laced by vines:

Dignity should possess you like the wind, its cherry blossoms falling into litter, lifting.

They throw their mattress into the pool. Out with old sex! They watch it undulate seductively, sinking, sinking . . . too still on the bottom.

I write a reasonable verse to acknowledge the unreasonable—the evil that flatters me in this ambition, the truths I miss to make my point.

Hear the voice from under the rubble? May it interrupt the muse.

The alchemists believed metal came from a seed, the desire for one thing to come from another.

A bare branch blocks no view with character. Four crows then perch suddenly upon it.

Slow-flying moth, so small, insistent—my fierce clap blows you free of harm.

Someone’s talk and someone’s silence: the shadow where the campfire stopped
crawling along a twig.

Of the graft of me to you, of now to there, we believe you know all and try to tell. Thus
your light, moon, and these balconies.  end

return to top