Poetry samples


Torque and gyre are all
we require to survive
those forces of nature
which are unnatural
for us.  Taking on more
air or water throws off
base the body's tilt
toward stability; brain
suffers, too, before
insensible events--no
relief from grief, panic
among crowds, too bare
flesh, blear soul.  Then,
invent by gimbalizing
the art that bears up
against sea, sadness,
flight over precipices . . .
and secure risk as it spins
this wobbliest world.

Lost Spawn

I shall not return
again--among light
become acrobatic
silver, old rainbow,
dead fingerlings
--to the marvelous
river where song
poured like a sky
of unspent joy over
that youth who would
peer past his depth
yet wholly ignorant
when age descends
later than thought,
slow now at memory
stuck in another
stream which also 
carries breath away.


Winter can hold no more
frozen glow--the mild melt
is shrinking icy continents
like a fake glacier with fire
inside, an old snowdragon
slain for enough months
we can rejoice even before
candles shoot up between
leafmold and muck, green
rocketing phosphorus
throughout our dream
of shorter nights gone
bright in this deceptively
veritable, vernal universe.

The Color Wheel

Our forest is filling
with ineffable green,
spring's emerald air
in steady ascent
--ridge by ravine,
softening each rift
until white islands
might linger topmost,
a token that after
just days of bloom
its rainbow breaks
and an albion blanket
will once more wrap 
fir before the floor
beams back alabaster
as if in spectral sleep.

Eternal Eyes

for Borges

Our busy sun peers into
my prints along the beach
--as well on opaque days--
its finger of fire probing
over waves, a photonic tango
nothing can hide.  Shadows
merely echo brightness, mind
revealed no less than matter
tonight:  I shall soon retrace
this shifting shore, spotlit
also under inquisitive starlight
from one cosmos or another.

The Hum

Incoming!  An infinitely winged syringe
aims at my preternatural pate, blur
circling this wider eye without equal
wonder; I become statuesque, the hose
frozen spray as ornithology takes over
insectitude--vermillion throat, veridian silk
below--while lillies trumpet, moonglow
heather winks into eclipse.  Threading
water, then the earnest nexus spins
off its day's dust no less still than an atom, 
unidimensional warpspeed, absolute trust
a human will assist . . . five minutes, ten?
Twilight lengthens, eternity possible; life
has been grotesquely grand--everything
transcends memory:  We are iridesced.


My midsummer drift toward sweltering
sleep is rent by an eruption of noise
mistaken for impetuous teenagers
on the hard stuff--yelps, gnashing
between bites, cruel choristers all
fang and froth . . . maybe a minute
before stunned secrecy.  Beasts
after some stray, housed fowl, that
unfound child in an ageless forest
running into foothills, the omniscient
mountain stoic above any scene?
Evening, again; I am still awake.

What's What

(after Auden)

A typescript life will tell you little lies:
His folks disowned him, yet would never say
for friends that such behavior was one size
too big, nor in its heart and headstrong way
an awkward blessing; when the written word
took hold he alchemized gold back to lead,
spewed torrents by his twenties--overheard
among the avantgarde as rudely read.

Despite dark rumors there alone shone she,
a rural girl who fled home after books
which filled her nimble mind with bold ideas
his art could seize upon and ponder, please
himself beside their pensiveness, while looks
like love presumed the truth no less than he.


"Le soleil brillera toujours."

No bliss--lullabies, lovestruck strains
or polkas--nothing jazzy . . . just fire 
from frustration, injustice, fear, blood
flown; if these chants have swollen
to martial torrents, so be it for a change
rising along shuttered streets, an echo
cut in crystal, the future come at last
light, among smoke and fast bodies.
Thus snowmelt by hearts pounding
palaces, townships ablaze, rights
thrust past weapons, the one tune
never untrue, footsore, that anger
none can abide gone fully amok
when ages swoon under old music
meant as some ultimate suffrage.


Following a wisp of briar smoke
over an idle decade I watched him
fling beautifully or barrow rocks
from the cornfield--lest they blunt
his singleblade tiller--to aggregate
thirty yards long, tall as he, against
cedar slabs fashioned like an ark
going nowhere; still, the perfect
earth and bright ears compensate
in part for an unimaginable death
. . . that grandest father loved most
among a mad family, whose grave 
millennia hence might stun stones
too envious of its handhewn giant.

Endless Elegy

for a friend on the loss of his nephew
No one our age sagely endures much
without unanswerable questions:  Death
is never assuaged by grief, and deity
deserves argument.  So we sing long
of promise compromised, a good youth
surviving adolescence, gifted with science
for betterment, his bicycle to restore 
balance where the planet has been hurt
. . . overrun from an errant schoolbus.
In this boy's stead sufferance remains
insufficient, hence memory should teach
what life seldom learns--talent takes
its time, therefore others must finish.


A transfusion of September
drizzle fills the sepia creekbed 
--trickle to torrent--soft suede
cattails crushed hard between
chaff and tall straw, thin stems
flowerless, this season's first
yellows clogging each runnel
before its backwater can form
an afterthought . . . like mine
flush with refreshment, stuck
in this provisional present.

Site map Home page