Clouds and Trees

"Nothing ever goes away enough or arrives enough,/ and I want to cry when I think of my heart,/ muscle pounding in muscle, greedy always for joy." – 'A Warning', Eric Anderson

Month: January, 2011


In an attempt to teach you how to dream
I mistakenly sleep with you.
You say that nighttime sucks the light from inside of you,
and there are phantoms in your room, exploring
only when the yellow wallpaper fades to black.
Twists of paisley like nerve endings. The polka dots:
thoughts drifting in and out of themselves.

In my dream a spider eviscerates an ant,
sips the yellow eggs from inside of it.
A girl recommends that I brush myself off
unless I like getting bitten.
In the morning I realize that you have more experience than I do;
you dreamed of a tattoo I let you get,
ink spider-webbed your breasts into a world-map.
Sitting in pillows next to me
you try to point out where your hometown was
but mistakenly take my eyes
somewhere far south of Seattle.

I try to write a poem for you
about what the spider webs across my skin.
But you are an artist
and the lines appear to you diagonally,
in shades of what they are and what they aren’t —
The way things look
before they’ve been written at all.



The water droplet walking down my nose —
Through me, you can see the dust
that floats inside of everything.


The air is orange this afternoon.
At night the snow does its best to fade to black,
doesn’t it?
My eyes can’t open the window curtains
you close against the last strains of gray.


A pillowcase grabs hold of me. My arm asleep tells me something about the nature of relationships. I wake up from a dream about a basement I grew up in and you shower in front of me. What are these clouds of steam but dissipated dreams and memories fogging up the mirror that sees me and that I see?


I treat you like my perfect child.
And we kiss on that.

You are showing me
that god in the machine
is like god in the ziggurat —
only there if I am.


The ground hits my feet
What would you be without me?


In the morning, the shower speaks to me,
saying, “Run…run…run…”
Eyes open.
Eyes closed.

I bask in fanlight,
without water,
I am left alone.
I try myself on for size;
the mirror adjusts accordingly.


The bathroom mirror is between me and another bathroom.
Fifteen years ago my brother would have stood here;
and on the opposite side would be me;
brushing baby teeth.

Soon I’ll learn to whistle with toothpaste.
Eventually I’ll find it takes one jump
to get from our driveway to the top of the stone wall.
In the summer I’ll touch the lumps of tar
that drip from the basketball hoop.


I think I walk in the woods
hoping I might find him,
legs crossed beneath a pine tree,
asking me, please, be quiet for awhile.

Sometimes I sit where he would be,
feel his back in the bark of the tree,
and tell him I’m listening


Is the cloud big enough to cover both of us?
It rained saltwater thick in winter.
Our time lost watching the sand breathe the water in,
rivulets leading to the ocean;
the shapes of trees.

It followed me back into Sunday
and the deep woods of New Jersey.
The snow was thin ribbons
speaking to the trees.
Asking them to carry the weight of their own water.
It’s easy to forget the warmth of leaves
with a cloud resting on your back.

I sleep back into a sunlit dream.

I ride the ripening of a beanstalk.

If clouds could drown me they would.

Beyond its billowing the sky fades into black.

If the sun could envelop me into atoms it would.

I wake up deep in covers.
A hole inside my lungs
lets the cold air ask me

What is a tree –
the sun, the soil, or the seed?
What are you
other than a living synthesis
without a seed?


The stars get farther away,
and yet more aligned,
when I allow them to stretch back into the sky.


If I sit in a field of overgrown grass
and forget my sense of depth,
why does the falling snow
form lines of white from ground to sky?


There is no difference between depth and time;
the senses we forget about.
We have faith in them
It is this far away, we say.
In time
and in distance


What are the stars?
Timeless —


Happy God –
Teach me again to trust myself.

I need to see the beautiful colors
on the other side of the stucco ceiling.

I must make amends with my imperfections –
let my lips drink in the senselessness of tulip feathers

Blue –
like the sky wouldn’t be without clouds.

Lenses and spoons that see me upside down –
release me from my senses.

I am as empty as the cage of god.

See me whimpering willow tree?
I love you the way I love myself –
Only perfection can express itself in this way –
The author in the story;
the god in the self.