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: June, 2011

The End of the Word

The word is “over”.

A line drawn–
Horns in the sand.

The point of an estoque
Broken skin.

The edge of a page–

Will and the way
To live.


Tornado, Out of Spiral


Rain drifts some other place,
storms end, grass dries off.
First cloud, last cloud, gone.
Smudge on starry night,
faint pinpoints unmoved.


There was no horizon to see,
eight months spent, overcast.
Somehow I broke up clouds,
tore them off of sunlight,
spots I saw blank back at me.


Once the wind cleared the mud
from a puddle I was standing over
Ripples became nothing but white.
A fire, I thought, fire on the ridge–
No, a circle in the sky, burning yellow.


Liar Birds

After May ended, I built steps
back down to home.
At the bottom we met in a bed —
a bird’s nest.

You spread blood, spit, and sticks
across my open room.
I spent weeks pushing out the knots,
you left like metal from under skin.

Now that you’re gone,
I try taking the steps backwards
my calves cry out again,
I want to turn back but can’t.

And I have to watch the crows
creep through our windows,
kiss and croak, cry and fight over
old eggs inside our bed.

We built out of stone.
It’s so much easier to hold something
when you never move it at all.

Snow Ghosts

Winter and I stand on the pool,
eyes staring at deer tracks,
spots where the ice gives.

Cross, pool to lawn, woods to field, snow falls,
lines up with the grass, ground–
burst, dried out.

Lie down, eyes are spiderwebs, snow catchers.
Sit up, eyes are film projectors, time–
blinks of light.

Sign on a telephone pole says Lost Peacock.

Imagine, someone finds that sapphire half-buried in snow,
eye-spots, blue, green, and red, unmistakable turkey tracks
stealing off into the trees.

Peas in a Bag

Whispers like solid stone
and my mouth fills with cement powder.
She picks up a shovel, saying
“I just need to flatten out your teeth.”

Broke a few keys in the process
of typing out her autobiography.
It sounded better than mine–
Hers had kids, mine didn’t.

She said a poem is like a quilt–
you can cut it up and start over with the old pieces.
But I laid out words in lines
and that’s the way she treats everything anyway.

Swallowing the City Again

The train rides past cement arms,
arches under bridges under cars
like empty door-frames.
Floating landscapes roll
through stone hands
as if time is tearing
canvas from paint.

Then empty boxes–
trucks jut from one-eyed warehouses,
windows broken or shaded in dirt
making stained glass
the way rubble makes a mosaic.

The meadowlands are still
grass and winding rivers shrunken.
Boots sink, knees, toes–
the familiar fear of mud.

Imagine, quicksand or something like it
so close to New York–
a city of always wet cement,
names and fingerprints
lined-up stones
leaving slow ripples, solid bubbles,
the choke-in-throat of words forgotten
as they melt into cement.