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

Category: *

Town of Babel

In the town of Babel
we spoke in trees
and in the gleam of winter
sunlight crossing itself over
coats of ice,
the sound of cold
water running itself into icicles.

There is no garden to leave,
only a garden to be in.
No language to speak,
only something to speak of.

In the town of Babel
we spoke with the tongue of God,
in which there can be no metaphors,
and no need
to rewrite the perfect poem.



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?


If New York would just shut the fuck up
maybe we would be able to hear
the old violin creaking of all the crickets;
too bashful to compare themselves
to the glow of a times square coca-cola sign.

If 9 million people finally went to sleep
maybe there would be room
for the river that used to run down 42nd street.
Is it just beneath the asphalt;
too modest to speak?

I wish I were deaf like Thomas Edison,
who said that, to him, Broadway was a quiet street.
Maybe then I could hear myself yell:
Huge, human body of New York City,
present your beauty to me!


I was irresponsible
almost obsessively so
I watched the grass grow green on the back porch
then turn gray with the stone
It took me almost a month
to brush off the dust
and breathe in a cloud
of something new gone old
I have spent a long time
coughing up a lover
from the very bottom of my throat


I expect Love to come
from the Heart of God


Interesting, then, that god speaks

Sometimes in thunderclaps,

Sometimes in other kinds of friction–

Wind through leaves
grass and tree branches,
air that creaks in floorboards,
ceiling beams, and bed-springs

In warm breath
falling behind my ears
saying, sometimes, I love you
through god’s softest voice-box

I roll over,
look into loving eyes
admit I’m not religious
and kiss you to sleep


My Daughter —

When you are born
something will be missing from me.

I will kiss you on your forehead,
watch your hair grow out in wisps,

and I will wonder what love is.

Our cat is very special to me.
My father knows me deeply.

But I am afraid
of strangers in my house;
of stones in my riverbed.


If you were made out of water
maybe it would be easier for you

to seep in between
the door and door-frame

I could blame you, then,
for the peeling paint on my ceiling

and the stain on my bed

I could write
in the fog you’d leave on my window-pane

A smile and saltwater is
no way to leave me;
sodden, soggy

I wish you could make up
more than 70% of me


I feel warm underwater
and cold on bathroom tile


Your hair stuck to the shower curtain
The clogged drain claiming
She was once here
in the words of backed up water
you washed yourself off with.

The mirror remembers you
in the way that mirrors do
in smeared hand-shaped steam stains
right below mine
where you would make yourself
up in the morning
and down at night

When you would leave the little room
in a flood of watery air
because your body remembers me
in the way that bodies do
I would stay behind
take my eyes off of you
make contact with the mirror
for a minute or two
while I pretend to shave
and you pretend to fall asleep
lying in the other room

5 Ways of Being

Cat kills Crow
Dog takes ten years
to find feathers
Boar chases wet path
down muddy hill
Cow smiles
and continues to eat
its own stomach


The house is built out of stone.
or concrete rather.
Maybe the wooden beams hold the walls together
and tie them to the ceiling
or is that what these steel rods are for?

The couch is knit from pink mystery fabric.
or old red stuffing.
Maybe it’s these immovable zippers
or the arms we lay our necks upon.

You and I are made out of wood and stone.
or skin and stuffing.
Maybe we are the grass I plant within you,
the weeds we’ll kill before they grow
green and gold and warm to the touch.

Maybe you touch me
by breathing in the water droplets
which I leave behind.
or could these be steel rods
that hold us both together and apart?

We are built on old memories
or reusable concrete
We cannot believe
in a house that falls down
or an open door-frame
for a midnight tiptoe
maybe in
maybe out