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: immortality

Hole in Blue

Dad is driving me home from the train.
“That hawk dive-bombed the window
and died on the table. I got rid of it.”

I think of garbage, our bones. I walk down
To the edge of the woods. No power;
I can’t use the toilet. Our ground is hollow:

Years of Dad seeding grass, grubs
Eating roots, Dad poisoning them.
Nothing dies, just hollows out.

We never begin that tree-house, broken
Glass grown into the ground, bits of sky
Reflected as in lakes seen from your plane

Crashing over Minnesota.
I am at my friend’s house, doing laundry,
I tell him how I sat in the yard playing

And how that hawk cawed with me.
I wanted to see its eggs then, to know
it found a mate around my house.

I come back a year later. A few days
Feeling hopeless until I see a hawk
Against white, winter sky. A baby,

Alive. How old could it have been?
I want to speak to it, to tell it I’m sorry
for living here and leaving it empty.


The Devil Reads Poetry

Full crowd tonight– all of Niobe’s kids,
Eurydice, who’ll be leaving early,
and Persephone’s here. It’s Spring in Hell.

I spent this morning crossing the river
In Charon’s boat; he’s gives the best feedback.
I’m still trying to write this one poem

But it just won’t come. I think it’s about
Filling an empty place up with something,
And how the emptiness grows around it.

Sisyphus takes my shoulders in the wings;
Inside I’m trembling over this line like:
I made my world one endless metaphor.

I almost called my brother yesterday.
I just want to figure out everything.


It would be easy, you’d think, to write
a poem about the arc of an arm or the
absolution of an embrace, but really,
the hand has nothing to do
with the pen it holds and the hand
cannot love you. You put them on hips;
on hers – you are dancing,
on yours – you cannot hold
the heaviness of indescribable things anymore.

I grab your shoulders and
shake. I do not hate anything
but you want me to. I put my muscles down
in your bed and do not yell at myself,
“I am tired to death!” Even if I sat next to you
and lamented all the things I do not write
I would not lash out at this ever-unbuilt house of ours.
I would still ride the bush-plane into the snows of Kilimanjaro
and be frozen like a leopard in search of an ending other than death.

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.

The Fall

It feels as if this
must be the season for writers


Color rips through the pale backdrop —
beauty inked into a blank page
A thin coat of paint over quiet fear —
the inevitable fade

Its name – The Fall —
says something about the first wilting
of The Garden
where Man is the leaves
each falling, in time, to the browning ground
where they will become The Earth
and they can’t resist glancing up
at the sky-lined tree branches
which, relative to them, will live forever


I’ve seen scars like these before
a bee’s nest that bubbles out of the chest
wings that beat beneath the skin
the sound alone is enough to rub a body raw

She spent her time
feeling for the power inside of trees
He bought new glass for the window panes
and ushered her indoors

“This table is made of wood.
This food used to grow in the ground.
If you are lucky, you will die inside of a bed.”

See? Where the skin has wrinkled back on itself?
This is where they spilled out
You can feed on the fruit of porcelain trees
but the bees will only
sit quietly inside your stomach
and break the stale air into pieces
too fine for your insides
you can choke them with smoke
you can put them to sleep
but you’ll be forced to endure the dreaming of bees
If she is lucky, she grew wings
and flew away from the ghosted hive

See my tired skin?
I shed it and feel the pleasure of emptiness
Hear my tireless mind?
I silence it and I feel everything

And in the darkness of who I am
and who I am not
I can finally hear my wings beat…


When the time came
I made her out of paper
I gave her a good name for pretending
she knew how it felt to be loved

And water won’t rinse out
the anger I felt
when I made her
and the dust ran dark with mud

She said my skin will drift back into dust
but maybe by then we’ll have learned
how to lie
or to love

either way there’s still time
to grow up

One Hundred Years Of This

I imagine myself
wishing for warmth
believing in the meaning behind subtlety
A headache comes in my next incarnation —


I move through phases of my relationship with loneliness
which wax and wane like illuminations of the moon
You say Yes, I can commiserate with you
because we are both afraid
of knowing each other

In control I hold myself
by the threads of my friends
and as the whole of time escapes
so am I
afraid of my own evaporation

I imagine myself
rising through the atmosphere
the subtle meaning behind my life
condensing around me

In most moments
I feel as if I am held in place between
falling with the pull of gravity
and dissipating into droplets

I imagine myself
coalesced into a solid stone
unspinning into nothingness
far below the limits of light and darkness

I follow you through
the catacombs beneath my home
Here is where I learned
that death is only this —

the lens through which we interpret
the effervescing of the self
in and out of existence.

My Ghost, Whose Name I Do Not Know

In the homes of our heroes
we hold our hands high
We cut them down from the ceilings
W hold their heads as they cry


I can’t escape the smell of burning plaster
as I sleep in your home
It’s the taste of your mouth
that bites my tongue when I cough
and spit up little bits of your soul

I still see the spot in between my eyes
where you pressed with your elbow
until I could see through your sides
and understanding was left in place of a hole

When I was born
I was afraid you would be there
waiting to show me the meaning behind things
I cried out Let me find myself, they are waiting for me

As you lie dying
I appreciate you for giving up your secrets
in pieces over time
and when you called yourself Life
I laughed and wrote a thousand poems about you
and maybe this one will help me understand things
the way that I used to


Sheathed in night
you cast a bell onto the breeze
and watch it toll itself away
on the winds that blow
forever and ever

At the end of the pier
you stand and watch the lights
that shine from the opposite shore
and you hear the bell
ringing away at the tops of the waves
and you see the ships that turn and twist
and smash themselves upon the shore
you watch and you listen
and you step onto the wet rocks
glistening with moonlight
you cast away the nighttime wrapped around yourself
and let the waves lick at your wintery white toes
as all along the bell tolls persistently
it echoes in the shifting of the sands
beneath your restless feet
it hides in the rush of the wind
and in the flapping of the fabric
that clings to your skin
as you step into the sea

The taste of salt floods in
until it is almost everything
but still the bell rings,
and somewhere on the water
pale fingers emerge
and then
quietly disappear again