Monday, September 18, 2017


There is no light; only morning.
And so I sleep with all my song-churning
organs awake and plotting. They are
for me when all else in my body betrays;
they plan to live, and live hard, this
blind factory that loves you without
protest, even as I doubt the weather I 
ask for.

I scent disaster, charred aims and burst
hope, yet my gut keeps me alive by making
bargain after bargain. It doesn’t matter
what pain is applied to the skin, inside or
out; the vice in my bloodstream meaningless
in the din of work. Can’t you hear it crash
against your psyche in the middle of your most 
troubling dreams?

One day all this faithfulness will see its 
reward in the shape of itself as a winged creature 
no one would expect. And then, like some rare bird, 
it will wake me with a flurry of unspoken reasons 
and carry my trudging heart in its talons 
to the resting place where 
every invisible sheave
is stored.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Forecast Map

Storms are coming.
The air so heavy you could shape it into castles. 
You question the prophecies that haunt you 
for the thousandth time and—

A raindrop drives down your forehead just so 
and down you go, stairs sliding, the last one ramming lightning 
up your spine and into an open vision 
of invisible castles made of air—

Held under the rapids—
     tangled in a downed tree—
                   chariots, tidal waves
    rushing at your heels

A hundred viruses stalk you.
Poisoned grains of rice hidden in every bowl and
ancient snares with kills in the millions 
set on every corner you’re known 
to chase at night.

But the cruel slivers that keep your eyelids 
pinned open drive you toward each sharp exacting 
turn that keeps your feet on every 
fragile skein of web.

So follow your anger.
      Let contempt make you write words 
             on the ground. May your hands again 
     make ceremony.

When sleepless fever 
chains your body to the racks, stay awake for it 
to purge you of bravado before 
you go hunting.

There is treasure in this field, 
in this muck and wet soot. Clues in the 
telltale words of whispering hail,
stone-fisted disaster.

Search out the faces
        of your many hungers.
             Dive into the dark heart
   of this pain.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

You have to feel the fire yourself

As much as I love the Sufi poets, I'm not very well-read as my brain simply can't take in more than a just little poetry at any given time. But maybe that lets me love a single poem a little bit more. Here is a small salty, bitter, sweet and sour poem from Rumi (1207-1273) that I really love right now. 

As always, take it with an extra grain of salt, as this is merely my very subtle reworking of Coleman Barks' 2001 reworking ("Sour, Doughy, Numb, and Raw") of translations by John Moyne, Arthur J. Arberry, and others from the original Persian. My hope was to try to get a little closer in English to what I felt was the heart of the theme.

Holi Festival of Colours

If we're not together in the heart,
what's the point? When body

and soul aren't dancing, there's
no pleasure in wearing colorful

clothes. What good are cooking
pans when there's no food in the

house? In this world full of fresh
bread, amber and musk—such an

array of fragrances—what are they
to someone with no sense of smell?

If you stay away from fire, you'll stay
sour, doughy, numb and raw. You may

have lovely, just-baked loaves all
around you, but those friends can't

help. You have to feel the oven's fire
yourself, crust to core. I would never

have known the truth of what love is
had I never felt this boundless longing.

Anything done to excess becomes boring,
except this overflow that moves toward you.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Hunter, the dark woods, & the dénouement

Ela Zubrowska : color is on flowers

And so your enemy 
stalks you. 

You thirst, you 
stumble; wonder if this heavy 
quilt of night will suffocate or free;

if wilderness conspires 
to make you know how small 
you truly are. Or how infinite. How 
frail. How alive. Ancient as this deer run.

Now become the seeker.
Turn into the hunter.

Turn around and charge after
what's chasing you down, run with
dark blades emerging from your fear

to stop in the air and turn the other way,
poised to strike as your strange new weapon.

And then when you
decide you're ready to die,
you'll see the bullet as it stops,

blooms, and pulses light, a song
pouring out from this meeting with 
your unseen power encircling you—and

here, in your near-death, you 
will find out who you really 

are. It can't be done
any other way.

Monday, May 8, 2017


Tree who catches
every sunrise and sunset in your boughs

you have been my closest friend, the
witness of this story, too short and far

too long to yet tell me its meaning.
You have heard it all. The scream of the train

every time it crushes the land west where I
cannot go but have reached for all this time,

the way you reach. Unmoving and traveling
all the way to the ends of the fleeing universe.

The silence, crushing silence between

there and here. Only you would know.

You have opened yourself to
the dance of the smoke of every

smoldering prayer I burn here beneath
you. Witnessed every ceremony between

me and the sun that abandons me
right after I give my heart to it again.

And again you make me trust
by the force of saying nothing,

by the force of being, by the force
of your unseen movement in the night,

underground, in every one of the
directions, knowing you could cover

the whole world if enough time went by.
You pull me into your hidden rings

one by one until I see the substance
of every year of desperate survival,

the truth of what all forget but you.
You live and die and resurrect

and survive unnoticed, sure of what
you hold, what sap has gone deep in

your veins, forced by the sudden cold.

With a great crack

you thrown down your soul
in each limb that surrenders

to lightning, showing me
you are broken too, and nothing

can rob you of beauty that is.

You are young, you assure me,

you will die soon enough, you tell me,
you will live forever and you still

know nothing, you say—

You are just as alone as I am,

I say, unbelieving, as unknown, as
solitary and confined to your own unseen

movement, as powerless to change
the elements you brave.

Yet I know I'm wrong
every time I sit near you, every time

I lie beneath your great sheltering body
to watch the bright planets and muted stars

we know have been assigned to be seen
by us alone, from this exacting

city plot of earth.

I know you're telling me

what I don't want to hear,
the lavish questions to my questions,

the hope that drags me back
into this strange arena with nothing

to fight with but gnarled fists.
You force me to sing with you

every time the wind rises
in our midst.