Wednesday, July 26, 2017


EMI wouldn't grant permission to
NASA to use "Here Comes the Sun", by
The Beatles. It would have been one in
A variety of sound documents--
HELLO in an array of languages, and Chucky Berry--a
Muslim call to prayer.

The vessel went into space without it.

But the Sky is magnetic. And so what gets
A yes as it rises will always get a yes.
But--and here's the thing, what gets a no
Eventually gets a yes, too. It must rise Longer.

So when permission was denied, the stars Swelled as the sash of the brooding Peacefulness that, yes, is;
And that, no, cannot yet be imagined.

But yes.

The first
Voyager went as far as the hashmark

Where the sun routinely cracks. Not the
Beatles, lifted up, but some forebear, some  

Beating Mozart took-
From his numb, feline
Fingers, to the windows that shook with the

Earth singing.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The red brook

The bach was unsophisticated,
And pretty small.

Listeners came in ignorant of what it meant in translation, knotted shoelaces at the length of simple expression...

They could distinguish the simplicity of their own slang language

From distant counterpoints--But even then they left the currency exchange math to chance. And the disquietude it produced made them visibly uneasy. The water was free.

One, or maybe a few stripped the cone of the dusty fuzz

One of them got too drunk to stand up straight, saying,"Now, let's fill the slate to Heaven--and cook every dish we know for the Sun King."

Monday, July 10, 2017

The moppet.

(The cats must have lived just fine, separately, while I was gone.)

God's Dad didn't hover because he didn't really care.  But once, he said, what is that.  What is that supposed to be??

The son sat hunched on a piece of graph paper, whose adornment was a Twomblyesque starbuck that were it any other occasion, it could be identified like that, and just that.


How's that supposed to work?

The son bunched irritably at the shoulders, as if about to rote recite Latin for an ignorant parent who might know he hadn't studied, but all the same couldn't read Ovid for himself.

The flower, he said, finally, Dendranthema, pictured being led into the western world, by way of Russia, disguised as forlorn moppets, their faces hidden,

Sun in their hair--and eventually a new world.

But the dad just grumbled.  When I first saw one I--and have no other reason but this to remember--caught sight at a roadside stop on the turnpike.  I was pretty young.  Everybody else was eating or helping with the oil change on the long vacation drive.  I went to pick it when it vanished.  And with it everything vanished.

We drove across Dauphin County and I could smell the bracing choir of things.  I was carried into a local hospital where my parents were eventually told it was just an unexplainable accident, which even then seemed flimsy to take science out while resolving the greater innocence.

In the room where I woke up a pastor from a nearby church had heard, and left me a tiny potted cactus as a gift.  And a few comic books slouched in the window sill like an old broom.  One, I remember was a Spiderman. While the other followed a superhero who had no face.  But it wasn't really that he had no face.  It was simply that, in his tact, and plied by his ardor, he made it so that no one could remember him.

The dad said, making a grand connection, Do you remember when you we young--almost too young to remember, I'm afraid, and we sat by the window listening to music. I do.  I remember.  Ernest Chausson's garden of lilacs? Moonglow, the son said, with the picture eventually taking shape beneath his hand.  By Artie Shaw.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Eating the zoo.

It's always so smoky where I live
Nothing seems to want to fly in by...

One morning, I saw a truck, and some guys binding and gutting a  deer.

And the generosity of sharing--no
One was doing that.

They were, like,

Eat if you have.  Enjoy if you can.

Love follows the trickle of love.
The dearth fits neatly in its own shadow.

If I wave away the fumes, with my hand, the smoke will unfold in its place--
A cleansed revision of the flawed first draft.

It's like a record of everything I anticipate for myself.


Tell me your name again.


I can see their ears pushing through the hair, as they sit near the sea, standing upright--
It's a plump
Scouring sound they hear on the waves,
Not in their own language.

Why is everyone else so heartbroken,
As if left out of a definitive

Thursday, August 13, 2015


The darling mist
Can be traced back to this.

Of course, I was young, once.  And I had an answer for everything.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

untitled poem.

Every time I fall asleep someone picks me up.

How does this happen?
I mean, I look to each place--each, as I nodded off, and I let it know,
You are beautiful.

And each disappeared.

I was swimming in a neighborhood pool.
The shadow of the ladder scowled on the green wall.

When I woke up I was on a marble baker's slab, and
Someone picked me up, coughing up flour, on a soft mattress.  I had no idea where I was.

It meant nothing.

People seem to think I just make things up.
But I remember everything.

The pink veneer on the steel opposite this glass partition
Is exactly like one in a dream

(I woke up, and something carried me.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Our River of Time.

I don't necessarily agree that words should last through the ages--
Not because they're not meaningful,
Not because they are falsely representative of

Threatened by extinction.

Words deserve to be rare.
And they should even die.

I think it is practical that when a young person needs a word,

Meadow or cupola

He should have to borrow it from another universe.

This language we speak should be seen as a river
Bending out of sight.

The very course of things seems to say,
I don't know where I am going.

I don't know where I'm taking you.

He should, at a sound, and when asked, say the two words
Edvard Grieg
As if he had never been born.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


The moon is weeping ice cream into the ocean.

And the vanilla light stains so rebellious and bright.

The dark is subject to mismanagement. Oh,

The light smacks, and nothing can be punished for anything.

And a beheaded rooster is ready sing.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

This cusp where a hand could be lent.

Winter berries invariably play host to the worst elements.
I get lonely thinking of a few of them, sole and

     shriveled, by the basement door.

It is something to endure the worst elements,
And to be so gifted in death,

     predicting the future.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Buen provecho.

After lunch our family exited by the long,
Whispering table in the window.

Knives down, forks,
No chewing, no replenishment--

But an untoward whirr
Low in the warm air-something like a slow-moving fog,

Purple and dirty.

Leigh explained that, especially in the small towns
Of Mexico,

Where it was polite, people whose eyes met
Said, "Buen provecho."

It means:  Hey, dig in.  But more broadly, and
More spiritually,

It means, It's yours now--and I have seen you, and we share this.
Rescued together from less, but separated, in a kind of fenced in sky.

No later than now, all these things I love--and they're gone.

I had spent a part of the morning thinking of a Gustav Klimt
Picture, the fur-collared model standing black against the

Somber gold of the evening snow.

I couldn't get that snow out of my head--
How ephemeral and fixed it fell,

As if bleating clouds, leaping the fence,
Each being counted on its drowsy way.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Library of Congress.

This is just about as good a side as any
To come to the Library of Congress.

I always imagined it caked in news-stopping frost,

Tiffany windows,
Belling above studious gray brunettes,

And oil paintings of their bare necks.

I've waited my whole life to come to this point:
The light in her eye glasses, the hushing discipline of
The librarian at a skyline desk--hereabouts, green

And plaid.

You know, when you get cancer, before you die,
You grow plums,
And cherries.

And when you die everyone shares them.

The sun, I suspect,  sort of brays on the steps.  Less 

And the library is arranged by a sense of smell.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

North hill.

How do I say this?

I remember this--but it's not like a normal thing
You would remember.

Not in me do I remember, not in my sympathetic state--

I'm seeing everything for the first time.  It feels that way.

The grass on the hill may very well have been
Here forever.

And the prime apples will never stop growing--they are growing everywhere,
Drooping from green crooked arms in the sky.

I no longer see my reflection in other people.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Bell at St. Anthony's.

The ochre rust that beats us to the arrival of a bell--for no new bell is worth ringing
--frosts the wall, and corrodes the flanging curve.

Sumerians--or some other intelligent society must have seen,

The shape needs to hurry and precede the sound,

And so, swiftly, was it conceived to plunge from the hoist, at a swerve,
Then scatter by the skirting ground.

Who could foster a better or more cracked idea than a bell:

I have a certain kind of abuse I like to touch,
And when I'm lost my ears


Near the unoccupied bourse, the broke foretell,

Which might just as easily be the bell of the bell.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A love letter to the moon.

There must be some kind of bedroom specifically filled by the sun--

Or for that matter a kind of non-noctural blooming plum--
A soapy-skin eggplant, and a daylight dead-eyed pea--

There must be a prescription for those beady reading glasses--

What if, keenly being so, as it passes,

The day has--too-- some kind
Of good

And glowing tune?

Friday, June 27, 2014


This must be a constant state of darkness.

No one seems any closer today than they were

Arousing the light.

The tilting lids are as they were when the
Trashmen creeped along just before dawn emptying the cans.
I think there is a message in sloppiness--

It says, "I have made a studied effort at
Imperfection so you may never mistake it as it is
For as it was

Before I got here."

Yes, indeed, we are falling ever constantly further away from that gravitational
Custody of the moon.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The little picture of it.

Everyone who goes to the Louvre remarks about the regrettably human
Scale of it, as though it were simply a crowded girl you cared for

But couldn't reach any way you tried.

In bed children often form this basic understanding by looking
At the cheeks on the Moon, satisfied to see
A far off face, no more distressed by what might be

A smile than by what might not.

There must be some kind of dereliction taking places when we admire a picture. Children have
No sense of a classic.  Nothing ever came before,

So everything is happening, only somehow richer.

There, now.  Look at the braids growing around the little picture
Like a maternal python. The glossy curl frames
The expectation protectively.

You know, were an expectation simply a jawline.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The tag.

I remember hair in the sky.

Near the vulgarities being spoken to walls,
Painted hissing on.

Some of them were smiling,

As if we were put there,
And had to look,

And deserved the kind of gaiety

A bare green wall could never muster.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dust jacket,

The soul of purpose is there...but it drops.
The soul of infinite floating birds and things is there...

But it drops.

Every book's dust jacket you look in, every watercolor of a bird you look at--
They're unified by their constancy.
It is a word for a thing.

And the hammock of a shoulder carried it as a baby.
And the brow consternated to bear it.

And I remember you when your twin and sugar slept.

And the soul of purpose is there.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bad fruit.

For Jeanette Winterson, obviously.

Apples just don't taste like they used to.

Like they did in the

I mean, aloof.

Like when, impardoned,  a wanter needed something very specific.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lapis lazuli.

The girl found a cobra;
A boy with a resilient brow

Soon the sunny grass will look picture-perfect.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A renaissance diet.

Drawing must have the impact of surgery.  The blued impressive line must follow
A path
Of creation.  

And it must swallow all the indelicate 

Objects the hands refuses to reveal:

Undigested almonds, and a bleached sweetness and
The tumescent house key 
To what

Or, less delicately still--if.

Friday, July 5, 2013

City rain.

I know you probably make it rain.

Each field and streaked window has to be taught on its own
How to be drenched--

The downpour comically
Mimicked by some crickets and

Stiff sabers of grass.

I know, I eat from your wet hands--
even dirt. And

When I lay my ear alongside it, the city stands back,
as if expecting to learn

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Reflection pool.

Poor is poor;

Look how marvelous, the moon
Makes all the gold seem worthless.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I spy! I have been immobilized by the things I see.

The knuckles of rock I've climbed across,
And the welts of black on the birch

From our lawn.

I wonder if I could just listen to a song,
And have the tempo dictate me while it
Was going on.

Now, I am moving ahead. The current of expectation
Is at least similar to the current of the rock garbage,

Similar to the wood.

When I was a kid I used to thrust my hand at you, and say,
"Make way!"

I was part sail.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


What a generous survey! It encounters us, sideways,
Breath fogging the candied windows:

We may not be wise, the way you think of people.
But honey splits from us like we were hive-cox,

And our skin blooms like the brilliant bits of our

Whenever our dogs pass through;

We say to ourselves, "Okay, now I get it,
Look at what this sarcasm of light

Surrounds you
To change."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


You should fall in love with an iris.
It becomes you.

Otherwise what?  Service?

It is magical and crippling to see the likelihoods of beach kids who grow up
On the shore, by boats.

It is as if their childhoods were mere movies showing on the waves,
About the future.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Early summer.

I wasn't always this young.
But gradually my skin learned to smooth over
My insides.  I look at myself in the mirror

And see a stiff overcoat that after a decade of winters
Learned its intended form.

I'll say this several thousand times--
But each time I say it, it grows decreasingly true

I used to be old.
There is no belly anymore
My hands learned to push it away, and the
Sharp pains I thought I felt were like religious feelings,
All unreliable.

I have absconded, too, with everything valuable.  The lights,
The wine in the cellar and the miscellany--all of it catalogued
But only in the way a desperate imagination remembers things,

Counting them on the fingers once they're missing
There are no ladders to climb and look; I stole them
No lines
Just green spots:

The map of my feet left in urgent space
You will feel less inclined to
Ever make anything in that dimpled mold
Again. You won't find any sugar or pictures--ran the faucets and
Drew cross-hair squares on the walls.
Beside the warm wire beaters and the towel damp with cake
I came and saw the sense that everything was

Filled in--I needed only to replace things
With perfect absences.

I will only say this once:
It was here where I started
Everything is so marvelous out here in the jade evening clippings
Where I am now and swing across the
Fence like a kid's baseball

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Maltese Falcon.

Everyone should go to see the terra cotta soldiers.

An army must intimidate the enemy before it can proceed.  If you
Look at them in formation and the things being made then

You are the enemy.

If you wind up in their balm and nature you are the enemy.

Launch every pacific lungful of arrows and then

For your own dirty feet to come and rescue you by the heels.

Pace, beside yourself,

Like an articulate war curse or a soft
Potter's bowl.

Everyone should see the cool fireplace, and the pot,

And the pea-bellied hungry people, sculpted
in wet, slip-coated strokes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

March kite.

If you were a kid, you got a kite
Every March,

And flew it along the Conodoguinet
In someone's back yard who didn't mind.

The wind took the line, yanking it away from you
Like a willful dog on a leash, til
All that was left
was the pink strand scar on your palm,

And a ripped blue diamond flashing in the sun.

If I dropped it and you did, you would watch a blowing
Handkerchief fall into the ocean and grab it for me.

It could wind up in the Adriatic someday, or between the dead teeth of
A pirate.  But it doesn't matter.

Once you touched it you would hold your hand between the waves forever.
So many lines on your hand it would take.

Monday, April 8, 2013

"Stand By Me", in Rite Aid.

Thunder sets a brief, white precedent,
Saying aloud what

Without his wet shoulder exposed

Would qualify better

As songwriting.

Friday, April 5, 2013


It's topsy-turvy--

The oceans can be divided into two piles.

Soon, and

I've kissed windows on buses because I was
Close enough to home
That they might as well not be there

And if someone stole them

We would go swimming.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

After honeymooning in China.

Oh lift me from the grass!
I die! I faint! I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast;
Oh press it close to thine again,
Where it will break at last! 

-Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Indian Serenade

The neighbors have come back.

this morning while we slept.

Their porch is decorated with prayer flags,

And the swing has been creaking in the
Dewstilling.  Heavy with rolled blood--colored
Rugs, tied in new gold twine.

One walks expectedly along a path where the ground has
been overobscured with our grass, but falls short
of the blacktop.

It has been years since I laid eyes on it, but
somewhere there is a photograph of the Yangtze I used
to bookmark a collection of poems

By Percy Shelley.  The bronze water pitted
an hour, moving to a stylus point,  collaring

One lavender forest into shoulders.

They are coarsely stretched, as if across chimneystone,

Or a bruised knee.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I will lay everything aside for you--

If you are a cushion or tough.

Look at love in the harshest spines.

You know.

Maybe my hair will fall comfortably.

The lure eyes, and go there, again.

Idly come here, ashore,

And go there, again--

Like moss, grown in a furtive arch of landing
Where sunlight can kill

Monday, March 4, 2013

The moon meets a calf.

Nothing can cup my slipping heel but me.
Sentences are cultivated in action,

And mine can be spoken by none but me.

The moon meets a calf in the owing purple
By the light.

And I hear its' caustic chorus.  Nothing--however
The message,

Could behave as I do when I am liberated.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Near Bedford.

Stop and smell the pot ash and seed hulls in the dirt--
The enamel of your ancestors

So wild and proliferate, that fields
Teem with hotly colored flowers to compete.

A sun that once roved orangely across van Gogh's eyes
Distills the corner, by a truck and your waiting friends.
Stop.  Waste everything;

Now, I want you to look at me.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

And the hill.

Look at the wolf I made with my hands,

these fingers
are slow

And hungry.

But trained. And the hill.

And each hand must wait, also,
to be distinguished from action,

As though in essence it each somehow bribed the lower end
By reaching out.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The symphony of brows.

Must the dessert be last?

I remember reading a story about a Pacific island
Of people who lived almost entirely on

Their sledges fell on gaping wood.

And girls looked like paused lips,
In hammocks.

And the sun shone even at night.

Sweat adulterated the workers,
all of whom sang,

"We must in, We must out,

Almighty, we must do both, for You,
And never stop."