His knuckles
displayed themselves
as helix. The pillar it mirrors,
breathy but shored up by,
so strong. Thumps out days,
a carousel. His words constant
absence, no place to take
in the grieving field. Grief is the tree
through glass.



the I is what it does, the sum, or
some complex rhythm, but we’re
unheld, so no matter, except
for the I, that’s enough.


I thought I felt the seed take. I
agreed to shuffle, to let
winds or calmer hands arrange.
I think the seed took, but then
I forgot. And look here. Suddenly
numbers to search and rue. The numbers
nod to time and proof. Each hurt
handed over, put away.


we’re standing, not touching. we’re
talking sideways, we’ve never met, but
we love the idea of the you, so I love
you and we’re looking at the picture,
or the neighborhood or the ice in the dams
and we look fresh point to point,
consulting, making a picture ours. we
make a show, look from this point to that, while
we hold a little candle at the corner, our
silent agenda, our joy. we’re not touching.



to be called
forth the seed in my bed
quotes back – the temporary
blindness stutters gifts me
through chattering boxes
the calendar hanging down
her wells
the East view lush
and bridled



white paper birds
cawing and silent
a pattern of
dance claw
retreat. smooth
as stone. bright
as river. your advance
a welcome pain, a border
a stand of glass trees.

mapped in awkward
tight then flowing
door frames, noises
weight makes and drift
of light.
noise of vans gunning it
down the alleyway, pebbles
kicking up in the sun.

thick hair in tangles around
a three-year-old's waist &
frailty. a name from flesh,
name from clay.

creases in your navy blue work
pants. the ink stain in your
left shirt pocket. black and
spreading in a slow moon

one thin gold bit. I
your breasts
swinging as you dried
yourself from a shower.
wet along
your back,
in your hair.

a grasshopper, legs folded
in tight angles, ankle over
hipbone. a room stacked and
staked with ideas and paper,
pressed into dust.

rice & beans in
a bowl -- sitting on
handlebars angles
cutting brick walls
a few feet from your
head in sleep. your
cold hands
and mine. strings
between mittens.

an almost
of the noise
this and then
that flung
upward in a

coinshine fills reflections.
your tendency, mine in a
dusty slope. I grew blue
morning glories that year,
built a frail wall of maple
and twine. every morning
field stubble cut at my feet.
knotted purple wild flowers
scratched at your stone.

is pity
expected here. a
rough break -
stood swaying on the
bridge by the dam. you work
in a hospital,
watch people
come and go. push
yourself past your face,
a house of cards
picking up a tremble
from the wind.

slow and wide, thick across
the tongue, ribbons tangled
and falling. hot beer
bottles through air, hitting
water and shattering. you,
slow and wide. roll
and empty.

letting go.

again across the river,
behind a thin cloth.
your mouth on my
frost cut and shine
against our voices.


We’re a scene.

A scenery. The idea swallows
the object. You were bagging up my guilt.
Every possible scenario unworthy. We’re not
tumbling anymore; we’re not fresh, or a fresh
pace. We work in shifts, and I’ve lost cleverness,
pattern; I’m just origin. Every time I thought an answer,
I thought, “Here we go again”. Only let’s frame
the deep alone. The loss of gloss, of
syncopation. We’re wild here, no rhythm. I won’t acquire you.
I have no needs. “No needs” runs to leave me.



We chose this gap to tricky moon—

feet breaking
to claimed woods
out back

lantern all
set, lightness
in lungs—the three-year-old

sits, a stalk,
to go with saying—independence.

—a slight clover, clamped hard,
whittled in the kitchen,
lights out.

Outside the library,
sticking into tired-blue
Midwest sky.

There was a song for you—joy, little
patch of poison grass, boys for Jesus,
you got your hands all wet
shouting jokes and howdy ma’am.

walked in circles, never
in the green—held
the baby, sticky, to

Westward, late crickets, refusal to sleep; hold on
grounding chains, hold me brown
rock. Specifically,
crossed the damned
amber hills.

Cleared to see
lit-up boxes,


wrapped in paper. and layer and layer.

Not to inflict oneself
is dreadful. I know joy
is flat from the outside.

Perhaps it's silly to want
a spectrum as full as a train.

At the station where I followed
you down, I heard the man
calling out to confess our sins. How
to hear him, to know he's sound.


new year, a month late

I was told the ocean was a thin film.
Underneath was rock. I was told just
to create. We decided living wasn’t
the forward gaze. You smelled like this
when I knew you first – you smelled like my face
in our hair. The room filled up; I wanted
to be looking but judgment
sleeps lightly. At the point when we’re only conductor,
the energy collected by sight is enough to sustain



Your collectors betray me
in threads.

Each project a hand-
sewn dead pigeon, plucked

from eaves. The inherited
ink and all those necessary

distances and sips – are you
pitching, indecision,

at each faint resuscitation ahead.


The pool, not as dark as I’d expected, as
you’d described.

The leaves of paper flake off to reveal,
I’m sure, flight –

Here as we sidle up to bed.


What separation

What clues, ashy and nimble.
Each noun deserves an adjective, no?

The pair makes its way to memory.
Joy, of course, overrated. Even past
joy, we suffer. Not at loss; just to
see it and its walls, know them as thin.
Hold steady to them, a cocoon, a game.
No exceptions. Our thin joy not enough,
but the memory – voices, a chord, threads
of each city we made and left. I revoke, you
revoke. Our hands there in the spectrum-
whole, conductor, flow.


The Voices Weren't Telling They Were Asking

If you’ll have me, what’s left? This
umbrella-ed half-light.

Even my face won’t leave your face, even
as face wounds, there's
the beacon—we only have a half-fair
copy, what we’ll have.


‘No’ Shows Us / Any Black Box

Peels away to reveal—convergence or dissolution? Or it hangs the sound, incorrectly, on the page. We agree. Saying something makes it, or the other way around. The children flank us, and if only freed direction would. You’ll agree on disarmament, but not the sound track or steps. You won't be a witness.


What could you want beyond a ditty, a lozenge, a spiral in your eye?

Walking, bitterness
free to find
not heft
not substance
but a discrete
downward pull
bracketing the
what’s left
has gone
its way.



River: The North Tonawanda horses and reupholstered tails out over the Grand and its mid day lights; slivers of body arranged with audio and still discernable hair and my girl in the ill-fitting hat saying “each room keeps being real” with an edge of disgust or pity and the rhinestones and moulds with price tags and spin; kid with “I have a dream” sticker peeling on her shirt; chunks of ice in the river. Relentless Midwest riverside lights.


River: Two women in a canoe, paddle clacking fiberglass, clacking water, a strange tongue, neat green & rowed garden. The word is stale, has been read in a book, found in the mail or picked off a grimy beach. He doesn’t taste it, just spits it out for the ladies on the bus. Fat man is trying to sell me something, has his fingers digging in my pockets, thighs.



Winnow it
to a single stream?
Lists of want
more complete.
Things to turn to, things to be
--but we’re a form of list that
won’t want.


Oddly Enough

Oddly enough, time for one thing,
then another. It's okay
to wish it away. Logic leads us
there again and again. The Maple helicopters,
sometimes, seem to be always rising.
There's the image of the diapered baby,
not knowing better
or worse, joyful, tugging futilely
at the water pump. That was then,
but here we are--no chemical
creates logic. But I was going to say,
here, now, I was going to say...


On the End

Each day catapults.  And every opening, that
knock.  I saw your message, saw my
failures.  The smell of paper burning didn’t wake
the children.  I put on each
of my dresses, then took it off.

I scraped the wax off the table you gave me. My inventions
insignificant, no matter.


Let's Record the Evidence

Two jugs of milk, butter, fruit. A choice of pear, apple, or tangerine. Pumpkin pie. Cans of thick evaporated milk. One went bad in the cupboard. The luxurious candor of space. A whole room. Hundreds of books. All getting it wrong.


To have had a chance. To have succumbed to timidity, to easy things. To let it unfold. To care, to get in the stream of it and let it take you, your work.

Look up, you’ve been had. Those friendly beasts, jargon from the crooked fence and the ring finger tipping you to sure.


Here. So See a Man Says

The word you can’t say is “a vague
spot heaved back”. That is not to say
"more unspeakable" but it’s really less
attractive. The prospect of it. Air
coming up out of you. All of these
inexplicable cords. Imagine. We sleep
like a carousel. There, a eucalyptus.
The neighbors’ peppers drip with rain.



Cloth: To preserve modesty, etc. “out of respect.” The absence of more jarring over any transparent space, allowing clean lines of light over old and pure snow. Softening snow, still throwing light with that old sparkle. Consider losing your memory to find something again. The flame, for example. Here it might be, despite the serial screens and dust on our tires.


Cloth: Covering stacks of paper, crushed tin, potatoes in a basket, rice and beans. Dull green falling and flowering in scatters, playing ugly like a plastic clarinet, revealing single yellow flame staircase pushing down. Young shine of covering in sleeping creases.



The murder next door wears
to color in dreams. First
police lights led to lost air, etc.
Little dead birds were
wet and black in the grass. People
pointed, scared and delighted.
The swans were one terrible
arrow. The crows were calling, giving
up. We looked,
hoping to find live ones at our feet,
eggs to scoop up, carry away.


My dear, my lonely, my giving not mine

You dear, you lonely.  You’re bleeding the photos
of me, and not gently.
Our human bones locked our
preferences, our humors.
Not gently, we gelled differently to ‘heart’, to
dryness, to violence.  In arcs, too,
my greenness, and bodies of
water, and automobile stink.
You’re here, your face a mottled light.
My face a spring or mire.



Flame: The only time my body was hurt we skipped over it so lightly but now intentional noise clutters the background, if only in the brittle times. For five days or three years I wanted so badly to be awake in the presence of that the dreams were a stand in, were a loud false voice, such waste. A focal point and vestige, between the surfaces is all reflection, either up or down, but in the fire is every which way.


Flame: We were the four directions. Sat in sand, made a clear gift out of her center, out of the riddle, her happiest time. I wanted the water to pull me out, the water to hear me always. It kept pushing me back, back to that scar.



Radio: and fine ink, a resplendent sun. an object makes waves, another takes and passes them. clean sounds, then clean long ones ay ee oh all along a curve we made. they found a piece of plastic whose angles matched those of the woman’s fuselage, they found a boot heel, they found a blade. each discovery, years later, then more years. we find the layers; we’re the layers and you won’t bring her back but you’ll find the echoes of her in the double helix of a bone, or was that a turtle’s bit of body there on the beach. she sent out distress signals and the men in uniforms looked for her, checked that island off the list, missed the fire scar, missed the shell that only a westerner would bring from water.


Radio: The word ‘poetry’ comes from a man’s mouth. A baby’s favorite color. The color aqua or sky blue. Woman’s hair spidering out, catching on my fingers, catching on the dirt in my teeth. Once I thought she was beautiful, now I see the rotting in the mouth, that bruise beneath her eye.


so say sources of dissonance

sun killing size

let’s sleep in our shadows

brilliance after brilliance after roll of fat.

I’m back today & I’m a heaped arrow.

the blindness you’ve inflicted, exactly the opposite of what I thought

the day weary, along with
your breadcrumbs
even the loss frozen
the day lovely
don’t worry in your bird chirps
don’t regret or cycle
your slim acceptance
so nosy.

our private language not even


here beyond panic

Each ‘I want’ part of a false


Children were playing next to wires.
Flies were crawling on me.
Their touch less frightening than I’d remembered.
The patients must emit a smell before death,
she hypothesized.



She’s in the waist-deep stream, she’s
got her killing hairs. Hands
sadness; all the lies complete a quilt.
Closeness leaves nothing
legible. Will
I cross through the thicket.
Will I cross to you, name
red and arch, unprompt.
But her son the hill
thought motion means wanting.


Frame & Center

Muster all that all, in one
syllable increments, their borders
and jangle, and warble, too. Between
lines are ghosts of objects and
'she won't mind'. We'll slip down
into narratives of cause
and worth with just
a slight buzz to sustain.
Pipe in fragmented
relief, reminders and
tugs -- even the cliches offer
a shoulder. A mirror won't,
elastic won't, but your
gaze, you, the safety pin & fray.


subject-object talk

to a point. ouch. the numbers
assume importance. demand order.
‘I’ll launder you ‘til you cry’
said mud, something
like a tuning fork.
planets make their way to the page,
musty at sleep and new positions.
arrange your stacks, your silence
imagines itself a secret call.
every object I greet, suddenly
flaring at the tips. the pain an unmonied gulf,
allowable descent. at each moment, I can take you
or leave you. if only I will, dear reality.



Last time we arranged and arranged
and fell. The keepers brought the must and boxes,
excavation, exhumation. Every kick and blunder
opaque, still, in ink.

Chestnuts deforming on the mantle.
Scenes passed off and left as lack.
Photos of hands,
models for choice & chance.


Impossible Note, November 2005

they left us particular sky spotted
with blades, snow dreams shoved in cheap
clusters. look, theory's light indicates

chance, as glowing as any.



Tea, silver spoon: A verb machine. Body and vegetation extended. Tendrils, even. Twining there and there and there. But a hand picks it up, finally, makes it go. Finally is just rest, then we look back.


Tea, silver spoon: Crushed dried flowers, bits of dirt in another life. Silver slanting across heat. She came over crying, or maybe I should say, “came over in tears”, or almost. Came up the stairs calling hello, sat on the floor drinking tea.