Refuse/d words built into infinite forms of bodies. This collection is unedited; done in one sitting; sometimes daily, frequently infrequent.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Anemone in the space
between stones is a
soft wound.  Creature
like fingertips feeling,
a wonder in the deep green.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Anniversaries--- Anni Year and versus To Turn

The same Date every year
Is not the same date every year.
Babies, lovers, ghosts
I lose track of each date
you meant something to me
or corrupted sense
or disrupted control.

Each signal day
allows you an hour of
concentration-a wide
yawn of remembrance
an almost return trip
through time.  Really,
my dripping saints,
I wait on these name days,
I whisper.

plant lore

Beneath diseased hemlocks
the soil is soot
and laying down fence planks,
we have a home.

Within the gabled
green we speak
like children
and truth drips inevitably
in play.

When the rain comes
it’s a fog first beneath
the trees, not quite a roof
but a root protection
a wet breaker of the wind. 

Friday, December 24, 2010


My compulsion is to write everything down.
Sometimes I write furiously
And then ignore the passage,
Destroy the passage.

The idea of people scribbled
The people I love
Thriving like angels within me always
One of many phenomena that defy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Origin myth, part I.

The first village is moving
and we eat with gnashing teeth
The lion’s leftovers. 

When the snows come,
we peek out from earthen caves
at the wonderment of land.
Our necks become thick
and we warm the winter air
as we suck in breathing.

We begin to notice one another
and wish we didn’t die so soon.
Feeling absence like the heavy dark
we mourn before sweet-smelling fires
And send our friends to bed
with smoke and flowers.

Days change in the infinite deserts,
and we leave footprints in the sound mud.
Starving together, we organize ourselves
because children hold us accountable
in our teaching.  Sometimes valleys
catch us like a river bends catching sand
and we settle.   Wherever we are, we live
in the perpetual movements of collection
and ingestion.  And we thrive through long
suffering and conversations with the broad sky.
We carve and paint with our mouths,
make pictures in our likeness, victorious.
We remember stories, because the steep dark,
the monument of time, is terrifying.

Spreading across continents
The challenges are slow and the
Solutions are spread out over generations.
In this process we are made human-
The one, long memory shared, folded
one life into the other, speaking like ghosts,
like companions.  Each art is the conversation
we have with ourselves, the future, and the past.
We make a continuous river out of colored cloth,
out of poems and pictures, out of necessity. 

We become many, and the challenges become greater.
The fires flare hot, and the slow burn of learning is left
to warm the lonely and the patient.   

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Everything is based on a true story.

Someone who expresses
Never can suppress
The severence between people
The profound binding
Of bodies. 

I am stained like everyone
With richness
With pictures and panic
A fleeting idea
Hope and sureness

And these memories
And histories are the rubber
Faced stamps of writing machinery
The wet swath of paint brush
The blueness of conversation,
Even if all names have been changed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Men I don't know, part III.

Jack survived off secrets strangulation And died when he fell off a ladder in California, painting the sides of a church seeking forgiveness in hand-strokes I do not forgive you  All over the American west running group homes A teacher Rape is a four letter word in certain vocabularies of incest Did you know time keeps track Burdens of family, the circus tent of children And now your son deconstructs himself daily What did they learn Teaching how to grow their own vegetables, wards of state And the barren landscapes of desert limit hope in the harvest Digress grandfather I hope eight years in prison broke you Your forgiveness the sultry stain of fear Know my children won’t know your name They won’t paint the sides of churches Strokes of foregiveness Teaching family secrets and surviving A circular circus Saving him Silent and forgiving Silence in circular seeking.  


My body is limitless
the curvature of female.
My body is sanctified
by all the hopes of childhood.
My body is a tune
a true turning of a phrase.
My body is favored
and forgotten
felt up, and imagined.
My body is freedom
and convention,
a singularity composed
of each Body before mine. 
My body is my land
my harvest and sickness
the peril, the poverty
the treason and judgment.
My body is a coffin,
My body is a home
My body sets a curfew
for the children of my soul.
My body lends me time
and takes it steadily away.
My body offers answers,
it calibrates the days.
My body is my safety
within the boundless noise.
My body is my person
My person is my choice.
My body arranges meetings
it flounders and it thrives.
It reports with intuition
with sweat, and aches and sighs.
My body is a god of feeling
and demands I take my time
so that every walk through turpid city
becomes a prayer of grime.
And when it comes time to rot and wane
my body will be with me
pulling, tugging, pleading and bleeding
Until I exit time.

Hot ale

Beneath the purple wood of the bar,
greased by so many seeping hands,
Are one pair of boots after another,
heavy heeled and sleeping.
Youth is rubbed down in the yard,
the gleam of wide-mouthed glasses
mimics young men
and creates the shape of their death.
Their likeness is amber foam.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


When the women go to the island
to prepare for the olives,
the pulp of the house is taken out.

Grandfather and the boys are left
to their own devices, tinkering
in the laundry room
and staring into the pale cool
of the refridgerator.

None of the usual rooms
are curved, a catching spot.
The chairs are empty and the clock
ticks in the hallway.  The streets are
suddenly filled with strangers
and the market does not sell
the usual things.

When the women return,
everyone casually smokes cigarettes
and drinks coffee in the kitchen,
laughing as if the last week had
been a welcome pause. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


You have your own methods of survival:
Nice suits
Clean bathrooms
Hidden, licensed handguns.
A litany of human resume.
Proofs, zip-locked evidences
Of normality.

You are afraid you are not fit
And that the imperfection
Will be bred out
In the next generation.

Bleed out,
Rescind your request for forever.
Sidle into sun
Bake in the short day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


When I come back to America,
I am on a high for a day
Before I settle back in.

This high is fantastic:
I am defined and feel
With intensity my youth.

After that, nothing tastes good,
I lose my appetite completely for food
For fantasy, for anything electric.

I make a list of the ways I can
Adapt the culture of the house
To keep me feeling present

But I can only affect myself
And I know I will have
No company to buy into my cross-breed.

Nowadays, lands of opportunity
Are those that limit-
Places we can challenge.

Makes the frontier
Turn inward.
A universe that sits down
To breakfast

Monday, December 13, 2010

Men I don't know, part II.

Senad’s father died after he came and had a drink with his son What is the appropriate way to die He told two jokes then went home, and he was tired so he slept Away he goes into dreamland In sleeping, he died and the story is so simple and complete that I mourn Senad with green eyes smoking beneath the eaves Jelena thinks that she loved Senad’s father more than Senad He was so charming Decide what is important, charm and joke-telling Senad is the shape of a man, when he drives he is sure on the narrow streets Bosnian humor Value the joke-tellers, the charmers He came to have a drink with his son, at the bar Senad works The phone rang once One drink after playing hockey a slow sweat left-over exertion A lifetime of driving around in beat up cars, the old forests, sheep herders, fresh bread from the bakery, just sitting, cigarettes and coffee is enough and he drinks a beer, tells two jokes, and goes home and goes to sleep The most peaceful and appropriate Senad’s father goes to sleep after two jokes and dies What would a perfect death be But with two jokes and his son, one drink and sleep.   

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Out of Office Reply

I have been slacking on my entries and now I will be in Croatia for several days, but I Promise I will catch up on all my wordage, worthwhile and otherwise.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 29, 2010

hidden under the roof

an owl face
two dark jewels
in a feather nest
is an archaic messenger
a watchman.

Friday, November 26, 2010

thank you

mother for birth
father for fear and forgiveness
sister for endurance
grandmothers for lost opportunity and beauty
grandfathers for absences and imagined men
friends for smiling and bailing out the same boat. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Driving back from Horserider's wall, New Mexico

Men that stay up in the mountains
for years,
a marathon of months,
go to dark places
and save up their words.
And Jim talks.

favorite horses
helicopters in Vietnam.
other ranchers,
how to take care of the grass.

He tells me about every woman he has loved
and about his high school reunion.
He had one wife
and gave his sons good names.

Jim has certain regrets.
He says that his type of life
is good if you can find a companion
who doesn't mind the rain and snow
no shopping.

Before I climb out of the trailer,
Jim tells me that I've got country in me
and what I need to do is find
a tall, cool drink of water and a piece
of land somewhere.  I said that
sounds nice, Jim.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I’ve spent most of my life
feeling like I wasn’t meant for this world
that everyone had staked a claim already
and I was too late, I didn’t register for the race.
I used to think that I was built for old horror,
that real devastation: war, hunger, murder, rape. 
But now I’m not so sure.  Maybe I’d be that
pale aristocrat vanished in the halls
of my own mausoleum.  Either way
I try and enjoy the ease of America
I like feeling anonymous, without the
dictation of tradition.  But then again
without a community, that anonymity
can feel like drowning.  So many births
today.  We are learning how to navigate
the new waters of the new neighborhood,
one with relationships made of interests.
The next generation will feel centered,
but for now, I feel unhooked, and my
hand reaches for the canyon sides
as I drift downwards.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Sad poems are fine,
they invite mood:
a purple rainshower,
fog in the street.

The real
worrisome words
are in the daytime,
hard sunshine.

The middle of the day
is a wide flat road
with no past,

can be dangerous
in full white light,
so my body fills the day
and I write by night.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

hurricane lamps

Small orb questions:
requests for comfort

the deep throat of rain
and true wind whipping

will drown a person standing
alone.  But with eyes we
are anchored here, holding
hope accountable.

turning a quartercentury

How did so many years go-
a thief on a motorbike
escaping on frosted mountain roads;
a trip into secrets with the zip
sounds of a buzz burned engine.
This vast country
swallows me respectfully.


Each year, her whiteness in the dark
splinters, captivates.

It will be forever
before the end.

Which witness of the universe
can watch long enough
to attest to the treason of light?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Alchemical is your company

Every finger on your hand
Is worth fifty winters alone;
One wrinkled pear on a dead tree
Is converted into a religion of juice;
the stone-cold of buried potatoes
are the seeds of giants, the
fearsome monsters of imagination.

Terra Australis Incognita (The Unknown Southern Land)

Amateur science is a green magic. It moss-covers categories and filches meaning from the underground.  It is done without a degree, without recognition, without the partition of power into infinite reams of burnable paper.  A cheapening of common knowledge is caused by exactness, by the infinitely small and big increments of measurement.   Amateurs know the world is round but know also that it might be hollow; that people die but could become zombies; that mechanically kept time can be manipulated into time machines; and that ships can be built in bottles, despite the remarkable difference in size.  

The woods eat war and forget it

The metal jackets of bullets
rust in the dark river
beyond the weaving grass.
Lightning bugs rise up
in their landscape gaping
with old graves overgrown.
Tractor guts rot and ripped
up soil becomes nutritious.
No echoes, no partition,
the local people still know
the same roads they did
as children, still the fruit trees
still stone and paving
still armistice in the evening.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

4 hours of sleep in the war of 1812

In the berth level of a boat,
250 men would sleep
while the other 250
tangled themselves in rigging,
wrapped their toes around rope.
Those sleeping 250 were
Elbow to elbow,
Knee to knee
Teeth aching
Sickness seeping.
The hammocks swaying
Like sacks, a heaviness
Heaving in the full dark below decks.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

spare room

It is like an Easter egg hunt
finding all your empties:
each bottle haphazardly and half-heartedly
concealed on bookshelves
in closets, in blank grocery bags.
I swept out your room,
where your dog slept.
I mopped the old floor
care-worn scraped-up
and looked at the pictures
of other places hung up
placating this space is anxious.
When did you start
gripping secrets? When did
time start piling up on your heart
until a head start 
became a departure
what cure is instant (none)
and which plan is the One
that makes a resolution?
For now loss spills outward
your cardboard cutout
has replaced you.
And I’ll keep my headphones on
to keep my mind from moving back in. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The way kindness moves

I think the reason
I work the job I do
Is because of one woman
At the hospice place
Who brought me
A plate of rice and chicken
Even when I said
I wasn’t hungry.
It was so good
and I sat and ate 
with my mother lying there
and I felt like I
was eating hope.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

essay digressing

The sense we make of the world is produced by series' of personal allusions, to past ideas, people, and experience and also our ideas on the future, our expectations.  Little pictures, fragments, make the movement of our minds-the engine is scraps and pieces.  Everything contributes and filters, one literally cannot ignore experience.  It always stays and stains, and this is not frightening, it is our body collecting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

public voices

stereo living
the electronic equivalent of breath
of breathing systematically
using synapses and time capsules
I fill the forum of the real reluctantly;
My words generally resist the general word order
but the bigger picture forever guides them
patient prayers that walk blindly on the right path.
Word choice is the primary skill of public voice
the language of specific theatres
cinemas-cafes-circular spaces
where we look into the faces of listeners
who have heard everything already.
The public voice is static over dinner din
it whispers over billions
of fellow humans.
The myth of the public voice is that
the voice is singular, but
the vocabulary of revolutionaries
is weighted is worded is waiting
in the shuffling of the crowd.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't we always know the answers to questions?

Forming the interrogative
is turning a corner
slowly, and with a mirror extended.
I know, I already know!
The response is there.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

how to love your family

sometimes the slow burn of constancy
cools and chars.  It chaffs facades and peels
like old paint. The neglected room grows
cavernous without bodies moving through.
APPRECIATION is a political word, a show,
while gratitude waits smiling by the roadside
for a ride.  information is currency
and monetary movement between people
corrupts the quiet willing patterns of peace.
I’d rather walk one more time around the pond
with company, than sit one more phone call
bouncing conversation from crowded satellite
to satellite.  

always the slow burn of constancy
is basic.  It is not meant to be a beacon
or travelers mark.  It is the center ember
from which sparks are lifted to dull the
absent cool of new places.   GRATITUDE
of time, every day a timed exercise.
Appreciation is left for the scripted holiday
cards that break so many hearts.  I’d rather
walk one more time around the pond
with company, than spend one more
afternoon imagining a magazine-d future.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


oysters with lemon juice slide down
a liquored throat, pulsing and pushing.
Valentines Day is a noisy crowd-
legs and arms and the holding mass of middle chest.
Everything moves a heavy red.
Talking about words
I understand every language
and you translate like freedom,
a sudden subway.


I would like the smallest stone house on the reservoir-my watery neighborhood a mirror of yellowing leaves. Leaving, left.  Inside, a floor, a cupboard to put things in.  Wooden figurines that I can place and that remain reminders of people to pray to. I'd have blankets and pillows and I'd be sheltered in the winter shifting night.  A worn out boat to lay in and see the sky, drifting on the silver zipper that divides the horizon line. Thin eternity, wet and translucent, turning.

Group home

The quickest chemical
     to a sick heart is
to listen to children breathe
     while they sleep
on the third floor
     of a finally quiet house.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

transitional housing

A house opens for business-
The crowding of silent customers
All those death shadows
Jockeying for position
Around the guest book.

Their wallets are full 
of sand, grave-gris,
The carpenter’s tab still inscripted
On their shallow chests.

forgetting why they came
A prisoner in the half world
Hallways like memories,
Stairs into the ground.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Around the rough table
we eat with our hands
roast pig, cheese and bread,
roasted peppers.  In the fields,
grapes rot in the grass,
and fill the sunset
With the smell of the end.
This season will not last long,
the table will be empty,
And we will pick at our teeth waiting.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Brother, we all pay tithes
in the hope that our
empty pockets
fill finally.
Some pay in time, or in blood-
useless tissue.
Others pay with money,
and other paper drugs.
Isn’t it interesting
that Ownership
does not exist?
We’ve made dangerous rituals
For ourselves.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Like too many
moons in the mouth
the twin sides of a knife,
cold and perfect.
There is no absolution,
only the clean cutter's edge

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Night before a boat race

the white tents by the river
make me think it’s a circus
sleeping. Tomorrow
alligators and elephants
will emerge,and people
in Harvard sweatshirts
will stare, puzzled.

Planning for an old friend's wedding

I have two dresses to choose from:
A coral one and a deep green.
I have so many boxes of jewelry.
I have one beautiful white coat, heavy
and well-made. 

Looking in the mirror,
I was thinking and thinking
About how I seem-
I plan my arrivals and escape routes
Which is hard in a city I don’t know.
I imagine who will be there
And calculate when they saw me last.
It’s a common thing to feel like
Everyone has conquered and claimed
Their lives completely
While you flounder in a patched
rubber boat, bobbing off the coast of
A whole nation of loss. 

Re-direction of the mind
is necessary sometimes.
I take a hold of my minds material
and shape it playfully, solemnly.
This nation
accumulates like history
a constructed landscape.  I am forced
to crumple up drafts in my fist.
Where am I, really?
Finally I see the real as I squint
through the dust of deconstructing forms.

A jungle rises up, infinite roots serpentine
in the acrid soil-
wet and breathing emotion.
Beyond the jungle, mountains-
instant blue altitude, a looking spot
where I can go cheek to cheek with God.
From there I can lay my palm in the air
and smooth the plains, steeping in time
an internal ocean that rises and falls like a sleeping chest.
Above is a soundless sky
with clouds moving like a herd of animals
drawn towards the slipping horizon.
And the horizon itself
is fluid, even from afar, the sea,
a heaving deep content in forming all maps.
She moves sunlight and moonlight,
reflecting, cradling, sucking it down into
the hidden chasms of the Earth.

I decide my nation is sacred
as are the nations of my neighbors.
I am the one being that all
the enduring things cradle.
Because in all loss is the remarkable
inescapable tolling of hope,
a throb of the eternally true.  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

They are waiting for us to return (Bohinj, 2006)

Already drunk, we walk a half mile
to the mostly empty hotel
and buy two bottles of vodka at the bar.

We use the old money,
soft and pocket worn.
The dining room is hot from the fireplace
but we don’t bother to unhook our coats.
The man wraps the bottles in paper
and we leave.  

Walking back, 
there is such satisfaction in seeing the winter sky,
the rapture of night in infinite ink.
Everything is still with ice
except the soft squares
of light farther down the path.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thinking hard on Zagreb (free of cost)

The kitchen
used to be a closet
so plastic bags
jars, tattered packages
zip lighters
and fly swatters
are all an arm’s length away.
Functional, colorful
the rusty living

The hallway
hung with wide shelves
that are filled
 like it’s still the war
and still photographs
wait, waning, soaking dust.
Save everything, everything
has multiple meanings.
Postcards are paintings,
echoes, and timepieces.

Hard bedrooms
bedrooms are made from spaces
made safe, a cave, a secret place.
A bed is a couch is a table,
whatever prescribed purpose
I still sleep.   Laying
looking at the china closet,
the crocheted pictures
the modest carved cross
an afterthought, the heater
like a cabinet to the past,
heavy and ceramic.  The windows
rattle because we are on street level
and voices from strangers
are close, a public room.

Black feet from walking
will stain the tub.  Then you are
scrubbing both feet and tub.
Skin used to suffocate
in the blackness of the air,
the imperceptible
precipitation of pollution.
Clean yourself, the bite
of old soap, weak-tasting toothpaste
rough pink toilet paper like newsprint.
To shower you need to squat
and hold the water spigot
like a microphone,
like a child learning to wash.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deer Island, 2010

In a high wind, the island threatens to rip
From the harbor.  Air currents tempt and touch the land swell,
Sweeping through the long grass, whistling
Around anchored stones.  The children and I
Try and spot all the lighthouses on the vacant
Slab spots farther out in the water.  We see a boat on fire.
We discuss the cracked shell of a mussel
On the boardwalk, the effort of a seabird.
We walk on a nice day, and one girl runs ahead
Into the hollowed space between clouds.
On the south end, the sewage plant hums,
The mechanical digestion of city waste.
We listen to a wind turbine spin-
The continuous, measured crashing of a wave.
I show a child the wrinkled bud of a rose hip
And remember eating them
with my mother on Nantucket.   You can make
tea with them, I explain.  They are tart and clean.
But I know my information doesn’t matter just now.
The city rises up on the opposite shore.
What a barren place the island is, with no trees.
People froze here, in the winter
Looking at the small smoke from fires
On the mainland. 
I try and tell the children this,
But ghosts you cannot taste or touch
And children know truth is in the senses.
I try and hear them just the same,
 beneath the turbines,
Their bones beneath the grass.  In the gray water.
They are cracked shells on wet stone.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An old note-to-self, found just now.

A machine that takes things apart
And orders the pieces

Who said happiness
Is ordered?
Order is slavery to a system-
For inspectors, order is God.

Everyone leaves a permanent mark-
Freeing a river, saving a life, building a machine.
Most of our life is contained in ourselves,
What are we leaving for others?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Who is Who touching the surf

Sitting by the ocean
Things are pulled out of her
That other people can’t even ask for.
Her insides are emptied onto the sand
And are escorted into the greatness
Of water timeless.  She cannot lie
To the beach;
She is perfect before it
And protected by the feeling
Of being nothing and temporary.

He arrives unexpectedly,
Which is the best way
to depart the expected.
He does not end anything,
An observer with hands and legs
He respects the old connections
That existed before his name
Was in her mouth. 
He is not jealous of immortality,
He smiles as the years smooth him,
And he smoothes her,
Her toe tips in sea foam.