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Wednesday, May 30, 2012


every year
as the day draws near

there's nothing left here
but who we were

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


all those
years i said
i love you
only to find out
too late
i do i do

Monday, May 21, 2012

essay on life

how wondrous
to be given all of this just
for dying

Saturday, May 19, 2012

so she said

she said
it's not so difficult
what you do
is write it out first
word for word
then break it down
and rearrange it so
things are working against each other
and you have to now and then pause to
find out the sense of it
maybe go back and try to say it like you remember
you said it to me
and don't worry what
other people will say
they will say
that is so fucked up if that's all
you had to say why didn't you
just say it
the right way to start with
like say

joe baby i think i got a piece of glass in my eggs

only you'll know 
by the tremble in her voice
you're the one
that reached way back there where she lives

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Conversations with Lowell

He stops by
only on Wednesdays when he says
the traffic is lighter
and he needn't worry too much about getting
run down or lost if he decides to
pause somewhere for a drink or maybe
visit one of the magnificent
cathedrals along the way, monuments he says
you hardly ever find in the other place
where so he's told everything
is mostly just ethereal
in the manner of Claude Lorain or cool and shadowy
pastel copies of Turnbull nothing
like these where you can actually reach out and touch
the stones and come to know especially
when approaching from above that the “oversized” steeple
isn't out of scale at all but an integral
part of the whole and the bas relief statues of the saints
that line the walls
my god it's like James said
in my Union Dead you can almost
hear them breathing
but that's the kind of surprise and delight
we've come to expect here and no feeling of confinement at all
you can wander anywhere you like
with only the great river for a boundary which
is much like the Mississippi
near Little Rock more shallow
than one would have thought but treacherous nonetheless
and no ferry no way to cross except to take off
your shoes and step out
barefoot into the darkness.  I've considered that don't think
I haven't because let me level with you
there are times when I still think about Elizabeth
and if I truly thought she was over there
I wouldn't hesitate for a moment but how is one to know?  And
on those occasions when I've written her the letters always
come back Address Unknown which
makes me wonder if it's like this with her as well
that perhaps there is enough Hell to furnish everybody
with at least one.

Monday, May 14, 2012

In the Forests of the Night

Christ you're afraid of alligators
and won't leave
the house when you make one
of your

infrequent visits won't step
off the porch and keep

the latches before we sleep asking
can they climb

in the windows I bet they could
you say standing
on their tail and using those little shortie
legs they have to grip

on the sill and knock the glass out
with their snout but
it wasn't an alligator that got your cat was it

it was you who let her crawl
in the clothes dryer
with a load of towels and damn near

burned her alive from the heat
before you heard
the bump bumping and got off the phone
long enough to figure out what
was going on

and now the poor thing hugs the carpet and growls
when you bend down to feed her
crouching over her food like a lion with its kill
this no other way to say it this beast
your little sweetie that
you raised from when she was just a kitty
how can it be

that nothing we ever plan on ever stays the same
and if you didn't
have enough to worry about your daughter
has taken to walking in her sleep and what if
one night that goddamn cat
should leap up out of the dark and bite her in the neck
or god forbid
the face what then
oh god what

if the latches don't hold and everything flies loose
and it's all of a sudden the end of the world

like Cayce said like
wherever you try to flee it's still another


Azure is a good
isn't it I wish I always knew what azure means
it's so beautiful sounding
but I have to run look it up every time
it comes around
just like it used to be with learning how to spell
that part at the end is such a tricky bitch
it had to come from France
or somewhere
like the Romans
where they say shay when they mean shet
and if we've got this given
sky that is really really azure what color
are we talking about anyway
can you
say that right off the top of your head and don't
say blue
blue smue it isn't just blue it's "heraldic" blue says here
which god only knows
what that means
means maybe what the heralds used to wear in the days
of heraldry. No? Well just
forget it then
blue is not my color anyway
it's ochre
which when I forget what that means it still comes in good
all those times I need a rime for azure.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

if i saved up

if i saved up
all the portraits
i've made of you
and stapled them
back to back
like the scrawled pages
of a child
you wouldn't care
who it was
did these things
only why
he couldn't learn
to color
within the lines

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Elegy for What’s to Be

On the porch the chimes shimmer
and in the stand of old pines down by
White Park Mill
a brushfire the city is slowly winning out over
smoulders in the twilight
like what like if I tried to explain it to somebody
like everything else around here I guess
like this trust you seem to have that nothing will harm you
an attitude you maintain even after suffering
two years with glaucoma
eyes blurred open
like a slave punished by his master
who has brushed them out with a burning
stick for no good reason
but unlike any slave you never complain
and can still perform your duties
barking at the mailman
chasing away birds or bird shadows what is the difference
you think
the shadows are just as mean
just as real as the other ones
and our widowed neighbor wonders how it is you can still go
for your morning
constitutional as she calls it
without somebody having to carry you like a baby
although that too is something
you’re prepared for going way back to your granddaddy’s time
like one day when they called his name
he simply wasn’t there like you like me one blind
one always in the dark
chasing shadows in the slanting smoke
together or apart

sonnet for ethan

dont we hate it
you will not live
this very life we have lived
that everything
you accomplish has yet to be
frozen in blurred motion
at the other end of binoculars where we watch
our own days whirr away like startled quail
and dont we hate it
we cant assert yes yes we were there first
at that jumping off place before
you were born
telling ourselves that long after you arrived
we would still be here teaching you how to die

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

sometimes when i feel down

sometimes when i feel down
i go pick out one of them
rodney jones maybe or stephen dunn
andrew hudgins
people who've been
through the fire you can tell it the first
time you read them yes these
are friends
men that will step out on the porch with you
before dawn
unafraid tasting the air
from off the river
and their dogs beside them
because that's what dogs and friends are for
to be there when you need them without
your asking
or even knowing what it is you want
living or dying what's the use
the way it is when only a poem will do