how much a muse

I wonder if he reads invisibles
combs documents for things only sensed
extra spaces left careless before paragraph

breaks my own meticulous
after running my fingers through mist
smooth untangle hard to grasp gifts
laid out like linen for him lacking

does he translate as poorly
let fall finer for press of flesh
ordinary profane undone mundane

muse or does he hold space
flight for paper planes freeing light what
cannot be folded into words and my body
weightless if he breathes

 

 

Where the Path Widens

I have always walked away
from the centre
from the edge
from vengeance, hatred, love
“any club that would have me as a member.”

I’m limping now
my shoes have holes
my faithful dogs long gone.

Recently I thought I heard footsteps
lighter than mine close by
and last night dreamt of a wider path
and the hint of a goal that isn’t at my back.

 

 

Dirge

Every morning
I apologize to the
dreams that

fall away
like confetti
in the sirens
of the day

I sing
as the pieces
float to earth

always
more naked than
yesterday

 

 

Go Ahead

It’s a box that grins softly to be opened,
as if the last bite of chocolate were inside,
the bite I amble toward
as if I don’t need it,
as if I’m only finishing what I started …

It’s a box with the flaps lazing on one another,
squares with curved souls
and dark recesses,
lightweight, liftable folds.
Only paper…

And the lifting is a soundless opera
extolling the seven stages of indecision—
temptation/guilt/negotiation/guilt/resolve/renegotiation/squinting.

The folds peel
and the light advances like an army
following orders without flinching,
rolls in like an ocean obeying
the laws of water in dry places.
And the darkness, like a vampire’s cape,
like Peter Pan’s shadow grown up,
abandons the folds as they surrender,
fainting, hanging like laundry.

And there it is,
small for the box,
the dark, bittersweet
chocolate of truth.

 

 


First published in Coachella Review.

The Smellephant

A smellephant lives down the lane.
He’s got home cooking on the brain.

He cannot cook. He has four feet,
better for marching down the street.

Besides, he doesn’t know a pan
from the lid of a garbage can.

When his belly starts to rumble,
door-to-door, he’ll sniff and stumble

after potatoes and juicy roast,
or coffee and some eggs on toast.

Hear his trumpet, let him in,
or a trampling might begin;

of gardens, and of outdoor toys.
Don’t hide your food, or make a noise.

Just place it gently out the door,
so the smellephant will not roar.

He’ll gobble it in seconds flat,
then be as docile as a cat.

 

 

While Jean Doesn’t Write

While Jean doesn’t write,
seditious phrases make their escape
to parallel dimensions where
mothman aliens hunt and gather them,
eat them silently and then
look through at us knowingly.
This phenomenon is entirely
Jean’s fault.

While Jean doesn’t write,
17 wars that we know of continue
like a second day of rain,
race relations in America harden into
pre-1970’s pessimism
and 2/3 of her neighbors fail to recycle.
Indeed, for every day that
Jean doesn’t write,
another Republican actor runs
for office.

While Jean doesn’t write,
her lifelong friends don’t change.
Her adult children do what they will.

 


First published in  Five:2:One Magazine.