poetry

Nocturne

I guess it might be like that,
like the syncopated symphony
that roars in the sky
every Fourth of July.

Maybe
it’s like the onset,
when the conductor
taps the stand
and the players tune their instruments
and the theater lights dim
slowly…
And for a moment –
before the first blasts –
the crowd sits
still.
Eyes tilt upward
expectantly,
fearless
and filled with only anticipation…

Or maybe,
it’s like the drumbeats
that pulse through the heart like tremors.
Reverb
wracks the body
as cacophonous colors
explode in the heavens
and each member of the audience
jolts back
as though only now realizing
the irrepressible power
of each detonation…

Or maybe,
it’s like the encore,
when every musician
pounds an instrument at forte
and the sound never breaks
and for a moment
it all might be so very grand
that, like the sun,
it might blind those
who gaze too intently…

Or maybe… maybe
it’s more like the curtain.
Maybe,
when the drumbeat goes silent
and the colors
take their bow,
the impenetrable sulphur shroud
is all that remains.
It descends over the sky and the eyes
and sticks in the hair and the throat
until it’s hard to remember
there was ever a grand orchestra…

Maybe
it is onset
and drumbeat
and encore
and curtain…
Or maybe
it is just
as it seems,
just
dim lights
and sound waves
and color
and sulphur…

Maybe
it is all those things…
But maybe
you
are none of those things.
Maybe the metaphor
doesn’t do you credit
and maybe
you’re not as simple
as onset
or drumbeat
or encore
or curtain…
Maybe
you are more
than dim lights
and sound waves
and color
and sulphur…

Maybe
an orchestra
is just musicians
and fireworks
are just gunpowder…
But maybe,
for a person,
the word “just”
is just not enough.

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poetry

The Silkworm

Follow your instincts. They

tell you to eat. So eat.

They tell you to weave. So

weave. They tell you to eat.

Tell you to weave. Tell you

to eat to weave to eat.

Instincts don’t fail. So

when they tell you to weave

a fortress around you,

you do as they say

and believe you are safe

in this new silken cage

that protects you from man.

Perhaps, one day, you will

claw your way out. Perhaps,

on that day, you will spread

the new wings you worked hard

to grow and discover

just how heavy they are.

poetry

Crows

They swarmed some morning in January.
It’s hard to remember which morning when
every day, the same ice-plastered sun
rises and falls behind formless gray…

Was I afraid? Perhaps
I should have been,
watching that black cloud descend
and shutter like a school of fish

A few irridescent feathers
grazed like iron against my skin.
One bird perched on my shoulder.
Its talons left tattoos…

Each morning, I listened to the crows
speak in tongues and give me prophecies.
They woke me early to whisper more
until their voices were no longer whispers…

At first, the frozen sun
still pierced their feathers.
Today, they keep their wings
outstretched.

Sometimes, I tell them
“no more.” Their voices like ghosts
chatter and mumble back at me.
No more… nevermore…

So I listen to the crows…
and I’m not afraid. Perhaps
I should be…? But how can I fear
when their sweet voices
sing like swans…

poetry

The Petrified Forest

the excavation began
one make-believe eve
beneath starlight
and black satin sky

they prodded the earth
with little sand shovels
demanded it reveal
its fossilized scandals

the children dug down
all the way to the core
and stumbled upon
the forest beneath

underground
lives eternal autumn
where red trees sing
sweet forlorn spirituals

banded together
petrified pines
beg the children
to please keep quiet

but the trees
remember
when they fled
metallic thunder

they saw brothers
stripped of clothes
replace brothers
ripped from roots

above they still hear
storms slay oak warriors
they can’t find us here…
they won’t want hard wood…

children please say
we are safe below…
but the children
are bigger already

they abandoned the woods
since grown-ups don’t recall
make-believe eves or
laments of last fall

the stone trees weep and
hard leaves rustle in fear
but hush… sing softly…
the thunder might hear…

poetry, Uncategorized

Gravity

According to Newton’s first law of motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest. And yet
they say objects tug ever closer to one another at every moment. In this case – then –
are we truly at a state of rest if we stand in shuddering suspension
as every particle screams for our attention?
Scientists may snub their noses at me. But
I prefer to think of gravity in this way:
as a perpetual state of falling. Not
up or down – but
falling closer.

they say that as two galaxies
orbit one another – fall towards one another –
they sweep themselves up into a descending dance
they twirl each other closer until
arms graze and catapult
the stars of the fringes – stars like the sun –
into The Great Beyond
but they never learn
they only spin
faster and closer
until one consumes the other
(but which is “eater” and which is
“eaten,” no astronomer could tell) and so

star systems splinter and dark holes meld and celestial bodies
collide in cosmic destruction. I heard that one shard
shot through space at speeds exceeding sound and
killed a spacewalker. And this – they say –
is our fate: for we are locked in a danse macabre,
perpetually falling closer to each other – closer to

Finis.

poetry

Highway Flowers

A flower’s destiny depends upon
where the sower scatters seeds. There are
those flowers which live in gardens

and spring up to be watered and
tended and bought and sold as they
make plain spaces lovely again.

White lilies bloom on the steps
in a church. Their petals wil bandage
the grieving, fractured hearts

A sign in a storefront reads, “Roses,
sweet roses for sweeter lovers.” Several roses
sell. Some sit and wait until they wilt.

Some flowers spring up in the fields
where once all flowers lived, and they thrive
for the spring and die in the summer.

But the highway flowers landed in
crevices where they pray for a quiet life
among pavement and shaking earth.

When the sower tossed his seeds along
the path, I wonder if he knew about these cracks
where poppies somehow bloom.

I wonder if he ever visits the highway
flowers, if he waters them and cares for them
the way he gardens the lilies of the field

Are flowers born in fissures dressed
in royal splendor? Are they so marvelous as
the vineyard’s mighty branches?

The rain drizzles down on them as
each car passes, as the flowers grow just
out of grasp of a rogue tire’s tyranny

The rain drizzles down and washes
the grease off their petals, trickles through
cracks to their roots. I wonder if perhaps

a highway, too, can be a garden.

poetry

An Afternoon at the Zoo

Look, children!
Look, look here!

Come and see exhibit A!
See that great beast go!
See it, children?
Watch it raise a mighty squawk
and stalk away as its
blood boils in its brain
Our research shows
that many of these beasts
are easily agitated
by sun or rain
or food or time
or others of their kind
or anything, it seems
They seem to find
homeostasis
quite a challenge.

See that flat black box?
That little black box they
hold as tight as their young
in their slender paws?
Our research shows
they use it capture and
tamper with their own memories.
This little black box is
how they communicate
the way they organize their flocks
the way they interact with
the vast number of their kind
(I know, children. Our researchers
don’t quite understand it, either.)

See them press
their naked faces in at us?
Watch as they point and stare
and make strange sounds
as they look through glass and bars.
Our research shows
they get some kind of
primitive pleasure watching us.
But chemicals fill their minds
not just from watching us:
they love to watch each other.
They watch each other
live and thrive and venture.
Watch each other
unravel and decay. They cheer
for success as they cheer for
failure in equal measure.
Often, we’ve found, they enjoy
the lives of others far more than
they enjoy their own.

See those molting ones,
with two paws clasped together?
It’s how they show affection.
Our research has yet
to comprehend their mating patterns.
Some mate for life, it seems
Others simply live together
in a shelter but never clasp
their paws together after
time goes by. They seem to care
nothing to leave or improve.

And see here, how they must
keep walking keep walking…
keep walking…
They never stop walking, not even
when they stop to peer at us.
Watch, young ones,
see that beast walking by itself?
Our research shows
the beast is often by itself.
They live in many colonies,
many flocks, many packs
all at once. But somehow,
they seldom find a family.
Our research shows
that man is rather

a lonely beast.

poetry

To Lore and Elias

you added your names
to ever rotting woods, to
trees ripped from their roots

among the other
little sharpie headstones and
permanent mistakes

I sometimes wonder
if you walk in waking dreams
or nightmares endured

do you live in the
weary mind of the other
as lover or lesson?

I like to think you
found a way to wander back
to this little forest

look back at your names
together and smile at your
sweet naivety

I like to think you’re
sitting in some other booth
on some other day

and carving your names
in everlasting stones that
never turn to sand

but if you did fall
out of love like shooting stars
I hope you look up

every now and then
up to the dark satin skies
where you used to live

look up into the
black heavenly past and find
a touch of silver

reconnect the dots
and count the constellations
you forgot and say

if nothing else we
remember, let’s remember
that we learned.

lore and elias.jpg

*Inspired by the graffiti in Woodstock’s Pizza. To Lore and Elias, I hope you guys made it.

poetry

If Atlas Shrugged

is it day or night dawning on the horizon?
blood across my eyes runs too thick to tell
i wonder each morning how the Sky grows
heavier in day when stars no longer press on me
i wonder, Sky. last century, i asked You why
but i’ve stopped asking why. i just wonder now
if bones should break beneath the Clouds
skin blow away in the Wind with all you many
card houses. i wonder if the Sky would
crush you too? would it fall on you? i wonder
would your diamond castles stand beneath
its weight? surely, they are stronger than these
snapping sinews. if shoulders buckled under
Sun should you be so surprised? have you felt
the weight of Day when Night still lies behind?
have you bowed before the burden of loudest
Thunder? gone down on your knees for a Storm?
i have seen everything i have done under the Sun
i don’t watch anymore as i fill the Sky with dew
is it day or night setting on the horizon
flood within my eyes swells too deep to tell