About sz

Writes fiction and poetry. And occasionally other things, whatever they are.

This space, this

This space, this emptiness between
what you thought you knew and what you
cannot know–terror, a precipice,
but also comfort like a skin,
a small vast place to rest in,
not to knit up or bind, but untie,
unravel things spun out, to stand
on this spinning earth, a still thing
past threat passes, only now.




Tree, woods, cave, wheel

The jump tree to tree
or the rupture there where you
were, here where you are.

Backwater, deep woods–
something human crops up in
the sift, bronze or bone.

In the cave things feel
larger than they are, every
dark thing but exit.

This little wheel we
drive drives us while all the while
wonder awaits us.




In the Woods

They have been many days in the forest walking and not getting anywhere, always in the same gloom, a shifting curtain of shadows sometimes shot through with arrows of golden buzzing light revealing spots of dappled green ahead of them like stained copper, above them, the dark closed green of the high heads of tall pines.

They walk always in the same direction even when they turn around. They’ve been here so long they no longer know how many they are–one or two, so long they no longer know if they are thinking or speaking aloud the things they think, so long that when one of them says something, they don’t know which one of them is saying it or if they have already said it a moment ago or a week ago or a month or yesterday.

Suddenly the forest opens up. They are not looking for a temple, but they find one, though it has been mostly gutted by the latest round of haphazard malice, wrecked but not destroyed. Past the relief of finally just arriving somewhere, one is astonished then relieved to be in a holy place that like most holy places seems always to have been there, awaiting finding and supplication or gratitude. Even here among the cracked columns and crushed idols, one is seized with the wonder of belief.

The sacred pool, mostly dry and muddy now, embellished with the empty bottles and candy wrappers and condoms of the wrecking crew–he is standing at the far edge of it, looking out over the valley that shades off into the city in the distance. He turns to you and says, every time we get to this part, I think the same thing and say the same thing, but I never can remember what it is. Oh, you say, I remember–you say, ah, the end  of empire, documentation and storage and then just victims and middens from here on out.






Where the pen went

Where the pen went,
the mind had flown
where the mind flew
it paced the air, waiting
for a clear runway,
running out of fuel
above the spinning
earth atilt, askew,
a manuscript of crossings
and erasures to the west,
below, the glassy eyes
of lakes and rivulets
the mirrored sun
flashing up, flashing
into that mind that was
all engine roar and
perturbation, knocks
and sudden drops
and sudden altitude.


met terra cotta woman mirror crop 1 mod

paddycake paddycake
make us a man
make him run
fast as he can
send him to the city
send him to the town
give him a hand can
knock walls down
set him in a sliver
set him in a comb
send him to the country
send him out to roam
make him amuse us
make him fight our wars
give him a shadow
give him claws
adam cadmon
earth and sand
paddycake paddycake
make us a man
give him a word
no one can hear
give him a prayer
no one can say
send him to the airport
put him in the ground
make him tell us
where he’s found
send him with the spirits
send him with the waves
give him the keys
to every rock and cave
put him in a tumbler
put him in a boat
give him a beard
like a billy goat
give him all our kisses
give him all our clothes
let him know things
nobody knows
make him fearsome
make him wise
give him sticks and
stars for eyes
make him bad and
make him good
an army of banners
a tower of wood

image: Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/248689

My History of Knitting

All did and none committed still
some escutcheons translate the past
other artifacts fill everything
a bright blue sky with silver blimps
and miscellaneous persons
asking where the rockets are
where where where
idling at the light, binoculars
the dead giveaway of the damned
such misfortunes plagued us
left us wanting at the throwaway
such small things they were, too
just a little killing and the like
later on a mountain and a slough
and words, lots of them, so many
even the vandals called for a truce
the going, in short, was rough
they were still darting into the shadows
the minions were out laying blame
the rest of us under the shade tree
so many were calling out, and that
would be my history of knitting.



Words like fences or dams

Words like fences or dams,
something you can’t see through,
something to keep things in check until
you’re alone with yourself–
there’s just no escaping genre.

That thing not recognizably you,
things you’ve taken on for no good,
where the surprise came from–
what, were you not looking?

Better a hand to keep from harm–
shoot well the hart says to the hunter–
the field’s still wide open
but the world’s compressed into
the worst possible place.

How love makes difference, then
how there’s no sorting what’s asunder
when you didn’t know it was.

Ubi nunc

In the city of no city 

citizens betray their kin

the president’s relentless

wrecking ball, meanwhile

the wife redecorates &

his mob arrives armed, angry 

because they are so wrong 

traitors act surprised that things 

they let go on have gone so far 

who will defend us now from 

the ravening inside worm

erupted from the skin


willow willow willow
our darling singing at the well,
and up and down our road
sweet as longing that song but
the singing of it’s dying, it’s
the dying that’s all wrong, yes
the world’s a huge thing
but not much for worn pockets
or a bodice with a heart in it
or a closet full of stones
what is it that they do
when they change us for others?
oh my dear, you must know
they think to change themselves
willow willow willow
where they want, they will
where they will, they go




italicized lines from Othello