where’s the muse these many days
that visitor of my soul with the voice
all its little flags and stones
its long corridors and hiding places
its electricity and galaxies, its days
in from the rain and its parades
the thrill of its knock out, the sad
of its sad, its bones and finery
its sackcloth and muddy sandals
the message it arrives with now
in a language I don’t understand


Think of us, the many of us
cut for fuel, think how we rested
in shallow water when we died
still tied to the way we fell.
Think of the country we then
occupied beneath your passing by,
the uncomplaining ranks of us
in each our solitude. Think how
little murder looks like sacrifice
depending on your point of view.
Think of us still holding onto
some mystery we could not let go
until you came to turn us into
something burning and alive.

All the Parts

the quiet laboratory
the alien ship
with its solemn eye
& mystic gardens
dark birds, wide water
the sleepy volcano
an outing, a stroll
the swing with its
flour-sack pillows
smelling of sun
nightfall, glowing
trees change places
& stumble you
dream, yellow fields
old ash, heat deep
in the ground
all the parts
of you

mosquito man mosquito man

mosquito man mosquito man
in your mosquito truck
known only by your power
to fortify the neighborhood
with the magic of low-lying weather
a fog of DDT intoxicating as
mimosa flower as tasty as
vinegar on crowder peas
irresistible to kids on tricycles
of one mind and all alone
pedaling like crazy into
utter discombobulation
better than whirling round and
falling better even than the fair
was it forbidden–probably, or not
kids’ ears attuned to the truck’s low
hiss moving slowly enough for a
four year-old to catch up to
the smoke bomb of another
reality, forever conflated with
the clouds and mystifications of
Sunday school heaven
a place you could go into
where there was nothing else





Long Ride

a long ride to the next world
neighborhoods sere and foggy
a bridge over a canal
an impatient bride
a lost child’s small worn shoes
another quest for the invisible
what cannot be recalled
knows nothing of despair
things ended, not begun
who can resist a dark corridor
or not let out at night, brine
mist, a mere spot of yellow:
sunshine, roses, rooms
somewhere up ahead
this ocean of feeling
subterfuge, requests
the long ride to the next world
already written over
already ridden past



In the Dreamy Dream

in the dreamy dream the deer becomes
a dinosaur, the hunter hangs his clothes
out on the line, the stop sign does not say stop
the clocks do not keep time, the dogs
have made a playhouse with the wolves

in the dreamy dream you drive a dreamy car
that becomes a dreamy boat that then becomes
a dreamy snake–listen, he whispers
something sinister is going on beneath
those dreamy trees down at the dreamy pond

in the dreamy dream the blood pressure cuff
is a shark’s mouth, all measurements
everywhere close down
someone is saying something but
you are hearing all the things
no one has ever said

in the dreamy dream no one is waiting for you
when peace comes everyone is gone, when
all the world has been translated
no one lingers, no one arrives
every door there has a secret
every revelation has a secret side


Golden Age

lucas cranach the elder the golden age

How happy was our golden age, our
prim befruited tree and leafy bits,
our prelapsarian gay days, we danced
for the sheer joy of it, our music
of the wind or of the spheres–it was the
only time we could be said to gambol.
We made feasts of fruit and salad, or
engaged in innocent converse or play
in our luminescent pond. Likewise
the deer and massive cats reposed in
peaceful pairs, tender and robust at once.
We were guileless, desirous only of
more sun, perhaps, and less poison ivy.
Nonetheless, what walled out wilderness
walled in our sleep at night–we dreamed of
calipers and caliphates, cannon, corsets,
meal and muslin, trains and trebuchet,
and all the made things that would unmake
our green idyll, our golden age.

image: Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Golden Age –


Susurration, that sound everything green
relaxes into at dusk, something like
thunder but somewhere over yonder, some
quiet thing concentrating the arbor,
June bugs, like the tintinnabulation
always in my head, my brain plantation,
you think, you want to think, romantic things,
the smell of the neighbor’s gardenias
up there on the porch, or the kind of cool
that feels like someone’s almost touching you,
everything that spooled out outside that
knotted up room where the demon was, so
hungry and demanding with its sudden
wind and wasps, so old and practiced, the way
it crawled up inside and emptied out and
made the world all ash, how was it that you
did not know, my talisman, and could not
in your safe oblivion, your smooth world
fathom the soft underneath where it fed.

The dark book

In the dark book
a cornfield, flat like a fence
but plump in cartoon nighttime
we cruise past on slow bicycles
having been in that forest
a long time, long enough
to dress and undress and redress
will there be a pool or a pond
what shoes shall we wear
or shall we go shoeless
to our borrowed casket,
two guests and then too many
it’s a vast lake
black water, cold, black trees
a broad empty plaza
trash skitters off to the side
low horns, banging cans
a warren of dusty rooms
shadow, grit, somebody
something is coming
the outside watches you
nowhere but in.


dover fairy crop grainy midtn 2 tint 2

It started, as all such things purportedly start, on an otherwise ordinary day several weeks ago when someone’s border collie transformed—without warning—into a moderately good-looking man with whom that someone began spending all her time all over the house engaged in what the local paper referred to as “questionable activities” until someone discovered what was going on when she didn’t show up for work three days in a row (like, why did it take three days to start wondering) and a relative of hers who is a policeman was convinced, probably without very much encouragement, to kick open her locked back door and inspect the premises.

Then an encampment of demons—membranous wings and leathery codpieces and brassieres, the whole bit—suddenly sprang up in the fields and pastures just outside town, alarming farmers who attempted to spray them away with huge hoses and failing in that took up their pitchforks—yes, pitchforks—and other rustic implements and attempted to no avail to chase them Continue reading


We await a more capacious state
of being, less trembling in our stirrups,
kindness, perhaps, or just some not quite hope
to hedge the aftermath. Something loud is
about to happen, air rushing away
from us already, clearing a future

space for itself. For us, no place but the
verge and the dreamy underside of things
we thought we knew–it’s just as well the cure
has emptied memory of everything
but moiré landscapes seen from rapid trains.
Still, there’s something not like sadness that

we almost feel, though we mostly want
to break a lot of things. We don’t know if
this monstrous skin is transformation or
revelation, only that forever is over
and this human heart cannot compass
even the slightest human thing.