Imagining deadlines

The moon crawls over my windshield, a bored insect.
Reflection of a reflection of light

on the grim and circling stone.
The world does not share my sense of time:

In a vehicle parked off the road, going nowhere
I sense no motion at all in this luminous bug

on the curved glass. Doesn’t it know
I don’t have all night to be moved?

The last warm day of the year

The last warm day of the year

The October sun rests on a loblolly pine.
Late afternoon, slight breeze. River

of leaves sliding along the street side.
I am too old, says the sun, for this: I get

up later every day and I’m tired earlier.
The pine squints at the sun’s single ring

of fire: Try having as many rings as I do
says the pine. Try living in full seasons

instead of skating above it all. Try,
just once, standing still.

Standing in the sun by the church

Where the light falls may fail
something else along its edge

close enough to see it
but not be in it or of it

Sun streams through stained
glass but not to the people inside

under the shadows each of
their individual Gods

My bench in the shade got cold
but all I had to do was walk

a few steps past the walnut tree’s
highest eminence now just

shifting sparkle and shadow
at my feet — even on the ground

I’m higher than spires
my limbs bound to no rooted

trunk of belief — I know
I’ll float freely one day

but I’ll fall like we all fall
and the landing I have seen

against living’s gravity
is almost weightless

By this river

By this river

My river starts as a creek that idles like a train loading up kids at a park
then slides underground, quickening beneath the destroyed black neighborhood

beneath the cheap hotel and its parking lot that was supposed to be a mall
and on downhill past City Hall where it bursts into the open thirty feet below

the police station parking garage then sidles back under the concrete
and into the dark again beneath a parking lot called The Wharf though

it hid the only waterway in the valley so sometimes when I want
to touch the current of my life I feel a parking space stripe that

hand-wide line white or yellow painted over and over for years
until it’s a physical presence not just a visual guide the layers

of paint countable like tree rings when what I want is the rush
and gurgle of what’s just below our pedestrian lives

Neighborhood song

Neighborhood song

Where things end up is past wondering.
Despair leaves a bag of burning shit at your door.

Rings the doorbell and runs. Sadness comes
to visit and sees the bag, stamps out the fire

before you can open the door and stop it.
Sadness never gets the trick. If you close

the door in its face, it will just stand there
and wait. Perspective texts you by mistake

a few minutes later: “You really put your foot
in it this time.” So eventually you let sadness in

And make it a favorite drink. You throw a comforter
and pillow on the couch, or chair, or floor.

You know it can take care of itself, and will leave
when it’s ready. Regret can’t blame the door

It walks into until you have opened it up to let
it in, and it can see what’s behind it clearly.

“You never should have let th-that thing in,”
pointing to the slumbering lump on the couch.

There is no need to be nice. Once you push
it out into the night, “You’ll end up wondering

what you’ve wasted your time on!” it says,
backing down the steps. The rain, being rain,

begins. Miles away the storm is thundering
like the biggest lost imagined toy. In the dark

you may have smiled, like a clock-face caught
by lightning. There are words for what you see

which don’t exist in the past, which dissolve like joy.
Where things end up is past wondering.

The angel reconsiders

angel face flame

The angel reconsiders

The flame over its head twists and flickers.
A cowlick of wonder. Through the sinew

of transparent wings flows the blood of creation.
It lifts and sets down, interlocks fates, initiates

patterns we feel in our hearts when things die
and when things are born. It has been feeding.

It looks to the lower middle left, that place we look
when we are thinking about the truth.

It would be a good year to start from scratch,
the angel thinks. Its round face,

blue like a baby’s eye, blinks. Nothingness
begins to melt into a terrible form

of a hand and dark thoughts. Then
the angel reconsiders. Its wings spread

high, high, higher, into a sacred shrug.
The hand is left alone, reaching for its maker.

angel detail

On

file (3)

On

1.
I awoke and you were on me.
Blackness: the sky through the window

is the hole of an open grave.
The branches outside, roots sticking through.

Your arm held me from falling all the way
up and on

2.
Going on, I leave nothing behind,
no place no person no road or tree.

Continuing on is the unspooling
rug of time. If we ever found

the edge we really would fly.
But we won’t. The past isn’t gone,

Nothing is gone. By which I mean
I really can’t find it. It’s the only thing missing.

3.
Covered pool in the apartment complex
At the end of the dead end road:

A single frog emits his signal, a tone
brighter than traffic lights. It goes up,

it punctures space, length of a star’s
light, into the vacuum, it goes on.

Godzilla’s revenge, or, self-portrait on a t-shirt

file (2)

Godzilla’s revenge, or, self-portrait on a t-shirt

Morning after a rain, baby crickets fling themselves out of the grass,
like someone told them they have to jump upstream

recklessly to spawn. I’m sure placing my lame dog
on the grass to pee that I have crushed thousands of them.

I always felt Godzilla had no burden of guilt for the sweep
of his tail when trying to get around in the city. The crickets

can be so loud in the back yard that when I lay awake
at 1 a.m. trying to sleep I can barely hear the two churches

compete to toll the hour through the open second floor window.
We live on a hill. When the rain came last night I ran outside

and pointed my phone’s flashlight along the edge of the road.
It takes a few minutes in a hard rain but the water flow that starts

at the top of the hill winds its way to my street and passes
my house, first as a trickle, then a rivulet, then river then

a torrent that leaps the sidewalk and takes up a third
of the street. I like to see that first movement of water

before I go back inside. In the morning dozens
of businesses have been flooded. A police car floating like a lily

in the intersection by the bakery. It’s a hot and dry day.
Gravel and dirt are spread over the streets like the

footprints of a giant monster with no memory it was here.

Get lost

Get lost

1.

We live in the spaces between trees.
No matter how many we cut down

There is always space between one
And the next and that is where we are

But as the lines get longer it is harder
To breathe.

2.

Heat is selfish. Cold is impersonal.
Weather is activating. Love is not

A verb or a noun but an adjective.
So what is love?

3.

It’s okay to be lost. Being lost
Doesn’t change your position

In the world. It’s easier to be
Found if you’re not in the usual places.

Nobody but you will be the recipient
Of your rescue. I prefer to stay lost

And at least know where I am.