Monthly Archives: August 2018

Attitude, last day of August

Attitude, last day of August

for Yehuda Amichai

We start to see summer like a tree we are driving by
As we turn from one street to another: a name changes

But what we are doing is the same. The blue spruce
On the corner flips the finger to the season:

It’s all digits and no fists, even its million middle fingers
Are made of more spiky blue fuck-all-of-its.

On the sidewalk the day feels strange,
It’s a day of everyone turning as if they were just stung

By something so small it couldn’t be swatted.
And the hurt look hiding the fear the nest is near.

Every morning the street wakes up and forgets
Everyone who has run over it before but if you walk here at night

You can hear the moans of everyone who could not turn back
Or forgot they ever came this way and don’t know

How they got here, honestly, and that sincerity is what
Seals them into the street’s surface. Regret is parked

On a side street, the windshield reflecting Mars, the gas station
“open” sign, streetlights on passing clouds.

It feels good to walk past all this and know no one
Is waiting at the edge of the dark street that is this line

And my pulse will roar on like so many late night
Truckers on I-81 squinting through exhaustion.

Moonflower [#fullmoonsocial]



The screech owl is moaning tonight as Mars
Moors over the walnut trees. Its call whittles

Away the dusk and the day’s shavings drift
Between leaves then sink to the grass

And become crickets. This small hilly town
Is full of vultures and most of them sit quietly

On the cell tower on the highest hill here
As below them the volume ramps up.

Above my head the loblolly pines reach out
awkwardly to the night like lonely brothers

missing the sisters they stopped talking to back
when nobody could be trusted. Vultures

Can be trusted to be exactly what they are.
The cell tower they gather on is in a park

Called Reservoir Park, which, being on top
Of a hill, has no reservoir and is the one park

In town which does not flood during heavy rain.
The screech owl doesn’t so much screech

As it makes you want to find it, and not being
Able to find it makes you want to screech.

This small hilly town. A memory from this morning
Of the low sun emerging through the center

Of the moonflower. The loblolly pines shrugging
As if they don’t want what they want. The crickets

Playing late summer’s encore over and over. Unseen
Sources of sound and light like a reservoir

For my unfocused thoughts, like a small flower
So brilliant its edges seem a new kind of call

From a small owl announcing summer’s over.

The Link


The Link

At dusk the house blinks, as if it is just waking up
Though like an owl, its eyes were open all day

And the house only sleeps deeply for about eleven seconds
At a time. Like the owl, the house can rest

Half its brain more fully by closing one eye.
How the house’s dreams must differ from ours–

What would our dreams be like if we could see only
What our left brain or right brain most desired?

Like the house, the owl knows nothing beyond
Containment. Its mouth is small and full of earth.

Like the house, the owl makes its home
Close to the dense trees where the paths

Are too narrow for larger things to bother it,
Blends in with its surroundings. Why do we

Think the owl is wise and the house empty
Of soul? Even its rapidly beating heart, matching

That of a baby, and its ferocity at its nest
Staring down the hawk will not obtain it the favor

Of the God of the woman in the house. The moon
Can be seen through the top loop of the porch swing’s

S-hook from where the shadow crouches, feeling
For a spare key. The owl’s pupils flare, then its lower

eyelids rise as it settles in again; the thing on the porch
has scared the prey from the yard. In one room above

The house begins to dream.

Night’s asymptote


Night’s asymptote

Cicadas worry the heat from the bark.
Who am I to say where you are tonight

When gloaming’s slow folding unbuckles
Into night? The moon, only twenty minutes

From being a vague figure for lust, is now keen
song on a blade and without warning

Crickets and tree frogs push the black train
Forward. We all hear that same sound.

I know I will never completely reach you
And I know I will never leave you.

What that leaves us is the only word the
Screech owl knows before the circumstance

Of light floods across your lips and the sun
stumbles forward at the height of a man’s mind.




Unrecognized local number texting
‘Why did you change to “might come”

this weekend?’ I froze. Daydreaming
Of visiting my father on his 85th birthday.

Death’s number is always local, no
Matter how far away he seems.

And yes, he saw my mother fall,
Perforated inside, and went into the

Woods with eyes half seeing,
To the retired cop’s house for help.

And sometimes I see him there
Among the scrub oak, out

Of options, unsure, trying to lead
Death away from the house

And that was the time I came.

Lee on either side of the mountain

Lee on either side of the mountain

Citizens emerge from bars to high-five the protesters
Who stop short of the monument and line of riot police

On the other side it will be easier to tear down an entire school
So it costs nothing to remove his name from it

Movement trips a security flood light outside my dream
Deer walking silently through a dark backyard

Lightning, like the earth is pulling


Lightning, like the earth is pulling

Lightning, like the earth is pulling threads from the moon,
Unseen above the clouds. The earth’s desire is so strong

That fish wriggle from the tree by my driveway, and roll
On the sidewalk waiting for rain. The neighbor says they are fallen

Flowers from the rose of sharon, but they more resemble
Shrink-dried koi, ready to plump up as the moon draws

The water inland. Like wishes waiting for the right moment
They will blossom only after their fall and swim down the street

Where everyone can see, unattached to what they grew from,
Swallowing bread dropping through the air from the hands of strangers.

The clouds


The clouds

For generations they saw them
Looming above, the sunlight

Skreeing off the wings’ edges
The bottom in shadow skimming

The heavens as if looking below
For those it wanted to strike

And for generations they ran
Or froze in dread, until so much

Had gone by they had almost
Forgot, and then one day a small

One skimmed over them
And the smart ones stood there unafraid

As from it another smaller one
Fell, light glinting on the edges

Shadowed below falling faster
Than anything they’d seen

And they realized
They’d been right all along

Like the ancient Chinese poets


Like the ancient Chinese poets

Hundreds of years from now
I am almost sure that no one reading this

Will understand what I mean about
The black walnut, how its fruit

Falls from the sky in August like baseballs,
All the season’s lost line drives and extra

Base hits, all falling in a few weeks of
Evenings, after the ballpark has shut its eyes.

Who will read it and know what I hear? The ten thousand thuds
Of things getting away, all concentrated

Into a night of continued falling, like all your
Life’s bad news dropping in one long sleepless

Dream. Because the black walnut poisons its
Own earth against other trees so it can soak up

More sky, creating more fruit that drops from
Higher heights and falls in a place of the night

That only a black walnut could fall and grow
Anything from. Maybe that’s what you will

Understand, reader, a thousand years from
Now, in your own evening of everything falling.