Tag Archives: unregulated verse

Friday, near midnight

peony

Friday, near midnight

Put a penny on the day’s good eye.
Cars parked in the road after dinner

Tick like patient bombs. Each interval
Lengthens toward silence

Like the stems of peonies
Slow their sprint to the May sky.

While we were not looking
One terminal bud becomes

a thousand pennants waving
In tight but unpracticed formation.

Or it is a signal, a coded message
Saying this kingdom will never come

Again. Overhead an unbroken line
of streetlights blinks, then holds

Like an eye chart that wants to help
You but loses sense as you gain focus.

Landscape, with a small city in the mind

dog

Landscape, with a small city in the mind

Even when nobody can see what is
Skirting the village lights,

a sleeping dog’s ear may twitch
To death’s threadbare approach.

A vulture pulls stillness out of crosswinds,
Becomes a null sum that is beauty,

An ever adjusting stillness mending
The ugly and the invisible,

Right above the house, whether you
Are looking or not. I have heard the sigh

Of loblolly pines scratching their shorthand
Onto the sky’s white page. Everywhere I see

Words except where words are. The news
Is sheet music for yesterday’s song.

I worry we will all be out of tune
When the clouds flee like an octopus

Leaving night in its tense wake.
And at the edges, a visitor

You have to welcome. You know that
Voice, like the long space at twenty minutes

Past the hour, when it seems the next
Hour will never arrive. Even the church bells are

Weather-stopped. And over the hill
The wind is coming

 

[art by Mary Winifred Hood Schwaner]

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome

1.
Driving

The width of the white wall
On either side of six

Inches of air is all
That connects

You to the ground
Speeding beneath

You to the past

2.
Wormaxio

Monsters wait at the margins.
Tackling anything head-on

Kills you

3.
Asleep

Sometimes wondering
If everything I do when

Awake if everything
Good is the dream time

I call you
To tell me I’m wrong

Because I could
Not dream you

Poem to be read in the middle of the night (v)

Poem to be read in the middle of the night (v)

We never plan to leave. Even with no pretense
to stay, a moment washes over me that I could

be dead this moment, and of what I would not
have the moment to question, only gone,

leaving behind a family and world unprepared
to master day and hour and mortality, not

by me at any rate. Teeth in, fears bared,
no held breath barred, I breathe a bit longer.

Poem to be read in the middle of the night (iv) / Skyline at dusk

Poem to be read in the middle of the night (iv) / Skyline at dusk

I lean my head back against the transparent beach.
Starlings pull up the garland of the sky and hang it on trees.

Miniature lake, street puddle spilling sky on a tire.
Because they leap, like that boy I was

we make a leap of faith and the stars stand still–
just the illusion of motion on motion

And the moon, black like a lost penny, shining
only on the edge, has been laughed at enough

to appear a smile. The starlings sharpen
their beaks against the wheel of the hour.

Dusk and Beyond

Dusk and Beyond

 

The dusk sky is a gameboard of bats,
everyone’s lost apologies for what

They knew they did wrong but could not find
The words to admit. Homeless things.

The poet’s night shift has me emotional–
The moon’s pendulum scythe swings

Below the tree line and I wake up astonished
To be alive. The poem holds a word

To my throat and the word is your missing
touch. In the world are some animals whose feet

Never touch the ground. Birds who only
Land on the uncertainty of open water.

Just as in you there are poems
that may never land on the tree of language

But whose wingbeats keep you awake,
Whose migration over open space

Turns everyone’s heads though they hear
Only your voice on a quiet morning.

Six late-August evenings (1)

Six late-August evenings (1)

1.
My sister whole of body and mind
Still a flower yet to be crushed

Lithe at twenty as a cat and with a cat’s deceiving
Focus sits re-spooling tape into a cassette

Clink of Heineken and scrub oak crickets
How we echo-locate the Cape Cod dark

And the invisible stairway to heaven slid down
As we forced the world to sing backwards with us