Tag Archives: vultures

Worst Poem in This Collection [from 20 Poems & Other Translations from the English]

Worst Poem in This Collection

I walked in a circle around an idea.
Like a car in a well-lit parking lot it cast many faint shadows
Spoking out in all directions, but was itself unperceived, as is
Anything at rest exactly where it should be.
Like a circle of vultures it led me to myself walking
Injured by the road’s edge. I’m still not sure what hit me. That
Would have been the good poem.

Early Morning, January, Outside

Early Morning, January, Outside


I have seen crows measure themselves against a hawk
to secure territory.  A single crow settles into a branch

a few limbs away from a red tailed hawk, hopping awkwardly
closer then gawping its recognition and the echoes

of recognition bring more crows as if the crows
themselves were the echoes coming back. We know

how this ends, with the hawk taking flight and shrugging
them off, literally–with a few flicks of its shoulder

it is gone. But stronger or not, in the end it leaves.
This morning the crows behind my house

were raising a racket but nothing was rising
over the treeline. They hopped agitated from

tree to tree but kept to the lower branches.
Overhead like staples in the gray sky a hundred vultures

circled and swerved, like figure skaters
freed of all pretension of looking human

but they did look human, these angels
of death, or maybe turning to go back inside

I caught their reflection in the kitchen window
as if they were already inside the house,

waiting for me there, a semblance of the thing
that has crows giving ground without lifting

a wing. That after all there’s no owned territory,
that there’s something recognition alone won’t harry.

Seen in an Almost Empty Elementary School Parking Lot One November Afternoon at Four-Thirty

Seen in an Almost Empty Elementary School Parking Lot One November Afternoon at Four-Thirty


Through the honest tree limbs a hundred vultures float
like a cloud of gnats. No like the floating ashes of burning leaves.

No as they get closer I see they are stitching something
into the air, shape of a common hunger borne aloft

and visible only through this inscribing of individual
wills in contrast and in wind, swirling like the last

sip of wine in a glass, up, down, settle, rinsed away,
all just a matter of perception of a form against

its temporary constraint, not ever really part of your
moment when it continues on, or ceases holding

your own thought against the edges of your world
as if the world was something to hold your drink

or your memories, or even your body in its form
perceived from two hundred feet up and a quarter

of a mile away as something too big to land on and eat.