Posts Tagged ‘poem’


Someone’s shadow traces its fingers across the blinds
makes cups of tea and leaves them half drunk in the sink

takes the letters from the box and reads them
at another location    leaves only the grocery circulars

and advertisements for gun shows     someone else
discards a pair of red shoes on the floor by the chair

to stumble over in the dark    someone bins the little
rind of cheese    the packet of bacon   the half shallot

wears the pink sweater I could not lay hands on
reads the yellow cloth covered book whose title I

cannot remember    and after I’ve turned off the television
and then the light    put my nightgown at the foot of the bed

there   taking the middle   immovable   the someone
else who steals my words    dreams my thoughts

considers my dreams


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two tanka

the red rose leaves break
unfold their delicate veined
hands    fan a straight flush
aces high   high flung branches
thorny deadpan poker face

genus tulipa
at night folds its arms up tight
not at all prim   just
cold   like waiting for a light
to change   in late April snow

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what we bought

My love went to the store and brought back Pop Tarts: irresistible,
especially when things seem anxious or off or especially collapsible.

Two boxes, eight silver packets with two Pop Tarts in each:
since I was a child, I could never resist such a tidy comestible,

white icing, rainbow crystals, jam getting hot in the toaster.
I could be disciplined, but I eat them by the fists full.

I just bought a coat and a purse on eBay–not just pastries, then,
I crave: linen and leather and jam are equally fungible.

I’d be better off on a long walk, a prophylactic to stave
off the dread, the nerves, moods so predictably lapsable;

or asleep, where whatever disquiet can be metaphorical:
I’ll dream of colored sugar, of icing, Pop Tarts delivered by dirigible.

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it beats like an urgent stranger
at the door knocking

it heaves within its cage, seized and
convulsed, sick with yearning

it wants escape like a voice opening
into an ether of song

it is a vagrant a wash of gravel thrown
tumbling down a slope

a vagabond transient beggar an
accident of fickle drift

yet on this bench in a neighborhood
chapel I sit

listening to a choir sing a hymn
I learned I know not where

if ever I wanted to wander it was
from this place

a place very like it, and here I am
again, my little hum

the selvedge of the song: a fetter
a binding, a curb to

my bent, tongues of flame to sear
a song to heart, mine


(after Come thou fount of every blessing)

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The boy was in the hallway drinking a glass of tea.
The boy was in another room bashing the drum kit,
at his friend’s house, crashing on the couch,
went to his sisters’ houses, successively, for their mercy.

The boy was in the kitchen making a cup of tea.
He stayed at his friend’s house with his friend,
the friend’s dog, spent days at the coffee shop working on the line;
down the alley his music leaked from the record store.

He carried a cup of tea with him on the dog walk.
He found himself on an unexpected song rampage,
a spiral that lifted from his chest despite the darkness.
He checked the paperwork, he made a phone call,

he checked the cupboard for its stock of tea:
let us rent his PA system for the wedding, for a song.
He could not find his way to church with a guitar
but the songs came anyway, opened themselves,

climbed out of his body like heartbeats on an EKG
unscrolling from a machinery of breakdown, from
the unwriting of a childhood, from the dissolution
of belief, a plume of steam rising from a cup of tea.

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Aloud, I was remembering that yard, square
on the corner, how in the spring the rhubarb
sprang and in the same bed, weedy asparagus.
The volunteer peach tree. The garden
I planted, teeming with squash beetles
yet still I had some of everything I planted,

and for a summer, one summer, it was
nothing but those yellow roses that grew
in wild arcing canes, covered with flowers,
and a red rose, too, that grew, I kid you not,
at the front porch. Sleeping with nothing
but the screen door, it was so hot. Parties

with friends and laughing and butter cake.
It was an awful house, and I was so, so happy
then, I said, and believed it for just one second,
I was so happy to remember how happy I
had been, the baby in her striped shirts,
the walks we took around the block, the girls

from across the street coming over to play,
me picking tomatoes from the vine, and then
I also remembered the dark months that came
not long after that—same terrible house,
same heat but the next summer, and also
before that a cold winter when the air

was so grey I could barely see across the street.
I wanted to keep believing in that happiness,
the baby in her diaper standing under
the elm tree at the gate, me sitting on the porch
watching her, as if the still afternoon hour
had nothing to do but shimmer, as if I

had nothing to do but let the concrete’s
deep cool seep into the backs of my thighs.
As if the fruit on the vine had nothing to do
but fatten, the grass nothing but to tickle
the baby’s feet. And why should the fact
that I never learned how to make rhubarb

in any form I could stand, or the fact
that the yellow roses bloomed, rank and
florid, or that after the flowers withered,
there was nothing left but thorns: why should
these facts so absolutely abolish that summer,
its garden, the elm, the baby in its leafy shade?

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The sound has returned, a rumble from within
a giant chest, an almost sub-sonic roar.
Windows rattle. People look outside to find
the monster truck that must be idling, the one
that’s never at the curb. The babies won’t sleep,
no one can sleep. Is it a body within the earth’s,
body grinding its planetary gears? A spaceship’s
extraterrestrial machinery? Who is digging tunnels
beneath our very streets? Or is it the island

in the River Rouge, the one carved out of the river’s
complex course, where the pig iron foundry
burns day and night, blasts its low, slow waves
that reach the doorsteps and walls and backyards
where no one plays. They record it, its sonic
signature is known, but unless you are a part
of its work, the island is forbidden, and the hum,
in the way of all horrors, both repels and enthralls:
when it is roused, no mind nor body does not heed it.


[the Windsor Hum has apparently returned, and with new intensity.]

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