Thursday, March 24, 2011

Camping with Richard Dawkins

The foremost atheist
invokes a dune
of ash sailing
westward, the wind
grain for grain until

it is new.  It is new
and yet it bears forward
the crescent ridge
and curled horn
of memory.

He maintains no atom
of my veins or bones
claimed me when first
I drew breath.  I am

a new alliance
of dust, in a forest
in Missouri, far
from desert waves
and Oxford.  My sweat-

beaded brow now
a salty crown, after
the long cold, I am
sunk in rain-slick
loam, claimed
like a thing with roots.

This equinox, chartreuse-
flecked underbrush
and fat gnats
emerging tell me
the moment grave turns

cradle.  Sky laced
with branches still
bare, and air thick
with singing. Throaty mud
kings usurp my sleep.

At camp, I scry coals
for a name to lift
my tongue, before
nodding off, exalting

Near Circus-Lyon Community Garden

Winter 2011

The bullet savages
a young man’s jugular
as I salvage
child’s pose and cup
warm tea a few doors
down.  In a town
too small to yield a slum,
distinct worlds revolve
in singular space,
and we resolve
to forget other orbits until
lead or Jerusalem
Artichokes pierce us.

The wintered garden, softly
encased, awaits someone
to clear the murky bottles
while Black Oaks bare
their bones. The paper
does not provide
his name, only the location
of his woundedness
and an uncolored shot
of the plot where Daniel’s
berries grow.  There are names
I don’t, and names I know.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Religion for the Lonely

primordial soup.

in the early
allied in the spirit

of nucleotides,
becoming chains
of potential,
which rained down
from heaven
upon the desert sea

like the seeds
they would beget,
along with lungfish,
cockroach, and spleens.

But in the beginning
was only acid
to re-imagine itself,
to remember,
to distill

life, and then stronger
life, and finally

What a revelation,
the membrane, creator
of internal worlds.

realized the first
to strengthen
and to commune.

The joining
of worlds, inevitable.

Here a tail,
there a hook,
and a mere billion
years later
acid was algae.

And algae learned
to exhale
oxygen, invented
sex and thrived
on its own breath--

turned verdant
and rooted to stone.

animal forms gathered
exuberance into fins,
shells and spines.

On land, over-teeming
green and the first
creaturely ventures
against gravity endured
upon catastrophe,

exalting only the strong.
And perishing
gave rise to eloquence.

Shimmering scales,
gracious bloom,
and mammalian warmth.

a suckling babe.

And imagine
forgetting all of this,
the very legacy

of the cells in my old friend's
wrist where he so blithely
drew a razor,

not intending to die,
just hoping to prove he was
not already dead.

He and I do not speak
anymore, not least
because the mind fails
to comprehend
its own grandeur.

But at Christmas
I thought of him
when I peeled back
gold foil from a small world
sealed in glass.

Within, fairy shrimp
feasted on algae
in a sun-fueled Eden,
which I placed
on my desk, a reminder
that we are at least
as marvelous as that.

The last time I saw
my friend
was the funeral
of another young man
who had a problem
with forgetting,
and a shotgun--

such a crude tool
to end the work of eons
that have already borne
innumerable endings.

Yet I have a paper
packet of cosmo seeds
in my pocket, the beginnings
of a trillionth miracle.

And I still dare to want
for love.  We yearn
for what we are beneath
our blunt object egos.

Consider the lilies,
and grazing ewes.
Offer thanks
to who will listen,

personage in the sky
or child on the corner.
We are progeny
of an exploding heaven.
Forged in the roiling
waters of a jeweled orb.

Let us rejoice.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Twenty-five: Confetti

*I intend this poem to be the first of a series of birthday poems--snapshots of what I am experiencing as my age turns.  I'll be twenty-five on September fifteenth.

I stole the peonies
that reminded me

of my great-grandmother.
They blossomed

through the fence—

which I did not mention
as I gripped the chain link

against a kiss,
also stolen

and displayed.
Heads of pink petals—

obscene cabbages
that shed their bounty

overnight, and left
refuse on my nightstand. 


I wake late
and hung-over
before the ceremonies

of a dead elder
and wedding friends.

Top down, we drive
over hills that were

In the back,
my eyes closed
against the rush and light—

sound of struggling

and illumination
of inner eyelids.

I sit in a pew,
my hair askew,

and proceed
to consume

the Perfect Body
saturated in wine.


My mind a child’s
folded fortune teller,

a different future
under every flap.

Mansion, apartment,
or shack—all of  paper.

But now I have a house
with bones and square feet.

I spackle
the bullet holes

and paint over—
exuberant teal.

My colored
and white crusted

palms testify
to the cover up.

I scrub them
in the sink,

laden with crystal,
and I think

how the broken wine
glass glitters

prettily, like spent
sweat or semen.
I sweep it up,

to forget
the cabernet

and his solid form—

We are enraptured
by shattered things,

which never catch
this light intact.


My loveliest dream
happened in a sewer:

Tiny orange
and fuchsia hearts

from yards of crepe

we punched them out

Our pockets filled
with extras

soaked in refined
sugar and  rum

stuck to our hands
and mingled tongues.

to take the city—

we slide grates 
and descend
to taint the water

with saccharine seeds.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Project Echo & "The Question"

Project Echo--a collaborative art show that I am organizing--is the first time I have applied my poetry in an unexpected way.  I hope interesting things come of it...  

Visit the site!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Poems about Hips

Homage to My Hips
-Lucille Clifton

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top


Homage to My Hips: A Burnt Offering

My mother hates her
mother's hips, through which she came
to be-- rudely formed
those hips. And cumbersome.

The Old Masters admired
plumpness-- full hipped
and smooth shouldered.
They waxed rhapsodic in oils.

And Lucille said, Power!
These hips occupy space.

But my mother abides
the kitchen cross-stitch
that claims audaciously:
pleasure is fleeting,
hips eternal.

In ecstatic moments I grow--
an enormous moon--
and know no fear.

But in harsher light
I wish to be a tight
strung bow, stripped
of every blessing, formidable
as a burnt offering.


Asheville, NC is beautiful, and so is the Asheville Poetry Review. A gem:

Don't Wake the I-98
-Anna Connors

We didn't know the highway was closed.
Dark clouds' bruised underbellies
clog the sky.

Road colors radiate
through their dusting of ash,
blak-eyed susan yellow
in unsung morning.

Our car,
the only moving shape.

We find the occasional image
hold it,
an impossible breath.

A-frame churches,
steeples pierce the air.

Crushed animals
like moccasins
at this speed
their lovely, beaded bodies

and black
in the rearview mirror,

carrying us
one mile marker to another
until all signs say
go home.

You'll wake
the enthroned bulldozers,
tall and curved
like pitcher plants.

You'll wake
the broken billboards
that plead redemption,

the abandoned shopping carts
that couldn't possibly
be out this far,

directing us toward home.