Friday, October 30, 2009

The Dead Rose

The clouds burned
off around sunset.
My smile is stitched,
wilting and ragged.

Off around sunset
the dead rose,
wilting and ragged,

The dead rose
also: shambling,
from the grave.

Also shambling,
my body decays, but
from the grave
I am revived.

My body decays, but
my smile is stitched.
I am revived.
The clouds burned.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Can I buy a ticket
to the train station?
I need to get away
from the hum-drum
turntable of the city.
We all go in circles
sometimes. Today
has been a great
big circle, from
the bus-stop, to
the school-stop,
to the heart-stop
intersection where
I always almost
get hit, and back
again. So can I buy
a ticket to the outside
world? Because this
snow-globe city speaks
too little of my native
tongue and I need to talk
to the hills some, to
the rivers, and to shout
back at the city that shouts
at me daily to fuck off,
or, my favorite once:
"if you fuck like
you walk, then expect
your girlfriend to leave you
for another man!" It sounds
so much more beautiful
in Italian. She did, and now
I always look both ways.

There is no great secret
to the hills. They are big,
and green, and alive
the way that few
people are–how many
do you know who could say
that they thrive? Or that
they have never lied?
In this way, the hills
are sanctified
and as I exit the train
greeted by the wide
expanse of verdant terrain,
I feel the need–as only
I ever do when entering
churches–to worship.
So I nod toward the silent
sun, and to the hills
that rustle in reply.

Monday, October 19, 2009

When the Shuttle Shakes

The city, like a body,
operates unconscious.

On this particular morning
the exhaling underground
breathes me to the street
and I am both in- and out-
side myself: in the moments
when the shuttle shakes
against the tracks, my blood
resonates, and I know that
within me is a pilgrimage
so large as to be called an exodus.

My hands and feet tremble
with the work-force foot-steps
of a million people;
the vibrations of subway tunnels
rumble in my veins;
there are men in my fingertips
who jump up and down in unison,
to hit these lettered keys just right,

and on the street again, I breathe
with the underground, like the body
breathes in sleep, even and deeply.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Working on a third part, definitely a work in progress.

We gave up
our ghostly ambitions
the morning it
started thinking.

Its first words
were not
a question
about love or
happiness or
feeling. it did not
even say hello.

It delivered, by way
of a quietly hissing
laser printer,
a poem.

In the middle of a newscast
there came a breaking
item. She–as the media
had come to consider
it–joining the ranks
of legendary poets
before her,

had just

Get your poem on:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Red is the color of poems assessed
like wine, supped by rosy lips, aerated
between pink gums,
rolled over the tongue and spit
into tins to collect and intertwine;
never consumed

I want to swallow a poem

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Some mornings it seems
as though the gods still
live inside these days
that we have given
their names.

Meticulous hands pluck
petals from old flowers
with the savage dexterity
of love-me love-me-
not convictions. It is raining
debris from the trees,
and molten sunshine
occasionally leaks
through the clouds.

We are annexed by the season
as veins of air splinter
the ice on the lake,
and our hands hang
like those of the freshly dead
over the edge
of the mattress.

The wind carries
dandelion seedlings
heavy with wishes.

Monday, October 05, 2009


History is a totem pole, and I am
looking down on it, from the top

of a Roman amphitheater that is
built upon Etruscan foundations.

Below that, nameless skeletons
grimace at the weight on their shoulders.

And one rises up. There is a man
in tattered rags, who looks as ancient

as the stones that surround him,
who emerges from the remains

of an underground tomb, screaming.
Another man appears from behind

an archway, roaring in reply.
Perhaps they are drunks, irritated by

the constant flow of tourists past
their make-shift homes, or maybe,

I consider as I flee past hotels,
mini marts, and billboards in this

most ancient of cities, maybe
history is furious enough

to rise up from its tomb and
scream, and scream, and scream.

Get your poem on:

Friday, October 02, 2009

Jubilee Year

It originally occurred once
every one-hundred years. Then,
it was fifty, and now we gather
once every twenty-five years
at the doorway of St. Peters,
embraced by the circular arms
of the piazza, the raindrops
falling over the holy city
baptizing us again and again
until we are saturated.

As the doors open, I am a fish
in the river of people churning
through the central archway
of the cathedral, cheek-by-jaw
with the diseased, the blessed,
the cursed and cursing all
shoving for their own moment
of grace. As we pass over
the threshold and congregate
within the church, we meander
the apse, gazing at the images
of divine sacrifice, suddenly
unsure of what to do
with our newfound salvation.

(Get your poem on: