Sunday, April 25, 2010


Down the street, the abandoned
smokestack billows

with swifts. They have begun
to nest in chimneys, too; you hear

stories about nestlings
falling out of the flue, of children

wandering into the kitchen
with an ash-dusted chick

that is squeaking, furious and blind.
The news says that proper procedure

is to place the fallen bird on the wall
of the chimney and let it climb

the rough brick back to the nest.
The climb may take days, we are told

but we should not let the worried chirps
of the mother, the chick's quiet scrabbling

above the fireplace inspire us
to further assist; they are not perching birds,

they are made to traverse distances.
Soon it is impossible to follow

their trajectories, swarming
from the confines of a smokestack

but it is enough to hear
the cacophony of their departure,

see the sunset blotted by wings,
know that they will not land

for eighteen months, sleeping
in flight, navigating by stars, catching

rain drops with open mouths
in the storm.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poem Starting with a Line from Norman Dubie (NaPoWriMo 13)

St. Dunstan-in-the-East

His chapel fell into flowers long ago;
the city planted them, repaved the ash

dust, scoured pilasters, placed
benches and a picnic table right there

where the matchstick pews marched
headlong into the bombs.

Next to the climbing ivies, the morning
glories yawn blue and pink, a horseshoe

hung over the door below the cross
to catch its falling graces.

NaPoWriMo 13: Dubie.

The Kookaburra Laughs (NaPoWriMo 8)

The Kookaburra laughs
                 your laugh. I wouldn't
                 have thought it possible
                 but here you are, perched
                 on the arm of a tour guide,
                 feathers preened to shine,
                 his hide gloves thick to keep you
                 from drawing blood.

NaPoWriMo 8: unusual love connections.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Questions About a Photograph of Statues (NaPoWriMo 6)

Who or what in this picture could speak?

The statues of headless angels. The heads of long-dead kings.

What would they say?

"we have been stuck in marble halls for too long. Occasionally we are wrapped in plaster, duplicated, copies of ourselves shipped off to other locations, but never outside as we once were, guarding the temple doors. Even missing our wings, there is a reason we are positioned for flight."

Why is this image meaningful to me?

Occasionally I have felt stagnant, trapped, headless. We are both made of something so much heavier than air. We are both looking to use our wings that have been lost to the dirt.

When I look at it, what am I remembering?

Standing in the British Museum marveling at the amount of stolen art and architecture within: The Roman statues staring down the corridor at the head of Rameses. The head of Rameses staring blank at the Greek trireme. The trireme's ram aimed at the remnant walls of a Persian temple.

How does this image make me feel?

I am nostalgic for the feeling of being steeped in stolen history.

NaPoWriMo 6: find a photo.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Boxer (NaPoWriMo 5)

The poem arrives
with a black eye,
a split lip, saying
"Yeah, well you
should see the poet."

NaPoWriMo 5: make it personal.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Burial (NaPoWriMo 3)

In this photograph you were
leaping between boulders, hair
a shock of red in the dun
of the desert. I attempted to
recreate it, leaping over
a cavernous drop between
preserved ruins six miles
outside of Rome. I shudder
when the shutter clicks. This
image is on your headstone.

I am not on your headstone,
though a part of me is underground
with you, rotting beautiful.

But now the both of us, you
and the flower tucked in your
breast pocket, are dust and
your breast pocket is probably
dust, too, or a rag that some
creature has inhabited. I am
home to my grief; you are home
to ours. Some creature
is thriving on the home made
from both of us dissolving away.

Napowrimo 3: Something you are scared of.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Time and I

know that were the bells––
                 ringing hymns at four o'clock
                sharp––not ringing, the still
                 of that afternoon would have

been broken some other way,
                far-off laughter, the birds startled
                into flight, a rattling commotion,
                a grass-snake at my toes,

and the passage of time
                 would not have gone silently. Even
                 the body, with its ticking clock, takes
                 this business of the future seriously:

when discussing it,
                 we lean forward into its passing sounds.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

In the Parlor (NaPoWriMo 1)

There is no harmony
between Jefferson Airplane

and a tattoo gun, but both
spring to life from needles

against textured surfaces this
afternoon, "Somebody to Love"

and a bicep tattoo of the word
Mother; "Come Back Baby"

and the covering of an old
flame's name. The skin carries

a weight. Information. Travels.
The world. Looking in, the ink

is a roadmap deposited below
your surface, an anecdote

of self, a slow graffiti
to the tune of whatever

the artist puts the needle to.

Day 1 of NaPoWriMo '10. The prompt was 5 song titles from your library on shuffle.

Come Back Baby-Jefferson Airplane
Information Travels-Death Cab for Cutie
World Looking In-Morcheeba
Anecdote-Ambulance Ltd.
Slow Graffiti-Belle & Sebastian