Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Imagination of the Body

Why would I carry a piece of dark,
red, cherry wood a long distance,
just to show someone it exists?

I washed up on shore, a calendar of tides,
pushing and rolling me, a message in a body.
No address, no phone, just a sunset sitting
warmly on my tongue. I couldn't quite say it.
Then it set. I slept. I turned. I went down.
Transits shifted. The moon birthed more stars.
The sun rose out of the earth.
The mother and her children scattered.

In the morning those that listened
began quietly dismantling their cars,
in search of life therein.
Now the passageways were just large
directions in the earth,leading to
small concentric circles, congregation.

Electricity stopped. Outlets went dry.
Dark cords of intercourse rested.
We were already moving.
Inventions no longer held necessity.
The history of our objects had no recall.
We discovered the growth and mystery of lawns.
We hesitated all over everything.
The earth turned over. Succulents appeared.
Through half open blinds I saw fruit trees:
Figs, peach, hands of bananas, along the devil strip.

The message got out of the body,
as I had hoped.
Interpretation was rampant,
as it should be.
But not one slant ruffled the earth.
In the late afternoon I peeled a banana.

Why would I carry a piece of dark,
red, cherry wood a long distance,
just to show someone it still exists?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dark as Dark

Not really an alien landscape
but still a place where everyone's
heart floats outside their bodies,
shining in the sky overhead.
Even at night I can read
and sometimes write in the
courtyard under their glow.
There, it is not nearly as
dark as dark.

For all the lovely people at my gallery, Don Drumm Studios

Saturday, October 01, 2011



We are crossing the wild Rappahannock.
"Hooves above water, a miracle!"
we shout.
"To what end,"
cries Colonel T-bone Lassiter.
"To engage the enemy. To get it on!"
screams General Beauregard Pickens.
"What does that mean?" General. "'Get it on'?"
"Nevermind, I was thinking ahead."


We are crossing the Atlantic, a small part.
We are armed. We wear dark green coconuts
on our heads. The Great door falls,
the beach appears, tiny hummings streak by.
"Vacation," someone shouts.
"Just the weather," says another.
Captain Pickens III looks back at us.
"My bad!" he shouts. "Wrong beach!"
"What does that mean Captain, 'my bad'?"
"Nevermind, I was just thinking ahead."


We are bobbing, yet standing on this great lake
Nothing visible below our feet. Just blue water.
North is the new world. South is gone.
There is no memory.
One vast person moves out across the water.
"Love!" shouts Pick.
"Yes!" choruses the Body.


The smoke is rising from something I set fire to in my hand.
I don't remember much because I was busy. I only remember it
was blue and green, gray around the edges. I notice smoke
is slowly seeping from my nostrils, like small clouds in the sky.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


My arms are broken
but I can hold you

While I sleep shards come.
They do the best they can
to enter the soles of my feet.
But my feet are quiet, not
sleeping, just listening.

I recall the screen door wire
lodged for days in my side.
Deeper things, stuck, growing.
Every piece, tapping, a reminder
of what the soul wants.

Every movement is leading.
All signs witness.
The unseen cloud will rain.
The sheets are wet, the sweat,
the tears, the estuary, the delta.

Down the road is a street name
that looks familiar. A bird lands
just so. A woman looks at you
like a lost letter found.
The sun sets behind her shoulder.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Just a tilting of the already gives
way to color never seen before.
What if there is more choice beyond our
spectrum, dog colors of barking, sniffing?
Out there in the dropping moonlight the
white is hiding like a rabbit in the night sun.
That, embedded in the day is something
barely visible, only found in the misfires,
out there where the bright gaps lie,
just beyond our shutter speed.
Madness is such a color and the
moment just past death, another.
Where everything is one vast color,
full of sound, intent, gathering.


Long ago we handled things differently. When our grandparents grew old and light
we cared them on our backs as they whispered their stories in our right ears.
After they died we shined their skulls and made a perch of our right shoulders.
Eventually they became impossible to handle what with the heads of
heads of heads in tow. So we stacked them and lashed them together
in fields of waving green grass. Now I know what you're thinking, and no, they
did not become our totem poles. Over the long haul the heads slowly broke down
entering each other , forming a lingham, a tor. This protrusion, an aberration
on the landscape, housed the upward thrust of the ancestors. Only a few cultures
still create the form and carry its deeper meaning. Coats of arms, shields, ledgers,
stories recorded or spoken, all were carried along mouth to mouth, hand to hand.
But it is the aroused stone that still represents the full power of accumulation, knowledge.

There still remains one mystery, vaguer, hidden, but seemingly ordinary.
What of the voice that appears at the door so early in childhood and then
carries on until our death? No one hears this voice except the sole listener.
Haunting at times, guiding, pestering, and then matter of fact. A voice that
could be whispering in your right ear, right there, just over your shoulder.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


In summation:
1.Every second of every minute is the last.
2.The world is ending over and over, and it is.
3.All this finding and losing is just prayer.
4.The deadliest thing is beginning something.

The Pope announces he is praying for the children
with lemonade stands. He is praying for the loss of bees.
He is praying for the return of magic, yet he is unaware.

All energy is in flux. Everything is quietly blinking
The birds are falling like they need instruction and
I cannot stare that long. It is lost on me. Like my keys.

If the world is always meeting me and one of us dies,
then it is over. If the world is always speaking to me,
and it stops, then I have nothing more to say.

The clock has given us grief. It is the thing that notices
where we are going. And when something is gone it counts
with its eyes closed until we have hidden ourselves away.

The Aztecs invented the vacation as a practice for dying.
Something has died because something is starting.
Something has begun because something is gone.


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Myths are not in books

The tip of something need not be remotely like what is there below the surface. We will continue to go thru enormous change as to what we are like. But we seem not to notice the speed because we are in it. Or rather it has us. And we swim like fish in a new sea, always already the case, moment to moment. Until such time as we began to notice the weirdness. A lake will form in the middle of LA. No one came cap it. A small building in Japan cannot be stopped. Not ever. No one knows how. A river will change direction finding the path of least resistance. It contains us. And so it becomes so, very quickly. The mythic is no longer lofty. It is here in the swath of jumble left by an EF5 in Bama, the smooth takeaway of our stuff by the sudden near supersonic intrusion of seawater, the pulling back of the sheets in southern Spain to reveal the lost continent, the loss of Quaddafi's children to dread falling from the sky, launched upon blue waters. Behind a metal curtain an entire way of living vanishes overnight and we can't even remember it. Systems overtake systems until we are with the last one. The universe is folding things as it takes them from the dryer and then they are tossed. So it goes as we wear our clothes. In fashion.

The Outpost


There was wax all around us. We sweated
wax the way a horse laps trough water.
A deep flame. Earlier in the sun of shift
we had drunk rain from clear sky. Now we
doused the fire with long blue streams of piss.
And, there was the trick of who we are,
without a history, because we are ancestor.


We swing the hand-held devices in the air,
wood, bark, sap, old.
Above our heads we write a whirring song:
we were born in rotting logs, in windy praying
fields, at the bottom of looking glass lakes,
two skies above us.
Some hatched in a burst of light.
Others entered the world through stamens,
surrounded by bright yellow, magenta, milk.
And again, others cracked open the soft
domed smiles of woman. And peered out.


We slept beneath pussywillow, our heads
resting on the softly curled jaguarundi.
We had no way of tracking. We sat
at the center, only a sense of the
labyrinthine, that everything touched
everything else. Beyond the composition
of fence, of hut, house, room and window,
beyond the village of boundary, ownership,
the breakage, the loss, the very last thing,
were ones like us, living where a line grazes
the edge of the circle. We stand in clearings,
waiting for the shattered, the shortness of
, the skipping of hearts, the questioning.


I wear a black hat and I will take you back
to the beginning:
And there amidst the wax, the feathers,
the phosphorescence,
I will return from the shining world,
with an answer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


The water rushes over it, hard and dark,
surging past the wave of my warning words.
Now it is too hot to handle, like the tiniest
of stars, halving itself endlessly
until the draw becomes so great
that everything begins to fall into it.

A yellow raft of butter floats on a
warm grid, its sturdy shape slowly
morphing. It lowers itself gently
into the grid, spreading across the
brown landscape. What I want
will not happen without something
pouring down, covering all of this.
And then, beyond that,
over the edges.

I stand up in the night sky,
looking down on her.
Stars touch her perimeter
in familiar places.
"As above, so below," she whispers.
My blue fingertips trace her face.
There is no rush now.
It is already out there.
It is already in here.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sweet Crude and the Ox-Moron

They say the great man always wears a parachute. And there is a story told, a desert legend, if you will, that Moammar Qaddafi supposedly said he would become like the sun when he had passed through the eye of a camel. This event would "seal his beauty and enshrine his deathless actions." But many Libyans realized he was confusing himself with a camel and the phrase from the Bible and Quaran concerning a camel passing through the eye of a needle. The kingdom. But the people had already been led to believe that the kingdom already existed in the mirror reflection of the great Gadhafi's aviator sunglasses. Quickly the camel story circulated through the country and oddly with that there was a sudden and extensive outbreak of eye infections amongst the camels. The great moist orbs began to dry up. The people saw this as a sign that Khadaffi had lost favor with the sun. Quickly Kadafi pitched billowing rose colored tents on the sands and held state. Moammar smiled. His teeth were not his. He looked off in profile. The country was in his lenses for all to see:
" I love it when you misspell my name."
"What is the correct spelling el-Khadafy?"
"It does not matter. I am a ox-moron!"
"My name is all names."
Then he turned toward us, his safari suit peeping through his purple robes.
"Listen. My death will not be of my own doing. Therefore I will become a martyr. "
"Even if it is in an auto accident, Colonel?"
"An illness, Al Gathafi".
A snake bite, Muamer?"
"Of course!"
His fate sealed, the great one mounted his kneeling, crusty-eyed animal and swayed off into the vanishing horizon.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


"Increasingly the homeless population is made up of children. Every day at the shelter, I interact with these homeless children. I share their joys and their sorrows. I am part of their lives. As I see them struggle, my children come to mind. Some balance is struck between these children and my children. When I see a homeless child crying because her mother is too busy looking for work to pay her attention, I remind myself to spend time with Chelsea. When a volunteer calls to say he cannot come today to take a homeless boy to a ball game, I promise myself that I will take Jeremy to one soon. When a homeless girl plays in the yard with broken toys, I rush home that day to play with Kristen."
"It is a strange gift. The plight of homeless children makes me more sensitive to my own family. Were it not that God knew exactly where I was needed, I doubt I would be much of a father. "
-Michael Elliott
in Partners in Grace

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Never Mind

We were escaping into Egypt, like the god babies we are.
"Maybe never," I broke in on the transmission. Across the
border many brains jostled for position in the sunny square.
"Our bodies are like pikes!" the voice said.
"Then our brains are double cheeseburgers on trays
hustled to us by curb service youths!" said another.
"Always boys," someone shouted. "Forever."
As the sun found the two o'clock slot a premonition
went up a pole. But since it seemed to go down the
pole it was considered the best evidence for the fear.
The brain is leaving the mind. We knew it. The eyes knew it.
The eyes looked over their shoulders in panic.
Nothing could be righted. Not ever.
"Invert! Invert!" chanted the crowds of minds.
High above the square, on heated tiles, the
people-of-the-bloodied-foreheads knelt, dripping.
Stones and cement had fallen back into their faces.
Someone in a billowing lab coat, with a blue crescent roll
on the back, raced into the square with new results.
"Gravity is only in the brain. Without a brain we are lost
in the clouds, forever!" We would never know the answer
to the cyclonic mystery of cream pouring into coffee or
why apple trees don't always do their best. But we
would finally know where birds go when they die.
I put down the bright red hookah hose.
I was high above Cairo now, and I noticed two things:
One, politics are hidden away under the clothes, and
two, anger is very tiny.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


"Undergo," he said amidst the confusion,
pointing in the direction of the crop circle.
All hands let go at the same time.
Dams spoke for the first time, softening,
bowing, wet with tears for the heron, the salmon.
He stood on the street corner near the square.
Everything was built of people's thoughts.
Even the frames of his glasses nodded. Even
the big time piece there under the auburn sun.
The continuum, the continuum was undressing.
Colors grew bolder. His hand covered the sun.
His orange hand, that had made all this. His
blue face that knew the combinations, the clicking
sounds, the tumbling water behind the walls of protection.

Down by the station where the automobile was serviced
a cow stood as a cow stands, straddling the lift.
That slow, that careful.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

How to get to town

The town was not that far, the
trail still warm, but misleading.
The directions seemed more like
instructions, no, agreements, that
pointed towards a destination.

The town was quiet as I drove in.
A voice pointed out the land marks.
Poles, piles, monuments, strategically
placed street lights, mistimed traffic signals.

I stopped and listened to the heavily armed
night air, the red neon intercepts.
"Where is this town?" I asked no one in particular.
On the seat were the the instructions.
Still just agreements, hand-written:

Take time to find a dark place
Here you can hear
Stopping everything will help you notice
There is no safe spot
The right map will help you see where you are
All maps exist as you need them, as the town begins to cooperate
When signals are in doubt, it is just you
All points will line up and pass through you single file
Follow them like the compass you are
Identify yourself when you arrive