Wednesday, May 31, 2006

MaPo/JuPo & Miscellaneous Stuff

MaPo is over, so it's on to JuPo, which will be rather different; the goal is to post only one poem every three days, but poems that are a minimum of 20 -25 lines in length and more developed than the NaPo/MaPo pieces have been. I'll be posting them here but also in the NaPo thread over at PFFA.

I've also just had 3 pieces from NaPo/MaPo published at The Adroitly Placed Word. (The audio is John.)

I've also made the first preliminary June post at The Jackdaw's Nest. I should have a new entry up there by the end of the weekend.

"Ode to the Red Bell Pepper"

The red bell pepper,
heart of
the earth,
the sun's heat
into flesh,
union of soil,
water, light
into shape
and sweetness.

On the pepper
bush, ripened,
pods of
red whales
suspended in
air from the green
curve of
their spouts.

Within, the chapel
of the seed, filled
with small disks
flat and white
as hosts
and aromatic
light seeping
through the
translucent stained
glass of
the pepper's
walls. Opened,
incense gladdens
the air.

Crisp silk skin
to teeth
with a snap,
then succulent
flesh floods
the tongue
with joy,
the juice
of the sun
spicy sweet.
The heart
of the earth
beats life.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Trumpet Vine"

Brassy, jazzy trumpets open
with the heat; the sensual wah-wah
of the plunger mutes, the spectral glide,
sets the mood tense and drawn-out,
and here she comes, summer the chanteuse,
swaying in slow time to the moaning blues
beat, orange dress against dark skin,
husky voice heat itself as sound sinking
into the shadows of loss and want
deep within until they simmer to the surface.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Can I interest you in this low-mileage
poem which was only ever read by a little
old lady on Sunday afternoons to her cat
who didn't pay much attention, thus saving
a great deal of wear and tear on its capacity
for evoking emotion that's still like new?
The finish is clearly pristine, and there's hardly
any tread missing from its metaphors
which still grip the road firmly, so it obviously
can see your soul safely through the worst
imaginable bad weather, and after all isn't that
what we expect from a poem when we need one?

Sunday, May 28, 2006


The sound of the rain wakes me;
I think it's you in the shower
for one sleep-blurred moment,
and I reach to help dry
your heat-reddened skin,
pink-brown nipples, and darkened hair.
Awake, I pray for drought.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

"Ode to the Vacuum Cleaner"

Potbellied sucker
of rugs,
in narrow
places forgotten
by light,
gatherer of the frayed edges
of our dreams
in unregarded
and weighing
the corners
of our lives,
you feed
on our
and open
the way
for fresh
air and
new light.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Just at sunrise, the dew
in the bramble bush
looks like the Pleiades
come down to pick blackberries.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"Moon River"

The river's dropped its drawers
and bared its ass at us,
pimpled with mudbanks
and scarred with sandbars.
Western wind, where the hell
are you and your small rains?
This drought's become a matter
of public decency.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I love to watch your fingers shelling peas,
how delicately you snap the ends,
pull and discard the string, then pop the seam
and flick the peas out with a thumb
into the banded ceramic bowl. And not
because your movements are erotic,
although they are, and I await
their coming touch.
But here, now,
what takes me are the small repeated acts
of skill and grace, the unself-conscious
love for us whom you shall feed.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Among the pear trees,
a single firefly sparks
too soon, too soon --

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Getting Lucky"

I saw the old moon in the park tonight,
sitting on a bench beside the path. He wore
an old Tigers cap and a tan raincoat,
and he seemed to be waiting for someone,
I thought maybe the young lovers walking
hand in hand, but he just ignored them
as he did the gentleman being pulled
along by his Labrador, and any number
of others who passed by. Then I saw her
come around the bend, jogging briskly
toward him. As she got close, he stood
up, opened his raincoat, and flashed her.
She looked intently, smiled, then took
his hand, and led him off, back, I'm sure,
to her apartment, where he spent the rest
of his last night-- the old moon wrapped
warmly in the new moon's thighs.


Sunday, May 21, 2006


In a house of mirrors,
only night is kind.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


I unbutton your blouse and remove it,
then take your breasts in my hands,
warm, soft, hot-nippled, as you remove
my shirt and run your hands across my chest.
We stand, full of the other's touch, trembling.
Then I unfasten your flesh and peel it away,
bare the gleaming bone to my fingers,
and you open and slip off my flesh. We revel
in the firmness of bone, the rootedness of rock.
Now I unlatch your ribcage and swing it open,
spread wide about your heart. A snick as
you open mine and turn it on its hinges, just like
your own. We pause, anticipating the climax,
then each unplugs the other's aorta and and snaps it
into our own heart. We throb to the other's pulse,
strain to the other's need, burn to the other's heat,
each filled only by the self of the other.

Friday, May 19, 2006

"Cosmology with Hedgehogs"

This morning, the traffic light at the major
intersection's out, just in time for rush hour;
the upper third of the hackberry's fallen
and blocks the park walkway, ripped
branches and torn leaves scattered around;
a single worn hightop sneaker rests in the dent
on a streetparked Lexus; the battered grocery cart
lies on its side on the sandbar by the bridge.

In the thin hours of night, hedgehogs had uncurled
from the minds' dim recesses, stretched, and emerged
by ones and twos, then drawn, gathered into platoons,
squadrons, brigades, phalanxes -- moving together
through the dark, silent, determined, purposive.

Graffiti appear on underpasses and the doors
of boxcars; the carcass of a bicycle stripped
of wheels, seat, and handlebars blocks
the boat ramp; a pair of one-legged jeans
sprawls on the bus-stop bench; the mockingbird's
nest fallen from the elm, its eggs cracked.

By dawn, all these minor maleficencies
are in place, to make us question whatever
we try to believe.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


(for Julie)

There are days when roses are just pollen carriers,
the morning sun is only a blob of institutional mustard,
and strawberries packets of seeds looking
for spaces between teeth to creep into. Those
are the days the hedgehogs have curled into balls
with spikes out in the darker corners of your mind.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"After Cavafy"

In the greenhouse, the orchid forgets
the sun's kiss, the wind's caress.
Root me there,
so I can forget yours.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"August Noon"

The sun is an iron
that presses everything flat
with heat.

Monday, May 15, 2006

"Reasonable Approximation"

This strawberry, lumpy and unsymmetrical,
with a whitish unpigmented fold, may well be
only a reasonable approximation
of a perfect strawberry, its taste a little thin
but still sufficient to stun the tongue with wonder.
Your thighs, somewhat heavy perhaps, ridged
a bit with cellulite, and set off
by the stretch marks on your belly, may well be
only a reasonable approximation
of perfect thighs, but, opened to me
here in our reasonable approximation of a perfect bed,
we share a more than reasonable approximation
of perfect joy.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"Things You Left I'm Packing Up for You"

Here's your reflection from the mirror;
it kept showing up whenever I tried to shave
and blocked my view. Here's the space
between us in the bed; use it for extra room
when you're trying to parallel park. And here's
the air you never shaped to words; it'll make
a whole zoo of balloon animals.


Wind-stripped, unripened peaches
darken in the grass beneath the tree --
undelivered love letters.

Friday, May 12, 2006

"The Unexpected"

Having carried that stone all those years
across your shoulders, alone, you thought
what you'd experience first on setting it down
would be freedom, or at least relief. Who would
have imagined it would be absence instead?

Thursday, May 11, 2006


A tenor sax solo,
this moonlight on our still twined bodies.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Dawn the kitchenmaid scours the pots
and scrubs the floor, then sluices
everything clean with buckets of sun.
Her raw, chapped hands are the price of light.

Monday, May 08, 2006


There are days when the wind
wears a hat. Those are the days
it stops,
takes off its hat, and bows
gently to the trees and grasses,
gentlemanly -- its way of apologizing
for those days it goes bareheaded.

"Aide Memoir"

Stones that tumble round down the streambed,
the press and surge of water, its spill and splash
around them, flecks of quartz and mica fired ice-brilliant
by the sun, the shift and shimmer of the Hyades
on the surface at night -- from time to time to remember
all those things for which death holds no mandate.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


Somewhere, even after the sirens fade,
the smoke from the fires drifts
away in the dusk, and the last
of the blood washes along the gutters
to the drain through our silence,
someone still carefully folds up today,
wraps it in a fine lace handerchief,
and stores it in a drawer
among sprigs of lavender.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


The river birches overhang the stream,
whiteworking shade and light to lace
that rides the water's surface, swirled,
shadowed, sparked. Below, in dusk,
the current undermines bank and root.

Friday, May 05, 2006

"Kissing Red for Luck"

"I've got to kiss that red for luck,"
the elderly lady said, seeing my African Gray's
red tail and tossing him a kiss. And all day,
what I've seen is red: the slowly deepening red
of ripening blackberries; the light red
of cranesbill seed pods, obscured in high grass;
the fishing line's bright plastic float, neon
against the brown-green river; the swing
of the watch's second hand; the collar
on the chihuahua in the driver's window
of a Lincoln Continental; the orange-red
of burning charcoal; plastic beer cups
on the patio of a Mexican restaurant;
a filet mignon, rare-red; faces anger-flushed;
the shriek of brakelights in the dark;
the dusky red Antares, Scorpion's heart
beating through the night. Tossing kisses,
I await the results.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

"What Endures"

It is the broken, the fragmentary,
which endures: the fire stirred,
shattered lights ascend, return
at dawn as pinpoints trembling
in the dewstrung spider web,
and quiver now at noon
in our mingled sweat
across your breasts.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The shape of your breast comes back
to me through the
warm night air
in the scent of the ripened peach.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"The Riverwalk at Night"

Technically, this might be considered cheating, as this is a much rewritten version of a piece I wrote almost a year ago. So sue me. But it's at least a bit better than the original, although it still has a very long way to go.

"The Riverwalk at Night"

The breeze stirs the willows
along the river's edge, faint sibilent
shimmer in the moonlight; the drupes
of the ripe mulberries echo the moon's shape,
miniscule crescents of mirrored silver.
One mulberry, still holding the day's sun,
rests warm and firm against my tongue
like your nipple, and stirred
I turn for home and you.

Monday, May 01, 2006

"The Sower"

In her father's arms,
she reaches for the moon,
and her hand scatters
the seeds of the Pleiades.


Now that NaPoWriMo has ended, I'm going to make an attempt to continue producing a poem a day during May -- my own May Poetry Writing Month. We'll see what happens.