Thursday, January 1, 2009


To cleanse a house
sophisticates of superstition burn sage

The light leaves bundled with thread
prone to immolation and stillness

Easy to blow on the bundles
illicit billows of smoke

But you must remember to believe
cast out your doubts into the embers

The smell clinging to room's corners
like baby birds haunt their flight filled mothers
will remind you of your hopes
or what you would burn away.

UXO Laos

During the Vietnam war America dropped around 240 million bombs on Laos, a small and neutral country. About 30% of these bombs never exploded and remain in the fields of Laos. The UXO is an organization that finds and detonates these bombs.

Luang ran over a bomb
the first day of the dry season.
Her smile gone forever, rising
with young grass and dust over the pines.

She had been waiting for the sun
through months of rain and mud.
Luang sits inside, hugging her crutches,
letting the shade bleach the copper from her skin.

No more running to the plain of jars and
singing to the lichen along their rims.
No more twisting rice stalks to garlands.
She murmurs prayers as the clouds roll in.

I leave the house after dawn, Luang eats
just enough so her mother will smile.
I tell her I will clear the fields for her
and her brothers and friends.

She stares at the whiskey her parents make,
aging with snakes killed as charms in bell jars.
She has never seen a plane, the machine
which made bombings possible.

Never seen a plane or an American gun
but her lightning twisted limb knows their war.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

back log, again


She was dragged up to our manor
with a chest full of copper kettles,
words of water boil and steam whistle.
Cassandra got her kicks from
shouting in finely honed tones of
shrill anger no one turned to hear,
but our dogs would bite the air
and scratch their ears for respite.
Her bloody prophecies dropped
unheeded by people’s feet
like bees halted in north winds
her whole life.

When we brought her here
she had developed strange theories
about voices and attention.
Cassandra would square her jaw,
twist her ribs to conch shells,
breathe like a slit-bellied pig
and scream until her face bruised red.
Our bones were supposed to hear her
even if our ears still turned away.

Now the fire climbs
to the archers and the aviaries.
Barrels of water burst to steam
as the jelly fleshed survivors
cry out that they should have died
next to their favorite mosaics.
I wonder if the sharp tongued eagles
will carry Cassandra away,
back to her favorite city.


In other news: The thirtieth was my birthday. Quite a nice day. By night I was friends with a bartender, so that was mind numbing enough.

Drinking has been giving me the kind of slight insomnia where I drop to sleep when the sun starts to come up and then wake up over and over again between 9am and 1pm. Then I have obscene amounts of coffee and rush off to get pizza with some long-treasured New Yorker. I have to write a poem (that will most likely be fueled by new year alcohol) for today. I'm amazed I've kept this up for five days already.

Thank you Adam Stone for this ballsy challenge, it shocked me out of a long-ass writer's block.


Petit Objet a

It stands in the eastern room
with posture breeding perfect clarity,
lucid as mirrors in microscopes and cameras,
decisive and easy as points scored in a game,
either flying or falling

The western room is more like a carnival
in the sense that the flesh gains celebrity,
yet there is less opacity, there are hands
placing prisms in front of mirrors and
fortune tellers weaving themselves into open palms.
The flying or falling is less important
than the sky’s informative concert with the body aloft.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


A pale girl brushes soil away from
a large bird skeleton, wing stretched for flight,
made of milky white diamond.

The scars are honed and
perfected in the mirror, then seek
impressive sympathy in the flesh of another.

In his dreams songs are specks of grit,
slivers of ornamental glass battered smooth,
felt in the ridges of his teeth instead of tasted.

An orange tree is chopped down
still warm and bleeding amber sap.
The insects cede long prized labyrinth to fires.

As she wanders the desert
she can see only bones-- intensely fetal mesas
and dunes constantly calling to be fractured by wind.

As his hands press his fingerprints onto the notebook
he can feel the white paper pleading to stay blank
and rhapsodizing about stains with equally loud voices.

Once burned they are all light enough to fly
or free to alight on whatever is desired unnoticed.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


This is already available on the internets, but I wanted to add it here in the interest of updating this thing once in a blue moon and keeping a super accurate inventory of the 365 in 365 challenge (which I will not be able to triumph over, but will probably inspire a new record in me.)

Watching Iris Sleep (Android Attempts to Dream)

Light seeps higher and higher through the clouds
like a bashful coffee stain

The bed springs creak satisfied chicken sounds
Iris softly sings in her dream language
Lavender sheet bisecting her throat

I was not programmed to need sleep
No significance was given to these hours alone
but I’m beginning to translate this need to dream

Iris closes her eyes and unknowingly edits
the mythology of her lifetime

As her lips twitch a moment is forgotten
another second gains the brilliance of a young star
a flare inside to define Iris

My memory of each day is engineered exactly as circuitry
I hold everything
A full glass unsipped

Iris, brown eyed girl
named after a yellow throated flower,
I can perfectly recall every second of your life

Today you spent six hours in the sun
gained a freckle on your shoulder,
your mother put more paprika than usual in the morning eggs,
you learned the word “lever”
as your parents watched Japan’s prime minister announce
his daughter’s wedding,
you stained your hands with a pomegranate,
the dog chewed your diary,
you played on the slide for forty-five minutes,
your mother told you not to eat dirt and you cried,
your shoe fell off as you ran in the park

As you forget all these things
your gorgeous nature expands
young star spreading to red dwarf

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Somnambulist Wonders

About birds and tiny magnets in their brain
lending direction in flight. Do planets pull
at their dreams? If thunder on Jupiter rolls
with more venom will feathers bristle
against the leaves in fear?

What kinds of treasures the rain has known.
What the rain can tell him about being dirty.
What it feels like to be inundated
with another being's grime.

If a few marionettes twitch at night
though their strings are hooked at the ceiling.
If the wood under the paint senses the water
rushing under the buildings and etching down hills.
Are all puppets good at telling all stories, or do
some lay forgotten because their winks and crescendos
looked too morose against the pastel sets?

Will these puppets be revived
in fabulous new dark comedies?
Will it still be dark when
the mail arrives today?
Are the lions and the lambs
shut safely in their cupboards?