A Little Ways From Yesterday

She broke down a little ways from
Yesterday — her dreams so much, her hair
Not so, and you and I don’t
Own that mirror, do we? This is more like
Entropy than agony; to slowly lose
What she has not turned loose. So she
Turns up, turns out, turns down, but it
Never seems to be her turn; or was it
Always hard to walk in those shoes, hard
To see anything but the storm coming when
It feels like it never leaves? Never leaves —
The never-leaves blow slowly across the landscape
Of one too many days and too few nights of
When anything tasted like it’s supposed to;
And she closes her eyes on pictures she
Painted in the brightest colors she could
Find, turned dull with


applied for grant
 of clemency

      or clementine

  oh my darling

do you not know the test
 you are about to perform?

  that's about to be performed
 on you?

all of you?

      your breath has become the maelstrom
and the maelstrom has become your thoughts

                          which become you
         and which don't become you at all


Saturday, A.M.

Cold woke and dream-rocked;
Knees creaking, shivering —
Finish the fruit while there’s yet time
(Eyes still mostly water, with some stone)

Love’s on a friendship never borne:
Thoughts slip and words linger —
Sleeping past Orion’s welcome.
When did these become my hands?

Tiny bell that signals message.
You are there and I am here —
Into the dark I have to go:
Into the sky that swallows up

My dark

What Does He Do

Old excuses.

What does he do, when,
Mixed-up in sunset, he staggers
Out to where all of those who
Never admit fault end up bringing
Glasses of old excuses and new cognac to
Life-changing chapters from novels by
Henry James, or even Balzac

Where does he go, when,
Beset by age and loneliness, he
Realizes his best tricks don’t work anymore, and
Flashing the old smile only makes them
Run away faster than he’s seen his
Money go into holes and slots and
Anyplace else money might fit

He looks for his own reflection in
The sky, but all he sees is


My Love Is Water

My love is water, every dream
Is sweaters worn on autumn hills,
The capable is palpable,
And they say “love don’t pay the bills”
But mine does.

My love is dreaming, every day
We run along the riverside,
I asked the wondering sky for help,
But she said “I have too much pride”
Like I do,
Like she does,
Like all of us —

Like water

what wasn’t

the news about you
like a sun setting behind hills,
those days when you and she were
keeping alive what was young
(when so much so many
aren’t even keeping alive)

you kissed her long
before i ever did and
you occupy a place indecent
for me to intrude upon 

for nothing is owned
except memories,
and those are either
painfully real or
effortlessly manufactured

behold the reticent night,
afraid to show her stars,
for fear of us knowing love’s secret
and forgetting that life is
less like a lover,
and more like 

a linebacker

by products

A meditation on our role in the choices available to us

the world’s a store, and
we walk by products that are
arranged to catch our eyes;
our attention often fixed upon
objects not present, the
subjects of our current fixations –

and yet, if economics allow, we often
buy products that we know we may not
need or even want, merely from a sort of
habit of politeness; a feeling that
so much trouble was gone to for us, we
really should show some support –

bringing home these pointless objects, we
find ourselves leaving by-products, traces
of these and other half-optimal choices that
make up most of our days; the things we do, because
we must do something, and so we choose from among
the options available to us

if, of course, by “products” we are thinking of
things like relationship and career choices, this
only becomes more true – and more the
pity, since we frequently either don’t go to
enough stores to provide sufficient choice or
go to stores long after the right choice has been
purchased by someone else