Memory of Thirst

I was a winter desert devoid of warmth or a droplet

Of succor, when a fair fair-minded friend appeared, serving me

Up on the edge of a morning mountain, where a warming brew

Waited, steaming, wanting to kiss the chap away from my lips.

An undesignated time had passed when a path opened

That would allow us to meander our way down to progress.

Upon the thin strand where our feet found their footing fell also

A shadow.

The oncoming spring brings clouds and bright rain and smiling green

Spider-legged patches of impermanence dotted and webbing

Across the shifting floor of the desert. We came like the spring

Approached by descent, the pathway of a journey a constant

Halfway in the moment when the shadow fell upon the earth.

Spring cloud’s gray and piercing sun’s ray both fall against the figures

Of once-green desert verdure and the shadows they cast as we

Cross and pass.

Summer will be soon and after the harvest when desert cools

Once again. Then, that shadow stretch will be far behind us

Other tasks will demand our attention, which gladly we’ll give

As gray spring clouds did, their offering sowing, sprinkling promise.

What fear I felt when I was in a drought the shadow jumped out

To alert me. But your whisper beside kept me in my stride and gravity

Still pulls me forward. Despite memory and want of water

I am slaked.


Key and door are symbols

Inscriptions upon them signals

This poem a legend

On a map of winding rivers

Bisecting earth in twain

And between the trees alongside

Draws down spirited gales

Kissing the e’er moving surface

Beneath which in which flows

The secret song of the current.

So key in hand and door

Attuned to the rippling rhythm

He went through the threshold

And wishes both past and future

Envelope each other

In welcoming valediciton.


The goalposts move and there

You are, the field suddenly

Closer or longer, space warped

Against the confines of time.

The clock has another

Object it describes but likewise

It is wefted, bending like

Memories or guessing games

A fleck on the horizon’s coat

Taken for a gloomy rider.

Guidance is distortion

Taken toward some or other

Point of ordination

Snaking caduceus

Dance drawing in and drawing on

Adherent adhesive

Reciprocal pushing pulling

Filmic force of character

Within the letter and spirit.

What is centermost is

Singular, a grain that contains

Its own clock describing

Its own horizons and objects

A place of intention

A point of confluence

Between dream and waking.

The Twain

Once it was a common term and

A term of art at once

Meaning both a simple pair and

A mark of river’s depth.

Then it was a famed name

Denoting almost everything about

This place we share with all

Its backwards forecastings, became

The central sideways means for

Our conveyances. Another came

Hammering down, pinging

The sidelong in echoes.

Then there was only

The air for the fire

Told from a tolling bellows.

Now we can see

The men claiming character

Rushed like wine from a jug

Only to drink in the contents

But though continentals became

Incontinent, peeling

Peals off of symbolic cymbals

Tyrannical grip on thirsty

River banks left foundries

Defunct and defunded.

So now the term sits on

Anachronistic shelf

Invisible air’s earthen urn.

The question then comes with

The shadow-cast key if

The vessel lies behind the door or

Behind the one who the man gave

The key to, and what

Tethering lies in store.

The Symbols

The idea was to pack as much into it

As was possible then

Let it overflow then

Seal it, capture its utmost

A film at its limit closing

Around it, but letting the light

Pass through. The boundary created

A condition where unlike became

Like where lie became truth where

Earth became airy heaven.

But the film did not contain

The shadow and the wholeness

Slipped out with it, the idea

Fulfilled with more and less than was

Needed, like blood in the body,

A gesturing warmth, a richness

On earth and possibly

In open air, a sign.

The Characters

Bent and mottled with

Hammer-blows, lines of

Earthy ink cross a page

In a volume bound

By sinew. Broken lines tie

Memory to present stringing

Meaning along a thread

Until time comes to demand

Another line be threaded into

The fell, and an assessment

Given. The pings of hammer’s-head on

Sheeting resounds within and

Tiny troughs merge into

A curved line, once a plane

Now molded, drizzled in patina

Beaming plasticity and yet

Made of air and relationships.

The Other Question

The Other Question

There is the taking of

The key and the placement of

The key in the lock and

The turning and the opening of

The door, but before and

After, in fact, there is

The question: whether

The symbols and the characters are

The same or can be

Reconciled. But that begs

Another question: whether

What within those forms,

What lies behind the doors of

Each contains concurrency.

The Threshold

A man came and handed him

A key and pointed to a door

Inscribed “Your Wishes.”

It had been five years since

He uttered those wishes

He’d worked at them in a hostile

Wasteland like Mars’s surface

Exiled and now, offered

A key and a door, a return

Of sorts, to the world

He’d left, and now those wishes

Reemerged, emblazoned

On the door, characters,

Symbols of a future life

In forms of the past.

The Surface

A man came and handed him

A key and pointed to a door

Inscribed “Your Wishes.”

It had been five years since

He uttered those wishes

He’d worked at them in a hostile

Wasteland like Mars’s surface

Exiled and now, offered

A key and a door, a return

Of sorts, to the world

He’d left, and now those wishes

Reemerged, emblazoned

On the door, characters,

Symbols of a future life

In forms of the past.

Sudden bursts

Sudden bursts

Stray cat staccato

Chopped up light through

Morning blinds –

Heavens crash

In forked river

Cold mercury

Associates –

Peals of grinding

Machine bleating


Search function.

Muted sensate hiding

Kitty watchful eyes watch

Sun at play while body


Sudden semblance

Rush, dull roiling not fine

Pointed, passing over


Sudden lifting

Fog of battle taking

Thought and leaving dead

Shredded –

Light through

Heaviness of night mind

Laughing horse’s carousel

Dismounted –

Gunfire popcorn

Eddies’ bubbling, purrs and

Peals and laughing


Water wisping

Soothing sunlight nothing

Begging to inhere


Here I sit and

Finger buttons, no plan but

To stir and leave


Invented prejudices


No more outrage, desensitized


Stuck in mode

Gestural utterances

Carrying emotive handbags

My mood, my humor, my ethics and politics and religious upbringing,

my me,

Flung as if to be rid

Offerings of fire over



Cordoning off primates



A natural habitat

Within language and time

With grass and rocks, with unhunted and ungathered food, with me,

Flung as if to be rid

Observers repulsed and amused






True and becoming

Untrue and not again

Puts will, failing, success and adapting, persistence before me,

Flung as if to be rid

Gesture assuming



Amplifying critical


Exposing stuck

Positions in space, dependent

On sticky shadowy reasons

Our hope, our dahlias, our obscure homilies and brimming, lush


Flung as if to be rid

Begetting with power


Sometimes light

Sometimes light hides herself

In darknesses or other thoughts.

Sometimes light is only

A word and not a wet whit more.

Sometimes light sits behind

A stony bulk and waits and waits.

Sometimes light plays a song

Heard within the darkest of ears.

Sometimes light in singing

Gleams and bounds in space acoustic

Sometimes light emerges through

Ember gray fog and filament.

In those times light exudes

The quality of light itself.

Sometimes light burns aloud

The fuel that keeps us darkness bound.

The things I have given up

Unintentionally I gave up

A nasty habit

On the first day of Lent and now

I wonder if

I can make it to Easter and if it means

Anything anyway.

The things I have given up

In the past –

So many things – I have wanted to hold

Onto the ones

I am giving up now if only

To declare

Some good within the vices

I have left.

But was there so much in what

I chose to avoid

Setting out intentions to cover large

Swaths of time like

Great tents over the desert with a sentry

At the flaps?

Is there so much in what I am not or

Not doing that

I should pitch my nights in Gethsemene?

I feel that

I should not need it and still I return to this

Purgative act.

I wonder at them men who see the world clear and

Continue to toil

For themselves when all I can hear between

Posturing words

Are the madding and proud lamentations

Of a sickness

Undiagnosed. But here, where I lay down what

I gave up

I find the formula and its here and always

In this one place

Where I stand that I will continue to find it

The meretricious

Urge that speaks to our needfulness is

Powerless in

The face of the heart when it smiles at the wrangling

Sins of the mind.

The Voci


The name of God

What will you

See but a reflection?


God’s presence

What you see

Will be a reflection.


The image of God

See what will

Be your vocation.

The Outline


There was a painter

There was a jurist

There was someone

In between. In between

Them, an immeasurable beauty

Appeared then disappeared

From form and passed

Into memory and taking

With it starry gravity.


Boy and girl

Young and old

Circle and square

Men who want

Women who want

Men who fight to prove

Themselves to themselves

Each other under

The starry circus.


There was a gathering

There was a promise

There was someone

Standing in the same place,

Them and immeasurable beauty

Appeared then disappeared

A starry knifing

Shovel hilted

In the foundling earth.

The Thirst

Wherever the flag

Will be planted

I want to

Go there and be

Still, write until

The work I haven’t done is

Bested by time

Invested and what’s made is

Greeted by raves.

I want to

Paint until

The brush is softly frayed

Its point ever finer

As it drops hair by hair

A finer point like when

My own edge was

Sharpened from breaking

Possessed by waking

Roving cinema dreams.

I want to

Love myself ragged

Throwing my body into

The pyre of my other

Giving giving until

From giving I fall

Down dead spent.

Travel Plans

There are places competing to fulfill

Your dreams, rooms to house

Your fantasies, landscapes to offer

Their fruits – a courteous sidle

On a busy sidewalk, the overripe

Breeze of open sea, the piquancy of

Green mountain meadow peeking out

As clouds furl past, the golden

Hue of new places, glinting gold

Off stucco walls and water’s rippling

Surfaces, and treasures coveted and

Hidden, glowing, fecund within.

An Appreciation

You have it all.

Your body swells

In cyclical shape, stoking

The fire in my form.

Your mind moves

Quickly, its momentum

Swirling a draft as

It passes, pulling

Perception along possessing

Me in its pulchritude.

Your spirit is more and

Less than the sum of

Your parts. I have seen

It wane when you felt

Defeat and displace the hurt of

The heart with the head.

But I have seen

The opposite, when

Your heart has shouldered

The burden of the mind,

Smiling from under

The dark edgeless

Cloak of disappointment.

That is the thing,

Over and above

The fineness of your lines,

Somatic and surfeit

The quiet resolution

Residing in the impossible

Questions that thread

Through the love

You give others.

The Next Morning

Footfalls on bearskin

My home within a home

The soul I knew rejoined

Me suddenly and overwhelmed

By love both familiar and outside

Myself, rapt and wrapped in

The power of my powerlessness.

The masks they wore

The ceremonies

Stories told, the elders

Sitting upward jutting

Faces like mountains - there was

Where the bearskin took me, back to

A life I knew. Even as a boy

I knew another boy was me,

Even then suspecting it was

My own memory.

There and then was the origin

The start of a single chapter

In a much larger tale.

Here and now, a bearskin

On the floor of your bedroom

Calls me to remember

The time our souls ran free

Together, when joy was

The fabric of our days.

But when morning comes and

My first move brings

Foot to pelt, I’ll know the time is

Still ahead when our two

Souls shall once more meet.

The List

I’m making a list of all my desires

So I don’t have to sort them or

Prioritize just

Get them on the page and see

How they fall out or in

Together and the picture they

Paint of the life I want to live.