you are the poem

sit silently with your self;

listen to your breath, to last

night’s dreams, to the hammer

heart-beats which carried you


through. listen again. do you

hear your treble, the shaking

space between your stanzas,

the tremble of your verse?


you are the poem.


stop letting in all the noise. make

your own noise—just for you. if you

don’t want to rhyme, don’t. let your

capitals go. be un-titled. let the







you. swim in the imagery, steep in

the buzz of beginning over that of

belonging. watch a being give

birth. you are the poem. it will


all be over soon. taste each syl-

la-ble in your mouth, feel the tug

of adrenaline in the pit of your

stomach: the closest to the center


of child hood you will ever get

again. take cream in your coffee.

romance your selves and those

clinging to them with satin


static. if you take a title, own

it; sing it out with each pulse.

hug the children, love the world,

speak the beauty, love the poem.


you are the poem.





humanity v. machinery

without light

there is no color.


darkness is

the default.


you have been given a hall pass;

why aren’t you wandering?


tunnels of cool white tile, green carpet as quiet as moss,

hundreds of stampeding feet now caught in class.


if you go straight from point a to

point b, you are squandering your


right to stay in the liminal

for just a little while.


every thing will pick back up too

quickly and too easily and this


moment will be gone.  with great

beauty comes great risk—the light of


dawn; and the bigger dare: to follow the

red neon signs and exit the building.


you are an occasion

you do not need

an occasion to

be celebrated.

you are an occasion:

an event, an unfolding,

a unique record of time

& space & words & cells &

growing & wonder & terror

all wrapped up in love

& beauty and spinning at

the speed of a miracle.



a long stem of pulse_picture2

in the late, late heat of summer

crickets click their last relief-song.


when i wake from wise dreams

i will be a stranger to myself,


toddling this globe-head around —

filling it with forgetfulness


and random etchings: love, war,

electrocutions, flesh-colored candles —


asking to be filled with wine,

begging to be drunk.


just being alive

is a liability.


it used to be so simple;

it used to be seven white cranes


stretching in a parade, lifting their slender

necks against the blue-green blade.


to truly attend to



is pain: all you see

is a long stem of pulse.

a long stem of pulse_picture

-photographs by sergio mora





my daughter is

writing poems and


playing piano

keys while the


world is spinning, telling her

she should be working.


the singing apple is still falling

from the tree


in slow   motion



obelisk of beauty and utility:

reaching, perching on the edge


of still pools, longing

to be space-craft.


the icing on our earth cake


all of the mysteries we call colors,

combining to fall and swirl and mount around us:


how can this not be magic?


how can it not sweep us out of our dark and dirty little houses,

out into this open-faced

light-cave of quiet?


i step softly in the air and crystals

and feel the purity pulling at me,


making me want to float,

to fly, to be a

better builder,


to start over,

fresh as a new born, as

a colorless spirit, free from stains and haunts;


taking me to a place where

i make-believe, and believe,


and wonder, and marvel, and climb

up and out of the tallest peak

to see where it all began —


bewitched by a beauty that

breathes deeper, walks taller,

reaches higher,


eats up all of the snow

until a trill-column fills the throat:

the purest suffocation —


this white delight,

this bitter-sweet burden of light:


the icing on our earth cake.

snow spirit

libellula: a poem from last decade comes calling

i found a dragonfly last week on the sidewalk:

yellow and black.

i only took it because it was dead; 

i only put it in a red cigar box beneath my bed,

and now i dream slip-knot dreams of water and wings, 

of dragons who defied their curse to become

queens of the insect world.


we are working ourselves inward

in a spiral of funnel mazes,

winding down to the center

where all the sediment collects;

where all the patterns intersect

more symmetrically than the human face.


‘you look so young,’ a woman tells me,

‘like you haven’t let life really touch you,

really put her hands on you.’


for the first time, this isn’t a compliment.


i tell her how at twenty-nine i just

contemplated stealing for the first time —

because i’m piss-poor,

because i can’t bring myself to ask for another loan,

and because i just got robbed —

and it seems like the next natural

step in the cycle of things.


after all, we keep repeating each other

in predetermined overlaps,

the great wheel turning and turning —

hand over hand, year over year —


as rivers get moved around, and mountains slouch,

and stars burn out, and some thing is born

out of an egg, out of a wasteland, out of a distant planet.


how did we get into this very conversation?

we are suddenly two pieces of wood rubbing together.


i try to explain that if i stop for too long,

and just think, and just breathe,

i may not be able to pick up one more day

to heave it up onto my shoulders.


a voice inside my head — i think it’s my mother’s — says:

‘why do you write so much about yourself? selfish, selfish.’


but it’s the one thing i’ve been given, mother;

it’s the one thing i think i know,

and even that comes into question at least once a day.


we move in wide angles one moment

and in narrow detours the next,

and the end result is a giant crop circle

signifying nothing but crushed grass and tired geometry.


but at least we are moving.


and at least a television can be quite useful, actually,

once un-plugged: a convex mirror, a plant stand,

something square to offset all the circles.


we lock arms and rock, back and forth, back and forth —

in the wind, in the sheddings, as our mothers push out

humanity one liquid cry at a time.


we are but one life, one chance at a touch,

one long hallway of doors — of green, of silver, of hush.


a fish caught, and then released.


all the islands of the world pieced back

together into this great continental puzzle.