i thought i lost you:

on my own—


twist of lightning;

home alone.





a paradox of



first steps,

first stay,


first time

driving away;


the lonely light house

winks at the bay.


and we lay, we lay,

we lay down our dark


arms and rub up against

the furry light of day.





while waiting for your phone call

as soon as you leave

i feel it:


the immense sadness,

the emptiness, the




it makes me wonder

why i’m here; what my


purpose is

outside of you;


outside of

bringing your life into




this house, this rent,

this uneaten food in the



as soon as i’m alone,

every thing is vast and open


and possible



beautifully vacant.


it makes me think

and want to create


and fill up the spaces

with music and dance and




this piano, these poems,

this uncooked



how can something be

so delicious and so alone—


electric in one moment,

and dead the next?


it’s a long, long road,

up through this fissure


into the dark hollow of



it’s the only way

to move and be moved;


it’s the only

way—up, up—


and it’s









whales and wolves

you are here, and not here:


fly-swimming over deep

caverns and continents;


pack-running through the

wood-keep of your ancestors.


i am there, and not there:


scouring for seed sounds in the

caves best made for shouting.


the echoes know the truth;

they have been here before:


ma, da, wa, ka

ma, da, wa, ka

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.


the dark side of the day

i burned my hand making a tuna melt.

i suck on the spot, pulling the skin off the

middle knuckle bone of my right hand into my

mouth. it’s looser than it once was, less elastic.


see you in the new year we say cheerily, as if

things will miraculously improve, solve

themselves, by the next time we see

each other—just by a calendar flipping.


it’s the eve of my birthday and i’m here to

say that nothing ever really improves;

we just find more ways to manage the sad-

ness, the loneliness, the expectations, the


inevitable aging. old friends drop away, new

friends are harder to make, and the dull ache

of an old flame is still there, somehow sustained

like a red poppy in a field of unanswered questions.


alive & well


i’m still here,
kicking around,

holding up this
sign of life:

head just above
the black-water.

the anger is the
edge of a red knife

held just below the
surface: aching

tension pulled taut
across too many hurts.

i need the momentum to
shove me into the next day.

is there any other way?

when the doctor asks,
how do you feel on a scale of 1 to 10

i ask, does anyone
ever say 10?

i don’t know what
that would feel like.

it would seem almost obscene.

i don’t know if it’s the inability to feel
happiness, or the fear of

fully feeling it, or the panic
at feeling it and then losing it.

there are moments;
tiny pockets of time

in which i revel, marvel,
spin, float, feel high.

i try to sustain, but they
pass: like seasons,

like heartbeats, like hot-air
balloons taking off without me;

like the many mutable things

i’ve learned to appreciate but
not count on.

i watch for their arrival again
over the horizon, like waiting

for morning to come, to
rescue me from the voices:

dark with teeth like
exclamation marks.

if i can just make it to day-break.

then i crash, unable to face the
sharp light, but still here; still breathing.

i’ve even fallen a little bit in love
with my melancholy; with this collar:

it’s what i know, it’s what i’m comfort-
able with—until i’m not.

it’s why i don’t trust people who are always
smiling; the thick fake lacquer over the face.

friends stop coming around,
stop calling. it’s contagious,

this dread. it travels well
despite its heaviness. it

deep and wide.

i try to contain, but the

when i can speak, create, connect,
let the shards out in bits into a

willing receiver, i can
breathe again, for a span;

when i can feel a purpose beyond all
this sleeping, waking, dreading, falling.

why this shell? why the merger
of this shell and this soul?

what is this duo supposed to do?
in this world? in this moment?

to be both alive & well,
in this world, in this moment,

is the most i can ask for;
is a gift.


dark thorn

dark thorn


like every
thing living.

there are exceptions:


sixth-seventh-sensing —
in which you never come down.

transcending the


the eye of the needle

down the out-line;

under a blood moon,
muddy waters


the keys to the kingdom
are mine.

help my un-belief.