over & over, closer & closer

i finally took down my christmas tree.

she was a beauty. she brought us so much joy.

i hated to pluck the fragile ornaments off, one by one,

and toss her outside. but i know she will break down gently

into the soil and help create new life. she was already breaking down

in my living room: pine needles and sap and bits of branches everywhere.


part of me wanted to leave her there by the window and watch her decompose,

watch her finish her process of drying up, falling apart, withering to bits on the floor,

to see how long it would take, what it would look like. i don’t think this would bring me as

much joy as seeing her fully fledged with ribbons and lights, but in a more tangible way, it would

remind me of my own fleeting life, my own gradual breaking down, my own gentle (de) composition.


in her place by the window sits a large house plant that had been dying in a dark corner. now she can

sit in the sun and revive. she looks at me gratefully, watching me work, watching me watching her.

she reminds me of how happy my father was to sit on the balcony in the florida sun, soaking up

the warmth. there’s a picture of him somewhere in a rocking chair, facing out to the world,

slightly smiling. he knew he wouldn’t make it through another winter; he was ready to

go toward the light … into the light … through the light … to become light.


these are the rituals we need. these are the things we live to observe,

experience, write down, and remember. we do the same things

every year, over and over, as if getting closer and closer to

the bright light center with each magnificent spin.


Note: When viewed in a word doc format, this poem forms the shape of a pine tree on its side. I don’t think I can show landscape view in this platform.




favorite part of speech

i walk beside the river in the snow.

my cat curls beside me on the couch.


we are in this world to rub up

against other things and beings.


we define ourselves

in relation to others.


try to describe who

or where you are


without prepositions:

the words of relation-


ships. even an

island is in the sea,


far from land and

longing for habitation.


jump into the water

and see where it takes


you. cast off your

past, the weight of


mistakes, the heavy

anchor of indecision.


it is time to sail, to

take flight, to feel the


wind in your wings:

in, on, through, between.




hush and hum

the poem is a



you write all alone

in your closet.


it fights



it demands

a blessing


from the



inside time’s

attenuated tip,


you wrestle

with the


wooden chest

of your heart:


all the



the hush

and hum,


the red



the perfect



deeper still,

you move


through the

electric blue


darkness, the

great lost-ness,


a tiny sign of life

hunting another.


you see the

silver sparks;


they brush up

against you—


but you cannot

feel them.


you are here

but not here.


you remember

your father saying


every thing is

going to be okay


with his ragged

breath and big


chemo eyes.

even then,


on the edge

of death,


he was full of

hills and hopes.


now, the

big banyan


and creeks and

deer and wolves


tell you: it is time

to move into your


own life. it is time

to stop inhabiting


family history,

family religion,


family memory.

put whiskey in


your coffee and go

out into the world.

















real heroes

a guy named barry at cvs keeps

calling me love, looks at my id and says,


don’t worry; you still look good.

i know he’s messing with me, but i


just want to get my wine and toilet

paper and go home. it’s the same


guy that tried messing with my girl

last week. i feel like i should make a


scene, but i don’t. i think the words

me too as i angrily shift away.


religion claims to save you from

the abyss, but religion is the abyss.


thank the gods for the creatives;

oh how we need the creatives.


we came out of the beautiful black

water—wet and fresh and squeaking:


a bull’s eye in the midst of the

mess. babies don’t have to care.


years later, i’m wearing my suit of

wet clay; i’m swinging my rudder


to wide extremes across a wide sea.

at the end of the journey, it’s just me.


i can feel the light shedding;

i can feel the need to flee.


real heroes don’t

feel like heroes



we will have words

there’s no room in my life

for new men; because the old


ones keep creeping in.

at night, they get the lay


of the land. still, after all

this time—they inhabit the


dreams of both body and

mind. every now and then


a new man will arrive on

the scene: in real life.


a good man. a man who

makes me feel alive.


we will have words;

so help me god.


we will have a new life,

a new touch, a clean rain.


and i will be reminded:

you are not your pain.

we are always building

i miss the feeling of shaking

from something other than


anger, other than fear. i go

to my window and look for the


little flowers of hope. they are

every where; fragments amid


very long sentences: the swallow

tail, the barn swallow, the migrating


monarch. your energy goes where it’s

needed; there, it meets the energy it needs.


fire is friction.

imagine these are real:


a tiny wild child on your knee,

a tired dictator on the other, the


view of your own face from the

inside; they are all in the arena


with you: daring greatly.

we are always building: bridges,


portals, spirals, spaceships—

without knowing. all the


water droplets are being

summoned into one


stream, here at the

intersection of all things.



i think i missed you

we wake

to create;


we carry some-

thing from the


night: thick

on us, in us—


a thousand stories deep

as the crow flies.


we were meant

to meet there,


you and i—



i think i

missed you.


i think we are

living the before.




this is my body,

broken for you,


like in the



we are here

to make some-


thing new:

but we know


it has all been done

under the heavy static


of sun. we traverse the

taverns, ear to the ground


for a philistine,

a dervish,


something royal

to stir us up.


we become the swine

digging in the pearls;


it is our



we sit on the dock

and wait; we believe


something is on its

way—a ship, a revolution,


a stay; a drunken glacier

swaying toward us with glee:


to allay our fears, our need,

our repeat existence.