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.




summer of the painting

i want to live in a

light house.





these wrinkles

and lines need


something to open

and close


with a light



you have the



you are starting

to believe it.


you are starting to

love your self





a solitary wing

with its lantern


pair flapping in the



a flickering




the seasons;


a window;

a wind—


to speak through

and in and on


and on

and anon.


Song of the Wayland, Anselm Kiefer




it starts with

a surge,


the intersect of

neck, solar plexus,


words — — then,

the dark descent


down, down into

the cave drawings


of who am i?





built for

slow idolatry


and waiting:

which is its


own electricity—




after all is


said and done;

after all the


battles fought—

few won;


what am i here for?






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









get up and out

so now i will tell you there is actual joy in

allowing something to dwindle down to its

very last drip. sometimes you need to see

the bottom of the barrel: the empty panic;

the dark places where you have scratched and

scraped to get by; the tiny spaces that hold the

last bits of grainy fluid before going dry. mean-


while, above ground, in full view of sun instead

of storage, there is a grand canyon piano with no

quiet pedal just waiting to be played. get up and

out of the basement. it will still be there, splayed

under your feet, holding your wares, your fears,

holding you up. but you need not stare at the

scaffolding. there is a whole horizon of sky for that.


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