When I caught up with him he was weeping.  He'd fallen onto his shins, sat back on his heels, and rested his arms, palms up, on his thighs.  His back had buckled and curled his head downward to look at the grass.  He sobbed and held tightly to his smile in the cavern of his closed fists.  There would be other works, of course.  Soon the revelation of finality would pass away and he'd pick up his pen and get to building the newest skeleton of his thoughts.  But there was a completion in him for which he was only now learning the proper gratitude.  I got to my knees too, rested my hand between his shoulder blades and felt my eyes welling.  Years now, it had been, since he started up this trail.  And it'd led here.  We faced the back pond.  That lunar stone smiled on it and lit our faces. These are the lucid intervals which dismiss the day to day fog sleeping on our eyes.  Its not so uncommon we find ourselves in tears with the world so cearly outstretched before us.  It is the place holder for what the rest of nature might say in our place.

no matter the vigor of its captain
or the rightness of it crew
the ship which was made by the waves
is a tough vessel to turn

When I sit in this grass I do it like a robot never could.  First you must understand the grass.  For all our intentions it is quite tall, nearly taller than me while I'm sitting unlike robots.  But in reality the grass is tiny, and constatly reminded of as much by the rumpus-loving sky that twists itself, blushing, into a blue dress everytime I come to watch it set.  There is some insanity in the soil.  But not actually dimented minds, no, its the kind of insanity that is bound up in a golden straight jacket in the highest room of the prettiest house on the block and told again and again its crazy for wanting to chase the most-unfashionable earth tones out the window.  Its the kind of insanity you could really make friends out of, in such a way robots could never attempt. When I sit in the grass, its the only time I'm like a Jedi.  I press my palms to the soil as I watch the sky twisting, changing into her evening dress, and I will the buckles to straight shatter on those jackets.  I'm hoping all the recluses in all the houses of all the neighborhoods whose souls are buried in that crazy fucking soil would dig their way out from the dirt, in a way robots can't but in a way one might imagine zombies to, and sit with me and press their palms to the dirt.  Robots can sit motionless, buried in the dirt in their gold and metal and white cloth jackets.  And ours is the crazier state?  There is some insanity in the soil, I can feel it in my palms.
He imagined Lake Superior in his collins glass and his other thoughts cowered.  The mind shivered.  The lake had long ago innervated his chest and spoke to him in harmonics at a distance.  It would stir the strings suspended between them and call him home.  He was born of a cauldron on the beach, where polished black stone entered the great furnace and produced men enamored with and endentured to the waves.  Imagine the air is your captor.  You are suspended in it and at the mercy of its decision to enter your chest.  So the lake cradles its sons.
The fruit bowl on the table convinced me that we had become more real than our paintings.  Strange, really, the power of its persuasion to this end.  Fruit bowls, usually wooden like the one on our table, were so often the quaint background to images that quietly captured someone else's profundity.  Painters like to use things like fruit bowls to say something equally simple and amazing about their subjects. Geniuses kept fruit bowls on their tables in cabins a day's travel from anywhere.  And dramatically melted, unburning candles.  Yeah, melted candles next to fruit bowls, in solitude, in ambiguously weathered kitchens in cabins in nowhere; those are places geniuses live.  That's why we paint them.

So I was surprised how little I cared about the fruit bowl or our weathered kitchen or the over-used splashes of parafin that were once candles strewn all about our cabin home, a day's drive from anywhere.  Because he left the room like he was going to throw up his heart.

Killing Troy Davis

A sentence is ringing in my head tonight.  It is a group of words that have long walked around in my mind, intimidating my other thoughts, humbling the notions I attempt to construct about the behaviors of our world. When I used to pray in the pews of my dad's church, I would often roll these words between folded palms, startled by their simple weight and all but crushed by the implications of their uttering.

"They know not what they do."

To All of Us

this is to climb a staircase to a room of sleeping loved ones,
to find a dream catcher
wriggling with strangled life
visions tangled in the lattice

this is for the clipping
let the leather dangle, dead and maimed
you, also, have wanted to rid your ankles of these laces

I Am the Pristine

I am the pristine
and fruitful
you say god made me and was happy
today he and i sat watching the sunrise
and told each other of our families

he sat in a woven-plastic folding chair
which his skin stuck to
and i fashioned my seat
from a swirling of my twig fingers
and a kiss of river water


find a blink to sit
and adore with me the magic just beyond our cabin
draped in white cotton god cloths
from these ancient pines

they cherish the secrets the wind is telling them
you can tell
from the way they sway when they're spoken to

Letter to the Future. VIII - Your History of War

11 July 2010

Your History of War

To Future,
I don't know which stories from the current Iraq war will look at you from your history books.  I hope, beyond anything else, that two messages are afforded you by the historians of your time.  Firstly, I hope that someone tells you the story of the people living, patrolling, defending and invading the neighborhoods where the bombs dropped, where manipulated intelligence meant dead loved ones, meant food insecurity, meant multiple tours, meant a more deeply hated America and a more fortified al Qaeda. 

Letter to the Future. IX - Caught in the Rain

29 July 2010

Caught in the Rain

To Future,
I am standing in the south notch of horsetooth mountain as the first droplets fall from an approaching lightning storm.  Man must explore; protect this wilderness.


June 2011

The other night I was called off of work early because we were doing so few covers. In traversing the downtown mall I was looking for a spot to sit in the early evening sun, have a beer, and read my book (field notes from a catastrophe). I ended up plopping down at an outdoor patio belonging to the Sheraton Hote bar. I sipped my bourbon and read my book. An hour passed or so and I was ready to leave. While I was seated however an older black woman with hair the color of slate and pepper had been sitting across from me, trying with the cocktailer to get her drink just right. Finally chardonnay and sprite proved to be the most satisfying.


I want to take you to a chamber
deep beneath a palace
where the walls' bricks and the soil outside them
take on a certain sameness

it is a room in which you never want to find yourself
on account of all the selves that have been lost there

Hunting Streetlamps in the Moonlight

a figure crumpled in a pile in the rain
wrapped in a blanket
he is at home in the lightning
and there has been drought
so he weeps and smiles,
weeping in his homecoming

she is the crazy one
the runner
the barefoot lunatic
racing across new fallen snow
hacking down the streetlamps
once the moon is right

The Storming

i swing my arms back
as if to bow
a controlled collapse
for a chorus i can't resist

my hair is made
and lifted
and ripples in the wind

a pulse a push and its done
ride the cliff
to a mighty ruckus in the waves
an ocean screaming and cheering

return, return

From the Fence

there stands a wooden fence at the edge of conventional thought.
on this fence are carvings,
literature of pocket knives borne by those wandering near the abyss.

Letter to the Future. XI - bin Laden is Dead

3 May 2011

bin Laden is Dead

To Future,
Two nights ago a Navy SEAL team descended on a fortified mansion in a northern suburb of Islamabad, Pakistan.  We asked them to, demanded in fact.  A firefight ensued, during which one commando shot twice a gray-haired man on the left side of his face, killing him.  Osama bin Laden is dead.

These Halls are Full

this is a siren's redress
tiring of songs that sing to shipwrecks
she enters this house and holds out her vacant palms, an offering
the halls are filling
and the kitchen is already full

Dear Friend, Bring Me My Skin

"most of the mountain is beneath me now,"
salutations from an earthy edge
"what can I shove in this envelope?

my resolve, my bursting heart
my rambling, resurrected lips?

I am reincarnated.

How I Found You

the door creaked upon opening
enough to startle you surely
but start you did not

only stillness and constance

Play Play

i saw a season walking toward me today
likely summer, possibly spring
the sewers of winter curled up
in her cotton blouse

Out Came His Inside

he watched one drop
from way up

watched it gather itself
and leave the known

i thought it similar to a man
eyes closed and breath steadied

Letter to the Future. X - Our Age

30 March 2011

Our Age

To Future,
He must have been six or so.  I'm bad at guessing ages.  Small, high pitched, thoughtful, standing no taller than my waist. He and his mom had snagged the last table in the otherwise full Starbucks, across the aisle at my ten o'clock.  I was reading a novel.  A gaggle of undergrad girls, my neighbors on the banquet I was sitting on, were plugged in, scanning Mac screens and print-outs, connected to their pockets via iBuds.  The business professional diaspora and the DU herds streamed in and out, coming from the last thing, pausing for a liquid kick, on to the next thing.  But the little boy, he was creating worlds on one hundred square inches of plyboard.  Unwittingly, he shared a narrative of embattled rocket ships with all of us, excitedly blasting a tiny wooden dowel into the air, having devoured the chocolate truffle once perched atop it.  Mom tried to keep up; he would radio Houston with progress reports, and distort his face when mom came up with too convenient a response.

State Radio

this morning
i set my ear to the speaker
and found the radio of the state
clogged with the panicked chatter of emperors

'there will be consequences
for what we've done'
they said,
with the sunrise
comes a reckoning

The Things I Carry

You spoke.
You went into yourself with the intention of excavaction.
You spoke.
You authored a verse that completely escaped dishonesty.
And for that, I carry you with me.

Creature in My Corner

there is an understanding that stirs in my corner
never a creature of destruction, it is not frightening
but for the weight of what it seems to know.

Footsteps on the Roof

sleep's a distraction.
there are footsteps on the roof,
the thoughts I won't let in,
impatient, are pacing.

Closeness for Comfort

there is a comfort we reach for
and an intmacy that calls us further
without the intimacy
we lie comfortable
in a net that keeps us

State of Mine

mine is with the planter of words
in the stanky dark of a jungle soil where
mangroves will grow from my sentences

their annunciation will not be articulate
and their character obeys a
permanent disorder

Letter to the Future. IX - No One Narrative

No One Narrative

22 January 2011

To Future,
I promise I'll only request this of you when its absolutely necessary:  go to a library or a book store and find the section of such place devoted to quantum physics.  If you run your fingers through the dust on publications of 2010 and the first months of 2011 you'll discover titles like The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene.  Like others in this scientific moment, they deal with the question and disagreements of quantum reality.  With super colliders and miles of mathematics, they're attempting to venture into the space which holds the last fragile whispers of our truest creation story.  Their ears are pressed to the wall of the atom, and what they're hearing is remarkable if not unbelievable.  Today's physics suggests the history of the universe, the history of yourself and myself, indeed, even the history of the photon which brings my words off the pages to your eyes, is not exactly what we think it is.  At least, its not only what we think it is.  It's postulated that our universe is one of many or one of an infinitude, and that each subatomic substance we know of, and will one day know of, travels through those infinite universes on every path possible.  In short, the smallest pieces of us, and so also 'us' as the sum of those pieces, have infinite histories, having traveled infinite paths, in order to arrive in the now.


the worst thing we can accomplish
is the thorough banishing of our passions
to the condescended islands of naive youth

adopt me

some nights
the lakeside
truly merciless
calls unendingly.