Monthly Archives: July 2013

Craigslist Poem #1

I do love you tough tittie
you know where am at

am ready to try for just me and you
no more kids holding me back

my mind is free of them
its our time now so much too say

I see clearer now
I need my girl back tough tittie

(These poems are made verbatim from the missed connections Portland section on Craigslist. Only formatting is added. )

Memo From the Earth

I have a way of storing
excess carbon
deep in my
geologic layers

and you have a way
of digging it up again
and spraying it
into the air

from millions
of rolling
chromed assholes.

Neonatal ICU

The light bowl rubs my hand
sending soft assurances back through my dark alleys.

Time stops here. Clock faces turn around.
Music sits down to watch each dial and waveform.

A goblet of wires collects and carries each small thought
like sap from far away maple trees.

You are new here–from the indigo lake with snow geese,
flying over the quilted land you somehow found our field.

Berries, wax dolls, paper planes, criss cross applesauce–
they’re all here too for when your leaf shadow finds your body.

The Edges of Things

A squirrel nibbles the tops of the fence boards in the back yard.
The broken tooth smile he leaves greets me when I come home from work.

A baby arrives early.
The town opens a space by the river saying recycling day is Thursday.

Above the clouds a pair of geese crosses the moon disc at night
asking permission if others may follow.

Hats line up the people beneath them
in the city square listening to a quartet playing Mozart.

I follow these things as a rough carpenter banging boards
to make a crate to hold the notes

rolling off the concert stage
in lavender bunches.


On Friday nights he paid his road workers in cash,
one at a time from a cash box on the porch of his house
while the others–sons and grandsons of slaves most of them–
sang and patted jubee and danced in the front yard,
waiting their turn.

Later that night he would get a phone call
and drive into town to bail one or two
of them out of jail.

He said things like “that makes the cheese more binding”
when someone’s actions had unintended consequences
and “he drove his ducks to a poor market”
when someone married beneath them.

His father walked him over the Gettysburg fields,
told him the smoke was so thick you couldn’t see anything.
With a heart damaged by the 1918 flu, he raised his kids,
voted the straight Democratic ticket and died at sixty two.

When the nights turn cold in the fall
and the maple trees leave their calling cards on the back roads
I sometimes catch a glimpse of him in the morning work day mirror
or in a remark to my daughter about selecting suitors
or picking school friends.

I never knew him and I know him well,
like I know the river delta when I walk it just after sunrise–
always different and always the same.


Not fashionable like an aspen
or weather proud like a cedar,
even the birds seem to like
other places to say their lines.

Leaves like dinner plates,
seed pods like under arm hair,
the magnolia tree next door
is a gaudy country singer
while you shrug your droopy
shoulders and try to line dance.

The commuter shuttle planes
fly low here during the summer months
approaching the airport into the wind.
Looking down one time
I saw you wave your dinner plate hands like Elvis
and knew that home and family
and a glass of Oregon Pinot were not far away.

Hitler rebuilt his country in four years
but super men and world domination
usually leads to not enough to eat
and uncomfortable places to sleep.
Maybe if he had planted catalpas
instead of so many arrogant linden trees.