Monthly Archives: August 2014


whatever I've been
         to this faded land

at least I was ready
  when a piece of another land fell through

a burning missive
   a precipitate of you

When the Body Says Run

bow-winged night birds
precambrian silhouettes

venerable experiments
leaving the firmament bone

dusty and receding
above the howl-heavy rain forests

even thunder clouds seem small
by comparison and innocent by design

an orchestration of menace
like a blessing from a fallen god

What it Is

Hemingway said writing
was easy: just sit down
at a typewriter and open a vein.

a Nez Perce chief
whose name meant

“sound made when striking
any vibrant timber or metal
with a hard substance”

said the same thing
without saying anything.

Desert Day

The day had been set to vibrating around the edges at a low, even pitch.

Deer ate at the margins, harvesting what energy the desert served up in a thin cornucopia.

Kits splashed, dimpled meteors whirred, hummingbirds battered the hungry day with sound.

The afternoon freight train penned its own song on rusting rails, ricketing and screeching along, somehow staying connected with the earth also in transit.

Reports came in from far corners that men were changing into animals and back. Cicadas spun the news into the buzzing afternoon until the evening damped the day’s fire and thoughts turned to slow roasting meat over the fire and salted tequila.


He wasn’t prepared for the foul smell,
the oily exhaust from the open taxis,
the women washing clothes in the fetid fountains,
open city sores with sandstone steps.

Those hoards of incessant beggars,
the albino who pursued him through the market stalls,
Lucky for you, lucky for me!

He wasn’t prepared to see a child
sitting in the street with a broken arm at ninety degrees,
an old break that was never set.

He sat in the courtyard of his hotel soaking in the quiet,
sipping tea in the alyssum scented evening,
waited on by gentle men in golden kurthas.

He saw himself on a mountainside
looking down on a woman brushing her hair far below him.
The higher he went the more his dreams merged and night became day.

The woman offered herself as the Divine,
the horned tahr with its shimmering brown mantle came with an amulet for him,
the writhing bad gods danced to drums in the firelight.

Later, after the altitude and the notorious rakshi they drank from jeep fuel cans,
home came no nearer, only the mother of all headaches,
like vise grips tightened to breaking on the brain stem.

The morning brought the world back intact,
the slatted light through the hotel windows,
an angry sun that heated each crevice and hallway.

The trip though the city leveled down to the lowest places–
an indifferent royal palace, a wall of littered noise,
and then…a chorten with languid eyes looking down at a movie set,
a movie with interchangeable characters, alive, asleep, alive. 

Long Road Home

The funeral home
where they reduced
my father’s body
to dust is now
a Portland brew pub.

I had
a beer there
on his birthday.

The traffic
would not
slow down.

Later, I walked back
to the car
remembering his wry smile–
Dad was a teetotaler.

The geese
above the river
that day
stitched their sky quilt
In the normal way

and the rain clouds
hung above
the bridges
like the furrowed brows
of ancient sky gods.

The tire slap
on the pavement
on the way home
reminded me
of the ten thousand miles
we traveled in his Volkswagen bus
along roads where everyone’s memories
collect and scatter
like cottonwood seeds.


It is a old word,
doesn’t get out much,
seems to prefer its own company.

Not quite indubitable,
somewhere in inimitable’s neighborhood,

It may be seen with implacable occasionally,
inscrutable knows where to find it.

Sightings lift my spirits,
like an Indian percussionist playing ragas

or a woman who knows
how to wear flowers,
making something
they could never be on their own.