Today we became the rulers
The public, rusted-out
and scattered like tombstones
This sad depletion our country
disappeared over the horizon
The ravages, stealing and destroying
will lead to great prosperity and strength
I will never, ever let you win
Radical Islamic Terrorism
the bedrock of our politics
Open your heart to patriotism
Now arrives the empty hour of action
Our soldiers will bleed
the same red blood
and be ignored again
The sex habits
the two I know of
Driving to church
you have to stay
in the slow lane
The motorcade moves stately and slow
through the oddly intimate space
Above, in the book depository window
a nail-thin shadow
The first shot disorients the driver–
and he slows down–even more
Then the second
Then the third
Finally he zooms under the overpass
There is a copper penny taste in your mouth
and a roaring in your ears
Your arms fly up to embrace
the awful change that is coming
Your vision narrows
The bleached world begins to tilt
A magpie in the tree by the road
A song you heard your mother hum
when she walked you to church
Soon will come the caisson and the drums
But right now, just the magpie
and the humming
Like a deep ocean drift net
Cut loose by the mother ship
Drifting with the carcasses of tuna and hake
Twisted forever into its skeins,
Your poetry haunts me,
Bagel backwards is slegab
which sounds like a town in Wales
Hearsay backwards is yasraeh
which sounds like a seminary in Israel
College backwards is egelloc
which sounds like a Klingon food
Maybe if I make words say their names backwards
they will reveal their secrets to me
like turning a talking stick upside down
and listening to the waterfall of seeds
or breaking a cottonwood twig at a joint
to see the secret star inside
burning like a green stick fracture
all the unemployed indignados
whose grandfathers rolled the Republican cannons
are lighting fires in the squares
to burn in absentia
the corrupt refuse cabal of bankers
and real estate development whores
who have sold their beloved country
for a toxic mess of derivative stew
and a few photo opportunities
with Javier Bardem and Selena Gomez
An entire prison in Berlin
maintained for years for one man — Rudolph Hess,
the last Nazi, founder of the luftwaffe,
the last of Hitler’s inner circle.
It drew me like a magnet
when I was young and the old man was still alive.
i walked up to it
ignoring the sign that said
anyone crossing a painted line
was in danger of being shot–
like a dumb American, really?
The guard in the tower
waved me away wildly
until I realized how much
fear there was of this
Hess eventually hanged himself
with an electrical cord.
His work was done.
the most foul hour!
one bone gone
in the dimming tour
of griefs amour
it’s a sour pour in a sunless hour
When the desire exceeds the will
expect the journey to be disjoint
When the will exceeds the desire
expect the arrival to disappoint
The sound of death fills my ears
I didn’t expect
you to cry out so
The Buddha says go toward
what you fear
This sounds like suffering
Incessant sheeting skeins of rain
Cut across the morning’s grain
A sumi ink drawing could not perfect
Their sinusoidal curtains swaying.
Through ink black trees still I detect
Deep beneath the intellect,
A whiff of joy in the rush
And twist of this storm’s great bullneck.
There!–in the full onrush
Amid the rumble and the crush
Of tumbling skies and rolling air,
The spring time cry of a hermit thrush.
Your arm felt like wood.
Lying there in your coffin,
I thought someone had stolen your bones
and put pipes in their place,
like they talk about doing —
you would have laughed at that.
The brown-green paint on your face,
and the goofy smile they gave you —
They do that for the family,
You did look bemused,
Like how the hell did this happen?
So it’s come down to this.
Me here looking down,
And you lying there with your goofy smile
And your pipe bones.
Stopping here, little horse
The sweep of wind and evening promises
The snow, the village, the farmhouse
the woods, the frozen lake
dark harness bells, an easy wind
and miles to go
(First published by
I see your height, I feel your weight
And watch you sew, to hew the new.
Laid in my tomb, without a comb,
This awful rouge would I gouge —
In hubris is debris.
The chain link fence holds high the hawk,
A curlew stalks his muddy dance.
And in paling sky no telltale sign
Of death’s poor plan for concurrence.
So truckers dream your steamy miles
And fertile brides keep wide your aisle.
Accountants peck at your hideous nits
And lumbermen your woods defile.
Soon comes the day when the curtain tears,
The heavy night shall reap our fears.
Today the hawk and the curlew call,
The moment holds what death forswears.