No Excuse For It

52820D30-1E15-4797-A81E-806BAFE4CB88for e.e. cummings, without whom never would I but then again

…and, and, and…

(It being the land of the fallen
alder leaves and ever spruce
no less the 10th moon lit
I found no excuse for it.

Why sun fog fire log
crashing green
bright grey
waves and all the yelling I’m alive

Whoever said spring springs more than this here fine young fall?
a rotting black cormorant
crystal teeth and undulations
from all corners of her

!love is a blooming, love is a supernova, leaks like water!

I’m mindful of the seasons
yet my mind knows no
reason for it
let alone an argument

unless it be:
pour and pour, speak all at once
build it up, tear it down
we, who shall be all of you
spray your everything through everything

—->My “worldview” consists of…
and so forth and so on,
how feeble against the facts
when meanwhile
feathers are disappearing into the sand<——-

*They’ve got big brains at the institute
studying the sea lions as we speak
and whales tick tock on the tidal pools
we’ll get a chart
how many microplastics per…

preserve the coast
protect the forest
pickle it
tack ’em up on the wall
get to know ’em*

Sure, sure, we wish ’em luck.
Oh, How it eats them alive–
these brave and powerful ones.

We’ve got Deep Time on our side.**

Fine print–so fine they forget to print:

No one knows how
the monarchs get from there to there
whales and butterflies may share their secrets with one another, but
why oh why would they tell us?

death love death love
in no particular order
same cloud)

…and, and, and…



**whose side?


Of Mood and Molting Under Unborn Sky

art2Under this unborn sky
rainless rusted
without benefit of peach
or persimmon stains—
an anonymous creature remains
of mood and molting

The night stacks itself thick
with jugular memories
born husky
and hooked to root
rough-hewn and lunatic

The creature lopes
revoltingly towards
what appears to be a tool of war—
perhaps it’s the moon, perhaps a dull rage or lust—
at the edge of the shadowed field
wielding it at first like an axe
then like a song
soon hooked to remembrance
itself hitched to hue and heft

Clouds gather robust and looming
heavy with dust and promise, proving
once and for all—
once they’re moving
even silhouettes can spawn revolutions
wet with purpose

The Stretch From Roar to Whisper

15835382974_6499b79a21_bMoving in circlets
in widest sympathy

she knows the stretch
from roar to whisper

a serpent
in the lap of stillness

desire is the first season of creation
painful and exciting
and beauty the beginning
of a thousand small shocks

and yet they are the reason

her syllables lap along the shoreline
corpostulating the edge
just beyond her fingers

Lament For the Makers


Hamlet and Horatio in the graveyard, by Eugène Delacroix.

This poem is dedicated to Ursula Le Guin, who died this week. RIP, Sorceress. I adore her EarthSea series, and have enjoyed many of her other novels and essays. This poem’s theme and form is modeled after 15th century Scottish poet William Dunbar’s Lament for the Makers. Dunbar ends each stanza with the phrase, “Timor mortis conturbat me,” translated as “The fear of death disturbs me.”

In is interesting to note that the word ‘poiesis’ is derived from the root meaning ‘to make’, and extrapolated, means, “the activity in which a person brings something into being that did not exist before.” So the subject here is poets, writers, musicians, all creators and their creations juxtaposed with death, or that which returns all to the nothingness from which it rose. And in particular here I honor recent artists that great mysterious sea has recently drawn into her fold: Leonard Cohen, Prince, David Bowie, Maya Angelou, Tom Petty, Ray Manzarek.

The strong unmerciful tyrant takes
All that will and desire makes
Down to that great and dark deep sea.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

What’s built up must come down,
The ruin of all laurel crowns
The fall of all pageantry.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

All the songs sung in the day
Will in the night be swept away
And embrace the fate of darkening.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

The Sorceress of EarthSea told
A suite of magic new and bold
Now to furthest shore carefree.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

Beautiful Loser sang Hallelujah
He sang it dark, but not to fool ya
He rang the bells that could be rung
And sung with dark but golden tongue
And then the end as meant to be.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

She knew why the caged bird sings
And sang of all the beautiful things.
But in the end the bird must flee.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

He sang to us from afar
The vision of his rising star
But Ziggy rises and Ziggy falls
And in the end the black star calls
Reclaiming its space oddity.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

A heartbreaker who loved to toke
‘Twas his heart that finally broke
He’s still working on the mystery.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

The Purple One played his part
The doves will cry and break your heart
An artist formerly known to be.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

He took us for a wild ride,
Led us through the other side
Come on light our fires, please.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

When the tune’s done, the fiddle’s set down
Where is the ear that can hear to be found?
Perhaps beyond all what we see.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

When every third thought shall be the grave
And all that we attempt to save
Will be sunk in the unknowable sea,
Timor mortis conturbat me.

All the art and artifice wrought
Falls to the ground to finally rot
And fade into the Big Dream.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

All of the songs by beautiful breath
On their way to the dusty death
Perhaps a memory yet may be.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

There’s more we want to hear and see
More we want to make believe
Much more we want to love and be.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

But the end is built into it all
The makers’ splendid fires fall
To ashes and the embers cool
With death as the final school
A hard and ruthless finality.
Timor mortis conturbat me.

No Less a Web, Spider Spun

webNo less a web, spider spun
these words around you weaving run
like threads so fine, but not less strong
to bind within you a magic song

And here a peek behind the art
a secret with which no spider parts
Yet I, a weaver of open source
share a bit of that conjuring force

First, (if this be an ordered tune)
or lastly, if you want the end so soon,
is a look, or rather, a vision met
upon which your design is set.

See clear, my witches, an image bold
with which your sticky tales are told
float it in your inner sea
and with all your eyes, like spiders see

Make of yourself a giant ear
and gather all the things you hear
and let love be greater than deepest fear
and you’ll find that threads appear

Ask what it is you want to net
with ever spinning spidery set
you just might catch it yet

The next of this cannot be taught
but without which your art is naught
’tis this: a certain certainty
and if it’s weak, the power flees

Thus flinging into nothingness
is what it takes-nothing less
a trust with no reason why
your filament will find its flight

Once it’s flung, that’s but half the spell
the other half is crafting well
circle round and join the threads
and paint the image in your head

in between, a tip or three:
a spell, to weave, is both form and free

Take care to note what’s in the air
the sounds, the scents, the subtle flair

A thread is summoned from abdomen
but also from the wild winds
a gentle breeze will be your friend
a gusty gale will be your end
unless you surf the storm with ease
you’ll wind up in the web you weave

Without a form – the threads will fail
without freedom, the force is frail
so find the balance between the two
to catch the thing you wanted to.

Look at what other spiders construct
see what’s cast, and see what’s luck
Admire the patterns, and see what’s caught
Look for the angels and demons they fought

Study the sounds built into their spells
follow the lines of the tales they tell

Look to the recluse, the widow, the wood,
but never get caught in the net of the should

Take what you can, as in a sly theft
but the strength of your web is bound by what’s left
after all of the threads from within are out cast
into the world to feast or to fast

That something so strange, something so rich
that deep design that only you can pitch
that something so rich, so double strange
that things may be caught quite out of your range

And that is the gift of a magical song,
sung with the words of a web so strong,
that its effects are unknown in the light of the day
not until night is the power relayed

A final glimpse behind the weave
before we rest and take our leave

As silence is part a wizard’s gift
what’s not said will shape and shift
the space between the strands are there
to make designs in air appear
more luminous and boldly spun
as much for purpose as for fun

And as spiders in their patience sit
awaiting what their net can get
so our last secret of this webby play
will have to wait another day




Conversations With An Emperor of Dust

black holeAmor vincit omnia (Love Conquers All)

“Rust may never sleep, but then, neither does moss.” – Brian Awehali

Emperor: I am Conquest.

My dark army vanquishes all
with its settled presence,
The wide world yields before my dusty scepter.

What I don’t cover with my relentless rind
I break and tear and dissolve into me–
my appetite knows no end.

All to ash, I say, All to ash.

I: Pin not your proud imperial hopes on me,
for I’m the rebel to thwart you, Dust.

You may fall, I’ll sweep you clean.

Emperor: What you build, I devour,
for at last you and it and I are one.
I will fade your brightest colors.

Call me King, subject!

I: You may tear down my citadels,
rend each wall and roof asunder,
but I shall thrust up once more
a sparkling edifice, refulgent

with a heart beyond your dark fingers,
my lineage is indefatigable
its coat-of-arms bears the Phoenix
on whose feathers no dust remains long

Emperor: Look around, what pitiful Phoenix do you see?
I’ve ground each beak and wing to dust.

My soldiers have thrown to their tasks well
rewarded with their own unending meals
Nothing is beyond the vast reach of my march,
All submit to my…

I: NO! All do not submit!
This is the voice of the one
who does not.
My head you shall cover,
my feet you shall sully,
my works you shall dissolve,
with Time as your conspirator.

But No, ‘King’, my heart slips through your grasp.

‘O King, O King, O King’,
the word mocks itself
on the tongue of my fierce beat.
I’ll make of your crown a tiny watermark
within my ferocious design.

Whatever power you usurp through the eons–
from the imperial center of decay
to your outposts of dirt–

I defy it like a riot.

My heart is no subject of yours.
Its riotous root runs deeper than your Rome,
where your empire has no purchase.

Should your mindless soldiers
dare ask its name, it’ll reply,

“Tell you master, my name is Defiance.
My task, Creation, my motive, Love.
My will be done.”