Poems’ll Cut Your Head Off

IMG_6958He thinks poems are angels.
You think poems are angels?
You think poems are angels?!

Maybe an angel with a sword

tuck you into bed at night,
cut your head off with a golden scimitar

Sweet things they are not:

“Don’t let the amber color of my beautiful words fool you”
she didn’t say,

but her eyes gleam it,
diamond serious


Something Sturdier Than Shiny Hope

painting-with-light-1044985_960_720I’m not going to speak of shiny hope
it has troubled us for too long
tripping us down the stairs
leaving the bruises that stick around
we want to jump over truth straight to hope
that we bought in the marketplace of shadows
that’s why it has no legs
and will collapse as soon as it gets out of bed
we can’t get there without touching the ground

let’s stop jumping
start crawling
stop running
start digging
stop chasing
start creating

and then, if grief and all its cousins
should arrive
embrace them like long lost loved ones
When the lights turn off
will we stumble
or will we have learned to believe
in our own breathe
and the dirt under our feet?
will we have practiced how to say hello?
we need something sturdier than shiny hope
exchange it
for the eyes of your own dawn
looking earth in the face
saying, “I remember you”
mix the kernel of your true heart
a spark in the vastness
with the clay of where you live
deep with dreams

The Man With the Green Ukulele

IMG_6156This is dedicated to Wallace Stevens (inspired in part by his Man With the Blue Guitar) and this girl I used to know.

The man bent over his ukulele,
an alchemist of sorts.
The day was black

The audience said, “You have a green ukulele,
and you do not play things as they be.”

The man replied, “Things as they be are changed upon,
the green ukulele”

And they said then, “But play, you must,
a tune beyond us,
yet of ourselves as well,
a tune upon the green ukulele,
of things exactly as they be.”

“I cannot bring the world quite around,
Although I patch it as I dream.

I sing of trees at dawn, replacing night,
and by that turn black to green,
but can’t quite reach the notes to sing,
the things that merely seem,
Although I patch it as I dream.

And if to serenade almost to what seems,
is to miss, by that, things exactly as they be

Say that is the serenade
of the man with the green ukulele.”

Juniper Dreams and Piñon Nightmares

juniperThere’s a sagebrush burning
beneath my breastbone
casting off sparks of juniper dreams
and piñon nightmares

my mind’s racing like a desert hare,
but can never catch up
with the tortoise of my soul

‘I’ have a plan
but my plan has a plan

so I just cast a curious glance
with my eyes half open
like the crescent moon
curious about the one
who stalked my dreams
like a canine con artist

“Yip, yip, yip!”

He sniffs into my dreams
and pisses on my plans

I’ve been coyote’d

even the lizards are laughing
as they linger
under the red rocks

and the Nutcracker
from the twisted tree top:

“Come this way…
if you dare…
You may bring your intent,
but drop your designs
in the dust.”