Friday, May 13, 2016


a walking promise, worked in suede and stone
and stormcloud eyes and forest-creature grace
that unmarked door I couldn't leave alone
those velvet hands to press me into place.

you set about the task of tuning me
as if it's very obvious indeed
to spin my knobs of curiosity 
and hover hands over my waiting keys

pulled taut under your salty sideways smile
the better to sing back your downpour beat
your wild moon river, wider than a mile
submerges every warning you repeat.

plucked wiggle-kneed and sharp staccato giddy
stroked as a sleeping wildcat, full of purr
then thumped to match the soundtrack of the city
and tendered to a wavering whisper

and there's my heart, retightening the strings
as my skin's ringing like a fresh-clapped bell
with every very honest unsaid thing
bass umbral under every sink and swell

i drip with sound and sigh beneath your bow
and fade with the crescendo of the sun
to start the waiting, even though I know
you'll smash me, smiling, when the show is done.

Monday, May 09, 2016

those part-time blues

Watchin' another thought of you drift by
Under another distant, stormy sky --
           There's that familiar sting.
I'm half a map away and babe, I know
You're one sleep closer to lettin' me go
           And I can't do a thing...
           And I can't do a thing...
So I sigh with those part-time blues.

           Shhh, blues.
Got a full bush and several birds in hand
Stockin' a high supply for high demand
           Sweet blues,
We’ve been singin’ from the start.
           Shhh, blues.
To and fro, ain’t no space to call my own
Outside the one that you and I have grown
           "Ain't got no reason in all this world
           To weigh this spirit down
           But I keep pickin' your sweet love up
           And carryin' it around"

Thump, thump, thump, fingers stumble on keys
Scramblin' to catch your slippery quiddities
           "I got these part-time blues
           Nobody taught me how to stay.
           I got these part-time blues
           Nobody taught me how to stay --
           Half of me's standing here
           And the other's far away."
There ain’t no better m├ętier for me
Writin' your winkin' hagiography
           In pen, between my ears.

There’s those part-time blues, baby
And I can't help but sing along

Bourbon Street Sounds 1

Thursday, April 14, 2016

dia de los muertos

this graveyard looks precisely like a beach,
so only i can see the crowd of stones
aged into pebbles, battle-worn and bleached,
so many markers, begging to be thrown.

i left them here; we left them here; these graves.
we knew the sand was gushing through the glass;
we thought that--in the burial--we'd save
this us-and-we in sculptural impasse.

but tide and tide and tide and tide and tide
tickled these tombs until they split their skins
and what we oh-so-tightly tucked inside
unknitted; monachopsial and thin.

the people who once dug these graves have died.
new residents now stretch between their bones
and fill with new desires the stolen hides
that watch the others, every one alone.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


i loved you in the worst way.

the way that wrote your elegy
as i looked across a table
and saw,
at once,
why everybody wanted you
the size of the space
you'd leave.

because of course you'd leave.

your beautiful bodies
so sanguine
your belltower laughs, clanging, unignorable
the din of your belief;
the sometimes-slurring sermon of the fucking faithful.
i bit my nails for you.

god, i wanted you to stay.

your faces perch on my shoulder,
one after another.
i can feel your smiles.
and your party looks bigger than my party
from here,
howling like happy wolves
and pushing each other into the Styx.

but i am not there.

so i scan this pumping purgatory
for a secret wave-goodbye

and try to place my cheek against that chest
before the earth does.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Your Dutch came out of the kitchen so much sweeter
Rolled in purrs and dusted in crisp consonants
With French flourishes.

It leaves honey on your tongue.
I can taste it.

Your fathers' names still line the streets
Cast in brass beneath a stone face that looks so much like you

And still your blood runs rooibos
And still you give "now" its magic names
And still you thrill to this beast-tramped veldt
Like the fathers of their fathers
Who first burned under this proud sun
And made it yours.

Monday, September 07, 2015

4:45 and Geek*

I learned young that you never know a place
You only know a place within a time
So I've decided to lock my bike
To the corner of 6:00 and a nursery rhyme

I learned young that you never know a friend
You only know a person in his now
So I'm meeting you at 5:00 today
And we'll see where it goes from there, and how

I talk like your closed eyes
Are a tent I think you're sleeping in
I had fun last night,
I whisperish.
I'm sorry I disappeared.
And I toy with the zipper a little bit
to see if you hear.

The Fraud Police are everywhere today
They stop me every time I turn around
To check my papers and make me walk a line
Just to let me off with a warning and a frown.

I trace tomorrow in the dust
Outside my castle walls.
I watch the fire throw snowball stars.
I watch them cool and fall.

I talk like your closed eyes
Are a tent I think you're sleeping in
I had fun last night,
I whisperish.
I'm sorry I disappeared.
And I toy with the zipper a little bit
to see if you hear.

* This wants to be a song. Anybody wanna write the music?

Thursday, June 25, 2015


it couldn't have gone any differently.
i still believe that.
i was already taking off my shoes
when i reached the bank.

i had never seen anything like it, before.
that blue.
as if it had pulled in
pieces of the sun
and smothered them before they knew they had gone under,
still pouring a surprised light.

it's deep,
they told me.
it is so deep
that nobody knows where the bottom is.

people have gone in, of course,
because it's hard not to.
their bodies have never been found.

so i looked at it again.

it's just a river, i said.

i've been in so many rivers before.
i love rivers.
i love how they surge around you;
how they take you on their course;
how they curl around every part of you
and fill you so full
and you laugh and you sputter
and you bruise on a couple of boulders, maybe,
on your way out,
but in all fairness --
you dove in for the ride, and you like it rough.
and then there's the shore.
and you dry off,
because that's enough for now.
and soon you forget that river's flash and turn.

anyway --
if i really needed to, i said,
i could get out.
it's not so wide.

so i jumped in.

and now
i don't remember what it felt like
not to drown.
there must be others down here with me,
but they have not found me,
and it's so much darker than it looked from up there.

up there.

where i can see her face, now,
so lovely and so curious,
watching the way the water moves.

stand back, beautiful girl, stand back --
but i can't make sound.
my lungs are so full of this river.

and she smiles
because i am pouring a surprised light
as beguiling as wormwood and night breeze and fireflies.
and she's thinking, as she pulls off her shoes,

it's just a river.