not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

a channel on the way to misery bay

Perhaps the Leviathan is Invisible as it Enters the Channel

For a long time 
in my young life 
I gazed upon landscape paintings 
or landscape photography 
or nature poetry and thought - 
So what?

But isn't that like beholding 
angels threading light and saying - 
Pass the butter?

Monday, October 17, 2016

to crane

contemplating the nature of an empty field
a chorus of cranes derrick and jib by
leaving me to wonder on the nature of an empty field

Friday, October 14, 2016

when i put my ear to the earth i heard a distant bird


listening harder

and listening harder, again

Friday, October 7, 2016

stunned by being

the hand can sense it
     mud and marl

the eye can weigh it
     loquacious curve of light

what is made

Monday, October 3, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

under the canopy

beyond the trees, protected from the clock of autumn sun, ferns yet persist as yellow.

they shine out at me with a canary's pulse. something in me shines back at them in return, glistening, ambrosial, accruing, and common like honey.

the distance between all things narrows.

Monday, September 26, 2016

time and consequence, nest

 Life Draws a Tree by Roberto Juarroz (translated by W. S. Merwin)

Life draws a tree
and death draws another one.
Life draws a nest
and death copies it.
Life draws a bird
to live in the nest
and right away death
draws another bird.

A hand that draws nothing
wanders among the drawings
and at times moves one of them.
For example:
a bird of life
occupies death's nest
on the tree that life drew.

Other times
the hand that draws nothing
blots out one drawing of the series.
For example:
the tree of death
holds the nest of death,
but there's no bird in it.

And other times
the hand that draws nothing
itself changes
into an extra image
in the shape of the bird,
in the shape of a tree,
in the shape of a nest.
And then, only then,
nothing's missing and nothing's left over.
For example:
two birds
occupy life's nest
in death's tree.

Or life's tree
holds two nests
with only one bird in them.

Or a single bird
lives in the one nest
on the tree of life
and the tree of death.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Monday, September 5, 2016

between two points

Summer Crosses The Water

First she is a far ways off
and it takes a good long while to focus,
to understand what's coming into view,
what's located like a dot between those two
anchored and distant islands.

Then she's in front of you, a boat,
filled with sundries and ice-cubed sodas
and women with thin straps coddling
off their shoulders, soft skinned, and thwack -
a stinging unrestful zestful desire, slipping,
slipping, slipping effortlessly through azure water.

Then she's advanced (holy hell, were you asleep?),
the hollowed hull of a cargo ship,
a sepulcher you can't hold or reach,
slipping, slipping, slipping again
around the harbour's bluff,
an empty drum, a lost host, a wraith.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

images in water

the tree grows from the shoreline
and the trunk is thrust out upon the water

is this a photograph of desire? if so, whose desire?
or is desire, the lustful knot, undone in this?

is this image two dimensional?

how many dimensions is desire composed of?
how many leagues deep?

the snare of bulbous roots
casts forth its image
which does not complete itself


images in water

my mother is sitting in her easy chair with her oxygen
making circles with her fingers along the rise of each of its arms

she used to do this at lunchtime while sitting at the table with her novels
using the long fingers on one hand to encircle her chin, as she devoured the exotic mysteries

then later, as her eyes worsened, while we talked
she'd hold one arm and encircle her other elbow

i think about being at the river and tossing in stones
the circles widening until they swallow my image as i hang over the bridge

i look a little like my mother

Friday, August 12, 2016


elegy for the easiness of an early evening

they're walking down the country gravel road
in the early evening's empty hours of    bird furls

doing nothing but kicking up    dust    and notes 
which are the silent spaces    and swirls    around the rising dirt

   the music of muteness and touching

they're bumping happily into one another
fumbling love in their hands    in their empty clodlike hands

stroking penumbras of golden light    lifting    rising    caressing
to the smote of shoulders    errant hairs    and the private folds of clothing

and there they are walking down that road
going nowhere but through that place of togetherness

holding up the last of the day's cambered light with their 
dumb ripe hearts    in love with skin that but runs together

there on that dusty road    so clearly    so painfully
never again    you and one of your own small children

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Monday, August 8, 2016

a certain concretion of order, and notes


if i consider this feather and keep considering only this feather

hillary clinton and donald trump do not exist 
isis, nor brexit
the gentle canadian government with their claws withdrawn inside their paws does not exist
and the economy (which is country, and vice versa) is instantly and infinitely reduced
if i consider this and only this feather

if i consider this feather and only this feather
the amplitude of precision makes man mute
the threshold of becoming is rarefied into the wicket gate
the liminal gains ground and springs to wing
and death is softened by the vitality left after the body's fluke
if i consider this and only this feather

if i consider this feather and only this feather i exit the corridor of reality and enter the hall of artifice 
which is the bucket brimmed to full in perfect measure, more ample than reality 
personal sentimentality vanishes immediately, and the phoenix, which has waited in the clouds of the mind, awe, takes flight screeching like meadowlarks their elegy

if i consider this feather and only this feather, i can not imagine from whence it came, this bird
and if i consider this feather and only this feather, the fox's maw which snapped this bird is naught, its being in relation to this feather is retracted as simply absurd

if i consider this and only this feather my mind is teased by way of the path it devises directly back over the bruised blue, beyond erebus, the black, if i consider this and only this feather

this feather does not ease
this one means not life or death, sadness nor love, have not, but have 
this feather means is

if i consider this feather i am freed 
cut into, incised, the marrow i excised, a therapeutic act of nihilism
and thereby, by point of blade, vivified
the eye becomes complete alertness through the depths of blood (which, at the sight of this feather, rises to immeasurable heights like a cloak of rain) and travels beyond trammel along its flourish of stationary ridge of is, the abundant being of body an emblem like the bruised christ, oh this, one amongst the many, this -- this feather


from Hachadura by Robert Bringhurst


There is nothing like the razor 
edge of air, another

like the tongued pebbles, syllables
of sea-wind and sea-color and

a nothing and a nothing like the salt
hide drying inward, eating

in through the underbelly of bone,
the grain

of the sea-eaten iron, and the open
lattice of the wave.

There is nothing, moreover,
at which Eurytos never
quite arrives, tallying
the dust with the four-finger
unsheathed from the flesh of his hand.

Suppose, therefore, a certain
concretion of order,

unstable or at any rate in motion, but a certain
concretion of order inherent in one
in the innumerable
forms of such a number. Therefore:

darkness under the sunrise,
darkness in the hollow of the hand;

inside the spine the darkness, the darkness
simmering in the glands;

the rumpled blade of darkness which is
lodged in every fissure of the brain;

the membrane
of the darkness which is always

between two surfaces when they close.


The bird is the color of gunmetal
in sunlight, but it is midnight;
the bird the color of gunmetal
in sunlight is flying
under the moon.

There is a point at which
meridians are knotted
into nothing and a region
into which meridians fray and intertwine,
but not like mooring lines; they
fray like the leading and trailing edges
of wings, running from nothingness
to muscle and strung from the muscle back again.

Listen: the sounds are the sounds of meridians
trilling, meridians drawn to produce
the illusion of plectrum, tuning pegs and a frame,
or perhaps to produce Elijah's
audition: the hide
of the silence curing,
tightening into the wind.

Or the sounds are the sounds of the air opening
up over the beak and closing over the vane,
opening over the unmoving cargo slung
between the spine and the talon,
slung between the wingbone and the brain.


It is for nothing, yes, 
this manicuring, barbering, this
shaving of the blade.

Nothing: that is that the edge should come
to nothing as continuously 
and cleanly and completely as it can.

And the instruction 
is given, therefore, 
to the archer, sharpening

the blood and straightening
the vein: the same instruction
that is given to the harper:

Strum the muscle.

And come to nothing.

Monday, August 1, 2016

meditation on what a flower is, black eyed susan, i

Centripetal Force And a Lull in The Stratosphere

I looked up and found myself inside of it. But how astonishing.
I would never have known which door to take to enter it. 
It was halfway over before I realized, my eyes big on my hands, 
on my own two hands, 
my senses swollen as though by bees, 
my mind convinced of abnormalities come alive as though I'd been slipped lsd.
It lasted long enough for me to peruse the convenience store shelves
for canned potatoes and mushrooms, locate them, dusty, in strange places
(separate aisles), the potatoes next to the ludicrous event of canned beets.

Canned beets! For crying out loud, who could have imagined! 
I could smell the old floor. The walls drew nearer. 
This was my convenience store. This was my life. 
Somehow I had caught up with it. 
I stood inside of it with a delighted nervous vertigo, 
oddly and completely connected.  

Even later still, at home at the stove-top, the venison sausage sputtering,
spitting its juices, the cans canted, the vegetables singeing to a crisp
convincing and true, I drank a beer, a cold one, and I'll be damned
my feet weren't barefoot on the kitchen floor in full contact. 
My hand handled the spatula. 
I was planted through a thread in my head by the rank aroma 
and cleansed with the cloth that passed by me as a breeze 
carrying the kitchen window's simulacrum of garden growing waist-deep cilantro. 
Everything was right. I had impostered myself for forty-odd years and finally, 
for a moment, i found myself directly inside of my life.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Monday, July 4, 2016

meditation on what a flower is, wild rose, i

A Letter To My Lover While He Travels

How beautiful it is for me, 
awake this empty morning,

making the rounds of the poems 
posted today,
and nothing sticks.

Nothing is thick enough.
Or sweet enough. 
Or matters. 

Quite clearly the lack of your presence has spread,
some anemia, sour sickness, 
impure infection.

So I go to the shelves and retrieve 
Heaney's slim 
District And Circle,

open the book,
find by surprise the flower pressed into it 
one of our last afternoons together, 

my eyes, then senses, 
suddenly spilling over 
with the profundity of unasked for gifts.

You were in the car with the windows down
while I was inspecting flowers 
in the ditches. 

I brought you this very wild rose,
which i smelled first,
then you smelled deeply, 

our taking in meeting 
there at the apex 
of nothing.

Perfectly the poem it's pressed upon,
its dirt and flesh, is
To Pablo Neruda in Tamlaghtduff.


To Pablo Neruda In Tamlaghtduff by Seamus Heaney

Niall FizDuff brought a jar
of crab apple jelly
made from crabs off the tree
that grew at Duff's Corner—
still grows at Duff's Corner—
a tree I never once saw
with crab apples on it.

Contrary, unflowery
sky-whisk and bristle, more
twig-fret than fruit-fort,
as crabbed could be—
that was the tree
I remembered.

But then—
O my Pablo of earthlife—
when I tasted the stuff
it was freshets and orbs.
My eyes were on stalks,
I was back in an old
rutted cart road, making
the rounds of the district, breasting
its foxgloves, smelling
cow-parsley and nettles, all
of high summer's smoulder
under our own tree ascendant
in Tamlaghtduff,
its crab-hoard and—yes,
in pure hindsight—corona
of gold.
           For now,
O my home truth Neruda,
round-faced as the crowd
at the crossroads, with your eyes
I see it, now taste-bud
and tear-duct melt down
and I spread the jelly on thick
as if there were no tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Saturday, April 9, 2016

6 pm april, from the bridge

Wet Evening In April

The birds sang in the wet trees
And as I listened to them it was a hundred years from now
And I was dead and someone else was listening to them.
But I was glad I had recorded for him
      The melancholy.

by Patrick Kavanagh

Monday, April 4, 2016


between equinox and solstice

the corn is a cleric's carnival of cranes.
crouched beside it i feel flagellated 
by their arcane ardor, 
this occult gathering, 
these ashen cowl covered brothers
each like the next,
extending ladders and lowering themselves
into the antiquity of gold rush beside me.
i am only a person. i can't see far.
but wave after wave of flock
advances, then cuts itself short,
descending, disappearing into the folds
but for the cries.
what do they cry of? 
i am only a person. i can't think far. 
but as they descend so willingly
into the embrace of fields turning to dust
all i can think is - how this otherworldly trust
gravely thrust downward  
from the unceded heavens
toward earth?