Monthly Archives: August 2013

Some One Else is Speaking

(This poem was inspired by a favorite passage in a short story by one of my favorite authors, the amazing Steven Millhauser: “You pass through a world so thick with phantoms that there is barely enough room for anything else.”—Steven Millhauser)

I want my ghosts

immediate. There should be

no creaking floors,

no strange footstep

falling. There should only be

you in the darkened room,

doors open wide

to let the night seep

in and tell you something

you never thought you’d know.


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You, Me, Midnight

(This poem is in honor of the great Seamus Heaney, 1939-2013)


There were caterpillars digging

into the earth, soft

as cookie crumbs spooned

from the top of the milk.

Those dark dots against

the white like fish

floating upwards.


A memory of swimming

where the green algae

hid the shine of the scales.

They seemed suddenly so

dull like the way chocolate

loses its shine and tastes

of sweetened chalk.


The fingers trailing across

the blackboard caused

thoughts of how words

were so easy to wipe away

but left faint ghost

outlines like dreams imprinted

on a bedroom wall after

waking too fast.


In the dream they keep

digging, digging until

they reach the bottom

of the world. It looks

like the night sky painted

on a canvas right before

anything is added

but the dark.

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Other forms of conjuring the moon

I never liked the trick

with the girl and the swords.

The magician would lead her

to the box;


she’d peek inside, as if

expecting it to lead somewhere

unusual, a book-filled desert or

an ice cream shop that only served root beer

floats, right before entering.


The door would shut

and I’d always think she was going to knock;

a reverse invitation of

come in.


Then the magician would use

a blade, always one that shone under

stagelights and stab through so


so quick like hot water warmed spoons

into sherbert. How many times

does it take of hearing the blade

and then silence


before you stop holding your breath?

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Love-lies-bleeding and other plants of the Amaranthaceae Family

I am seeking another
love poem about the apocalypse
the kind where the sky dips into oblivion
and the streets melt like popsicles
on sunny sunny days
I am looking for love
and hope and consolation
at the end of everything a final
moment of epiphany like only
happens in poems and fairy tales
I am wanting to find a person
who can speak of stars exploding
and rivers boiling and cities come
to dust without making me
desolate,  without making me feel loss
I am in need of you
sitting on the edge of water
casting a net into an empty
sea, looking up and saying that this
is the way the world ends—
it doesn’t

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Who Are Your Dead

and what do their faces look like

in your memory, not in photos,

because your memory is where he was

mysterious and she

was beautiful and

isn’t that best?

You know we carry them,

too, like extra layers of clothing

barely perceptible but weighting

us still.

And if anyone ever asks you

what the time is at

the bottom of nothing, realign

your watch so that it only ever

reads one time.

Have we told you that we are

a train stuck in the middle

of a tunnel and whistling

both past and towards us

are the ones we have left?

Ask us now

who are our living

and we will tell you

they are mysterious

and beautiful and

just like you always passing

us so close.

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Keys will leave you wanting

something of their own

there are no locks they will

not covet, feverishly metal

hot, and turning


into something else, freed

they will discover that form

is water, shape is ghosts

who can’t remember their own

names, and you


are stone struck buildings

with windows but

no doors. Keys will leave

you wanting. Keys will

leave you locked.

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Out there past the waves

You said swim and we swam

in the ocean and the cuts up

our bodies stung gently

like fading memories of when

the bees swarmed.

Do you still often dream

of lands consumed by flood?

The tips of pine trees

sticking out of the water.

a new impossible swamp grass.

You told me stories of fish

walking on dry land

in a city where the streets

were paved with glass.

Do you know the time you called

out for me I thought

you were someone else because in echoes

you grew old?

You are one I sometimes dream

of, you at the edge where

we watch the people leaping off

the cliffs and you always tell me

they are only hoping to cleanse their wounds.

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