Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Field Geologist at the Solitario

Once long ago, hot fluid rock irrupted, blistered up
between and beneath dead oceans, then cooled
into a hidden lens that capped deeper fire. Wind
scoured it, rain wore it down, but it still grew until
it blew itself up then collapsed. A pluton. A laccolith.
A volcano. A caldera. These concentric baffles are the
places where the whole story is laid out, but I can’t
read it with any sure sense I know what happened
and when. Some days I feel like that: like I’ve been
taken apart, reshuffled, know there’s things missing
and I’m still trying to make it make sense. This self,
this Solitario; no quest, just a traveler’s field notes.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Loop: January 1, 2015

Laying the ground, let’s just say this isn’t really a loop:
the beginning and end meet, but the sky’s lighter, the
air drier on my skin, and the cormorant I saw with gulls
on a wet containment boom flew off as I looked its way.

So it’s different and yet not: walking, casting on the trail,
scuffling in cypress needle duff. Or walking sans shadow,
not-loop again, recursive. Years ago these half-buried stones
sat atop the trail’s edge and I played patter-steps, hopping
stone to stone along the row. Today or later, another loop;
I’m sure to jump from rock to rock some more, wobbling,
awkward as that cormorant when it stepped into the sky.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Photo by Jens Buurgaard Nielsen

This long match—the screen lit up in my dim
room. I tap on dry tinder (fingertips over keys)
until we glow and it catches, just enough to make
a tiny sun in my singed pocket, all good to go.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Oxfordian Kissuth, "Autumn Leaves"

The trees are running with scissors, snipping off
their motley: leaves, spiraling down around ghost
maypoles, a centripetal dance. I kick them up and
back into the sharp wind. You may think it’s gusts
that make these dry palmate mudras fall, but they
grow to break—abscission in their cells, and mine.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Waking after sleeping late

Sean McMenemy, "Unmade Bed"

I toss, roll over, sit up, and find the gifts I’ve been given even
more inexplicable than what’s usual for me: the dog-whistle
of tinnitus, a dream in which I was generous with a stranger
and still afraid, a chaotic origami made of candy wrappers.

My ears are full of distant crickets chirring as I think about
that dream, its almost-familiar highways ending in run-down
neighborhoods. It’s as if Kurt Schwitters was Mr. Sandman,
snipping bits from every place I’ve ever been and pasting them

together catawampus across my forehead as I slept so they’d
infuse my dreaming soul. There’s a rustle at the edge of the bed.
The wrapper from a hard candy I sucked on overnight has become
wedged under my hip, crumpling nothing like a folded crane.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Willrad von Doomenstein, "Window at Night"

It’s the “almost home” part of the journey
for this prodigal: I spent what I had to spend,
not quite every last bit but near enough to
feel the air moving through my bones. Hard
to stop myself—sometimes it takes running
to the edge of a horizon, to where I can’t tell
whether that one thin coin I tossed was a dime
or the moon. I can see in my mind’s eye the
doorstep: I’m so weak from this fading illness,
from the relief of return. I steady myself with
a hand on the entryway. The porch light’s on.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Night Recovery

Adam Jackson, "Tall Grass at Night"

I’m too close to the ground to see where this
all landed, but still I’m pushing through sharp
tall grass, sniffing the air for a trace of burnt
metal in the dark. Was it a bottle rocket or a
meteorite? Smoke rises dark against dark, then
an even deeper dark, a hole arms-width into
which my shadow drops. I flatten, belly down
on bent sedge, and pull towards the edge: look
in, look down, where a disc the size of the moon
shines back, black as obsidian, reflecting stars.