Sunday, July 27, 2014

Igneous Intrusion

You can see it after time has worn away the overlay of sediment. It's where
some combination of fault and pressure pushed the molten magma up, up—
the glittering that's seen comes from a slow cooling while buried: Pluton,
the underworld made crystalline. When the air cools at night, it groans, layer
fractured and sliding on deep layer, the same phaneritic texture that abrades
my fingertips until they bleed muttering cross-grained to itself.

It's like this, with these poems. Magma (not from the core, note the geologists,
but from induction and subduction, a friction closer to the surface) and me, both
waiting for the crystals to form, for the uplift and erosion and then, the sky.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Master Copy

One of the ways I learned to draw was
to slip my hand into Ingres' hand, copying a
portrait sketch first by mapping those points
that established the relationship between
one plane of the face drawn, to another.

It was a painstaking process, to attend so closely
to things under the surface—but once mapped,
the zygomatic arch waited for me, as if to see
whether my copy, feeling my way through the pressure
and motion Ingres made making that mark, was true.

Uncanny, how the anchor points and mapping dissolved
from structure under my hand, to my hand being overlaid
by that of the master as it moved. But I was younger then:
I needed to map and to anchor, I needed the practiced
structure Ingres gave rather than Tiepolo's brisk grace.

Now I'm far more free about the thing, the process,
and the early summer sky has enough Tiepolo to satisfy
my restless hand without it moving. Under the wash of light
and color, artless art I copy by way of seeing, overlaying
the Venetian in my mind's eye, time passes: the sun climbs
and bakes the sky white—an erasure by way of radiance of
Tiepolo, of Ingres, of those memories and bones I anchor by.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


"The second time,
The optics jibed. We saw to the edge of all
there is..."

From "My God, It's Full of Stars" by Tracy K. Smith (and here, half-way down the page)

Monday, November 11, 2013


"...I said to my heart,
Ravaged by darkness, 'Now, Soon, and Later have become
Each other—doors all closed, the windows blocked and barred for good—
All and sink down together to the bottom of the sea.
Do I wake or sleep? It is late tonight as it will ever be.'"

From "A Late History" by Weldon Kees

Sunday, February 03, 2013


"Creak creak, the hinges need oil.
     Creak creak,
my heart swings open with praise for losers we are
      and those we’re not
by grace of a thousand fancy chances..."

From "In the Kingdom of Perpetual Repair" by Kevin Stein

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


" least
elsewhere those able for holiness—
its signs and rigors—are at work."

From "Linoleum" by Tess Gallagher

Sunday, January 27, 2013


"...ironic in their outcast
dignity—as though, like some pine chests,

they might be prized in disuse..."

From "American Solitude" by Grace Schulman