Thursday, January 19, 2017

Aeolus in Las Vegas

Theodor van Thulden, "The Works of Ulysses:
'The Greek sailors open the bag, given by Aeolus,
containing adverse winds.'"

If we whisper “Ozymandias,”
apotropaic magic to bring all
haboobs to bear on our new
monument makers, we do it
knowing the wind’ll hear us.
An inclined slant of a wall of
mud and sand, an exhalation
of a collapsing thunderstorm:
the blowing grit scours paint
right off a car, etches mirrors,
mutes every gilded entryway;
will strip the mall palms bare.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Derzno, "Hohler Fels," 2011

An exhalation, detoured at fresh hollows
where quill knobs had marked the spot to
place the awl, pierce the bone, open “o”s
for fingertips. Breath takes wing in a rising
half-note, descending overtones, like bird
song. Who disassembled the eater of the
dead, pulled its feathers out until barren
bone gleamed, then thought to call down
the sky and sing through it? Who put this
bone flute in a midden, broken, buried, as
we’ll all be, when all our songs are gone?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sedōka January 15 2017

A gull, washed in gold
as it lifts into sunlight—
in a moment, gone from view.

This morning finds me
in sleep’s shadow, as I watch
for those birds you’ll never see.

Friday, January 13, 2017


Alan Vernon, "Female Costa's
," 2011

Eye to eye, she tells me wring
more sweetness from the sun,
bring it now. She cannot wait.
Outrunning her shadow costs
her; at night, she won’t sleep,
she’ll step into a future death
just a little, her torpor a ruse
to outwit the killing cold. As I
make fresh nectar, I tell her a
story—the ancestral brothers,
kin to the god of war, skinned
for the glory of kings. She has
no truck with that, imagines a
new home to nest in—a royal
beating heart, exsanguinated,
extirpated by the same beak
whose feather-tongue kisses
the red dahlia, the sunflower.

Saturday, January 07, 2017


Inka-Chincha jar with human face and corn feet,
1450–1532 CE. Photo by Ernest Amoroso, NMAI.

There’s nothing I can say in my own
tongue, with my own tongue, within
my imagined memory. I have a sugar
cube clenched between my teeth for
the glass of tea my great-grandfather’s
ghost needs. The bitter taste of what
I can’t say: it’s not appropriate; don’t.

So I’ll use my oldest silver to borrow a
cup from other poets, beg a mouth to
speak. How I’d spit sugar, appropriate
their heat to warm my dead beloveds.

Friday, January 06, 2017


Antoine Vollon, "Mound of Butter," 1875–85

These are special, these effects. As
I pass through the magicked mirror
and out another side, become light,
my doppelgänger sees what I don’t:
how CGI ants swollen on honeydew
feed their imagined queen; pools of
code where cellular automata swim,
breed. Presence, here, is an artifact
shaped by attention paid elsewhere.
I gaze, touching metal not wood, as
the shining simulacrum places silver
coins on my eyes, the better to see
something that’s not quite me with.

Monday, January 02, 2017


Cai Guo-Qiang, "Saraab, Endless," 2011;
photo by Hiro Ihara, courtesy Cai Studio

In this fog, it’s unclear where the
anchor lays. Pulling on the frayed
rope, and everything yielding, so:
nothing at the end of it. The wash
of gray-green harbor water licking
the bow, or the blood-rush in my
ears, I can’t tell which; they sound
the same. Unmoored, I drift past
the harbor’s mouth, so far past I
can no longer hear my own voice.