Monday, November 20, 2017

El Dorado

This is how I save my own life. Like
Avalokitesvara, I listen for the cries
of the world. But in my smallness, I
can only listen for small things, for
what’s feral.

The faint chirr of crickets; a sunfish’s
slap and plop (fish as clumsy skimmed
stone, dodging an egret.) Bullfrogs. A
red-tailed hawk’s descending scream.
And a great blue heron rising, its wings
unfurling, luffing.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Image from Tashi Tobgyal's "The Inside Story:
Rathole Coal Mining in the Jaintia Hills," 2012

The creosote smell of old railroad ties at the shaft’s entrance,
the long slow seepage from the adit. There’s not much light—
a rusty slice of moon drowning in an acid pond. My headlamp.
I look and find a heap of fool’s gold has weathered, turned the
water into something that’ll burn the skin off my bones. Here
is nowhere, and here’s where I find myself—in a place where
the scroll’s worn off the auger, dull as a stained pile of tailings.

Thursday, November 09, 2017


NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran,
"Junocam PeriJove 9," © CC NC SA

At a touch, I fly out past the borderland of
my skin, through arcs of tropospheric blue.
It takes a moment to orient. I tumble on a
ghost rappel, pinwheel as home—an agate
marble—shrinks behind me. Just like that, I
pass Juno and Jupiter, whose storms roil so
beautifully, all pearls into liquid nacre—then
further, faster, so fast emptiness becomes a
sound, light pouring through me. Time pools
at the edge of things where things leave off
their skins. Makes of us a holy, formless joy.

Thursday, November 02, 2017


Caravaggio, detail from "David con la testa di Golia,"

Bellowing, enraged by the scrawny
boy standing out of range, unable to
see him (did the sun come out from
behind a cloud?) or to see what was
next: his death. Caravaggio mirrored
himself, slack-mouthed and bleeding,
in the giant; and I, caught in the net
of a dream with Caravaggio’s Goliath
raging, I was frozen, no sling at hand,
waiting for my terror to pass, waiting
for rescue. I woke, gasping. If I could
slip back into those starlit waters and
redream the terrible dream, I’d raise
my right hand slowly, blur the story’s
edges with abhayamudrā, then wait
until the giant—heaving, anguished,
broken—became a fountain of tears.