Another Way

I’m wearing Honest Abe on my feet

And so I’ve got to tell the truth

And People

We are not

Doing well.

Even though the numbers keep going up and up

Our hands are chained to promises

And dreams the owners spin with honey words

Think big, think bigger

Till the thoughts you are, paint you the gods of all you see

The priesthood of billionaires

Controlled by tiny glowing screens

And free-to-play digital drugs

With in-app purchases which is insult

To our injury

Because People

We are the product and the means of production

Our hands and hearts have learnt understanding

We are the kin

Of trees and tomato plants that volunteer

To spin the killing carbon air into living poetry

While we watch out of the corner of our eyes

Too slow to see

Too big to ignore

Too valuable to throw away

Too lavishly abundant to hoard

So let me ask you

Good People

If our hands and hearts already know these things

When do our minds catch up?

I mean what’s the punch line,

That killer turn of phrase that lands the tension built

In generations

In the earth

The sliding foundation of the world

Our mother swollen

Before the Labor pains erupt

When does the understanding wake

us up and shake

the owner’s hands,

The scourge that keeps our dreams in place,

the honest question met with brutal blow?

When do we straighten our backs

Bent far, too long, below the sun that gives

Above the waters slowly rising

And look the owners in the eye

With love like only disobedient children can muster

Feel it?

Fear is shaking the earth

Or is it hopeful birth, reverberating back

From a moment so cataclysmic it will bend

The future and the past

Like a singular giant, dark and calm, pushing water miles high, in waves, stopping time

Pulling change forward, in, back out

And in the center, at the root

Steady, calm

There sits a mother with her child

In another kind of womb

Cinder blocks and EV glass

Furniture identical to what’s in the waiting room, industrial, designed to endure and not to comfort

As the bills collect

And clouds twist their lofty spiral arms around her

A tiny life breathes in

And out


And out


We take

That air the trees exhale and wake

Fingers holding understanding,

Holding soil, dark

And dense

Our roots deep, long, and strong

Our branches tall and proud

Our voices true and loud

We look with love into the Masters’ eyes

In waking song, in fierce devotion to the soil below, to each other and ourselves

We grow


As clock hands grind their way around

Our bonds no longer present

The understanding in our hearts and heads and hands

Speaking honesty,

Friends, breathe in the truth,

And let our feet begin to lead us

to another way.


This rain?
is unreal. Which is ironic
because what I mean is it’s not
what I would choose.
I guess that’s why
they say that fate
weaves out a tale too strange
for us to guess, too awkward
to anticipate.

Yeah, you know that girl. She
checks you out down at the 
store, a cavernous market tall
line after line and you
How many weeks would it take?
If you only and I
were left here only she 
and I, left
to consume.  And how much waste
We’d birth by doing nothing, at
least not enough without the help
of all these lines
scanning down the signs
that label this and that and even
Yeah, sometimes all I see’s that
name and I make some quick and
clever quip about Fate’s Checkout
Line, and it’s funny ’cause the
meaning’s just not plain. 
And other times
I see those hands and eyes that
strain for three then two then one
then me and I wonder how
Do I respond, react?
Apologize?  That what God
gave me people want, and I take
advantage of the fact?
No, no cash back today … and have
a nice … and thanks you too
And walk away. 
Out into the falling water as it 
Well, falls, down
on the wicked and the just
And I think that back in the day
They meant that in a “Good
For Everybody” kind of way, but now
it’s all a matter of your point 
of view because the same that’s making 
joy is bringing pain and even 
falling liquid falls up 
if the light is right like this
strobing blue, almost a soothing hue,
if not for where it is
where it isn’t supposed to be…
And fear, excitement, dread
for such a small thing:
a lonely silver switch flicked on,
a tiny motion like fingers pulling
on the strings of phosphor bronze 
and wood and bone and flesh
The slightest touch emits a stir
too big for words to wrap around,
expands to such a sound,
carving one by one the bits
laid down in ever smaller trails there
waiting to be read by a light
my eyes have never seen.  My ears
lean. in, oblivious to whose hands 
toiled or to whom those
bits belong.  Indifferent to
the billion$ thrown into the air
By choice or not
To force these ears to care. 
Remember fate?  I wonder when 
did we forget, the way she doles
the numbers out to potatoes and lattes
and laptop computers can’t tell us
what she’s worth can’t tell us
what we’re worth
It’s just an amplifier shouting ever 
louder down this long white hall
Is this the one you wanted
most to hear?
Now bend your ear 
for just a moment, dear
and listen to the sound of rain 
upon this flat steel roof and take
that as your proof that stranger
tales than we would choose 
to write are being spun 
wound round, and then undone
by her tireless hand
Barcode after barcode 
Up and over, down and in 
Around back out into the rain
like a child
thrown into this groaning dischord 
with only the comfort of a whisper
The soft, still song of the bits
As in her ear
The serenade holds back the tears
Holds back the fear
Holds back
An unreal kind of rain. 
Ironic because it is not what she would

The Golden Hour

The golden hour fills the air
Our eyes and skin reflect the glow
No warning to announce her, no
Assurance that her grace shall go
No sooner than we’ve had our fill
That blush from everywhere around
Then nowhere, sudden as she came
Our feet, the coolness of the ground
Hold onto memory like wisps
Some sweet intoxicating waft
The mind like water slides and drifts
In sunlight fading, cool and soft


Water frozen in mid fall
Down a cliff or dam
Or the steps of a river
Is monument to a moment that earned no special right
To its longevity
Like the ashen faces of Pompeii
Or the broken chain link fence outside
Reactor 4
The hour that we fled
With only what our hands possessed
A high fidelity photograph
Etched of atoms and dust
What these giant bones remember
Is what a laugh or second pour forgets
Our wish for permanence granted
That golden moment only stilled
In our returning
The spring thaw’s dance of molten water
Never changing
Always young.

Black Glossy

Your fear absorbed my words like
a deep matte black, Classified
skin over a sharp and angular
aircraft that hides ordinance
in its gut; a black hole, a singularity:
Posited by theory but by nature

I felt its gravity draw something
from my chest, I know not what
Rage encased in ice perhaps?
(The final scene of a movie that
displays the folly of its victors) — I
thought it honest to speak of it
To tell you, beloved, and so perhaps
to crack its sheath crystalline,
which displays, distorts, but you disclosed
It was design, not falter, to withhold;
And in that beat reflexive parts did
mute the bitter opus that somewhere
may yet reverberate.

It was in pondering this, our son
did point my eyes to mineral and
rock, his prime affinity at T-minus
such and such: Obsidian, her
ebony piano gloss in crisp defiance,
mirthful grace, contrast to
that deep black of gravity:
matte, event horizon haloed; We
Love it Seek it Design it into All
we carry, All we use perhaps
because the Light, if focused tight
enough, glints bright and kicks
Her tumble off in revelry against the
emptiness of dark and
Pristine night.

Take my hand then love
and dance with me as sunlight
on the timid crests of some
unfathomed ancient lake. Do not
mistake some shallow tender glow
for peace. Take courage
as we ride this birth
of tears and numb exhaustion
into what? We can not know
Except that we may travel there

Duct taped flowers

Flowers duct taped to an metal pole
Two feet beneath a metal sign
An intersection, interjection only safe
On this side of a painted line
The subtle spray of shattered plastic
Red and orange, the color of fire
Encodes transgressive memory
The tragedy of smoke and tire
Memorials, concentric rings
A moment of confusion past
The violent shards dispersed between
The unkempt concrete walls and grass
They seem so out of place before
The painted fences and the sun
Who smile and hide our common road
Our glimpse inside the dream undone.

Cemetery Road

The cemetery road isn’t build for efficiency
To chart the minimal path
From location
To destination
It’s a haphazard spaghetti tangle up
 and over the gentle hills
Too narrow for any kind of speed
Not like we want to drive quickly
But the practical fact is
We can’t
Even if we did
I look at the people who work here
And there is something different
 about them
We don’t do this much
So we look to you to tell us
Where to go
And how far
How to be
And for how long
I scan the line sketched and re-sketched
By the tops of the trees
When her voice comes to me
Like the angel: why?
Do you look for the living
Among the dead?
I read that on some South Pacific island
The people made life sized models
Of cargo planes
Out of sticks and palm leaves
And held parades
Long after the war had ended
And the airstrip was abandoned
And the supply flights had stopped
Like a kind of funeral played over and over
Rehearsing the forms
From memory
Maybe so they wouldn’t forget
Why did such grace fall to us?
From the endless ocean sky?
As God gives
So also he
We are wound
A long string of cars like hair
Through a lover’s arms and fingers
And we are poured
Out to the larger roads less
 suited for remembrance
Not built for contemplation
As so many tiny rivers
Down into the stretching sand

One of us

You’ve always been one of us
So stop acting
Like you’re the one who has
 something to prove
Like I’m the one who needs to hear
 your words
Of awkward admiration
I’ve known it
Not as long as others I’m sure
But at least from the moment your
 shadow intersected my threshold
And your mind
Fierce and furious
Told the tale of its exploits
Almost apologetic
Which is actually comedic
In a moment nearly cathartic
Because I’m just the same you know
The curiosity, the doubt, the fleetness
 of thought and the depth of absorption
In some beautiful and precise endeavor
Complexity not a signpost of fear
Rather a joyous playground
It’s mysteries treasures hid in plain view
So let’s raise our cups as equals
As friends
As instruments unified in
 sympathic resonance
And drink to the dregs
To the reinvention of wheels
To the vast superiority of building
Over buying
To the idea that a piano keyboard is
 more lovely a user interface by far
Than that goddamn claw machine
 at the highway rest stop
Always promising instant gratification
Always letting you down to the tune
 of two quarters and an empty pocket
To Teaching Yourself How to
 Program in Ten Grueling Years
Of error messages that scroll down
When what it meant to say was
You neglected please or thank
 you very much
That is to say
A freaking semicolon
To the glorious rapture of a world
 compiled into a incomprehensible
 trail of digits
Unrolling to affect
The light dancing around us
We are different
You and I
But you are, without a doubt,
One of us.

how you used to dance 

is that how you used to dance?
two foot tall, yellow rain slicker
dark curls hanging out
internal sound track pumping
a kind of skipping, running slalom
before they noticed you?
before the squelching of that sacred fire
(that you never really lost)
i see it smolder in your eyes sometimes
or bubble over in your laughter
little human, deflecting off the puddles
hips swing, mother and younger sister in tow
leading the way
is that how it felt for you
to be our blessed teacher?


There is a finite force
For every woman and man
When applied, the tapestry
That declares us rips, our avatar
Unformed to ribbons and dust
That settles over weeks and
Months henceforth; even years,
Our tears make us strong if we
Have courage enough to lift
That chalice to our lips,
Acceptance of its taste
For each a secret, untellable
The hero’s labor to receive in love
The broken child who shivers
Beside the bridge reduced to
Beams and shards, to recognize
Her as myself and take him in
My arms, dear one, you shall
Only be greater, more radiant
And strong in your rebirth.