I won’t ask
for you to fill the space in me,
the vacuum that pulls me
to greater passion;
it’s a black hole
so heavy it will crush you
no matter who you are
or what you can give/take.

I’ll hold your hand
and we will feel the force inside us:
an inexplicable mystery
with no resolution;
to trace the reason
is not to know.


To let the soul lie fallow
is another kind of labor altogether

Applying silence
against the eddies and rumination
of a mind coasting to rest,

Applying patience against the stillborn
womb of hours.

The earth has her own breath;
She rolls a steady rhythm
fall and ascension
while the body twists away and struggles
not to enter
but Grace or Karma,
Fate wearing provincial face, intervenes
to run the furnace hot and clean
till oxidation finds no further hold
and falters.

Only then does she begin her work:
Now that same body curls,
a tender fiddlehead possessing more
exhaustion than serenity.

It is enough. Descent shall now correct
the road, make folded,
lovely, and imperfect what was
worn, narrow and straight.

Friend or Foe

There’s a moment when a child
becomes old enough to stop looking
like part of your tribe; when the bit
flips from friend to foe; it’s been
studied and documented, analyzed
and quantified so we shouldn’t be
When we look at each other and 
pick up stones to crack bones
Blood running hot, don’t stop
until the frantic resistance quiets
and our scapegoats lie vanquished,
lifeless under our feet.
But aren’t we more than chimpanzees
killing each other for land
or sex or water, brutal and brutish
fueled by instinct, brother?
Give me your hand
and kill me if you must.
But I will not fight you
Because our enemies don’t have
skeletons and tendons, lungs and 
arteries and hair;
We enter together, sister
or wait for the dust to rise up 
and swallow our memory.


Rippling canopy showing through the high
windows that no one notices
but everyone sees:
Alewife station.
Rising from the ancient forest,
a ruin,
invisible in the crescendo
The midday rush when we were so in love
Her pale deep grace
revealed in overgrowth and decay:
a spiral of concrete,
a monument to us
and our constant shuffle;
where I am
where I must be
The vines and ferns reclaim the walls
The birds nest in the steel rafters
The travelers’ carriage becomes at long
long last, a home
Under sway of green
and ageless blue
Bright in the afternoon sun.

Tiny Words

Each day we bear the rumble
the force of every question, every soul
the hint of scale that breaks the mind
the surf that crashes over what it slowly conquers
One billion are but tiny words
beside the ocean boiled thick.

Each day we deal in numbers
They’re what we need to keep us sane
To hold the river in our mind
Out of our lungs where it will crush us
Forming shields, a safe abstract
domain of mastery
The road traversed down from the heights
where eyes hold distant peaks.

Each day our words afford us play
to risk the greater wagers
The thoughts and sins from which
We are unable to repent
The motions we can not prevent
The sea, she is not infinite, except in these
poetic ruminations
Reductionistic calculations
flip the image mirror-like
and sample waves and beads of surf
thrown out into the air
Holy and exquisite gifts
Lavish and unaccounted for
By copper wire, strands of glass,
or tangled webs of synapse.


Water vapor viscous and vast
A threat above the head, cast
Far sun succeeds unevenly ‘tween shadow
testing weakness in the fence.
Two atoms may, our theories say
Reside inside a common place
if they are very nearly still
So what is space?
But anxious motion keeping far
And what is heat but blood
Flush red behind the face
The gap that forms the word, creates
The waters under and above
And what of love?
Your eyes meet mine and suddenly
We laugh!
My tiny one, child, son
We two the only ones who share
This arc of mirth to crack the air


I have a son who barely knows his name
He’s just an infant and
at nightfall he resists
the death of consciousness
as though his very life’s at stake;
Each morning finds him here awake,
exhaustion haven won.
And some small part of that small mind
Trust is a cathedral
and the craftsmen pay in blood
for every devastation, beauty
and transcendence cut
in limestone; faithful and long
suffering, unturning, each one strains
against the task intractable
with tears, contortions adamant
Till spent
Each father’s final fall becomes the glory
of his son, and so
Ascends each stone and stair
Each window, buttress, aisle and crypt:
The holy blood and body
Given in trust
Returned by morning’s steadfast breath.
Ten thousand times a daily death
And perhaps
We yet might learn to live.


I heard your breath
In the luminent air
That held me as I walked 
A broken and proud man
Fierce and fearsome and beautiful
As the light
In warmth and coolness
Caressed my hands
And face
A holy whisper:
There is a hope for you
That has nothing at all to do
With your anxious striving

(not) air conditioned

The real world is not air conditioned.
Instead we feel each other’s heat
as we tread our paths
Round assymetrical topology
And un-curated history
All moments irreversibly, to now.
Perhaps we sit, traveling in patient
stillness towards a time we trust
comes soon. The noon hour peaking
Hot and loud in this beating heart
of brick and flesh and energy;
There are so many heres to be:
For I am here
And yet with you
And even, too, where you will go
Amid the youthful din
While evening deepens and the shadows
O’er you stretch. Come here,
Dear one, and we will sit and sweat as
Churning worlds spin humid and untamed
around us.


Infrastructure rising over, stretched below
Holding as we calibrate
to the morning’s brightness
Gazing out the glass and gathering
the familiar that is still here
and the foreign things emerging

I confess I need your beating chest
pressed intimate against me,
your whisper breath to greet me;
The escalators are shut down for
some medical procedure
brought on by middle age
Even as the graying bones of this building
dredge a deep memory of
ascending architectural ambition
from a younger mind, it arcs
like ill-behaved electric charge
across the rails.

How, then, shall I grieve you?
What rite shall form the door
we step through together not knowing
when the costs of this sustaining
work will melt the fuse and when
the final call shall be:
Do not resuscitate?

Old familiar body,
trains and steps and steel,
glass and stained cement;
held close in frail embrace.