Behind Every Cloud

After three cups of coffee I’m fully anxious.

The wind thrashes the limbs of the trees,
chases leaves down the wet street.


The cats go in and out, and in again.

I force a smile.

The silver lining and all that.

Outside it’s so gray it hurts the eyes.

For dVerse. Bjorn has us visiting the idea of silence in poetry. I tend to use sparse, trimmed-down lines–this (I think) naturally lends itself to silent space. My first draft of this poem was a 6-line lyric, but to heighten the feel of unsettled quiet that I was striving for, I broke each short sentence into its own line.

At the Crossroads Inn

Late night in a strange town.
What kind of town don’t sell booze
at the corner store?
Can’t get my mind off the
cold tapping of a limb
on the dirty window

and wondering if we ever grow out
of this incessant application
of the same fucking solutions
to the same fucking problems,
never solving anything, never realizing
the solutions are part of the problem.

Maybe even The Problem. I don’t know.
What do I know? I’m no deep thinker.

Not putting up with it for four more nights—
tomorrow I’m calling in a request
to have that damn limb cut off.

The book in the drawer
says to come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy
laden. Been told that all my life,
and tried it for most of it.
That promised rest don’t never come.
Don’t never come.

Starting to reckon there’s no one out there,
no one able to give rest, anyway.

Yellow light from the roadside
glimmers through window grime.
It’s not a sign of anything.
Nothing’s a sign of anything.

Why I Haven’t Written in a Good Long While

I feel this need to get the words
out of me, out
of my head, or heart,
or wherever it is they’re formed,
letter by letter, from the haze
shrouding observation and experience;

to shake the syllables from their long doze,
and sometimes the very thought
of doing something so momentous
and risky and, perhaps, useless,
makes me hush the need right back
to sleep.



Every room the same–
ten 12 x 12 tiles this way,
ten 12 x 12 tiles that way–
perfect squares; identical

rolling beds; chrome IV trees
dripping sap at nearly

the same slow rate;
same worn white

storing the same supplies;
every room housing

an indistinguishable
fear of death.

Sand Castles

sand castle

We don’t know what makes a life
         but we try to build one anyway,
like children patting together

         sand castles that the water
will lap away anyhow
         into the obliterating sea, bit

by gritty bit. Reliving
         the old, old story
we raise towers

         whose tops may reach unto heaven
to make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad
         upon the face of the whole earth,

to emphasize our hopes
         of seeing high and deep and wide,
squatting sodden-drawered

         on the sand,
waves drowning out
         our voice.



(Image: Bruce Van Valen)

today as others
i rise up again to cry
this one piercing note


I had trouble pulling this together, but reading Sylvia’s post this morning inspired me to find the words I was searching for. Thanks, Sylvia! By the way, if anyone wants a real treat, head over to Sylvia’s place at spanishwoods. The photos are wonderful (she often uses her son Wolf’s photos, and they both have an unerring eye for line and color) and the words she adds are always beautiful, intelligent, and very well done.

School Days

I pass them every morning now
as they wait for the belching yellow bus,
standing sheep-like in sociable little groups.

Others wait off to the side,
weighed down by heavy books
or ill-fitting years, the “strange ones,”

and I find myself hoping they haven’t
quietly discovered the secret
we grownups desperately try to keep—

that we are thrown into this world
by some comical god
or chancy Randomness;

that we are all just trying to make
our dizzy way through life
knowing nothing much will come of it.