I'm wrung out, used up
Like the ice in March—gray, lusterless
Crusted at the edge of roads and ditches,
Too tired to melt.
Faded and transformed
An ugly shell…
But not on the inside—not forever.

When the ice begins to melt
It shines again, transformed
Runs rivulets away from the place
Where it’s been stuck, stationary,
Getting stepped on, shattered
As cars and people passed by,
It sparkles anew, has power,
Pulling great slabs of frozen rivers apart
Until they’re flowing again.
Maybe I can be like that too.


I watch the birds sometimes
and they don't know
they're as busy as we are
oh, but to fly for a day,
to build my nest,
to revel in the taste
of earth in my beak
just for a day...
to have feathers over my skin
I'd never be like Icarus
Flying too high
What a damn fool

Dust and Notebooks

I shouldn't wait for some stranger
to ponder the broken bits of my psyche
captured over two decades
in a dozen random notebooks
after I've turned to dust.
I need to gather the pages now, copy them
like an ancient scribe...
I'll leave behind words that dripped
like rain from wet leaves
onto blue-lined paper
each one a puzzle
the fragments, like broken fractals...
windows open then shut
Here's proof I don't know what I'm doing

Before The Stars

When the sky changed tonight,
I saw it for a heartbeat or two
Pink, as a ripe peach…
Pink, as a bouquet of spray roses
Streaking through the navy twilight
Like a tie-dye quilt
But only for a minute
Because dusk took over
Sweeping the blushing sky away
Did you see it too?
Right before the stars came out
And the wind held the trees still;
Their leaves a bounty of green velvet.
It struck me then,
how soon they’ll be gone
Just like that bit of peach sky,
Each leaf turning into a small sunset
Until darkness takes over.

Don't Waste It

I couldn't feel joy there
In the moment
where I waited, frozen
like a fly in amber
where I hung, immobile
after the wall rose up
the new barrier,
and I crashed against it, reeling
looking back to a past
that was lost
I finally began
the long journey around it
and found, to my surprise,
a new joy rising up
revealing the seconds of my life
as tiny points of light
embers, swirling around me,
rushing past then going dark
one by one by one
Time smells like the end of autumn
when the sting of winter
is carried into your lungs
and each breath offers up
the sharp promise of snow

Trip to Nowhere

I learned it at the hospital
how to pack as if there was no distinction
between night and day
just one long twilight
where yoga pants,
and cotton shirts
are always acceptable
because I'd do anything
not to leave your side
wash my underwear in the sink
live off vending machines
or the uneaten food
on the trays they leave for you
this cold, sterile place
stranding us so far from home
ruined everything.
Now suitcases remind me
of how you wished for the ocean
with your view of white ceiling tiles,
or the dark rectangle of the t.v.
and all you heard
was the sound of traffic
you should've been packing your bags
for a dozen vacations
damn the cancer
and all it took from you

Curtain Call

This cold July storm
mean's the weather's all wrong,
the curtain of summer is closing too soon
teasing me with a false finale

I wish everything were different
and I didn't think about endings
how it will happen

I don't want time, you can have it
I want the sudden explosion
of glass and metal
I want my heart to stop
as if someone flipped a switch
as if a fuse blew

I want my curtain to fall
swift and permanent
no lingering
no slow mental decline
keep the hospitals far away
I want the exit all at once

Time for time

I'm obsessed with time
how it feels solid, intractable
a barrier thick as an ocean wave
rising up then sucking me under
we're the only ones who feel its heavy truth
grasping at slippery minutes
snapping pictures as the world swirls by
drawing the curves and shadows
of remembered faces
obsessed with preserving every moment
while we reflexively waste our days
like animals rushing forward
with arbitrary goals
letting the seconds pour through our lives
forgetting to savor the moon
oblivious as any other creature
to the curtain of darkness that waits
what really matters?


I've forgotten my own poetry
locked it away,
my pen stuttering to a halt
the standstill, so real
mired in a pit of dark criticism.
I don't know know how to trace the path
when the pens are all gone, relics
from a time when we pressed our thoughts on paper
like fresh flowers
the color weeping, a permanent echo.
The rasp of pages turning felt like something
permanent and worthwhile
But now words are weightless, floating
like debris orbiting the Earth
always raining down,
always unnoticed


I glimpsed winter through my window,
saw the evergreens turn white
and the clouds crumble
Their pale bodies falling in sticky sheets
of icing, frozen and thick
And the solid sky rained down
Transforming the grey January earth
With its cracked and salted pavement
Into an Ansel Adams dreamscape
If I were a season, right now,
If I were an element,
I'd be snow in winter.

Syndicate content