Sonnet #284

I take great comfort in your indifference, fair reader,

How I am shivering as much to myself as to you,

And nothing that I bluster will last much longer

Than the wind it took to breathe these words through


The letters on this page will keep for no one

The letters on my tombstone will moss and fade

The only future spirit of me is not the glory of the blade

Or the wisdom of the pen, only the echo of what I’ve sewn


It will not be attributed to me, this echo, but it moves

where my hands move, following the spirit of the hawks

That hover where all the birdfeeders are, the waves

that crash the shellfish, crush them open and seagulls walk

among the shells devouring; all the brave

stumble, no courage here, just wind in the cornstalks

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Sonnet #283

On the ceiling of the world, a jumping spider leaps
From stone to stone, alone, to hunt the blown
things, the wind carries bugs up too far, they’re thrown
into the ice and rocks where these spiders creep;

Let’s say that means, the highest things, above all
biomes, above all ecosystems, above all of us
the spiders, alone rule, they march among the rust
colored and wind-blasted and sunbleached and snowfalls

Victory is theirs, dominion is all theirs, untouched
by predators except each other, I assume, they rule
this kingdom mercifully, ignoring all the lesser wretches
Only taking offerings of the Aeolians songs, only cruel
Where they can be bothered to extend their royal reach
The rest of all their kingdoms permitted to be so, below.

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Sonnet #282

Church is where we go to imagine who we are

I think, perhaps, we have gotten busy worrying
About imagining  who other people are, burying
Our consideration in the mess, forgetting stars
Exist without concern for who observes them—burn
With consequence, turn slowly into black ice—
And the words of a book will never splice
The distance between all things; but it turns
in a little, makes us remember stories
That carry other stories that carry others
And echo into us the silence at the heart of stories
The vast, beating darkness that made mothers
And will strip away the bothersome noise of stories
Of moments in this moment; a steam, a rudder

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Sonnet #281

The pomegranate trees believe in spring so much

They burst with any sign of turn in weather

Not me. I know the cold will come to touch,

another hard wind, another long night, down feathers

piled upon down feathers, a faucet dripping

And in the morning, when the sun wakes up

the warmth will remind us of a dream of spring

But, not yet. Go back to sleep. This is night’s cup

to drink away the darkness, and grow no leaves

This is the cynical hour, the misery hour, the late,

late hour, where every gesture of the daylight flees

when damp, wet air coughs storms, wait, and wait

Pomegranate trees, burned again, will never yield
Spring is ever in their branches — again, they unpeel

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Sonnet #280

the shadow we cast is as much of us
As any bone or strand of hair
For to be a presence here
To be a living moving being must
Needs create a shadow; my shadow
Is alive because I am alive
It dances when I dance and tries
To reach long at end of day’s bow

Extending what I think of as myself
My physical presence into the shadow
Means my footprints are also myself
And the paths I have shorn as I mow
A footpath with just my feet, my lonely self,
To take the trash beyond the kitchen window

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Sonnet #279

To all the trees I’ve killed, an apology:

No death is ultimately devoid of meaning

But all of yours haunt no dreaming

I do not regret my mistakes of botany

That knocked you down to sticks and mud

Also, I stomped upon such seedlings, kicked my feet

to send the birthing acorns to tar and concrete

I took the axe and hacksaw — traded sap for blood

I failed to plant you well, or failed to water well

I failed, and I will fail again, and trees will die

This is my apology: I’m sorry that life is felled

before it has a chance to paint the sky

and those old bones plane down into my citadels

Your justice will come after three rooster cries

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Sonnet #278

The woods are a sacred place, but like all holies

The woods will take your blood, your body

It will drain you, and devour you slowly,

So remember to dress for this church, properly

Wear boots, and tuck your pants into them

Wear long sleeves, a hat, bring water, a small knife

Or, if you’re really going on a pilgrimage, then

a big knife, a big axe, bring food, prepare for strife

We left these forests, once, recall, and we killed

wolves enough to scare them off, killed bears

enough to make them skittish. The trees will

welcome us home, but they will rend and tear

Where we hold each other. There will be blood,

Ticks. There will be the suffering of roots.

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Sonnet 277

Every sentence must be doing, being

Every thought we have must come in sentences
An actor or participant engages in a thing
We move. We seek. We scurry. We fence
ourselves, inside our minds, to moving, moving
Always doing. We think this way: get busy
living or get busy dying; as if death is a thing
requiring our participation, as if the hurry
is the sign of life; what did i do today?
What did you today? What accomplishments
will line the walls of your obituary?
We need a new way of talking about existence
That does not demand anything of anyone
To speak without speaking, both did and undone

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Fiction Coming Soon: “Tiger” in The Reckoning

“As a one-star Inspector General for the UN’s military police, I was uniquely positioned to assign myself any case that I chose, particularly after many years of hard assignments. I had chosen the matter of the mysterious Doolittle, a sort of multi-national guerrilla artist whose work I had encountered in my time amid the water riots of Bangladesh. The machines were dangerous, like wild animals.”

Here in a week or two, my short story “Tiger” will be available in Michael J. DeLuca’s The Reckoning 3.

Watch for it here:

This publication is eligible for awards for the year 2018, as well, so read well and adjust your ballotry accordingly.

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Sonnet #276

If I am supposed to be a man, to earn

my place among the ancestor ghosts
who earned their place among the holy host
who earned their place when light was a burn
And every day was scratching and long knives
And still they found a way to love another
And still they found a way for peace to cover
All festering coals, I think I should live
a little leaner, then, and walk a little narrower
Where the barrows beckon and hard games
play hard ways until i fall down into the harrower
Let me be a man like they were, if I am to blame
myself for all my sins, allow me strength of scarecrows
To stand strong in the skyline, scare birds with no name

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