Wednesday, April 24, 2019


Green tea peels back
last night's drunken damage,
and the day breaks on 30th
Avenue. Every footstep passing

the sidewalk table eats
a bit of each person that clicks
and clomps toward work.
The day is already done.

Dreams of the reverse path home
fill their heads like water, or
green tea. The leaves sink
to the bottom of this paper coffin.

Dead tired, the writer tosses the cup
and joins the cattle lowing toward work.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Geology and Genealogy

He spent years under Oklahoma stones. Even after washed and dried, his shirt held their incense.

When building chimneys, the odor of wet mortar settled into his beard.

Portland dust fertilized his boots with city-germinating aromaskyscrapers and sidewalks come from this dust and will return to it.

After a rain, the New York City pavement composed him, yesterday, in his son's memory.

Stone or concrete perfumes him into existence, out of thin air, for his descendants. Anywhere.

Text messaged photo from my dad.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

R.I.P. Coach Hampton

In physical education class, you made me run suicides against the oldest and largest boy while the whole class watched. I was the youngest and smallest and couldn't beat him. He'd win by a hair and you'd make us run again. You were rooting for me, but I didn't know that then. The largest boy was running for his dignity. How could I beat that out of him?

That's my most vivid memory of you and your teaching. Wait.

I also saw you on the pitchers mound of our middle school gym floor. You'd throw the kickball maddeningly and bouncily to the athletically gifted to keep the playing field even. And you'd snatch linedrives out of the air as if you had a gloved hand catching a baseball. My older brother said you used to dive, too, before your heart surgery.

Now I see you eternally diving home. How is your eternal home?

Saturday, March 30, 2019


The soul's window remains
the same from birth to death.
Life parades outside. Jester
and orator are equally framed.
Those born blind see the same.

The eye is a symbol of a window.

A witness knows when one
gives up the ghost, whether
or not the shades are closed.

Friday, March 29, 2019


This incensed hyacinth
purpling aflame in spring
will anger into summer ash.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Incomplete Idea #3

Your eyes are the same size as when you were born. Who knew the soul's window needs to remain the same from birth to death?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

On Berryman

I've recently been obsessing over John Berryman's work. I've been rereading The Dream Songs, and I also purchased Homage to Mistress Bradstreet and Short Poems. Both purchases were discontinued library books. Short Poems was a first edition and only checked out once. Bradstreet was never checked out.

I know that I'm a rare weirdo because I still read and write poetry outside academia, but really? One of America's greatest poets of the 20th century has a book that was checked out once in 50 years, and another book that was never read, until I bought it.

Also, both were academic libraries.

T. S. Eliot said, "The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future." Sorry, man, the future doesn't have hope for your art form.

God bless the soul who acquired this library stamp.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Incomplete Idea #2

If language can compose
a home, each word
is a brick, and this stanza
begins the foyer of this poem.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Incomplete Idea

We’re taken aback by a cat’s greeting another with a backside sniff, the same for dogs, and scold a child for seeing the world, mouthful by mouthful. But it’d make less sense if a soul assessed the world without its senses.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

They and Their Song Shape and Sleep Manhattan

During the revolution, iron
chains ate fighter
ship hulls beneath
my rippling reflection.
British and American
blood gurgled the cold dark.

The Hudson's nervy
waves erode Manhattan,

but curving around
the cloisters, slowly
cutting stone, the white-
capped water continuously salutes
West Point soldiers. Now,

if you're sitting still, you'll
hear kind calm lullabies
roiling through sea
air. Violent deaths cannot
muffle the songs of valiant men,
even under watery graves.

Monday, December 7, 2015

100,000 Pageviews

I just saw that I now have over 100,000 page views.*

I feel like this:
Kyle, Holly, and Nicolas

*Who cares if ninety percent of the views are likely my own naval gazing.

A Letter to Nicolas Erickson

All the walls will fall. I've labored over a work for you for over a decade -- many works, actually. Salinger's Buddy Glass had Seymour, and I have you. I relate to the second born of a large brood, and to one who likes to write. By default he became the eldest because of an absent first born. You're not absent, but you've often gone your own way regardless of others' wishes and sometimes regardless of understandable logic. Forgive me if this opening is cruel. I've had to be cruel to myself to write this. I'm currently writing purely from the heart, so this is trash. I hope art will enter later.

There's no doubt you've bravely blazed your future legacy with all sincerity. Oh! the cost of being fearlessly earnest! If we could but wear another face for a while, prepare a face for the faces that we meet -- to rip off Eliot. But we can't.

You know, I've recently torched my own trail. I have regrets, but as Joy Harjo said, we must "let go of regrets."

This is a poorly constructed letter. Each paragraph builds an incomplete thought and leaves the reader wanting. Let me begin again.

All the walls will fall. By this I mean "nothing gold can stay." Brosef, we're so heavenly minded we're sometimes no earthly good. William Blake took pride in this state, but though it doesn't show in his writing, he had to be terribly embarrassed at times. I hope he was ashamed. I am. I'm ashamed of how much I've longed for transcendence. Our family has suffered for our being overly heavenly minded.

As you know, Whitman stirred my soul and confused me. I experienced "church" with Whitman, and I thank poetry for making me want to stay in this world.

Czeslaw Milosz confessed he'd be likely damned to a lower level of hell because he loved making literature more than his loved ones. What happens to us who love loved ones so much that we know we must be honest to our calling regardless of whether or not they understand?

I thank God for His grace and mercy, and I thank my family for the same.

How does anyone stand this world. I can only "get the news I need from the weather report." Televised news in America is heartache.

I'm still too honest in this letter to construct a descent metaphor.

Back to the news. Can poetic intuition help one disregard the pain of the world? No. Pa-pa asked us when we'd be ready to be Christ for the world. No one can be Christ but Christ. Yet, we endure our attempting to be like Him. And we're horrible at it, brother. We can't remain sinless, and attempting to do so leans toward the type of pride that got Lucipher kicked out of heaven.

Kyrie eleison! Our primary prayer and life's work must be a cry for mercy and forgiveness -- for ourselves and others. Christ said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." I say, "Forgive us because we often no better and don't choose to do it."

As I ended each previous paragraph, I'll end this letter abruptly.

I love you. I miss you.