Years ago I wake, and my home is gone.
No bed. No flat walls.
No ground.
Instead I float on the air rushing past,
Stare into the hole before me,
As the whole of space time becomes a wind tunnel.

It’s not so bad.

For years, the flow of air allows me to swoop and dive and soar.
For years, the push of air keeps me in my place.

Sometimes I turn length and breadth to the wind,
Let it blow me where it wills,
But there is no end to its depth and height.

Sometimes I shut my eyes against the rush of air.

Sometimes I cry and rage in the safety of the roar.

But today I wake, and my home is gone.
I am on a road.
The wind is rushing past,
Roaring down the mountains ahead, and
I am flying into the wind,
Rigging my sails and my self for optimal speed.
I am skilled in the ways of wind.
I will cross the mountains.

Snow blown from peaks beyond my reach strikes the windshield.
The car shudders at the gusts.

Sometimes I rage and sing in the face of the roar.


A not very learnèd peace

(an attempt at the medieval sestina form, with apologies to Kobayashi Issa)

If you seek vengeance, you must dig two graves:
one for your object, one for you. To leave
behind peace in order to pursue their
lack of peace; to kill my joy to reach the
end of theirs? That is death. So I turn to
Jesus’ words: Let the dead bury the dead.

And yet, I count myself among the dead.
In dreams I watch as the worm turns and graves
its way through gut, brain, and bone, helpless to
move, but free to grieve. Worms do not ask leave.
They know I will lie as dead, leaving the
doing to others able to live their

lives. I am so jealous! I envy their
cheerful unawareness of their own dead
lives. I grudge their blind hopes, reaching for the
heavens while the world prepares them their graves.
In this mood, I can hardly wait to leave
this mad ignorance, cannot endure to

breathe my own breath, can barely see through to
the next minute, hour, and day in their
presence. And yet. And yet. Trees will still leave,
putting forth root and fruit. Worms will turn. Dead,
I see the world of dew is built on graves,
but the graves are brimming with seeds and the

living elements arising from the
deaths of a thousand stars. Who am I to
question? But still questions hover like graves
over letters in words that believe their
own meaning, believe in answers, are dead
certain they define something real. They leave

doubt to the philosophers. Let me leave
off doubt! Give me strength to dive into the
absurd, creating in spite of the dead
all around me, writing unfettered to
nobody, pursuing my thoughts to their
end, and free to leave the dead to their graves.

Art graves itself on souls, giving no leave
For artists to flee their craft. Leave the dull
to worry. The dead will bury the dead.


Thomas’ fossil

Split a stone, and you will find me there,
In an anoxic world my soul’s flame dies.
Pain and obligation and despite permeate me,
seeping into every pore,
replacing animal with mineral in a slow, relentless process.

All is potential; death by stillness.

Let the kinetic overwhelm me.
Let a equal gravity.
Drop this stone
from a great, great height—

set me free.


Tanka no. 1

Cloudburst passes, and
reflecting everything
but itself, the world
glimmers on. The world and I
Are much alike on some days.


Alchemy (This is not marriage)

The quality of thrownness is not merciful.

Like elements inquisitive hands put in the crucible,
testing not the element itself, but its interactions. Will it
Laws older than Hammurabi, deeper than gravity,
push and pull and reduce us to our essence.
The electrical spark blasts through us,
aligning electrons,
bonding molecules,
and suddenly we are the philosopher’s stone
     the phoenix
     manna from heaven
Proof against the hottest flame, the heaviest blow.

This is not marriage, this is alchemy.



I am promoting the sand’s relentless
infiltration of skin/hair/clothes, my toes
tracing letters in a race against waves.
The name disappears and I’m running from
Waves and the bright sun’s glitter, turning
violet as my eyes struggle to see.
Bubbles pop up around my feet where letters passed, and
Even as I walk on water
(and sand, and molluscs)
I’m stunned to realize I’m mourning more
than the poet whose name was writ on water.

There are those who know nothing but the joy
Of form and function: sand, pressure, waves, breath.
Blissfully free of the gull, the slow dry,
Until it’s done. Lord, let me know that joy,
The peace at the edge of time’s blasting wave.
Class Bivalvia has learned its lesson well.


World’s library

Scattered on the floors of ancient seas
now the dust clinging
to the bits pulled from the laboratory drawer

Till the student looks

feels the rough rock

puts the shell to her ear

and hears


Seastar, or, Alex meets the real world

I woke as a child to light-painted days,
Seeking for words that could capture such things
as awe-filled days
and sighing light
And hold them, forever, perfect and bright.

I have been a light.
I have been a star.
I have been the seastar clinging to the rock,
finding early the strength I clung to
was the wall the waves would crash me against.

I have been a wave.
I have been a child.
I have been the waterbaby swimming from the shore,
mocked by the tides that pulled me,
and laughed at my poor attempts.

I saw strength in my parents and
Answers in books;
I put trust in my teachers and
Hope in my soul.

Such a fool seeks truths no book can hold,
and drowns her soul in the light-hungry depths,
far from the shore and the green life’s breath.

I clung to my parents, never learned how to swim,
and when smashed by the world’s waves I blamed it on them,
and waited for someone to pull me from the tide.
Life was light or dark,
good or bad,
pain or not,
here or gone.
Which it was meant nothing to me.

I never guessed what the seastar knows throughout its small self:

Sometimes a rock is just a rock.


Vincent’s mood (Illusion)

the hope
this time the brush will be
true to the thought—
yet even so, the painter will not be.

the life
beating in a new idea –
yet even so, the sun has seen it.

the very idea that I might know anything.

Yet even so, the brush flows,
the colors live
the painting grows
and as the ripples spread out
to blind eyes
the everhopedfor neverpresent joy
stabs once more.

they smile at the work
but it’s


The guitar string

Tangled, curled, and twisted in on myself,
In a dark drawer—used once, but since replaced—
To wait, and pray I am not always waste,
Forever an unread book on the shelf.
I was bereft. Senseless, I felt a lack;
Mindless, I lay asleep. I woke, to see
The universe rushing up behind me,
and peace too far ahead. So I stepped back,

Thought myself up a guitarist—thought hard—
Thought first of music, then competent hands—
Not discord, but harmony; not fate, but
Choice. Then I found myself no longer barred
From my purpose, my hopes. I found you. And
Here at last, the real question is: Now what?