from Unusual Woods. BlazeVOX Books. Buffalo, NY. 2010.

(turn) in the fast darkness of ancient forests,
shadows cross our dreaming faces (turn)
in the movies, an oak tree is always more there
after it’s gone (turn)
this way, a saw emphasizes one thing (turn)
formalwear, night fog rolling in
dressing the silver-blown accessories
(turn) in the morning,
when the rain goes to work,
the cemetery trees shade the cemetery dead
and spiders (turn) play the harps of corners
when the wind sighs, weathercocks turn
to look for a reason (turn)

from What Is to Be Said: Prose Poems. Forthcoming.

Taking Candy from a Baby

There was nothing easy about it, as it turned out. As soon as I reached down to pluck the child’s sweet, he started wailing like a Parisian siren. Well, this sent his mother into a rage raising her arms to heaven. Additionally, it seems, just then, someone had depressed the mute button. Yes, everything was moving in slow-motion: this is how the plans had been drawn up. You wouldn’t think a small child would have such a grip. More to the point, after tugging and pulling, I was able to wrestle the grape lollipop away from the sniveling brat. I was in charge of keeping an eye on the doors while the others stuffed and screamed. The ridged orb felt good against my palate and tongue. The sharpshooter got me in the back. The baby stopped crying.

from What Is to Be Said: Prose Poems. Forthcoming.

I Can’t Remember my First Memory.

And if it’s inscrutable as a carpet of sunlight on a plastic toy bobbing in the backyard of the house my father built with his bare hands and drinking habits, with his rolled up sleeves and his construction buddies who always threatened to sell us to the gypsies in a burlap sack. In a burlap sack. And if the wind scrubbed the sidewalk sideways of what I remember with whole tree leaves turning cartwheels up and back the stairwell wearing a dark tie a little loose around the neck? And if the toy I pulled behind me as a boy while the sun skipped & skipped sheering through the clouds to bounce off of that object on a string to live there forever as the honey-hot scent of play and coy wrinkle.

from What Is to Be Said: Prose Poems. Forthcoming.

There Are No Dogs in Western Massachusetts

The prized python slithered out of the broadcaster’s booth with my prized Pekinese. Muffled yapping was said to have been heard. A more or less average-looking gorilla gave chase after a more or less average-looking python. It was the least he could do and a small pleasure since it passed the time. Luminous skyscrapers faded to the luminous left and to the luminous right of the flagging gorilla hopping after the luminous snake—so many black and white shifts in cinema. What once seemed like a sizzle or a furor at the deep end of the laminated pool—now looked like not much more than a blind waitress treading water. A gentle breeze moved about the gentle days of gentle shovel and gentle crooked back. We drew our various breaths.

Aardvarks continued to work hard.

Corky, my prized Pekinese never bites the hand that looks dirty. In the fishing pond October last he made a ring and drowned in it. But before that, though little recovered from that snake in the grass, the lapdog molted and eventually lost all of its hair.

from sundry and uncollected poems

My Antidote

for Mirela

I remember when I first saw you
on that snowy porch in the Iowan night-shine.
Tree branches were giving themselves freely to the wind
and then my eyelids disappeared.

“I’ll savor you like a sugar cube,” I thought, but
days have a way of pouring in one ear and out the other.
My muddy boots have a way of leaving
muddy tracks on the Bostick House hallway carpet.

Later, I was about to lift up my head
in defeat, when among the riverbank’s pebbles
I found it. A heart-shaped stone in Filiasi
big as your left breast. I carried it across an ocean to Chicago.

Alas, nighttime clouds don’t matter the same way
in the daytime. Each one of us a mousetrap for the other,
a cube of Swiss-cheese for the other,
poison on the tongue that tastes. You are my antidote.

Chicago 2-15-04