arc me into long flight
no thought backwards
pin me into staying
I with my
and moth journey
and no love for velvet
circle me deep
of one continuous spiral
I who am always falling
brace me with edges
I who collect things for boxes
and fill them with dust and
never open them
scribble me sane
I with my loud dark line
all in a tangle
blot me with slow surrealistic white
in drift of easiness
tender phasing into dream flight
fancy me the soul of a bird
vision me everywhere
(first pub. in Cellar Door, 1979)
DO YOU KNOW ME
(After "Snail" by Federico Garcia Lorca)
Love brings me this puzzle:
It says, solve me,
I am a one and only—
yours if you want me.
I will take forever, or never.
I am made of loss and longing.
I am the first and the last.
I am made of memory and
forgetting—I will change you.
Do you know me?
Love brings me this puzzle.
(first pub. in DADs DESK, 2011)
FROM A LOST SUMMER DAY
Quick Impressions (After Frank O’Hara)
I sink back into tall green grasses.
A soft breeze bends the grasses over me.
and reform. Voices call my name—
my name that I do not want to hear.
I will not remember my name.
I am in my dreaming.
Awake. Floating in the sea of grasses,
I, and the motioning green shadows,
borne upon the width of forever.
I will never come out.
I am green grass and green shadow.
Even the sky makes room for me—
all energy—one wide presence
everything alive in my thinking.
A child wants to be alone with child-self.
No voice. No calling.
(first pub. in Living in the West, 2013)
I AM ALWAYS STONE
I feel to my center, which is unborn.
I cut myself open to know myself.
I become two others.
I look for patterns.
I am tested
and torn. Everything
the same distance
away from me.
I think in whorls.
I must get to the lapidary.
I AM YOUR SAD LADY
I am your sad lady—transparent in
the wind. Your web floats free from me
yet I can’t leave it—I am that kind of
darkness that stays, that never fills.
I wear the costumes you bring
that do not fit me.
They fray when I walk. They tear
when I turn to answer you.
I remain in the visible circle.
My feet are sewn to the ground,
my arms are heavy
when I raise them toward the edges.
Why do you love me?
I am unkempt from struggle.
Those paths upon me
are not the known ones.
I follow the hopeless birds
with their innocence and light;
they tangle in the sky
as if there were webs in it.
I am standing still
in my dress made of water.
It moves when I move.
I flow with movement.
I breathe against the circle.
The web glistens. Sunlight
is drowning against the mind of
the bird that flies right through me.
(first pub. in Epos, 1975)
You have brought me a love poem,
and I learned its words and sang it back to you.
Your prayers were chants of sorrow.
You made me learn them, and now I pray for you.
You make circles and circles, which I enter.
They are both vanished and deep. Where am I.
Your eyes pull downward, and I find drowning
and a dark sleep. We are so old here.
Our eyes have turned to a grave of sadness.
The other mourners have left, and we no longer weep.
In the center of my mind
a little child is
learning to be me.
She is as old as my death
and she is blowing out
our birthday candle.
(first pub. in Whole Notes, 1997)