Kenosis

How to write and be read–
this is the million dollar question.
The first answer is always,
Don’t worry about it,
as if we live in that sort of world,
If it’s meant to be,
when for most it isn’t.

The second answer is,
Adjust your expectations.
It’s an honourable anonymity,
a kenosis of ambition.
Get to know your neighbors,
who are the only ones, after all,
who are close enough.

The third answer is,
Do it for yourself,
which is true enough,
as far as it goes,
a little ways,
Do what makes you happy,
out of context, out of mind.

The fourth answer is,
Stop writing.

Last Horse

The numbers didn’t change, just the lines.
The faces didn’t change.

If you don’t think about it,
it goes away.

What are the chances? That last horse,
your stable mate.

The letters didn’t change, much,
except by attrition.

The first creaking open of a gate,
galloping into the night,

to find a world of corrals.
A world of well-fitted bits.

Jump, Fly

I don’t have much time
so I’ll make this as short
as possible:

A man comes to a cliff’s edge.
In his chest lives a hawk
or a seagull, something
made of wings that urges,
Jump. Fly.

He doesn’t jump.
He doesn’t fly.
He knows, like every other man
who approaches this cliff knows,
that the fall will kill him.

This sense of mortality
grows as he ages:

One day he is unable to
cross the street
and doesn’t find
that unusual.

Story IV

The story is in the soil.
It has many short chapters.
For instance
a man stands on the top rung of a ladder.
He’s aware that this
isn’t the best idea
but the gutters are clogged.
Whoever designed the ladder didn’t think
about how high two storeys could be.
An accumulation of errors,
not one of them serious
except in their totality.
For instance
a woman is sketching him out
for the back of the newspaper.
He will be sorely missed,
the bastard. Someone might believe that.
For instance
a fire starts and the house is gone.
There was nothing of value in it anyways
except for the son and the daughter.
For instance
he’s eighteen and they just gave him a car.
He doesn’t know how to handle it
like he doesn’t know how to handle anything.
He takes the corners hard,
too hard.
For instance
there’s a raspberry thicket
by the back fence that they’ve
been trying to kill for a generation.
A succession of husbands
have declared war
until they day they moved
or otherwise.
The raspberry thicket still stands,
and spreads like thickets spread.
The story is in the soil
and there’s not much you can do
about that.

Story III

It’s difficult to say nothing, to look and write what the eyes see.
The snow receded and became something else. Invent your own metaphor.
On the other hand, it’s simple to say, The snow receded.
I sat on the back patio watching it melt, though it was still cold.
A bird somewhere to my left burst, incendiary, into song.
The air crackled with it, as if shaking off sleep too suddenly.
Again it happens. Air doesn’t sleep. Birds don’t ignite.
I sat on the back patio watching it melt. A bird sang.
A wind picked up. It was enough to force me back inside again,
despite the thickness of my sweater. I closed the sliding door thinking,
I gave up my armor too soon. As if I battled winter.
I shake off the trope like a dog shakes off melting snow.
But I don’t shake anything off. I think about this for a while,
and arrive at the conclusion that it’s difficult to say nothing.
There’s always something to be said into what is said.
Even when there’s nothing to be said I say it.

Story II

If I told you I had designed,
rolled between finger and thumb,
chipped away, folded, etc,
you would say something like,
You are writing a story about
what already happened.

I am writing a story about
what already happened.
There are many like it,
but this one is mine.
Yours, a cushion to the left,
is a million miles
away.

Story I

I hang April on this season,
wet still, but it will dry.
Between this April and last
I hang a year. It is similar
in form, yet different
from its precedents.

Between years I hang myself.
This is not easy, though
I have the rest of my life.
The story is in the soil
and to the soil it returns.

The Face

It was only six years ago or seven:
I don’t remember anything
except that it happened.

They still write about it.
The florid prose that drips
down to the floor, pools,
and then trickles drainward.

The why of it. Certainly the how,
but the why has never been
established.

But that too will drown
in shiftless dunes.
The wings, the toes,
and finally the face.

Gold Fillings

As always, the damage
is worse than it appeared
after it happened;

Gusts bring down those
branches left unmended.
There is no-one left
to mend them anyways.

The pruning horde appears.
It must be done.
Sacrifices must be made:

As always, the orphan, the widow,
the cripple, and the bonfire
which melts gold fillings
into coins.