Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Mike Fink. John Henry. Paul Bunyan. Casey Jones.

As though the wilderness in which these names forged their meanings has now grown


over the names impenetrably obscuring paths once cleared by salted rivers of sweat;

or perhaps

the wilderness is all disappeared? Wooded groves which harbored heroes now part,


horizons, and no figure larger than ordinary; no monsters in the rocky, fjord-like


of the coast: sea heaves its sighs and strums its finger along the tight drums of

the rocks,

a tune that summoned the male muses, once, these waves that break their own


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Questioning room, post-Fall

No, we aren’t what we appear. The dangling
lightbulb yellows us, presses our shadows flat
onto the floor. Leave it to our shadows, then, to be
forgiven for what we cut out of the light. What other
part is there of a living person without pulse? We’ll stand,
here, yes, naked, even, as if that could help. You promised
power over language and animals but every word
calls out your distance, you, who formed us in the image
of a question, but, no, never promised to answer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mountain walk, late summer

I walked through the cloud, the cloud walked
through me. It was like this for a long time
called morning.

From the cloud I saw
only what I saw—this step down,
this loose tooth of rock.

Slowing my pace, the cloud
moved faster, peeled back one corner shrouding
the mountain before me,

that I didn’t know
was there. The sky breathed heavy again.
Cold mist hung waiting

to be caught by the wind
that rules changes here.

Each time the veil slips down,
each time
it lifts a little, I wait,
half-expecting to see
a new landscape,
like wanting to fall
back asleep
to enter a new dream.

How silly
to have thought I was alone. Here
come children,
mouths all black
with wild blueberries.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

an excuse

The Time
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Summer is the time to write. I tell myself this
in winter especially. Summer comes,
I want to tumble with the river
over rocks and mossy dams.

A fish drifting upside down. 
Slow accordions sweeten the breeze.

The Sanitary Mattress Factory says,
"Sleep Is Life."
Why do I think of forty ways to spend an afternoon?

Yesterday someone said, "It gets late so early."
I wrote it down. I was going to do something with it.
Maybe it is a title and this life is the poem. 

Every summer I feel this way, though perhaps more than most this year. Travels to Canada and rural Oregon have gotten the wheels turning but my pen is still out of ink (mixing metaphors, even). Any suggestions for how to take well-lived poetic moments and get them onto the page?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

some time ago, I heard from the wrong Greek woman

and since then I haven't known quite what to do with her. thoughts?

Penelope when pressed to speak

Then you tell me what the difference is exactly
between weaving and unweaving when
all I want is him, here, now. The future
makes as little difference as the past unmade.
I need these strings to keep my hands busy,
so that I can say “I’m waiting.” Without
waiting comes terror. Time passing.