DEDICATIONS, PLEDGES, COMMITMENTS. For the past. For my own path. For surprises. For mistakes that worked so well. For tomorrow if I'm there. For the next real thing. Then for carrying it all through whatever is necessary. For following the little god who speaks only to me. --William Stafford

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Gull

The Gull 

Light and lacking focus
but committed to air

the gull
is blown south,
steered by a north wind away
from whatever is fixed.

Who can understand
the truth of it
but someone arbitrarily reborn
in a stranger's nest?

Who can understand
the exhilaration of feathers
above all the graffiti 
of civilation,

like a soul glimpsed,
leaving the body done?

Friday, November 09, 2012

For the Holy Spirit Loves the Rat

For the Holy Spirit Loves the Rat

Praise be to the rat at her birth
in the dim rain of the sewer, her lungs filled
at the first roll of the dice, with the Good Wind
of God, the Holy Spirit.

Jubilate, from Him will she learn
to run for her life from the cat's long teeth
and the owl's claws.  Jubilate, she will await
the Good News of her own small teeth.

And her own small eye beholds
what she cannot say, and her small ear
makes music of noise.  In the everlasting
geometric light of winter, or

in the slow, flawless light of summer,
the Holy Word of the God who loves her
leads her on the path of crumbs
into the pastures of garbage,

where she becomes Vermin,
who, if she cannot live, in His absence
can always die.  Beseiged,  she will venture
onto the decks of capsized ships, will flee

with no notion of the dark water downstairs,
nor of the wire cages upstairs, where she lends
her precious flesh to the microbes and vaccines
of Science.

At Judgement she will be blameless,
for her sweet trust in the Promise
that if any of us do,
she will live forever.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

To a fisherman in a small boat:

To a fisherman in a small boat:

Old French fisherman's prayer:  O God, Thy sea is so great,
                                                     and my boat is so small.  

no wayward nets
     where sea-gulled winds sing
     darkling in the glassed-off sky,
     where muffled oar-blades pull and wane
          across ice-netted waters

of familiar sun
     the shadows grow
     in silence from damp-caved dooms
     that cannot feel the dripping cold
          nor hear the sodden safety

of the bells.

In Mary's Web

In Mary's Web

The spout of every tide
from green weathers
speaks of shafts of ships
with lost sailors
where the sea rings
in the spinning stars
in Mary's Web

And voices unbidden
of ghosts under capes
suck water
and bubble
and echo again

O receiver
of sailor's bones
run down lost shores
and weather in the shell
until this myth
of silver seabirds
tilt's the Oracle's
spent hammer

After the Close Woven Touch

After the Close Woven Touch

After the close woven touch,
thorn and velvet tongue-tapping
spindrift night,
after the firm dove-tailing of nerves,
gunner, crack-shot, shell and ball
bridging the half-way halves,
 the seeded flesh finds
the inhaling womb.

galleries of man-shaped boys
kicking a bellyful of heels.
roll, grasp, leap toward the burst light,
tear through thickets of bent bone
and drowned dark, crush
and wane in the cruel, sweet and endless
forever, and empty
in the capsized bed.

the salt and watery boys,
riding the shipwrecked waves

Candle Behind the Eyes

Candle Behind the Eyes

The candle behind the eyes
lights, hanging fire bright as tears
that spin of waters where the salt gushes wide
down in their sunny tracks,
down in their seas.

The starved candle burns the bolts,
the fire at the lock consumes
the anchored, frozen, stone-set stare.
Alone and naked in strange waters,
summon out of the sea a lantern, a bell,

and a high, wild harbor.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012



This morning
the defenseless eye of a calf
catches my eye
through the bars of
the slaughtering pen:
Help me.  

At noon
the bruised doe floats dreamlike
across the Honda's hood        
like a constellation floats
across the sky at midnight.  Her eye
looking grievously
into mine  is the eye of
the Archer looking into the
dark heart of the galaxy, seeing
the End of Time.  Help me. 

In our bed
my old cat purrs softly
in the bend of my body,
the sound coming
from some plaintive internal tunnel.
Her eyes are cancers.
They have shaved her to the skin.
Her sad pink body gives off
a kind of light.
She shudders with the explosions
of her own sound, claws working,
heart beating.  The wave of it
climbs and then plunges her
into cat dreams.  She sleeps.

In the dark of night, we sleep
my cat and I, our heads together,
filled with winged things:

          angels and archangels,
          white cabbage moths,
          and slow, incautious sparrows.  

This is another story.

Although the moon
shows no trace of them,
they still exist somewhere in
the memory
of the universe.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Blueprint of a Swimmer

Blueprint of a Swimmer

Divers and keepers of lights and swimmers in solitary waters
                     are lonely folks, I think,
        familiar with crabs, anemones, and annelids.

               They do not fear the inky Kraken,
                nor lumpish dead-men's-fingers,
                nor the stings of the ballooning man-of-war,
                remembering, perhaps how they
                snuggled in liquid shelters
                of underwater cradles far from shore:

                up from curved secluded beaches,
                loosening minute grains of sand,
                        alive and water-borne,
                           carried on a swell
                  that never touched Gibraltar
                    or the shores of Labrador,
        penetrating whiplike the single spilling shell 
                         of a solitary swimmer
                            charting currents,
                              mapping flows 
                    fringing gulfs of smaller seas
         (of brain and blood, of mouth and tongue)
                  that never touched Nantucket   
                      nor the Gulf of Mexico.

Divers and keepers of lights and swimmers in solitary waters
                        are curious folks, I think,
       familiar with urchins, drifting jellyfish, and foam.

                 They measure origins beyond the quay:
                 the primal swimmer's tumbling rush
                 as on the crest of some great wave,
                 like otter, and like lion, out to sea.



About Me

My photo
1. In dreams I am often young and thin with long blond hair. 2. In real life I am no longer young, or thin, or blonde. 3. My back hurts. 4. I hate to sleep alone. (Fortunately I don't have to!) 5. My great grandfather had 2 wives at once. 6. I wish I had more self-discipline. (I was once fired from a teaching position in a private school because they said I was "too unstructured and undisciplined." --Who, me??? Naaaahhh....) 7. I do not blame my parents for this. Once, at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me my little boy was "spacey." We ALL are, I told her. The whole fan damily is spacey. She thought I was kidding. I wasn't. 8. I used to travel with a theater reperatory company. My parents weren't happy about this. 9. My mother was afraid that I would run off and paint flowers on my cheeks and live in a commune, and grow vegetables. I once smoked pot. ONE TIME. 10. I don't drink or smoke. (Or swear, much. Well, I drink milk, and water, and orange juice, and stuff. Cocoa. I love Pepsi.) 11. Most of my friends are invisible. 12. I am a poet and a writer. All of my writing on these pages is copyrighted. Borrowing (without acknowledgment) is a sin.