Thoughts During Summer Heat

“How do ticks,” I think, “know how to find me?”
As I watch three amber drops of blood cross
the moonscape of grass and gravel towards my backpack,
the scent of me, or aura, attracting their cause.

I can’t imagine pulling that much barbed wire
that divides the wilderness into sirloins and porterhouse
like a butchers dismantling of beef, but the haul and plant
of a million fence posts seems well within the realm of possible,
I think.

How long will this hot stillness last before the wind billows back,
buffeting my mind from the distant cloud
that reminds me of her?


On the wind catching your fly line causing you to curse loudly and miss a trout the size of your hamstring


My father never taught me,
he was too busy being a good father
or a good engineer.

I flail, land, and intertwine transparent line,
but the fish know my ruse.
They laugh.



I’m casting by moonlight
fluidly but something is different:
a change in the stars, perhaps,
or a new nightingale coo.

And the river is turned, sucked
into the mountains
instead of the sea.
The moon, not knowing what she does,
turns her bright face closer
To smell the night air fresh with closeness before unknown.
Who wouldn’t?
Who wouldn’t take pause to notice
the peat, the pine, the discrete nothing
and everything of a mountain river?

And the river lifts
and I’m still casting
like an idiot,
just swinging that fucking stick,
like an owner shaking a ball before an excited dog,
into the river now above me.

And the river lifts out of its bed
dropping rain and minnows
onto its barren and rocky bed
on its path towards the peaks,
a cloud
a dense one with malice in its head.

Spring catalysts turn to fountains,
tiny geysers
for deer and huckleberry
displacing water into air.
Fawns prance like children in sprinklers.

The moon is down.
The night alive with change,
a new order, a new geography.

Scientists will calculate and strain:
drinking coffee and sit cinder eyed
at flows and screens.

And I will fish.



During a brief and passionate
with a robot

he threw my favorite potted plant
out of our spaceship’s cockpit window.

The depressurization sucked me out,
like the pearl from an oyster,

and the robot never laughed again.
He had never laughed in the first place,

but then, neither had the plant.


Three Houses

A fistfight just started
on new stained steps.

It’s a nasty one, the fight,
blood on the buttons already

but the morning is early
and yet to be marred

as these two raise voices
and swing between curses

now in the flower beds
of my grandfather’s second built home,

punching directive at who will
grace the neighborhood.

He sits on the steps
and wipes his glasses, pondering

trusses of  the skeleton
of his third unfinished house

where he lives in a room meant for preserves
under a floor meant for carpet.

They crush the half silence
of the first Sunday of August

with cars slowing to watch
and the wind shakes the daisies.

He waves from his steps
as the motorists crawl,

church bound fingers point
with mouths agape.

And the wind shakes the daisies
planted by his wife.


The Oceans Geographic

The Oceans Geographic


The charm of daylight savings time
brushes him onto the porch before
the coffee cools. The moon flirts with perfection
filtered through night air tightening with cold
harsh on his lungs, but the kind of cold
that one might associate with preservation,
like snow at the dump.

His eyes remain closed
as if the surf could sting
at this distance, yet it dampens the notebook
face up on the table before him.

A long deep breath and it’s
enough to be thinking about
a symphony long forgotten in composer and melody
and all sounds relapse under

the percussion of lavender.
A glint of silver on the surf turns out
to be a bag of crisps.

And it all reminds him of
the triviality of what’s happened
but how serious it all was.


They will know who wrote King Lear,
as he always had.

And the friend at the of the line
doesn’t pick up
but that’s okay because the letter mailed
will be far more important.

Anyway the girl walking by
breaks her gait,
or you think she does,
as a half-smile overshadows
the turquoise dress, a dress
meant for a bridesmaid.
The receiver drifts slowly from your ear
at the same speed she passes before you,
friction of ringtone, cold air, and playful lust
separating in a zero gravity drift.

And your friend, three hours in the future
feels the drag as well, you imagine.

Or maybe it’s meant for
the crow picking at popcorn
in the field behind you.


Lament of the Frontier

(For my grandfather)

In the Dry Land, rain fell sideways heavy and half-frozen
upon tilted hats and upturned collars the way it always fell.
Forlorn thunder, the steady brown dirt and grass of all seasons
trembled in the warmest winter since you left for the city.

I rode and rode the hills
to watch the flood plain fill.

There is no riding left. No bluff, river, or levee.
Who cut these mountains small?
Who planted the bones of this wheat seed
now choked with wintry deluge,
and choked with heat soon
yielding a sweltered summer wind which echoes
down the valleys?

Is this wind distilled in the same snowcapped mountains
from your farthest trip West?
What of those two perfect days
saddled between solstice
when wind is swollen of wild daisy or huckleberry and there’s nothing
but to stand knee deep and watch the peach sky drop?

Fence posts rot. Barbed wire is planted in the earth
and blood, glove, and gun are interned with the buried borders.
And those who once rode are now snow-covered,

Crippled and shrunken like the trees
of the desert.
The desert that might swallow child or cattle.
And I’ll die here too,


There was this girl and

There was this girl and

There was this poem,
but I suppose the girl came first:

came to me
on Sunday evenings,

late and heavy with
lust and other things

and I studied both,
ran my fingers over

their bodies, not at first
but after a drink or two.

Deep in that apartment
the lights were orange, low

or off. My fingers traced
twist and line and couldn’t grasp

either completely, talking  lazy words.
They both hung around for at least

a winter and after I couldn’t smell
anything but the dead,

dusty odor of the furnace.
I perceived words

leaning over  me and her
or on the poem, inexhaustible.