Candles Extinguished after Mass

The air in the birthday cake’s
overture (sweet and a bit insipid) had
also once smelt like Chanukah at sundown
in childhood; and the largest shape it takes
has become for me this eternal one, child with snuffer in-hand
at sunrise, now.



From an Airplane at Night

We are seen here
not as we see
ourselves but as the gods see
us: not walking
under a face or an elephant floating
between us and the moon, but
an electric viscera throbbing behind
a stratus clot of skin–
for us, the stars to mystify,
for gods, us;
a few may stare
and ask: “What are they doing in


The Relic Maraca

Once when the stern was going vertical I’d tried
to woo the woman, to convince her of my
fun-having quotient, a last-trench effort to convince her
that we could make something work:
I brought to her party some maracas aquamarine
with painted palm trees on a thick skin
impenetrable as her veneer of stability
and as bright as my vainglory.

After I bubbled up with the rest of the wreckage
I took a terrorist’s balm at the thought of how one of the pair had
lodged itself amid her
life somewhere, and felt the awe and festered
tragedy of a druid that I was stuck with the other.

Today in my storage’s floor, what do I find but
an aquamarine maraca? I felt the tragedy but
was surprised, when I gradually remembered the details, how I’d
forgotten about them and her. This was after, in child’s
curiosity, I’d broken it open to see what’s inside
it. It was only some dust in a chasm of air and some stones,
and the druid drew his last moan
and I laughed when the light struck those bones.


Made out as a Mill

“…Have ye not known, ye fools, that have made the present a prison,
That thirst can remember water and hunger remember bread?…”
-From “Mediaevalism” by G.K. Chesterton

The grist in the matter:
the granite will
roll in this mill with
the chaff flying into the hopper alongside the stuff that won’t choke
us; or
that stone wheel will
out with each granule
a cause for a file, and the children go

rumble, bloodshed inevitable,
everyone standing half-upright or close
enough for
the doctor
to clear them for
harvest or indoor work.
do we
weep or wait?

who made
this a mill?
So I go
to the library
reading through page after fading page
of the tomes on my breaks
offering up the closed throat
and my stomach’s persistent groan.


A Society of Three Bowls (Part V of V)

V: A Bowl of Incense

“Lovers must not, like usurers, live for themselves alone. They must finally turn from their gaze at one another back toward the community. If they had only themselves to consider, lovers would not need to marry, but they must think of others and of other things.”
Wendell Berry

My mother
studied hard to teach
the next few generations
horticulture. Marching at her station,
taut and guarding, pioneering, better in her grades than any of her peers,
she unbeknownst to her had steered herself to meet
my father.
My father
had a dream
to own a business
meanwhile waiting tables.
I happened, and instead he: brought the checks;
took less rest; played with me when he was able;
fought my mother.

“Behold,” we’ve told ourselves, “the levers and the magic graph”-
no different, we could add and always don’t, than those of half
of Canaan’s multi-levered silo cult (those noble fools who
had the decency at least
to plainly
of grains and reproductive needs).

Oh sing, if you are so inclined, the anthem we’ve provided you,
of carving out your own life for yourself. You’d join a litany
of voices who precede you – those who sing, succeed,
then starve into the ocean.
Meanwhile all this solid world is made of half-caught motions,
blooms in unintended harvests, finds its present destiny
in me and you.

Grains and vegetables are on the move again-
half-lost in rising maybe, but to teach their children
they’ve aligned themselves in tightly-regimented squadrons.
You might have missed it: after Age
of French Crow came
the Great Reseeding – slowly and discreetly – when
our souls remembered they had tastes.

Amidst the smell
of old books, do your best: expel
the notion those who use the crook call “nature.”
Use your proven, most elaborate of forks
to stave it off. Please, make your
case against the grove life; fruits and vegetables will seed as well
behind your neighbor’s porch.

For this handful of minutes eternity rests in the shade,
in the light and the shade. Yesterday
the trees made for Tree, tomorrow
more water arrived to its consecrating – to-day, to know,
to be.

The Lord has built the builder’s house today; later
comes the labor. Grass spread under the chair legs, up
it the daddy long legs, rising. A billion
souls before me in the grove shade, but
today You gave this place for me to sit. The billion-
and-second soul arises after; it’s then to pray
for that soul; today
isn’t joy of surprising; today
is to be.

Five bowls and fourteen breaths. A puff of smoke.
Tobacco shown its purpose. Smoke
asserting, then curling, into sunlight
through the leaves shine,
tree to make the Tree, the water from Your side
to make this tree be,
Glory Be…