Monday, July 14, 2014


I once thought a sword
would better than a gun,
for once the trigger is pulled,
it cannot
At least the true steel of a blade might sing out
as you raise your hand
against your brother.

But no.

All weapons
kill easily,
even the first stone,
caked with dying blood
that cries out from the ground.

Sunday, April 20, 2014



It rained last night,
perforating all my
on anything except
the drip-patter
calling from the dark windows under
wood shingles.
Outside, through the screen door
and tangle
of tree branches propagating across
the street,
the parking lot at night
sieves shapes through itself
with the bright distortion
of neon strips.
The restaurant that
serves reflection
blurs its bricks
into the black wet
asphalt under yellow streetlamp glow.


I saw it built,
the cowboys splicing the corral's
gray wooden fence posts into the landscape,
grunting in the ecstatic
grit of labor.
They forced milling cows through
the ramp
to be branded,
all of them in the same place
with the same pain.

I saw the corral razed.
In its place they built red brick houses.
At the entrance to the old ramp,
where the cows blew and blustered in some small
suggestion of agony,
a yellow schoolbus stopped,
paint slightly rusted off.
And I saw children
pack themselves in,
to the same place
with the same purpose.

Writing Late, No Coffee

Writing late, no coffee

Scatter thoughts around you,
plucking them out of the air
into your mind.
Scatter the notebooks,
pages of half-eaten ideas
and bare words.

Strike a match,
sieve through the ashes,
but blow them back
in the face of Fate,
transient and ineffable
as decay;
slim bursts of inspiration
meeting death best foot forward
and again.

Break everything.
Scatter your life,
blow it in the air in words,
Erasure never saves,
so re-create, unjumble
if you dare
where words wore thin
before, and
don't despair.

Monday, December 2, 2013


Here we are again. Gray clouds nearly touch the tips of mountains capped with snow for a month now. The twilight between fall and winter is nearly over. Soon it will snow. Final papers ring our minds; the mountains ring our valley. Gray clouds cover both. We are trapped in a limbo, in between our efforts and our future grades. The clouds of unknowing fall, perhaps will always fall, over our little undergraduate minds. But sempere aude--dare to know! As much as we can. These are the times that try men's souls, but these are the best of times. Write what you know, they say. But still we must know more, and so we write in order to find out. Isn't that why we sit in libraries? Papers, exams, brought to earth, distilled out of the sun above the overhanging clouds. We will leave our valley into the light one day, although perhaps it is not this day. But we will get there, finally.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How to say it

     You could say simply, in reference to the arial ballet of a stunt pilot, that he flew. Or, in the words of Annie Dillard, you could say this:

     "He piled loops in heaps and praised height. He unrolled the scroll of the air, extended it, and bent it into Mobius strips; he furled line in a thousand new ways, as if he were inventing a new script and writing it in one infinitely recurving utterance until I thought the bounds of beauty would break." 

From Annie Dillard's "The Stunt Pilot"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Haven't we seen this already?

Yes. You have if you've been reading my blog for a while. But all the same, I give you a poem inspired by a nonfiction piece that I wrote and posted long ago.

Hello Again, St. Theobald

I wipe fingerprint traces
off what ought to be
two crystal clear sets
of glass double doors,
the entrance to the halls of knowledge

more commonly known as
the library.
Everyone smudges their hands
here, the glass the only place they
wipe off their grime, but
I wish they’d do it in the bathrooms.

His voice sounds in my mind
like thunder, or a thousand paper towel rolls
hitting tile flooring from
four stories up.

“You called? Saint Theobald
speaking, sacrosanct saint of your kind,
janitor, and here to give you aid!”

Blue jeans and a grey shirt hang
on glowing arms, head, and legs
in the air above my head,
dripping ectoplasm all over
the floor.

I wait in silence,
stand still in the presence,
watching a girl in a red coat
obliviously mush her fingertips
over the next door.

His voice grates now
like the creak of squeegees:
“You missed a spot,”
and he points a finger
at the door.

I glower.
No janitor is ever
exempted from absolute correction.
Looking down, I spray Windex
on the next door over.