Picking your way barefoot across the parking lot
to the beach your face contorts as your feet
press down hard on the rough points of stones—
jagged stones, dagger stones, needles and knives.
Think of these as the souls of those who raged,
The abrupt presentment of illness,
the sudden invasion of the foreign:
your wife has been sick, your daughters
sick, and all at once while listening
to a lecture you grow aware of some new
thing within you, something not there
a moment ago. The room [...]
The slick kiss of an oyster slipping
across the tongue, a woman's bare thighs
with her belly a velvet lake beneath
one's hands, warm wind in spring, a change
in the weather, the touch of silk, sleep—
these become the body's joy: a fire
on a cold n [...]
Oh, much maligned one, meager hunkerer
beneath the heart, they slander you
who claim that anger is your little engine,
that melancholy squats within you
like a frog in its rank grotto. My hands
feel anger, my fingers feel anger, but you
in your basem [...]
Born, it's not good for much, a vehicle
stuck on its top, spinning its tires,
a pink VW Beetle or something resembling
a turtle. But it's cute so we keep it.
Soon it gets the hang of things and starts
to travel—first on its pudgy belly, then
on its [...]
for E. F.
The day hates you and the wind has stolen
the coat from your back. Take this poem.
Unfolding it from the page, it becomes a cloak.
Now as you walk through the streets of winter,
you listen idly to the talk of the unfaithful:
how you must h [...]
At the ocean he studied the waves—how they built and broke, their regularity and variety. It seemed meaningful, yet no meaning came to him beyond a sense of boundless space. But ships crossing the horizon, the shapes of clouds, the calligraphic p [...]
Sometimes confusion was a veil across his eyes. Then what he loved became suspect, what he had disliked he now despised. Colors grew darker, sounds sharper. In his blindness, he trusted nothing and he struck out at whoever came too close. Better to [...]
The clouds above the mountains of Mexico—how palpable they were, towering expanses of particles of water, layer upon layer of overlays of white, brighter than white as if lit from within, mountainous shapes cresting the mountains. He dreamt of be [...]
Heart is lonely so he buys a bird.
He lugs the bird all over in a silver cage.
In the morning, its feathers are orange,
in the evening aquamarine. He tells the bird
his life story, but when the bird stops singing,
Heart decides it's unhappy. He worr [...]
Within the lump of coal the flame lies hidden,
within its darkness hides the diamond's glory:
all unseen from without, it must be imagined—
the fire that heats the house, the wedding ring
sparkling with future promise. But what would be
the coal's [...]
Those patches of cold air on the far side
of the barn at night or down the hill
among the trees—what souls are these?
What must have happened for them to linger
as such tentative gestures—the touch
of damp air against the skin, the smell
of wet [...]