line breaks

I awoke unable to remember
how or why we write poems

or make these line breaks

alerting us to another way
of reading and seeing

now I remember

meanwhile rainwater
collecting in buckets
shone like something holy

[first posted 17 Jan 2015]

howl

dog on the bed
like a polar landmass in the spring
I would give anything
to be like you
yours is an empire of the skin
mine the meandering way within
an island off the compass of the world
go howl your howl
let it be heard

[first posted 1 Jan 2017]

the price of light bulbs

you sit at your table writing
while I sit at mine
I’d like to have coffee with you sometime
a glass or two of wine
discuss the price of light bulbs
or the intricacies of verse

there are subjects far worse
such as love
loss
domesticity

it would all be with the greatest civility
though I cannot remain serious
for too long

I knew a girl once made me laugh so much
I could have wept

but now she’s gone
and I am undone

so here’s to you
and whatever it is you write
so feverishly
uneasily
at your table

I am unable to stand the light
for much longer
at any price

[first posted Jan 10, 2016]

from another ocean 

tales were told at table

that night
and when it came to my turn

I said
why is it always my turn

and the answer came back
you’re the only one

here
so I recounted the days of my

youth
which I missed grievously

and told
of sorrows and lost loves

and worse things
wearing my heart wide open

recalling
the story of the whale mother

singing
to her stolen calf unceasingly

even
from another ocean

only don’t ask me

the unlocatable sorrows of the heart
cannot be mapped
but may be glimpsed through art –
in colours that in striking ways combine
in music or words that mysteriously
lilt or chime

in no sense do these explicitly impart
significance but make you start
feel elevated – touch – jar
the unlocatable sorrows of the heart

else ask the wind the fire the sea
onky don’t ask me

The Consolations of Art

On the consolations of art,
I shall not start
but lay me down in meadow grass
to watch the sunlight pass
along a spider thread.

And if the birds fall from the air
just at my stare,
I should not care
but let the world be aware
to treat me warily.

And if the family
at picnic in the field
think ill of me,
let me finally impart
that the consolations of art,
though considerable,
are not enough for love,
not by a half.

no joyful music

if there are a thousand ways
to hold back time
one would be to journey
down some unknown railway line
and by the winking
of a cheap hotel sign
slip into the forests
of the night

let the night take you
where there is no need for time
or for anything at all
till comes a dripping dawn
devoid of chorus

no joyful music then
to mark the day –
not that it would be
wanted anyway