Wood ashes and other poems




Wood ashes


I growl in the back of my throat.

There will always be ashes waiting to be carried out.

Cold, burnt out, the opposite of harmful.

Composition of ash: animal to vegetable to mineral soul.

Nothing living left.


Did I mention I love that shade of gray,

adore the silky texture between my fingers,

the sour taste in my mouth?




The Sunrise Bank


I start by setting the clock to ring

a little earlier every morning.


The animals are concerned: How does Food Woman

control the True Light?


The physical gets in my way sometimes.

Boot laces won’t untie and I pee my pants on the stairs.


Most mornings I get there in time; through the same two windows

see the sun; hear it call ‘roll up, roll up.’




Feb. 25, 2011


Maybe I’ll just go back to bed

Maybe I’ll get up

Maybe I’ll go to the library

Maybe I’ll come to your house

Maybe I’ll just lie here and freeze


Haven’t had a poem accepted since last summer


That’s what they want me to do: just lie here and freeze




                   for Don Marquis

i want to write more than one good one.

he wrote more than one good one. he wrote


about us and our failure to grab life.

although i’ve had my mehitabel moments

i can’t always manage the toujours gai part.


my daughter may live to the 2080s.

i hope she’s ready for them.


and february is going out like a f-f-fucking lamb.

what do you make of that?

why f-uh-ck is the ugliest word.



At 43 I said ‘good bye fertility’ (just turn left here).

At 45 I said ‘so long, sexuality’ (and another left here).

At 50 I said ‘forget about it’ to any possibility of physical intimacy (now right).

And, coincidentally, also at 50, I fined-down,

became so inward-looking I could finally look out

(okay, now straight for a while).


It’s a female thing

I guess


you guys can always get

some creature

to be content

feeding your fires (we turn right here)

while if a girl tries that

and even succeeds for a while (and another right here)

he soon starts

to wither in her shadow (turn left)


that sucked out, hollow look (keep going)

that’s inappropriate

only looks good (we’re here)

on women.



Last fire of winter


I dreamt the electricity was off (as it often is) in half the house,

and I was fiddling with flashlight and fuse in the basement,

when the woodstove cracked and blew

the glowing remnants of our fire out its side,

but, as the floor and walls are poured cement,

the fire contained itself and, as it died,

punished us only with smoke.

Driven outdoors, we watched snow fall onto the roof.


I half-awoke and muttered, “Oh, for the liquid dreams of youth.”