Tuesday, May 19, 2015


here finally in the
pure white light of late september
i am the bleeding horse

i am america in decay

the cities at the exact moment they
fall in on themselves
and the children as they're
torn open like presents and
all of us breathing in the sweet gasoline air

all of us crucifying or crucified

the sounds we make
and the silences that define them
and listen

the constant hum of electricity

the blood-red drone of the television

this new century that feels
no different than
the one that came before it

this idea that
we are running out of days

that the war cannot be won

and why would you ever vote for someone
who wanted to be elected?

why would you give a man a trial
after he'd murdered his
own daughter?

and when the last sioux is buried
the medals are handed out

when the long march
finally comes to an end
the fences are built

freedom needs to have limits

needs to have a price

this is what i've learned from the speeches
and what i learned from the
whores who made them is that
anyone can be bought

and the land in this town has been poisoned
and the water
and i've been told that no one
will be held responsible

i've been told
that deals were made and gifts given and
what we call sixteen year-old girls
dying of cancer in this
part of the world are unfortunate

what i teach my children is that
violence is never a solution

what i hope for
is their forgiveness

tuesday evening, route 26 south, the weight of dust

all of these days spent
through the smell of burning

a house or
a child or the beginning of
a hopeless century

is what i mean

kennedy and the fragility
of the human skull

the simple beauty of the calla lily

and what happens is that
i am always somewhere between
lost and found

there are always hills and
the shadows they cast

sunlight and the sounds
of children in the seconds
before they disappear

the last screams of a
young girl in california

the relentless weight
of stories without endings

we tell them over and over
until every word begins
to sound like a confession

Saturday, May 16, 2015


explaining the bleeding horse

man says
but this is just the
same poem written over and over

says america is more than
palaces of gold built on
the bones of indians

stops to take a drink and then
the door is kicked open

the cop shot dead

twenty miles south of
the town i grew up in with the
smell of meth and the
taste of ashes

the crosses on fire
and what i tell him is that
beauty needs ugliness to define it

let the dogs go too long
without food
and they'll eat your children

drag your enemy through
the streets of whatever place
you call home and he will
eventually be reduced to
memory and pale white light

show him mercy and
he'll rape your daughter

she'll tell you she
loves him

a truth that will bring
your house
crashing down around you

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

unfinished film about prison

standing there on the rim of the valley
at the edge of the highway
and silent

emptiness and fear and
in the distance (in any direction)
a city

buildings where they sway and collapse
and huts made of straw and
the promise of burning witches

the smell of it
and the heat

like hope but

the well of knowledge

they kill the father
and then his eight year-old son
which makes sense
if you want to rule out the
possibility of vengeance

they kill the mother
but not before they rape her

they save the daughter for
another day

Saturday, May 02, 2015


and on monday afternoon
the doctor says it might be cancer
and my words all run dry

the sky threatens rain or
possibly snow

the bodies keep piling up in
countries that mean nothing to me

for causes that
no one can ever remember

and when i get home
my oldest son laughs as he
jumps into my arms



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

the weight of ambition

                     and if i give you all my
happy songs, and if christ spends his
free time praying for our deaths
if we learn to ignore the politicians
to defy the laws that are created
only to let all power stay in the hands
of those who already hold it, and
if we fuck like priests and whores
                 like dogs
nothing but the blood of hope
smeared across the walls in
this house we call home

Sunday, April 26, 2015

boy found dead in the river’s veins

february and
the baby is hungry

they are all stoned in
the other room
the sunlight pale and
without heat

but brilliant
like the blind eye of god
and i have begun measuring
my life in failed

have been dreaming of california
and of the holiness that
radiates from the
pacific coast highway
and what i know is the smell
of fear

the golden haze of gasoline
and the name of the boy
found dead in the river’s veins

and no one asks
to be christ here but
the nails are still driven home

there are men who
smile with the sharpened teeth
of animals and
there are the daughters
they rape and i am tired of
hearing that these words
i choose to give you
cannot be poetry

i am tired of the baby’s screams

it was never enough
just believing we would all
become beautiful in some
unforeseeable future