Sunday, December 31, 2006

The march

Upriver slowly and in black & white.
The sound of helicopters, distant but
approaching. The silence of the
Indians hiding along the shore, unaware
of the annihilation that comes with
democracy, and then April, and then
July. A sound like we had never
invented God, like all of these young
girls sleeping, dreaming of becoming
Internet whores. Sunlight in the moments
before the bomb hits, and then this man
who comes home on Christmas to find
his family gone, and all he knows how
to do is hang himself. All he knows
how to do is die.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

whip hand blues

early morning sunlight like
rust crawling up the factory walls/
across the windows/
and we were nothing less then
than what we are now

i was hanging
and you were waiting to be hung

3000 miles of humming wire

the distance
between love and fucking

between god and religion
and what if all we had back then
to fill the empty spaces with
was apologies

what if all we can
give each other now are

it’s never been enough
just knowing how to
make you cry

Saturday, December 23, 2006

shroud of days, age of fear

and four years later
you ask the drowning boy what
he dreams about
but he doesn't answer

you watch the helicopters circle
the missing girl's body

there is a need here for some
song of hope
but my hands have begun
to crack and bleed

there is a need for dali
who understood the importance of

who understood our fear of both
the known and the unknown
and who knew that america was
destined to devour itself

and for three years
i lived next door to a man who
refused to believe in the holocaust

for twenty-seven
i had a father who breathed only
the rarefied air of martyrs

who choked to death on it
two months before my wedding

who was vague history by
the time my son was born and
his ashes only a faint bitter taste
in the back of my throat

and the idea of saviors had
given way to the rotting wood
of mortgaged houses

the phone continued to ring
but i had stopped answering it

i was reading about a boy lost
while playing by the river

it would end up being the only
story from his life that
i ever knew

Friday, December 22, 2006

crows, screaming

in the sunlight, in the trees,
and my mouth filled w/ frost,
and the sound of helicopters in the distance

the stretches of highway that go to the ocean,
that go to the hills,
that go nowhere

the need for weapons,
which is born from fear

the love of enemies

you and i, for example

Sunday, December 17, 2006

the bones of the evening

to be inside the machine

to be in your lover's bed

the scream of sunlight
or the laughter of children

the broken words of politicians

you eat them like glass and
dream of living forever until the
day you die

you carry a handful of
your father's ashes
for luck

have tasted them on the day
your oldest son was born
and again three years later and
what you remember is the fear

what you remember is
reading a poem for your wife
in a dark room and then the
tears she cried

the way you mistook
their taste for salvation

nothing ever this pure again

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the bleeding horse, running blind

a man you don't know found
behind the wheel of someone else's car
and he's come a long way to
tell you his story

he has nothing to say

poems maybe
written in blood or in piss on
a bus station wall or maybe spelled out
with the bones of indians along
the edge of the interstate

someone else's city
seen from a distance

almost beautiful

the sound of sunlight
off of chrome and dirty glass

the weight of your heat or
the absence of it

all of that time we wasted at the top
of burnt hill road

this man and the letters i sent him
and then the fact of his death

the news of his silence

what it means
never quite clear

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The explosion, in reverse

In the pale light of God, in the
slow burning of November, our
hands heavy with prayers, our
tongues thick with hollow truths,
and in the camps the women
are dead.

In the evenings, the songs take
on deeper meanings. The
silences are expected.


Things will expand, or they
will contract. Wars, nations, the
bloated bellies of corpses, and
what you fear more than anything
is loss. Your house. Your job.
The way everything you hold
dear is tied together. Pull a part
of your life out, the rest will

Live in fear, but pretend you
don’t. Hold your wife, or hold
someone else’s. Close your eyes
and see if you can tell the

Saturday, December 09, 2006

in the age of forgiving

you are someone living on a
hilltop or you are
someone crawlhig towards sunlight

i am there beside you

am the hand of god
but with no clear meaning

i have held you down

have slid up between your thighs on
cold december afternoons and
when you screamed out my name
i was only a man turning
away from the future

i was only the shadow of hope
laid gently across
a bed of broken glass

everything else was a gift

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


sudden rain in the
last light of day

my father dead
which i think i've mentioned

his bones heavier than
i remember

my illusions more precious

not the person i am
but the one i'm afraid of becoming
and maybe even this is
a lie

maybe all i can do is
love my children and hope for
the same

wait for cortez to return
or the ghost
of every murdered slave

and what i remember is steinbeck
driven out of california for
what he wrote

pound dragged through
the streets in a cage for what
he believed

the smell of burning witches
as i sat in the back seat of the car
with a book in my lap

with the sun in my eyes

almost home and
already afraid of everything
i would find there

Monday, December 04, 2006

New Faith

Or the first lie you tell your child,
or the ways I would love to
watch you die. The idea of mercy,
which I will prove to be meaningless.
How sweet your cancer would taste.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


told her i wasn't the bleeding horse,
said this isn 't the burning house
even as the windows began to explode outward

the end of june and hot

the face of america touched
by the hand of god

not beautiful, not filled with wisdom,
and i turned to the man on my left and
told him i was sorry for the truth,
and he confused this with the truth

he leaned across the table to a woman i had
once loved
and told her she was a whore

offered it like an apology

held out his hand
but only after she'd slipped beneath
the surface