Monday, June 24, 2013

this rape or that one

and any day in any year with
the starving and the oppressed and the
sound that money makes fucking
                                 other money

the silence of the crowd
before the first shot is fired

not every massacre has
a name and not every problem
has a solution but

every solution will
become the next problem

it’s okay to hate
yourself for being human

it’s human to justify your failures

to make others bleed
for your cowardice

understand this
and then move on

Thursday, June 13, 2013

& you & i, higher

and then late afternoon sunlight
across concrete courtyards
and then the shadows of strangers

the taste of dust settling on flawed glass
and then one hundred thousand
miles of silence

the weight of christ

the dreams of children

almost autumn and hawks circling
sweat from yr lover’s breasts
sweet on someone else’s lips

and it’s only a small jump from the
third story window but she lands
wrong and then it’s only the
arrival of lesser truths

the tears we waste for people
we no longer know

Saturday, June 08, 2013

for diane, who i will never meet

and you call
not from the other side of the world
but from only two hours down the highway and
i have nothing to offer but transparent

my poems are only poems

my truck is leaking oil

february gets beneath the skin
                                    you see
               gets into the blood, cowardice and
               fear and no safety but the safety of
               digging deeper into our burrows

and there is no point in mourning
these fatally wounded animals that
show up on our doorsteps,
but we do

we weep
and we read about the men making
crystal meth in trailers on the far sides of
anonymous hills and we read about
the cops that they shoot
and i talk to you for a few minutes
in small, uncomfortable sentences, in
single words and brutal silences

i close my eyes against this
winter sunlight and the
smell of gasoline

against my own cracked and
bleeding hands

maybe next time you say
and i agree and we leave it at that
and five years pass and then ten, a decade
of februaries, of murders and suicides,
of the bodies of newborn babies found in
airport toilets and hotel dumpsters

i stay up too late
i yell at my children for minor things and
                                    then apologize and
                          they tell me they love me
we walk down to the river and try to
break the ice with whatever rocks we can
pry from the frozen ground

we drive west to the
museum of uncertain blessings

find the doors all locked when we get there,
the windows boarded over
and we can’t think of anywhere else to go,
but i was talking about you, diane,
and i was talking about us

i was talking about ghosts

about the twin histories of
fear and failure

i was waiting for the phone to ring again
so i could have the simple miserable
joy of not answering it

Saturday, June 01, 2013



wasted lives in january rooms

and on the phone she says
she’s going to kill herself, grey sky and
snow and on the phone she asks you
to come and get the baby, silver sun
smudged just above the treeline,
end of november and too cold to
worry about christ, too late to lament
his obvious failures, and on the phone she
says she’s tired of the pills, says she’s
tired of the broken windows and
dead batteries, burnt smell of dead
engines grinding against the frozen air
and on the phone she says love is a
lie and then she talks about

says she had a reason for calling

says you were the only one
who answered

laughs and then tells you
she has to go