Keep

Keep your white hair, she says. I go around and walk around an artificial lake that has become real. With the snow and the geese, it has become real. There is no place not to be real. That is the unavoidable thing. Keep, she says, in a place where she is disappearing. She wants me to be old with her, to walk on the mountain that is disappearing. The mountain of us. I hear the single word Keep, and all through the night like my reflection in the dark plate glass of the artificial lake. A radio has been left on, somewhere in the night.  Which is no longer a thing. Now it is a piece of paper I could hand to you. The lake, the geese that no one wants, that no one will bury, the ice they walked on, verifying existence. Their nests, your nests. It lives inside a piece of paper. As you will, soon enough.

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Let

Let the hospice in,
they all tell  me.
Death is a group activity now,
like volleyball
or a well-attended book club.
The morphine won’t be like chewing gum,
until it is,
and the body
is just a car in neutral, drifting back.
But that body
is where you came into the earth.
It was the first voice
to talk to you in the cold.
It was your voice
giving shape to you,
helping you compose
the wet trap you call your mind.
And now they want you
to be the voice
to subtract that voice,
her body,
your one door in.
It’s clear you are not neutral
and they want neutrality,
someone to let the vehicle just drift
back into an ocean
where all the parts dissolve,
where the notion of a driver
is just superfluous,
as there will be nothing left
but the ocean
in its salty rhythms
through an imagined vehicle.
It is as simple as the fact
of a house sliding
into the sea,
they promise, they say.
It is a house sliding
into the sea, you say.
The eyes, the oriels
of the soul, will be the last thing
you lose, and ever look
down, for, henceforth,
as even the sea
has a hard time
digesting the lucidity
of love. And she will be
in them, the windows
underneath,
looking back,
always. (Note how
prepositions
and adverbs
increase with grief,
a directionless
thing.) The prepositions
and adverbs
try to hold
and orient
each other
as we are
quantum-spun
somewhere
in between
the pocketed
voids
of someone
being
and not
being
there.

 

 

 

Telling it Plain

The old pipes in this house
scream in the middle of the night.
Not as lovers scream
in motel or wedding bed.
Not as ghosts scream,
as oracle or agony of injustice.
They scream only as old, rusted
things scream
when they have been buried
within walls too many
run-on years.

Still, you taste
the weird tang,
the poetry
of rust,

and will spend it
somewhere
like a quarter
you found

on a winter street.

some haiku for a new year

 

wheel of sparrows
on birdseed ensō
I poured out back

 

 

winter laid at the mercy
of the spring

Lizzie Borden

 

 

trees stood side by side
a hundred and twenty years
no touching

 

car on cinder blocks
cat maternity ward
window down to flirt

 

 

moon spent the night
at your place one spring night
lost its car keys

 

 

a new year’s door
propped open for guests
fog comes in

 

 

these stairs to subway

people the fog descending

to ride in human light

 

 

the moon
forgets where it lives
stops me to ask

 

 

dreams make a movie
of things unmovielike
unhand me, it says

 

 

enter stagnant pond
to gleam as emeralds
duckweed jeweled necklace

 

 

trees pencil the highway
no one around for miles
ideas flock

 

 

birdseed ensō
in galactic spiral
poured from Big Gulp cup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

string fourteen

my name
goes behind
your name

*

see     this string’s
an umbilicus
between names

*

here      a conch we found
swimming to a sandbar
one evening,         1971

*

the rosy blush
to its helix
never fades

*

the words
change their shapes
now

*

in your mouth
“blue”
is difficult

*

mouth     moss
other     mother
nature

*

I find you
you find me
the conch

*

when I sleep,   you sleep
under a sandbar
swimming away