Rooted

You sniff and snuff for me
next to your pillow
like a sleepy truffle pig
rooting for your prize
even in dreams
 
Maybe love
grows best in darkness –
loamy, unseen –
a carrot say, or turnip
tapping our longing
 
In the morning, all
we can eat is before us
among vases of daylilies, begonias,
the table set
for two




Quickly Now

TSM 112

waking again with hair sticking up
like antlers,
my COVID doo and don't,
pillow wet where dreamwater
leaked from the corner
of my mouth
 
now the grass-fed belly of clouds
and thinking to gut them –
slice them open with the
knife edge of my palm,
hang them to bleed out
then salt and dry
 
or better my hair
is a field of antennae
scanning for life, where
Heaven plays its Top 10 hits
on the radio telescope 
in my skull




Quickly Now & The Sunday Muse

Ode til Torsk

3AM lying in the bottom of our boat
drunk as fishwives
strung on hooks of Everclear
we'd brewed with midnight sun
 
brighter in our eyes than any
moonshine,
singing hymns to the cod
in Norwegian 

Gunstig fisk!
Utgaven av havet
Eldste sønn av havet
Flott fisk av havet!
 
(Beneficent Fish!
Issue of the Ocean
Eldest son of the Ocean
Great fish of the Ocean!)

and the fish would rise
to our voices, to
our lures on ropes
barely tied to the oarlocks 

Dde rolige og rene herlighetene
Av havets dusør gitt
Omrøring gjennom vår dødelige ramme
Vend jorden selv til himmelen!
 
(The calm and pure delights
By ocean's bounty given
Stirring through our mortal frame
Turn Earth itself to Heaven!)

Which we thought was hysterical
as the fish would hammer the line
2-3 hits at a time
and we'd haul them in
 
I'd remove each hook
pinched between thumb and forefinger
laughing too at the blood
from steel stuck in my palm
 
I'm grateful to be the man
Jesus taught to fish,
grateful for the smell of fried cod
with a pinch of salt and pepper




Quickly Now

TSM 110

today I
reconditioned
my 6-ton bottle jack
drained and replaced
 
the hydraulic fluid
scoured rust
with WD40
before that I had planned
 
to launch a rocket
of words
a fiery blast across the sky
but instead I lifted
 
the car 8 inches
off the ground
which is as close
as I can get
 
to flipping something over
and lighting the fuse




The Sunday Muse

Quickly Now

a pair of egrets flies long and low
up the estuary long and low
up the water long, beckoning
water, white and low
to the grasses where they nest
across from our window
 
feeling like flight,
feeling low,
stepping out –
my face hidden behind a white wing
folded across longing,
my legs as strung as reeds
 
from a nest of crow tangle –
copper and liquid crystals
woven ever tighter by zooming
in concentric circles, whirlpools
draining silica
from an hourglass like sand
 
never up and out,
never as white as those feathers
with no song,
swinging into the air
ready to dive and slice
into water, speed first



For Quickly

TSM 109

roses by the fence
have clawed their way
from thawed dirt

colors hungry
as if red and yellow had
hibernated underground

all winter
and now devour
the morning

it was you and I
hunkered along the path
between thickets

our eyes foraging
twigs and bristle
that left scars

down the bark
a sight too famished
for Spring


For The Sunday Muse

TSM 108

Aztec Two-Step

sometimes the old ways are the best ways
who needs vaccines, I say
let’s roll some heads tumblety-peg
into the volcano of contagion,
appease the lava god in our lungs,
intubate with obsidian knives

fellow free citizens –
you jaguar knights and eagle warriors –
a poet you must choose:
you will rip a heart from its ribs
and light a ceremonial hearth
in the hole in our chests

first paint me blue-starved O2
and surrender my body
to the cash pyramid and the priests
will you then all snake and feathers
dance with immunity
wearing my skin?



For The Sunday Muse

TSM 107

put a tiger in your tongue
lickety-split,
we have a lot of mouths to feed
and only ferocious words on the hunt
to provide

fierce mothers day and night
with the moon like carrion,
dragging home the light
of a dying country, no game
to nourish our children

so if I call you ungulate – you wild pig you
odd-toed, craft-brewed deer –
will you be ungrateful,
flee that leap in my eye,
my mouthful of wonder?



For The Sunday Muse

TSM 106

What can you show me
with your spork mirror,
your runcible visions
of past, present, and future
like when we drove
through the take-out window
at Popeye’s
and unwrapped the cellophane
where you revealed not white plastic
that would break at a touch
and a napkin, but
a feast of all that had passed
in the rear-view, then
watching the rain through the windshield
our road ahead gone
because laughing together
once again
we were too late, too late
for whatever we imagined
the looking glass had on offer.



For The Sunday Muse

TSM 105

lost in a sadness of gold,
our fish killed herself in the night –
swimming up the bubbler jamming her body
in the tube, hose to the car exhaust
of deadly oxygen, engine running

toodle-loo goeth before the fall –
she’d tried it before, I’d rescued her
over and over what sorrows
went unseen in the bright mirror
she’d finned and scaled for us

water the unbearable clarity
of loneliness –
no company but the ennui of snails
and the alien deep-sea diver
unspeaking as a statue

the children came down to breakfast
and gathered round a bier of Kleenex
her wet outline the Shroud of Turin –
a Jesus-fish relic too sacred
to flush

its been years; I’ve been remiss
doesn’t everyone deserve
a proper suicide note –
do the same for me as I would for you
if it ever comes to that



For The Sunday Muse