TSM 143

A white-tail deer moons me, 
disappears behind clouds,
and I'm moon walking in the stumble-light
Tripping on potholes of moonman craters 
and astronaut seas 
mirrored in puddles
It is way past bedtime for stoats and voles,
they watch silent horror films of hawks, 
shadows that flicker on silver screen leaves
The taste of time on my tongue, 
my gloves soaked and cold 
from this morning's sleet
I trace a line to the Pole star, 
but is my filmy world a negative, I have it all 
backwards? Am I headed South, not North?
I walk in light, old and yellow as sticky tape,
peeled from b&w photos 
off the bottom of the sea

The Sunday Muse

TSM 139

This will be about rope.And so?
Turk’s Head knots
for eyes.Just because you say “trefoil”
doesn’t make it true.
Braided X’s.Like eyes sewn shut. Whipstitch is it?
Coils and splices.You are spliced to me, yes.
Coils of smoke. I gave up my Marlboros
when you were four.
You are bent in death.Bend – to join one rope to another. What ties us?
Our rigging of blood.
of us make correct use
Why are these nautical, I was a cowgirl.
Arroyos to the Panhandle
look like the bottom of the sea.
You would have meYou would
the solstice.me with the sun.
Blocks and sheaves to lift
Swing me
from the crack of noon.
the dawn.
Bight, cordage, knot,
Bite, pull, thread, lash,
tangle what is
from you.
You know you do not mean that.
into every strand.

The Sunday Muse

TSM 138

I guess just throw it
on the compost,
this dead swan at the bottom
of the road.
So much larger here at my feet –
a dead, feathered cello,
neck bent around to bow
a low moan.
It was never white, I can see
it was a living light,
bright silver now brushed with death
to mottled grey. 
Prisms of dew 
bead the wings –
tasting flights of fine oil
feeding mites.
No prayer 
I roll like a dog
in dead words. 

The Sunday Muse

TSM 137

Winter rain splats like an egg 
in a cold frying pan.
This morning my mind 
is refrigerated, congealed,
a rictus of cheap margarine –
I scoop fat substitute thoughts
with a spatula. They splat in the pan too,
alongside the egg.

Isn't there meant to be
an order to things? Heat 
first, then butter, then egg?
Kitchen mullions rattle
as the Nor'easter tests their strength.
The vacant house across the way –
Is this the year the windows break?
Will it give up the ghost
in a final shiver of broken glass?

Outside in the storm, as with the world,
birds have abandoned flight.
No flying south to depilate winter,
the bikini waxing of dreams –
no tweezing the snow moustache
from elderly Florida swans.
No way to take the hair 
off it all.

You toss me a frozen bagel and laugh –
hardtack or life buoy 
for a morning's survival, 
my shipwrecked words 
wash ashore this deserted island.
The rain slants, cants,
through these old portholes. 

The Sunday Muse

TSM 136

A poem plunged into the seaI hear you singing
I row to where the words riseThe Water is Wide
moil, roil 
in columnslost in time, escarpments, translation from the Malagasy
The return of the Sargasso Comet 
The Salt MeteorIt was hard to tap the sky
and break through clouds
quarried of marble 
Are your tatters of seaweed
meant for wings?I am tired of sinking ships and sailors
I fly the slick and rope of sorrow
And soAnd so
Were you ever Icarus?I’m sorry, no
And soAnd so
I return to shoreYour oars are oak and stripling ash
The forest has no place at sea
I press the ore blades across my chestI will bring the lightning
Restart my heartOne hundred hundred times
For this I love you

The Sunday Muse

TSM 135

the Sheep-to-Shore 
phone rings
you say ignore 
the elephant in the room
during Thanksgiving dinner
its ass-end smell
and gasoline from 
the fuming motor
of democracy winching it
through the doorway
hoping the walls don't burst
then we can just go back
to where we left off 
our regular grift and
holding our noses for 
Isaiah 53:6 
all we like sheep 

The Sunday Muse

TSM 134

 what is a turbinado
 and how did it get in my coffee?
 this question stirs and 
 then dissolves
 my mind needs a mulligan
 just one day that doesn't
 crash test my brain
 and blow out air bags
 or leave me punch drunk
 from the rope-a-dope news 
 a la Ali with me praying
 for the bell
 can we go back to simpler times?
 like Nixon Vietnam and
 the National Guard opening fire
 on students at Kent State?
 OK no bad plan
 Manson no no not that
 either good god no
 '38 and Kristallnacht
 gaaah! There's no end!
 Rawanda Cambodia Sri Lanka
 the Armenian Genocide and 
 The Terror of the French Revolution
 this is not going well
 my poem not yielding up
 the calm surface of Haiku –
 Old Pond blooms with scum
 fine no headlines today
 no nervous sounds of clicking 
 like the tiny claws of squirrels
 scrambling across the shingles
 I'll just read about science
 this piece on no my god
 Murder Hornets 
 and they are orange too
 like stinging lights 
 behind the eyes
 of a four-year long

The Sunday Muse

TSM 133

the sound this morning's
broken light
the blues
made me happysad
because muddy waters
do not baptize 
us holy wholly 
with salvation only
part the red sea
into blue and you
and I sing "Halleluiah" but 
we're lost as heaven knows
Leonard's lonely heart 'cause 
"love is not a victory march"
I don't know how
all our voices
can open the soul
when only the gospel
in bluenotes are sent
on a red letter day 

The Sunday Muse

TSM 132

 writing my friend's
 eulogy dead man dead man
 his body double shot 
 of bourbon casket strength
 in AZ asks 
 are the leaves here
 where I am 
 all high
 in the treetops 
 in skin tight red 
 and yellow camo 
 like floozies like 
 his groupies like light 
 line dancing 
 as they fall baby 
 baby baby 
 hit me one more time
 death in the air Halloween 
 in the bag man
 he said
 it was hard to die
 the music hard 
 rock pulverized to grit 
 like chips
 off the old block his skin
 lost to grindstone 
 the sky's wheel 
 towards granite and gypsum 
 the hard times ahead 
 hard in the ground 

The Sunday Muse

Miz Quickly