I learned the nightjar whip-poor-will

I learned the nightjar
Can sense a soul departing,
Its wing chord
Precedes the darkness –
A nighthawk shadow
Hunting down the light
Like prey.

Does it carry us then
Through the sidereal night
To the end of stars?
Where black as diamonds
Carbon sings its last,
And wings fold tight in a
Last dive past gravity –
Our final compact
With certainty.



For Wednesday Poetry Prompts

Psalm 1:23 PM

Every afternoon now
I walk to the corner of 59th
And Madison Avenue
In New York City.
Which is neither
Nor there.

Each time
I ask.

I ask the kebab guy,
The Uber driver,
The delivery man unloading
His truck,
This or that
Woman or man
Waiting for the light.

Of course they can’t hear me.
I ask myself too I guess.

Except I don’t really know
What my question is.
I want the world –
All the kebabs, cars, subway grates –
To make sense somehow.
I want to believe
That maybe one piece
Of life hangs together
With another.

“Everything is connected!”
You, my reader, just replied
In your head.
Of course. I say that too
Every day
In my head.

Why would you accept
Such an easy answer
That means so little?

I’m not interested in Truth.
Really just the kebab guy
And me,
And whoever walks by.
The light on sidewalk
Outside the shoe store.

Sure, OK,
I believe in kababs. I
Probably believe in you

And not getting run over
In the crosswalk.
That’s good.



For Wednesday Poetry Prompts

Life Craft

The list of things you can’t know
Includes songs of the New Hebrides –

How to whistle south of the Solomons,
And arias of who died in the Coconut War.

You laugh, but it is not your sons
Who are fallen.

I insist on archipelagos,
Obscure republics and music of the spheres;

You teach me to recognize my mother,
Distant in the constellation of Virgo.

Chiaroscuro that passes the time,
Our hopeless conjuring as we drift.



For Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 413

Paleo Blues

She said I had
Paleo blue eyes
light, the color of water
from before Fire –

Then dawn over Manhattan
greeting us
like the oldest sunrise
in history,

Where my ribs, ancient,
are stuffed in the mud
of Olduvai Gorge,
aching for excavation,

Ten Million
with ten million
more to go –

One by one
I pull my bones from the bed,
evolve them together yet again.
and go walk the dog.



Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 406

The Garden

You said “jacaranda”
And I “bougainvillea”,
But neither of us know a thing
About either other than
The divine comedy of
Loving words,
Like when we didn’t know
The names for birds
So we invented them –
Marmalade Bunting,
Clicky-Throated Sparrow
The Tobias Finch –
The error of our ways
Like the joyous mistakes
Of Creation,
In the beginning
Was the Word
As God was just
Making stuff up
And here we are


For Wednesday Poetry Prompts