TSM 114

bleach baby beach bones
walking down the boygirl burial sand
I step on a fury of roses
thorns from the vine
of casket-strength sea spines
tail of tales of sting-ray die-off
sun's rays sea's rays sting rays
risibly risking sun and waves
of denial anger grief
the long spike spiked
with shark tooth hunger
red sun rising in a weather bloom
off my foot rose madder
and madder and madder still life
blood nor pain are lightfast
offshore seals moan
what's my tune sharp scaled
staccato of bones

The Sunday Muse

TSM 113

beyond any reason's sky,
it makes me angry –
this beautiful Oxford garden
of 100 years ago
with two young girls
dressed in baby blue eyes
why would you send me light
forever trapped
between two plates of glass
like a virus mounted and stained
with the lives of saints
on lab slides for cathedral windows
if light bears witness to the past
I want for war paint
the distant, ancient stars –
scars, galaxy blue across my face,
my catastrophe of sight

The Sunday Muse

Atomic Dog w/ Whitman

every day, second or third hand, the dog gets a new name:
"Bismarck" say, or "Windham", or whenever I peel a clementine –
the skin fragrant and loose as a nom du plume –
my lingering mind confuses the prerogatives
of gods and poets
right now she's "Walt" because someone said
to sniff the grass and that is for sure her dominion,
the adoration and open door of scent, and what she assumes
I too will assume, breathing atoms of the restless
and faceless tide
then checking her for ticks and tocks, and time's re-reading
of the leaves before they curl and fall and blow and I forget
what I most needed to say, what was meant as song now
more like the growl of a lawn-mower, the madness of wild seeds
cut down to size

Quickly Now


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
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
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