white moon now

                  thru the tent where

Poor Tom brings

                  his old father up to th’ extreme verge—


my companions asleep

                  far across the clearing, their

                                    logsawing complement to roaring

                                                      winds above the highest firs—


this a.m., their kayaks were

                  taken in raging cross-currents, yet one

dipped & feathered merely

                                    with a paddle tip, & found the center—


to float where the heart

                  slows, the ear tuned to

                                    the humming of that silence

                                                      none hears in the smug city


                  where blindness comes not from

cruelty, but the stealth of routine—

                  even such an eye-

                                    less man may need to see


                                                      his life’s a miracle, O moon

                  thru my tentflap now—







along this silent path among cliffs thru terraced green you’ll

sing beneath your breath where the poet once dreamed


of his escape thru the clouds, where whole populations fled

to rebuild shattered dreams, hands in the moist earth—


stone masons who shaped the rock attentively, that it might

interlock & honor earth that gave both seed & harvest


in the sweep of seasons—ghosts today, they wander with you,

picking your pockets, to know what dreams you bring


to this place, what breath you leave among these rocks,

what song you gather in your backpack & basket of silence:


here, the lost mother weeping for her child borne to minutes

of love before its last breath, the father pouring a lifetime’s


devotion thru his hands, his face red with defeated love yet

shining in all the brilliance of that loss—here, the lovers moving


together, their short gasps echoing in a great sigh thru which

another child comes—here, the lost father who could not face


the wreck of his love in his own child’s eyes, his sorrow like

a hermit lost in the passes of his own valleys, his heart bursting


with roses he could not bring to his own table—here, warriors

cut down like corn on a day as crisp as this, eyes turning skyward


one last time, up to the light as their blood gushes out on fertile

ground, shining path where arms & legs of the dead clutch


& kick at heaven, vanishing dreams of hungry ghosts.  so

you come, bringing blessings & eyes to flush the tears that


still pool in the world’s grief thru all the rages of lost centuries,

all the weeping sisters crying for lovers that never appeared,


all the lost brothers marched thru barbed wire to death’s

final anonymity in the last bursts they’d ever hear, minds


turned inward to their mother’s cries on the day they forced

their way into this light, compassion now for them all:


that your dream be clear when you come to this pass, I send you

this wish where tender petals turn, open in both darkness and light.







O, I could wow ‘em

                  when I had the stage—

                                    I had those boys

singing in the aisles

                  calling out my name with roses


                                    O those hip shakes, O let go!

                  & wild, wild eyes every night

under the lights—


so when you called, I o’erlooked

                  my torso, once without a stitch


                  of fat, & saw I’d not be what I was yet

O the hap of it, to be


in my chartreuse gown & my

                  feathers again, to sing &

                                    leap again—if only once—&

feel my legs carry me up

                  in my fishnet stockings & slippers, to

turn again & sing again—


                  so I dream, alone on my bed, & peer

into that mirror & see

                                    that sweet-faced boy now

                  valiantly—is it age? hoping

to live out some fantasy?—

                  or art, the love, the feel of it—


moving out into those lights &

                  just letting go, letting be, the rush of

breathing in a wild turn,

                                    sighing again


                                    & again, beyond the image

                  we make for ourselves.

                                                      O to come again for you,

come once more

                                    to that dazzling light!







longdead in his dream the boys leap

                  one by one over the cliff into the wild splash

                                    & the singing current—the tow pulling them


                  down into green dark & silt where the sunken

trees fell & were pinned as well, great black

                  branches looming up in the murk, fish tearing


                                    the guts of whitened & bloated corpses as

                  their eyes stared, marbled spheres like moons

glowing in the dark.  by night, the water clears, the


                  shadow moon reflects off the pale carcasses—

                                    & he is awake, panting, the moon shining

                  thru his midnight window.  he hears the voices of


thousands singing & weeping as police line up

                  & swat batons swat batons swat batons & march

                                    march march into the now-screaming singers,


                  their ranks breaking—the one-eyed bard chanting

for calm—the ranks all fled, he left alone to sweat on

                  a factory floor, in a madhouse swabbing urinals.  now


                                    the dreams are all moonlit, no destination

                  & yet this weary traveler sings in his passing

steps, careless in the theatre of stars where the dead


                  walk with him daily, nightly, old companions

                                    urging him to rest as even days grow darker,

                  the news ever more ominous.  he must consider


the sleek craft of his final voyages, the turns in his

                  last river, the song he will compose to take him

                                    beyond his last lay to sing in dreams where


                  his companions fled, to learn to walk among

the living like a shadow in the daylight of

                  their certainties, waiting for them to leap at last.