What terrifies me is the silence before you speak.
It fills my world and I find myself in the desert.
There is one horizon, of which I am the center.
My heartbeat fills the sky


under clarion rings
our fingers crawl
back to the caves
of our hands

a shattered keep now
moans in the wind
a soft fist is made

over which the city
its elf




Let me hear of all things good
crisp and icy firewood
chimney smoke warm puffing soft
from white rooftops sloped aloft
bells ring out through crystals falling
all things good gently calling

Whisper to me all good things
ruby wine glass toasting rings
tin cups clink on street corners cold
teddy bears wink at bed stories told
cold soaking mittens hang from wire
all good things thaw by the fire

And someone surely somewhere dies,
biting frost that freeze shut eyes

Let me hear of all good things
though winter bites and sharp sleet stings
and some of us won't hear the rings
when the New Year brings on all good things . . .



for James Wright

The ashes that I rubbed into my eyes
are long gone now, look
the standing man identified,
swallowed by a desolate forest.

Who can save the suicide
from drowning in an oasis
those without fire and trapped
in an endless galaxy?


soldiers stand in a row,
like teeth in a skull
one of them has that daisy wheel stare
when the world falls in
a vulture's shadow

we think to escape
right into a wall of friendship
and are tracked down and cornered
by strangers known very well
and fondly remembered by friends misplaced
who must whisper the legends insistently


Scrying ebontips
glitter across elaborate tracing
in the matrices of meaning
while a muscle's grip contracts,
anenomes beckon in dark
currents on the ceiling.

It will be remembered
by a facet of an eye
and no android, even you,
can be programmed for that
memory passed on.

Like a platter of glass
in which a crowd is warped
and never shattered.

Until one day, when
the whorls of your digits
pass over the legends themselves
with such softness
they don't quite touch,
that you suffer the weight
of a dream's crush.



a glance at the cluttered bureau reveals
still living ghosts amid disheveled icons.

A winged knight's candle
long burned out.

A praising salamander
thrown away his shadow.

A leaned cane with a brass
hammer for a head.

A gargoyle carved
in thought.

A phial of mandrake
with one drop left.

Some ribbons left hung
from valentines.

A small dream catcher
with a lock of horse's hair.

One sharp bull's horn
lying empty on its side.



a language composed of foliage
leafy living tissues slashed
scarred over ditches irrigating
into a staff held before

your eyes can laugh and
taken away after the page
turns over in sleep and
rests still in ashes

where weeping will lower you
by the river's edge
sliding past slow,

the written tongue

unravels birds


(messengers unfastened)
:shadows scanning the land

waking the dead

from a branch it watches
you read past it

try writing it down
on dead skin

and watch it rot
let it feed in the cemetery

listen to it chuckle softly
from a cave mouth



There is a face split in half
One half does, and one half doesn't laugh
There is a gleam coming out of one eye
While the other one is lustreless and never does cry
There's a dream locked up in a crown
That will either turn to dust, or it will drown
There is a smile that rusts shut after a while
If you trust it might dissolve in laughter


Your hair and fingernails keep growing.

The heart is last to decompose.

There is the sensory deprivation.

The integration of isolation
When you achieve room temperature
It's like you're not even there.

And when you realize
your hunger
so all consuming
is but a chemical
flash in the brain,
providing a weak
after image of
your identity...

At least know we have a choice.

We can either

dry up or drown



certain things shouldn't, like the
moonlight sonata for instance,
have to be endured again
necessarily; they might touch
that buried place you're too fearful
to revisit. . . and reawaken
those feelings that cannot be killed,
that have been so long,
so carefully locked up & forgotten
that when the strange door unlocks,
you open up Pandora's box


The magnets of your face
swivel in a positive stare
toward a force far greater
than my smile and eyes.

This force I name Mirage
because the horizon is its front gate.
The dilations of your pupils are the key --
this does not make it any less real.

I entered through that laurence
in the past, flag rippling.
When you leave through it,
you will leave me a great sadness.