Without a Mirror

He is driving on a road, maybe in the
Midwest, maybe the south, perhaps
somewhere in Colorado. He doesn’t
know, no one knows.

The moment unknown, everyone
forgets that Echo also flew from

But on this road, somewhere, sometime,
crumpled newspapers tumbleweed
rolling, discarded gum wrappers,
rusted 1940’s cars rejected like a lost
presidential campaign,

the same when love comes to an end, a
marriage severed by one lost in the
blood-red mists the

last day she lay on a ticking hospital
bed. It’s love that left, we’ll say
when you never returned to toll for the

So you drive, there with moon white
knuckles on the wheel, living with

When it happened the rain
was not white, not the clear
substance of young love
unspoiled by age, experience,
tragedy, but a

muted blaze dribbled across an
event horizon.

Past noise drips from your
ears where your wife
strides from the FM
on an old 50s song,

and like that flash
ordinariness bright
as spring mayapples

births the extraordinary
riding toward a rumored
future holding no more truth
than she holding the song in her
teeth, an
amateur propaganda team

like an old teacher behind a desk,
ruler in hand, so
that he says I have forgot
what time the purple grapes
come to juice.

I have forgot
drinking blackberry wine in the rain, the
wet streaming down your thin dress,

where love had not yet faded, as
a partial language, incomplete pantomime.


Don’t look at the clock,
live in the moment.
It’s always ticking.
Think of Hitler in his
bunker waiting for the Russians,
or Genghis Khan facing a
nameless horde, Napoleon at

Or those waiting for the executioner’s
sword to fall, moments are brief,
fast, Einstein’s relativity of time.
Ticks for all from the moment of
inception, perhaps before in Calvin’s
metaphysical mist.

Remember when you were a kid
one Christmas to another an eternity.
Then twenty-one and the sundial
sped up from sunrise to evening’s
west. At fifty that year’s Christmas
tree just planted, the next one in the
back of the truck, it seems, before the
other takes root.

But for us the long, slow crawl toward

The sound of a violin,
a lost dog’s lonely bark,
nature’s composition ticking
away, metronome at the
heart of each membranic cell.

In the molten core of a pulsar
in underworld’s black space, the
sun’s transformative race toward
a red giant,

time knitted through space
reflected in the patterned
bones of an emerging child

salmon rushing upstream
lemming finding the cliff
concentric tree rings
year by year recording sorrow
spun round by an earth-song
drunk up through roots
as the galaxy eternally twirls.

The Ides of March

No Caesar upon a stage,
fragments of a later
time pulled from memory.

The people I am looking for
are far away turned like clay.

My bones shape me as I
shape the world

where I crossed from one century
to the next,


deprived of Ithaca,
he who is dead but alive
in a text’s strange, pilgrimaged


Alive, we are dead caught in
rhetorical conversation with the

Eternally omnipresent like sun-
baked film frames.

This, the glory of our making,
brittle things of rotted lace, ribbons
tattered and blown in the wind

where the sky blinks salmon red.

I would like to see fall from that
torn canopy, rain, snow,


few drops
of salved learning.

The Victim’s Song

Ah, such a lovely wreck,
oxymoronic walking tragedy,
tall, leggy, upward jutting Roman
Triumphal arch.

Trebled, tattered human song
sprawled on a therapist’s couch
forever looped in the past victim’s
tale, the

same film frames played over and
over, no new director adding spice
to the narrative. Just the same
tromboned mind.

Such lovely hair.
Such beautiful empty eyes.
Such narrated lips knitted
in one torn vessel.

Cut open too many times, yet
longing to be sliced again like an
unsatisfied steak cooked rare,
never eaten.

The past never formed you.
You made history lying like an
offering to the head-priest
stroking alms and prayer beads.

Trying to cipher how it went
wrong. It never did. You just
turned yourself into the text
of the story.


Winter’s Last Fire

This a fading somnolence like a
lonely cliff face cracked by wind and

Bring me not spring rains, girls in
thin summer dresses. Instead, fall’s
blackened bough, silence of snow among

crusted pines,
favored winter’s frost, the
last day of the last year.

Winter’s final fire animal licks the
log behind glass so clear that Rockwell
would have wept to paint the scene.

Not a birth but demise.
Not a eulogy but a song.
Budding green truly cruel.

Most think of this time as a closed
casket, songbird’s last lyric, grass
bent bitter and brown.

This my renewal: bare bosomed
trees, wind cold and thin among
frozen branches,

running streams stilled by the
magic of ice,
land not robbed of majesty, a

white kingdom fit for the
dark ages. This I

before the last fire,
bright and gold through days,
nights, slitted eyelids of mornings.