Revelations in ordinary time

today it was teeth.

teeth and sunshine

teeth and mountains

teeth and where all the rivers run

teeth and the names of famous men

teeth and meat-eaters

Baby teeth.

Teeth in the mouths of ordinary women…these two, for example–

Quite beautiful, eating midnight food together, their voices lift and carry

Down the corridors 

of night

A wide-awake, lumbering  thing

Moving fast, rushing past

Keeping watch…

with teeth.

Still Falling

The dog from Corpus Christi appears bemused 

by the still-falling snow

Cold to the paw and to the scruff 

he shakes his mane as if to say directly

This is no fun 

No warmth in the cold, in the dark 

as the boy worries about the man outside

Trudging through the storm

I know this:  we cannot save ourselves 

We have rifled through both fervent prayers and familiar hymns

The angel appears

Driving a jeep through the dark

Willing to detour for us

Make salvific suggestions apologetically 

As though we could ignore our perilous need for rescue

Push us up the hill and tell us the direction home

As snow falls all night on the mountain 

We hold each answered prayer

snowflakes in our hands

Like the confusion about light years

Just like the confusion over light years-

Unit of time?  Unit of distance?

Grief is more than ordinary synonyms

Loss, sorrow, mourning.

No, grief is a place you go sometimes

Sorta like a cruise or a bus tour, I guess

Or trip to a fancy casino

Only of course all the slot machines are empty and 

You have no stomach for the buffet.

At first you think

This trip will never end

But it starts to let up after

A very long time

Then, just when you thought you were home 

Safe, with your bunny slippers on,

You fish up

Back on that dammed boat, that bankrupt resort

And somehow your inability to escape this

All expenses paid vacation

Makes you weep, weep in the weird soulless light

Of this world of broken pronouns

Standing in for faces in a picture, once so vivid alive

Before the fall…before all the terrible falls

Crash into light years.

Not-so-clingy Mcguffin

What if losing you

were like nothing so much as

watching a child throw

an erstwhile boomerang

into a once-drowned field?

Even with the approximate knowledge of descent, I pace,

Shift aside the long grace

..shift aside the long grass…with my feet

Look for signs of you-markings like the body of

a coiled snake

Glint of color, perhaps

but you are lost out there


And I tell them things to tell myself 

You are not a boomerang 

Even a boomerang is not always

a boomerang (when it fails to return across  the field)

Oh darling

Come back to me

in the end.

Dear Sir,

Imagine the mountains

you would move to save

The one you loved

then switch

to the hills you might shift

for someone you were

merely fond of

then calculate the dirt

in disheveled piles

you might consider

scooping here to there

for a stranger

then last of all take this into account:

all real love stories are also physics problems

Either stones rolled in place over deliberate tombs

or somehow, miraculously

Rolled away.

Sleeping Beauty and the treachery of images

they say her dress

obscured her face when they found her in the river

he as young as his eventual wife would be

when she went from girl to muse

muse is a tricky thing, Child

who never was a pipe

I inventory both the cause and the cure for addiction

The need, the proper remedy, the clouds white amidst blue in the cup of your head

Chose a different slumber

Not opioid, not heroin, not poison in the fruit or spindle, not locked in a room, not guarded by dragon

Medicinal sleep

Antiseptic reset, white coats, gently beeping monitors

Let the girl rest

Let her own dreams fell the dragon

So that when the spell is broken 

The clouds and sky will spill out over her

Beautiful, fragile babies

What if this is the real world?

what if this is the real world?

what if you are the ghost?

what if it is your own child

you see in the sudden picture 

on the other side of the scrim 


worlds both together and apart

You do the math when 

you see her–how old she 

was, is, will be

If she makes it that far

Refrain in your head thudding 

like fists on plate glass

because you are the ghost

voice thin and impossible

just the other side of glass

as you watch her slowly 

slip away.

Poetry Redacted

Knowing how uncomfortable you get when I jaw on about the abuse issue, I have decided to redact it for you, using a host of hip and bipartisan  global and political crises in place of all the words for felonies against children.

So here’s the story.  Redacted for your comfort, of course-

When we were still young we fostered then adopted two children who were already diagnosed with global warming and national debt by the time  we met them.

In fact, they had so many problems they had already fired dozens of US attorneys as was customary at the beginning of a new administration.

We were told to be consistent and disciplined.  We were told this would help…

Perhaps it did.  Could what they did have been worse?  Pacific-Ocean-vortex-of-trash worse?


But as it happened, when their younger siblings were still quite young, Charles DOB 2/17/94, was caught Ponzi-scheming and coyoting his little sisters.  For years-quite systematically -in the places ordinary people went to push down their risk of type 2 diabetes-football stadium, tennis court, high school pole-vault mat.

He had taught the little ones expensive border walls were necessary to keep bad hombres out.

Only as it turned out, he was the baddest of the hombres.

He taught them universal health care with a single payer system would bankrupt them while at the same time using the machinations of federal agencies (such as the IRS) to bully or intimidate them into keeping quiet.

He bussed technically deceased persons across county lines to vote for the candidate of his choice (him, unsurprisingly).

More victims than fingers on his own pale, freckled, meaty hands.

Until one day, way too late, he was caught, and the truth all came tumbling out–

The lies

The bleached coral reefs

Lost, extinct, and endangered species

Poor afflicted pollinators

Thick winter smog trapped in Alpine valleys and  obscuring Beijing’s winter sun

Our staggering national debt…

All under the foolish, trusting, naive noses of his legal guardians, people who had mostly always believed in the electoral college.  Believed in a bicameral congress, Founding Fathers, and law-and-order presidents.

The aftermath was crippling.  The survivors found themselves in the usual need for puppies, s’mores, and a celebrity rant or two (at an award ceremony here or there).

Instead they went to court, called elected officials, petitioned the government, and wrote about it.

Only to find that all those used plastic toothbrushes swirling in the sea can really make a nice person nervous.  As if all that swirling detritus far out to sea were a contagious kind of broken.

Our kind of broken–redacted, parochial, muted somehow.

Placeholders for tragedy.

Among the Grave

somewhere in the bowels of the NIH there are tiny, fragile pig-children

Spun from the DNA of “us” and “them”

Which reminds me of a story

Once there were these two guys

Who let iterations and outlines of darkness

Into every corner of their very own souls

(Whatever that is, right?)

Only to find their place among the dead


Love walked in

Dispelled the ghosts of men into the

Real and understandably alarmed 

Sea of pigs

Who then chose death over the dark wraiths of men

Sometimes I ask myself

What happened to those panicked pigs?

Did they find the eternal?

And what about these new unconsenting

children of a lonely room

Half-pig, half-child 

Will they be allowed to

Escape the grave

And, with no help from their human side

Find rest for their weary souls

the smallest boat in the world

i fish it out of the no-man’s land 

beneath the back-back seat 

momentarily mistake it for detritus

before realizing 

it is the smallest boat in the world

dime-sized fighting ship

speculate about the shipbuilder

know the whole

time the real problem

yet to be addressed-

was it always this small?  

life’s work of tiny men?

or was it once a real boat

whittled down to this diminution

by years and years of sturm and drang

in this teacup full of sea.