An atheist dreams of JesusI have a dream in which,An atheist dreams of Jesus in Free Verse More Like This
recurringly, Jesus steps
gracefully from his cross
examining his hand, smiling
sadly at the remains of his tendons.
He looks at me, because
in any dream of Jesus, Jesus
looks at me, or you.
And of course, his eyes
are blue, or brown, or green,
whichever one it is, they are deep,
and they are His.
And He says:
"It is time."
And He grabs the heavens, linen-like
and, with His hands and mouth,
folds it to a square
and a square,
and a square,
and He puts it in His bag -
(the bag He wore across His shoulder
in the desert
in the heat
In a body in love with a hooker)
and He tucks it in.
And with a shrug and a sigh
He smoothes mountains,
rounds off ravines,
mends mesas into mud;
His hands are rough
but loving. He whistles, even, as he
stops streams and uproots rivers,
The world is a table, at which he sits
eating, smiling, saying:
This is my body.
This is my blood.
And He says:
"It is time."
And one by one
my thoughts dissolve like salt
of coffee and loveI have lived too long on coffeeof coffee and love in Free Verse More Like This
and of sighs in coffee cups.
Powderdays are blowing
from night to night.
I have stained and strained
my heart, dear heart, with coffee
and with you. I have held
the sun off my nose, and known
there are no easy roads.
But if there were, here:
This is my hand, I am your man,
let us walk, or run, this place
has frightened me too long.
Northern Haikuwe have become pinesNorthern Haiku in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
groaning with cold, and with winter
frost on each prickly part of us.
The dying of the fairies.We have been dying for some time. Some say it is the children, that they do not believe. They say they have forgotten childhood, that they have forgotten how to play in the streets with scrapes on their knees, like we did and do, still. Others blame the clouds of poison that roll across the earth, carried by dark winds across the country. Some blame the metal of the modern world, the iron that is everywhere you turn these days. There is even iron in the air, and we breathe death with each lungful of it. The flying ones among us say the skies are turning gray. They say they can see flames and blue sparks everywhere they go.The dying of the fairies. in Fantasy More Like This
The truth is, we do not know why the gates are closing.
The birds speak numbers these days, and chitter air-wave nonsense. Their necks twitch violently from the strain of too much civilization. The squirrels are starved and dress in rags, and the foxes no longer trust us. They once had such beautiful red coats, and now they look like children wearing their parent's c
Resurrection of ZarathustraHis eyes are ash and flame and junkie dreams,Resurrection of Zarathustra in Free Verse More Like This
his split-seam voice a screen from self-deception -
he has none.
He drags on his cigarette, and puts it out.
Ashtray-ash, an empty vessel.
"It is ash," he says.
"Bit it is also embers. It is easy to be
a turtle, or a snake, groundseekers, safe,
shelled and loving.
a phoenix, though it is painful,
and fly true."
"If there is love, let it be love.
There is a time for for broken cups,
there is even time for sweeping.
There is no time
When I turn 25When i turn 25,When I turn 25 in Free Verse More Like This
My needs will decrease and my shoulders will broaden.
I will not drink, but I will be watered.
Each word will be weighed, but never wasted.
My breath will be God's breath,
and I will Father -
When I turn 25,
I will grow a beard.
I will not drink.
When I turn 25,
I will be a garden to be stepped into,
cool, calm, warm-smiled and
"I know your pain
and your path" I will say.
"Let me show you the way. There are stones ahead, and waters,
wild, white, and cold-fanged. Here:
Put your foot like this, and this. I know the way."
When I turn 25,
I will be a pillow and let
your head and your body rest.
I will drink, and in the morning
your tears will be gone.
For now, though,
I am fabric, a bit of lint,
pre-shrunk, ready to be stretched,
frayed at the edges, and torn.
no titleI have carried this, my heartno title in Free Verse More Like This
from the stones and the smoke and the dark
in this black minecart
from the dark and the smoke
from the yoke of a man whose soul
was a hole deeper still than this;
And so I ran.
and the beat of my feet on the rock and its teeth
and the bone when it eats at the meat
and the marrow that longs for release
and the blood when it lies like a starfish
in the the dark and the smoke and the ground
Bright blinding light.
poemI wish you were easypoem in Free Verse More Like This
easy to forget
or to lend a hand
I wish your eyes had not pierced me
like x-rays, yes, and tumorous
is what this love is, draining me
cancerously into poetry
On the death of Bin LadenWe are rough, all of us, and have lostOn the death of Bin Laden in Free Verse More Like This
the touch and the feel of skin. We do not,
we do not cause friction, or love.
By now, we burn cigarettes on the arms
of children, if their names are odd.
I saw people dancing in the street,
the beat of their feet, their hollering,
humanskin drumskins, the bonfire bones --
they were drunk on blood.
O Babylon, you have made
monsters of all of us.
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
A MeetingYou will notice first, the bone juttingA Meeting in Free Verse More Like This
from my meat, it is called teeth,
These are my lips;
This, like so, is called a smile.
And then there are the fabrications that I wear
The layers of silk, of wool,
of iron air
(indeed there is an air that I am not quite there)
- And feathers I have wrapped into my hair
And Afghan pearls, and finally
My hands, hare-fleet, and meeting
Dick and Laurence Renku-2end of summerDick and Laurence Renku-2 in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
the deflated wheel
of a tricycle
first day of spring
the prostitute forces a smile
no moon tonight
the cleaners plan a strike
in the same letter
after the stroke
she calls me 'Michael'
my mother checks
the spider rebuilds its web
I don't recognize
another year older
the morepork's song
the infant's grip
a raven slips
last week of tutorials
the roof springs a leak
the beggar tries
the pub falls silent
we mute the program
sniffing her panties
in the thrift store coat
the hills disappear
on Atlanta homeless
first Christmas alone
the snow so dee
Summer Renga1.Summer Renga in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
the beggar receives
my brother adds wings
to the chalk dragon
all six hands
of the hornet
mountain pass coyote eyes in xenon
wraps the sky
a photo of grandpa
the sleeping toddler
her sundress dips
from the cornfield
another man's shape
in the darkness
a week of clouds-
my sister paints her nails
the magician makes lunch
Weekend HikeBlue dawn. After one last stretch, I start alone up Kennesaw Mountain.Weekend Hike in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
the sparrow's song
Most Sundays, I would be joined by mom and, if we can budge him, my kid brother. Today they have opted for church. I don't mind the solitude. Walking alone, I focus on breathing, slow and deep into the stomach. In martial arts, this is called Qi Gong. The old masters would breathe this way to increase their longevity.
on the young girl's lips
Passing a field, I'm surrounded by butterflies. Swallowtails, Hairstreaks, even a Southern Dogface! I've never seen so many at once. Among the insects, hikers scour bushes for ripening blackberries. According to the guidepost, this is where General Sherman suffered his heaviest casualties.
the cannon packed
Autumn Saku Series1.Autumn Saku Series in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
cloudless noon we debate the gender of God
alone in the field
the phone line rocking
the beggar jangles
his change cup
the cubicle office
work day over
the scarecrow's shirt
leaf clutter at his gravestone things I never said
the teenager paints
miles from home
news of her cancer
in stage 2
the bike race slower
leaving the canoe
world hunger report
I turn the potatoes
a second time
city dusk now and then a starling
my grandmother finds
the groundskeeper steps
the Jack O' lantern carved
with an overbite
at the general's feet
a beer can
the widow circles
a singles ad
the trashcan glowing
the evangelist returns
with a pie
Winter Series 21.Winter Series 2 in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
beyond our care
to my 5th grade class
from the hallway
a brand new set
I hurl the last
of a gut bug
the soup kitchen door
with perfect form
I stretch the hole
in my pocket
of old bread
for orphan children
in the shuffle
Tanka Series 141.Tanka Series 14 in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
within this world
of poverty and murder
a brown bat
one by one…
from miles offshore
of my homeland
what it means
to be Black in America…
the same autumn moon
at the end of April
can my heart
to one woman?
the spiral dive
of a red-tailed hawk
from deep in the gut
with no one around,
at an unknown lump
trying to salvage
of another school
a field mouse is born
in the neighbor's yard
steals a glimpse
after Trayvon's death
a little faster
on words of love
of a warbler
explaining Jim Crow
to my f
Summer Series1.Summer Series in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
leaving the elevator
another fight ending
with your absence
on both sides of the toast
more oil news...
I take my coffee
the fading tune
of ice cream
on the bedside radio
Kind of Blue
the summer garden
on grandma's face
at the house next door
my brother stomps
back to school
the doctor advises
up to my ears
in monthly bills
for this tanka
end of summer
a new cocoon
in the attic
she pretends not to need
first school day
with perfect pronunciation
of foreign war
a heron gliding
Tanka Series 61.Tanka Series 6 in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
an old rumor...
in the sugar bag
of the summer crickets-
at the love names
we trade in bed
my wheat crusts
for the birds-
the best I can do
not black enough
to fit in...
a stray dog
as if waiting
to notice her-
must be wifeless
on the front step
nodding to a song
I never liked?
Autumn Tanka Series1.Autumn Tanka Series in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
far beyond me
of a brown bat-
my distant lover
he finds an empty
this wayward cat
with a missing tail
Dad never mentioned
with his new
in this autumn field
do I notice
buys a Buddha
tai chi practice
in the backyard
into the harmony
of roots and mud
up the mountain-
of coyote prints
from the bread box-
what old man Basho
oak leaves cluster
in a lopsided pile
in the middle
of our kiss-
I give myself over
to autumn love
Tanka Series 91.Tanka Series 9 in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
carving melon pulp
from the rind
the last little mess
of your memory
at the university
the last red condom
up all night
friends and I trade tanka
from a distance...
same old spring frogs
in the creek bed
just when I've learned
to move on
your electric green socks
in the bottom drawer
at the amusement park-
one by one
skipping stones race
from an old lover
for the man I was
five years ago
tv ads promise
"Increased Penis Size!"
in fine print
a few words
on liver failure
a photo of Dad
in his varsity days
that I would only inherit
from all humanity
this rusted hubcap
covered with weeds
in a single wave
my old neighbor hums
old sword masters wrote
at dawn, a few
Chemdawgit was often violet and an argument for compressionChemdawg in Free Verse More Like This
the cities redraft in a shale from which
all ideology and unchecked airport baggage pour
like oil through the layers which is how archaeologists tell time,
so I ask the psychonaut if his people know and he says
we embed poets to report on the wars, sometimes
a sediment constructed entirely of heroes will open
deep in a desert nobody named so i ask again and he says
and then the poets come home and try to write
but all we get are bills and soft plays about girls who die
on an airplane in a dream and when they wake
everything is actually blue except blue is actually violet,
and then another hit and the airplane drops 298 feet
so that by the time your soul catches up to you in a cold swell of water
you will have already become the photographs that remind your family of empty fields.
* * *
he thinks of words like retrovirus in a foil revival
by refined supercriticals until revolutions occur frequently
on each wall like pre-depression film
israeli want to know people who know godisrael in Free Verse More Like This
but our instruments assure his exit-
quiet, loud, inevitable.
a roar in the streets, explosion, signs
or the satellite lying quietly across the ocean
the strange sky making martyrs of mute ships.
if we're meant a return, I believe,
there will come fog and we press ourselves
through voices like old forests until we're together.
but the spirit? what do we know about weightlessness
in a dimension polluted with gravity?
a beleaguered preacher says 'have you ever loved us'
and the audience erupts.
when god doesn't answer i look for you
in a liquor store that burned down last year
a rapture backwardsleft only is an auditorium of empty chairsa rapture backwards in Free Verse More Like This
what comes next is sometimes the midwest doesn't exist
falling apart she agrees that perhaps it's only their language
slowly devolving into a flock of birds
the exchange of obsessions between objects in motion
every reference to the depth and volume of night
we do not know how to die beautifully
i stop believing the moment she realizes that
AnnotationsIn free countries every word is inflamed with flowers.Annotations in Free Verse More Like This
There are always funerals to attend.
That Soviets sent atheists to die in space
only evidences the premise that an ache is sovereign in humans.
(Collectively, we've done all the drugs in the catalog,
worked to exile ourselves from the pull of suns
curving around rooms, bent like trees in the soft algae radiation)
Who entered who is irrelevant in the procession of things,
but important to nation building.
People often leave each other with the windows set like clocks
to bloom at the insurgence of a feral moon.
They call the silence an animal,
a painting of wooden boats lined across the strait.
And people used to cross there, I say,
smoking with strangers in a bright field.
This morning, another nuclear physicist died.
We begin to question the notion of accidents.
And then the gravity and harmonicas;
woman smiles down the wall.
When news comes from the past I remember you were beautiful.
Dried-up river: Tell me you've bee
Faithlike june tangled in tanquereyFaith in Free Verse More Like This
there is a chaos
sometimes it burns like gin
like holding these streets
with thought we've seen
as insurrect as nostalgia
as pieces of film you'll never develop
in your hands until they've all bled through
and you're left alone once more
there is information on these walls
that remind me of theories of string
how we're all just the idea of energy
that color is a symptom of light
and we've dreamed ourselves up so many times
there is no reality we haven't made love in
i've seen this city live and die by it
like a long exposure of nuclear winter
testing the premise of an afterlife
as photographs come and go like stars
that nobody ever writes poems about
begin again? dear dylan,
it's as hard as loving
it's as hard as loving yourself
as hard as having your heart broken
by ideas and by songs
it's as hard as being human and having no one to blame
and dreaming i
inlandbecause upon arrest the ocean sits withinland in Free Verse More Like This
but never occupies
because when I woke the anarchists
were demanding suffrage from heaven
because the news announced whale bones
pulled from a mountain in turkey
because i went to the liquor store
and the missing posters were gone
because every noise the city makes
is a foreign language falling extinct
Video of a suicide bombingYou can not psychoanalyze godVideo of a suicide bombing in Free Verse More Like This
Mostly you hear windows
coming to fill the position of empty space
and the theory presupposing two things:
"some trees are actually righted,
and glow for days in the fall-out"
If you watch the video backwards
it's as if she is pulled into the room
by some invisible compulsion
the way grief floods into the capillaries
to fill an absence at the dinner table.
From above, the hearts radicalized, suddenly stop,
wrapped around lamps like old lovers.
in the republics they speak of1.in the republics they speak of in Free Verse More Like This
not a single war made the headlines today
instead, missing people assemble near a bank
and a woman asks from whom
did we invent these hauntings?
billboards on the interstate
mean these universes are inert
you are born with them.
some say mountains possess them.
they say the sorrow of their saints is perpetual.
(some don't believe it ever snowed
in those failed states)
a city in the American midwest incorporates
after a tornado
the nature of our fatalism
is all of the photographs we couldn't reconstruct
to those whose creation myths
whose transmissions of light
the risen ask often for you
a. god created bodies that fail
b. bodies that fail created god
according to anonymous government sources
much more radiation seeped into the atmosphere than was reported
"suddenly, everybody was just waiting for the clouds to come" a witness said
On Preparing Beautiful DescentsIt's necessary to annotate the appearance of rainOn Preparing Beautiful Descents in Free Verse More Like This
things are brief now
We can not go on pouring through music,
your voice departs and people become religions about witnessing a sun
stumbled into words on the green rivers of that country,
collisions and collisions of light recalled post-facto by a girl who was there
The promise was not of perpetuity but rather of the existence
of a manuscript which explains the business of preparing beautiful descents
And let me tell you I've imagined its insistence of clouds, the blacker the better
a singularity of bodies more tree than water,
and red deserts that exist to be wandered upon by love-story refugees
You don't have to wash your hair that morning. Dress casually and
in suspension of belief
you may smoke as many cigarettes as you need
I am asking that, because things are brief
you come and grieve with me
in a young countryOur people surrender to depression with elephants in their poetry,in a young country in Free Verse More Like This
the suicide machines built like the helmets of astronauts
more or less proving god's absence in their wake.
We've perfected the technology to photograph an airplane
bending at the moment of impact. This is the world we were given.
In our books the bodies fall upward and nobody prays. We're left
watching spines stand and drift into an exodus of hands in a video
of unsinkable buildings. Our state is overpopulated with expositions
of the ache that some get while staring at the sky. The folk music
of our planet's oceans can no longer lessen this place's collisions,
all of the metal in our bodies is homesick,
all of these geese stayed behind and froze to death in the park.
DiwaliDiwali in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
festival of light
a time for peace, hope and joy
TriumphTriumph in Haiku & Eastern More Like This
triumph for the King
His truth will be acknowledged
all shall be revealed
resistanceThe key to happiness is to always be fucking somethingresistance in Free Verse More Like This
I am incapable
because I let it
go only to a certain point
arrhythmia is a tremor,
a Malthusian catastrophe
less solvent than snow.
The renegade who serves
my synapse sequences knows
this, and she develops fevers
to quell my dependence on
our forest of censored souls.
Mine is a passive immunity.
She makes tsetse flies,
fills them with blinks,
and releases them as impulses
that vaccinate my love against
the hurting. I'm not so deep
and I know nothing of suffering.
ElbowThe root expresses itself in many ways.Elbow in Free Verse More Like This
One of these is the way
that love becomes a method of living.
The deliveryI attach feeling to color and fall in love with the weatherThe delivery in Free Verse More Like This
for it contains all beautiful things: symmetry and citrus,
the summers that become more and more opiatic as the chords
fall further away. I am never even there to pluck the strings.
My lover laughs melodically under his cotton blanket
and his skin tastes like plums and seltzer, the wrinkles in his smile
holding all the zip and fructose I need on these short days.
The telephone rings and it's my apostasy tempo allegro
returning me to memory's calderas, cloudy and dreamlike,
pressing me deeper into them and therefore sustaining them.
But I can subsist on photosynthesis; for so long that love
endures here, this is the only place I want to be.
NotesMy home of cirrusNotes in Free Verse More Like This
clouds and the cosmos
pinches the delicate
little silver chain
and my home is tilted
like a lung it's breathing
a Celtic song of the forest
a song of itself singing
I say that the celestial and the causal
is the natural
and the cause of causes is the house of houses
and when we find the answer, it will seem so obvious
some revolutionsIn the running water I list the ways I'd be changedsome revolutions in Free Verse More Like This
if I weren't born among angels.
She developed alongside me as a lotus flower develops its sunrise
contained in the gentle palm of resurgence dropping echoes
with each pink triangle falling in sequence until the light
had pinched time off the ancient face of the clock.
Guide You HomeYou study the stars on my arms,Guide You Home in Free Verse More Like This
blended constellations set in negative,
as though they could guide you
from your grinding teeth and furrowed brows,
to the final release and the following calm.
You have not asked a question of me.
I, therefore, have no answers for you.
The wheeling sky is paused, silent, skin.
I cannot lead you home,
though you searched my astrology and I, as we
hovered over your body. I am not, I never was
truly set with sky, infinite, omniscient.
I cannot divine the questions caught
behind your open mouth, closed throat.
I am human, and fickle, and finite.
There are no answers in me.
FaceI.Face in Free Verse More Like This
When you are born they will lay you on a magazine cover
and wonder why your face is not the face beneath you yet.
There is a woman set high
and the man beside you wonders why
your face is not the face above you.
Your mother wonders why her face is not the face
in front of her any longer.
She wonders when you will become her.
You try to leave your face behind you,
and wonder why you're running in place.
GroveThese paths are lined with your twisted-root intentions,Grove in Free Verse More Like This
growing up into twisted trees.
They grasp empty hands at astrological signs,
and shadow me.
The night breathes fullness into shadows
and steals the hanging dust from the light,
leaching everything from gold to white.
I don't know if this is peace within your mind, this stillness,
or a slow and steady rot from inside- oaks that survived
fire, only this way to die.
I missed you.Today, it was another inch of snow on the rooftop.I missed you. in Free Verse More Like This
Today, 517 inches. Each day another inch
of snow. Each day more
weight on every inch
of the roof
of the house.
Each day it was more
blinding, blank, and drifting snow
encasing the warmth
and the light
and the color
of the house,
until all that was left to see
from the outside was white.
Today, the roof collapsed.
In FlightA. pays the seven dollars for a beer,In Flight in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
the flight attendant takes his twenty
and says that she will bring change shortly.
He pops the top and pours the beer with care,
waits for the foam to go. With seatbelt tight
and armrest lost to someone on his right,
he can barely move. He is snug as his son
in a denim carrier on his chest all those
years ago, and as content. He is safely
out of touch, can do nothing for anyone,
nor be asked to. He can lift his plastic cup.
He can sip beer through the remaining foam.
He can lower the cup. He can do no more,
so lets himself feel no more need be done.
Alone a while, and glad to be alone -
A. was away, and now is coming home.
Hard Words Had Come and NestedHard Words Had Come and Nested in Traditional Fixed Forms More Like This
Hard words had come and nested in my hair,
and so I cut it short, I cut it off.
But then they flew and flew around my head,
a little swarm of hurt I could not bear.
I raised and waved my hands like one gone mad,
and knew this would not do. This would not do.
I grew my hair again and wore a scarf.
I drew it tight, a knot beneath my chin.
The hard words could not make their nests again,
but I could often feel them clutch and claw
and worry the cloth, and in time I said
"Enough!" My hair was long, I loosed the knot,
I tossed the scarf away. The words fell down,
to seem so small and sad and tired on the ground.
June 14 BluesI went to see my doctorJune 14 Blues in Songs & Lyrics More Like This
and I told him I was blue.
I went to see my doctor
and I told him I was blue.
He said, "Show me someone who isn't,
and I'll see what I can do."
I went to hear the preacher
and he told me to be good.
I went to hear the preacher
and he told me to be good.
But the blues will pull you under
when you're doing what you should.
I went to see a lawyer
and he showed me where to sign.
I went to see a lawyer
and he showed me where to sign.
But there were two names on the paper -
the blues was there right next to mine.
I came home to my baby
and she offered me some pie.
I came home to my baby
and she offered me some pie.
I told the blues, "I'll see you later
why don't you come back in July?"
Love Reaps part 18Love Reaps part 18 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
She's turning me into a pushover. I mean, I've never been a pushover!
She wants food.
I get it for her.
She wants a better room.
I argue with the manger to get it for her.
She feels sorry for Elapse.
I carry him up a flight of stairs so he can lie in MY bed.
This is ludicrous, why does this insignificant girl have so much power over my will. Every time I try to glare into her dark eyes, wanting with more than anything to say a 'Fuck NO', it comes out as a hesitant yes. God please help my tainted and tortured spirit to get resistance to her deep soul shaking eyes.
I glued my eyes on his gold locks; it was beginning to sting my eyes. A natural urge to destroy stuff that irritates my sight kicked in. I'm sure he won't mind a new hairstyle, close shave till no blond can be seen. I grinned, Scarlet giving worried side glances from the other end of the room.
His nose twitched, it resembled that witch show oh what was it called?
Elapse groaned; I obvious did some pretty impressive damage
Love Reaps part 7Love Reaps part 7 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
I laid there all night. Eyes open watching her breath and turn in the night. I wouldn't call her a peaceful sleeper. Well at least she doesn't snore. Though another positive to staying up to monitor her sleeping, is she isn't glaring nor is she talking. No offence to her, but I don't always enjoy peoples company. Unfortunately I actually need her. I exhaled loudly.
I lifted myself gradually off the awkward position that I lied in for six hours. I really hope it was worth it. My back also seemed to be in the shape of a V. I limped over to a clear space and cracked my spine back into place. What's that smell?! I raised up my arms, and blubbered. It's me!
With that I sprinted to the bathroom, ripped off my clothes and jumped into the shower. After scrubbing off my horrid smell, I grabbed a towel wrapping it around me and walked over to the basin. Looking into the mirror I gasped. I had an enormous smudge of mud on my face.
"Scarlet " I muttered, wiping the embarrassing slu