A Break, Today


“Gaps in front, the newly dead, piles of red meat.” –The Killer Angels.

A mile and one half
from Chamberlain’s unfathomable
charge, fixing bayonets
outfront of empty muskets;

A throw of stone
from Pickett’s, taking forever
Garnett, Armistead, Kemper,
and too many young
boys to count;

A distance of spit,
seven score and fourteen years building,
from neither consecration,
nor dedication,
nor hallowing:

There are piles of red meat for the people,

frozen by the people,

pendulous bellies of the people,

and myriad poisons that
shall not perish from
the Earth.

Gettysburg, December 2017.


Saliva still with the sting
of that house raw gin,
hearing cracked
and callused chords
filling up with
bullfrog bass.

Mississippi dreaming
on this Memphis morning:
Chicken fried steak;
sunny side and grits;
blackberry lemonade.

The main route into Clarksdale;
to Greenville along the One;
120 miles down where
God wants his killing done.

Beer and duck in Vicksburg.
Holding 55 on the 55
to the Big Easy
and home.

[Mississippi, April 24, 2016]

Lost & Found


             “Pensar que no la tengo. Sentir que la he perdito.”

Tonight is the saddest line:
it is, for example, a whisper torn against
a yearning sky; a premature hush across
an expanse of expectation,
shattered in the distance with
not even a glimpse of her infinite eyes.

Do you think that you did not have her?
Do you worry that you have lost her?

A tombstone night stippled with shards.
An open, stifling yawn of want and wondering,
forsaken but not alone.

He is an unbitten apple,
a blind, unseparated blend of red and
green, grinning
and stutter-stepping

like a started symphony
found while waiting.

[for Kristen, Tim, and Aidan Pearce]

Montreal to Ithaca

And, from far and close,
there are brothers, blood
and borrowed, before
a half-century of beginning.

There is sharing,
beginning with a Montreal car.

There are eye-opening Moscow
mules and questions at random,
friends and lovers, and
Sadie and Ajax.

And there is Ithaca, like
sought-after music found;
siblings joined;

a crisped night in
country darkness,
and still a winding road
to follow.

[for Paul and Robin Tuttle]

April 19, 2016


Hors de langage


You tell me poetry
written in English
holds no power
over you.

Comparé avec la poésie
écrite en français,
il n’ya pas assez
de rêve,
      de passion.

The language slithers
and twists as
you read,
comme un serpent:
                séduisant mais
                difficile à tenir.

Prend patience, Nathalie:
the best poets are dreamers.

Their blackened pages hold
visions meant only for you,
et les rêves
               sont toujours
               hors de langage.

[for Nathalie Schwartz]