Friday, September 21, 2018

Mox Nix

I want to find a place
with tall sunflowers
and only one sun, because that is enough.
I want you to know, sir,
that I like a man who enjoys a good meal
and speaks in polysyllables.
I want you to know, lady,
that your olive skin makes me crave the stars, oceans, highways--
I feel a little faint when you move, like shifting earth.

But here is the thing,
the reason I can never find a home
and why I dream constantly every night of
black roses
and heavy doors with steel rings that cannot fly.
The thing is:
I don't want you to fuck me,
and I don't want to fuck you.

I just realized this while watching a field of corn stalks burn.
Sir, I love you so much
that I would mark your books with years from my own life.
Lady, I love you so much
that I would grow blooms, or feathers, or anything that might please you
even for a minute.

But, mox nix.
Here I stay, in space,
where there is only one sun
but endless endless endless
and darkness.

for this.

Monday, September 17, 2018


Here, the poison cup;
here, the cool hand from a vanishing dream.

I want to be an animal, running.
All my life, thorns, and branches across the path.

The same sun that rises, now goes low.
In the morning, the cup, the hand, and confusion between the two.

All my life, the same blood across the path.
I want to be an animal, running.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

In Honor Of A Humble Vessel

A mathematician
had second thoughts
-second being an ordinal number--
about filling the bird feeder during a lightning storm,
but she put on her boots and slicker and went.

The feeder, reflecting the weird light
put her in mind of the empty set.
The ground ivy made her mind wander,
wondering if flora can have roots of polynomials.
Anyway, she filled the tube, remarking to herself that the seeds
seemed like integers, unless some of them were splintered.

At that moment,
she became a positive invitation for a negative charge
and fell dead and smoking to the ground, but her soul departed in glory.
So, was the abandoned husk of her body--her very own empty set--really empty?
Night passed and dawn arrived.
The little fence around the flower bed looked like brackets in the early light.

No one found her,
but a redbird perched in her hair poking for millet seeds,
giving her earthly remains a cardinality of one, not zero.

for this.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


 "No one said it was easy
But it was once so easy
well I believed in love
now here I stand
I wonder why" --On My Own sung by Michael McDonald and Patti Labelle

Yesterday I found a garter snake
hiding in the ground ivy
by the side gate.
Tonight I hear
a constant cricket
sheltered in the violets there.

As the evenings shorten more and more,
I've been cleaning and finding
old shoes in the closet--my old ring in a drawer.
I have a dog--a book--a bed--
and perplexity about old easy desires
that rise and fall and fade--instead.

Yesterday the radio took me by surprise--
buckling my heart,
blurring my eyes.
Tonight and every night I hear
that constant cricket,
sheltered in the violets there.

for this.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Gitche Gumee

"Superior it's said never gives up her dead" --Gordon Lightfoot

"If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you." --Michigan state motto.

We were up north; it was June.
My father, ten feet tall and carrying the sun on his shoulder,
explained to me how Gitche Gumee loved winter
and carried him with her far into summer.

I learned to skip stones that year--
spotted Petoskys as cold as the lake itself.
I spent time poured out across the old couch in our rented cottage
reading sci-fi novels I'd found.
They were full of futures and so was I.

Mornings, I searched for sea glass and empty shells,
the ends of my hair trailing in wet sand as I bent for them.
Down the beach, my parents argued in pantomime.
I was seven, a little pitcher with big ears.
By the time the big lake warmed, my mother would be hard and broken,
and I would miss my father, his shoulder empty where I used to ride.

for this.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Closing Time

You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here--
you, in ermine--
you, in rags;
To the train, to the woodsy trail!
To the street, to the gutter, to the summit austere!
With the change in your pocket--
with a thousand bags.

We have met, we have spoken, we have touched--
each, the other's body--
each the other's scar;
Now, having met, having sung, having loved in the honest hour--
discard these memories, these tongues, these sentiments and such!
We raise the hand and hail--
we lower and leave--the bar.

for this.

Saturday, August 25, 2018


Sunday with my father, watching the rain drip down from the overhang,
game 4, 1968 World Series, Tiger Stadium, Detroit. A dog for each of us.

With Dad at Tiger Stadium again, I lost sight of Reggie's home run off the light tower.
1971 All-Star game. Stood up but looked down to make sure I didn't drop my dog.

Took the blue Air Force bus from the base to see Reitzy, Keith, Simba and the rest.
Busch Stadium, 1977. Was wishing I had a Tiger Stadium dog from home.

New York scored 10 runs in the top of the first. My friends and I laughing and talking around mouthfuls of dog, using the hand-outs as napkins. Beat The Yankees Hanky Night, Arlington Stadium, Texas, 1980.

Just me and a dog, way up in the nosebleeds by myself on a weekday afternoon.
Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners, Comerica Park, Detroit, 2003.

A real crew of us, the men debating strategy, us women people-watching, getting half a dozen dogs from the vendor. Pass 'em down the row!
Tigers vs. Texas Rangers, Comerica Park, Detroit, 2006.

Baseball. Dogs. Joy.

for this.