Archive for the ‘Drafts’ Category

Raise up the Sleepers

you do not have to look for them

they are below the soles of your feet

they are in the fallow lines of a field after plowing

they are in the mud and the muck where the weeds drink down the rain

they are there, which is everywhere.


Raise up the Sleepers

listen to their voices

they are there in the wild-winged branches wavering

they are no louder than the elm tree’s breath or its downed branch rotting

they are quiet but constant

the whisper at the back of your ear.


Raise up the Sleepers

they want to be held in your hands

to feel your fingers rest on the photo snipped from time’s flow

always taken before they died so they can not be dead

but traveling still in a sturdy boat toward Western mountains

lit by a smile that, yes, goes on forever and into


the place where the Sleepers rise up.


John in a boat in Glacier


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Night startles with stars,

the resolute and the falling

empty the cosmos

into our skin.


Hands dark in that night

caress the blue-black endless.

Your body might be also blue

with stars hidden inside.

Are you a mirror

or the blanketing sky?


Dawn deletes the stars one by one

until only the sun remains.


We are more alone in the day light.



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I want to find a layer of ice

That holds the shadow of air


From before the pop start of each car grew into cloud and roar

From before stacks in valleys heaved earth’s black insides up, out, and into day

From before carbon’s mutations slipped from soil to bird to wheat to breast to milk

From before rain’s clear-cold drops gathered lost slivers of death on their descent

From before the atom split and fell, bounced and rose from cages with bars too large


In that before

Light lies down with the ice

Walrus rests on clear banks

Bear still steps between flows

Picoplankton dances in whale’s maw


Here I touch cold as a prayer

Know nothing

And that is



Sun Over Dark Hill

[Note:  The Future of Ice is a book by Gretel Ehrlich in which she searches out cold/winter/ice and finds that it is disappearing.]


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Above the pond, geese on the hill

make their way through spring snow,

mark the bank with their webs,

dip below lip of land at water’s edge.

They disappear

I am left with sky

fallen into the pond.


A flock of robins,

red breasts bleeding

from branches

land on the hillside,

demanding that something be given

from the earth they know

softens to mud

below the white.


Geese emerge,

holding tight to their chests

any news gleaned

from the underworld.


Light seeps from clouds,

strained of bright heat

and folds down this day

at its corners.

Last picture John sent me

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Towards our ends

skin thins, opens up a hint of fire

spun from each cell’s center.

Fingers blush a little

when pressed to another’s palm.

Then begins the vanishing,

that last light leaving

perhaps from the crown of the head.

Surprised, you’ll find a way to follow.

I have no proof to offer

just a fool faith in light remaining,

like the stars in the sky, forever

as our bodies go down to the deep.

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          “There is no love that is not an echo” Adorno

the water

the lightning

the onion on the table waiting


first paper peeled off thick layers,

circular hold on the center

loosens and with it the scent

and when onion is cut, the sharp

calls the forbidden

to leak out, then pour

over the meal you will eat

taking the echoes down

to the deep dark of the body.



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His mother writes me e-mails now.


I hadn’t expected this

when I pressed the Send button –

the least I could do.


But the knot is tied

by all his never tomorrows

we were going to press down

into dirt and forget.


But she put on her black dress

and his father put on his suit

and they came to the DC hearings

and now other mothers and fathers

are saying, too, “shot,” “killed,” “dead.”

He was 15 … 17 … 12.


All our lost boys

speaking finally from the folds

of their mothers’ dark mourning dresses.

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