Ghosts and Onionskins


As the ocean swallows bravery
and forgets each drowning name
you’re complacent to the slavery
and foreign to the blame
for the storm my ship’s enduring
like you’re larger than the sea
more stoic than the curing calm
content with owning me
And you let me sleep beside you but
blue ruin haunts my dreams
every deckhand has my hopeful eyes
each sailor sings my screams
And I think you think I think it’s love
-if of me at all you think-
or am I just another nameless
that you’re drowning in the drink?

I had just finished some reading and committed myself to writing a poem about drowning at sea, when lo and behold, that very moment some lovely soul reblogged this at the behest of my redundancy.

To the Wooden Bookcase

Every scrap of love I knew
died screaming in that fire
when the axeman tore our dog from smoke
for the gawkers to admire

and the paper sang like gospel choirs
on the eve of the return
for the readers sweetly smiling
reading ink that didn’t burn

and the phone calls of condolence
rang against me like the lash
Every scrap of love I knew
committed into ash

Tell me there is more to this
a more not so absurd
and promise me an afterlife
where a man might find his words



On these cobblestone streets
worn by feet gone to ghosts
we too are possessed
souls are pressed
ever close

By the thousandfold spires
piercing soft purple skies
we too have been stabbed
broken hearts
in disguise

Neath the elegant angles
oaken, sharp, and austere
we too will make grave
just because
we are here

Over perfect blue running
on an archway of stone
all of nature and man
every shade of

By the soft bedside light
on the night that we met
a girl and a city
an ice cold

Black smoke condensation
solid snow in my lungs
I think that was living
I think I
was young

I knew I was dying
from the blood in my breath
back home to my family
for death

These years later I’m living
and loving, and light
but cement are the streets now
and black
is the night

May body repair
and mind regret
May spirit endure
and confidence set

If song will allow
celebration and death
Let the candle deflame:
both a wish and a breath

I am a monster
but gentler than man
still guessing at when
the horror began

You are a Lily
destroying decay
but the monster and man
see flowers the same way


Someone spoke words that you carved in your arm
and I pined for lines so potent
that I might save that mortal, softest skin
and see your flesh rewoven
with some words that might rely upon
no disaster, but intent
that heal instead of burn across
the tongues with which they’re spent
And there inside that hospital
you said the seeds were sewn
sweetly smiling over eyes that said
you were never so alone

We the Earth

Plant the fields and buy a hound dog
send the rabbits far from fear
and harvest like it’s yours alone-
The wolves are all still here.
and now while my sons are starving
well I’ve seen this pretty scam
the hunter preys upon the weakness
of the meekness of the lamb
to come running to his broken arms
far from my bone trap jaw
but I swear my kids will live the night
yes this is nature’s law
And I am not a mother
but an ancient hunger, furred
a strewn-among-the-grass reminder
of an earthen wrath incurred
And the hunter built a flimsy door
of hubris and soft wood
to teach the lamb of silly martyrdoms
parading as the good

There are Wolves

Little Lamb, forget me
and the promise that you made
There are wolves against my front door
and they’re scratching like the plague
I built that door of younger wood
before my limbs began to creak
when the world of hope was strong enough
to trust it to the weak

Little Lamb, forget me
and discard me like dead skin
There are wolves outside my window
and they’re howling like the wind
I can see them staring at me
hungry nothing like pretend
I’ve seen this movie more than once, my love
I know how this will end

Little Lamb, forget me
I who built my shelter where
there are wolves all going hungry
turning violent with despair
Like a farm within a humble field
smiling tended by but one
was not a meal within the mountains
being roasted by the sun

Goodnight Monster

Turn the screws in my neck
till the image of man
rests stoic on lips fresh untrembled
Let the lightning pretend
that it’s something like hope
not a fire just to fuel the assembled

Let the words that I read
wrapped in cow skin and dust
serve me like every preacher and parrot
like professors and poets
politicians and prats
Let my small mind stay small, so to bear it

Let the townspeople’s ire-
Let their pitchforks and fire
till their land, warm their hearth, and forget me
That the strength of my grip
turns the fragile to dust
that I’ve hurt everyone who has met me

Let the hunger remain
as I hide in the dark
Let each supple curved line of the flesh
carve in lust and hot dreams
over terrified screams
in my memory, leave me thus blessed

For if ever they go:
flesh blueprints and a storm
for the appetite, sadness, and need
I’ll be empty again
every storm sees its end
every vulture and rat need to feed

He Sleeps

Have you looked under the couch cushions?
The ancient know
what the aging can only guess…
Because they’re not yet dead
never deserting their armchair posts
desperate for familiar faces

But he is tired of shouting
with borrowed tongues from guillotined necks
who could nestle a lover’s face
and see a future something like sense

It is said that he feels each step
on soft earth
through the old oaken bedposts
like heartbeats and lullabies
reverberating though creaking, knotted knees

He can hear the ocean
and the eagle too
but only holds dear
the curved lips of the living
like lapel poppies
crimson and above us

So he sleeps, and dreams
and wolves howl their eulogy
while the long-pining army
of insects and snakes,
return to haunt
that dark world unwritten