From My Window

A girl sits everyday
on the 10th floor ledge
of a building that faces mine.
From my window I look down;
watch as she contemplates something
or nothing- feet angled towards our street,
ankles crossed above heads that never look up.

Her name could be Jenny,
Alice or Ruth; but I name her Jane
under breath that catches each positional shift,
anonymous doe caught between ricochets
of afternoon glare; its whisper-licks blend
gray shadows into ghosts against the stone.

I wonder if she reads
confessional poets- lonely masturbator
waking in the blue, looking for Bedlam
with a howl picking locks in her throat or does
she want to eat the world like Plath ate her daddy;
in sucking gulps of oblivion and I wonder
if she knows I'm here, does she know I see

everyday the bow of head,
the shape of hands folded in a spare lap;
will she sense my regret should the hands snap
and plummet, grabbing for rungs on rising air
while currents turn the pages backward-
does she know they will leave no riddle exposed;
only hair and bone and the ache at the root of my tongue-


Yellow Jacket Summer

I offer nothing save this want,
this tepid press into breathless flesh.

Damned hot days.
Blacktop blisters where dirt meets road,
dogs with slats in their sides pant,
watch the August air waver and dance;
an idle promenade with shadow and sun.

This season of strain
pains its way across our surface,
lays a path in rivel and rut.
Regret brings us to a vacant place;
faint thrusts erase words, crumble thought
to dust that cannot lift itself to scatter.

Promises culled from sweat
flitter by sill and frame, their sway
traces the fretwork of your face.
Catbirds simmer in cedars that stroke
dry fingers against the pane;
familiar ghosts bend toward the husk of sound.

A storm stirs, lightning robbed of voice
sheets through the close haze of day.
Yellow Jackets hum in paper nests,
their anger cools beneath juniper shade.
Somewhere in the thinning distance,
dogs slip away without goodbye.

We shed our skin, twine sticky and shorn
on sheets with roses faded down to pink;
count beats in our strained necks,
watch the rise of breath, catch its fall
in the hungry mouths of opened palms.
In this gloaming, I will see your smile.



In the dream
you are naked, pallid
on pale sheet, powerless
and sleep-dead and something's

come to grieve;
sprung from a hitch
beneath your breath,
it winds, insistent shroud-

pressure forces
your thighs, parts a passage
to other worlds and resistance
sticks in your throat

stops the shriek
and then it speaks, says
what you want to hear in your
own voice, slides familiar arms

about your waist
and they were never so tight,
never so wrong and you
close your eyes-

feel a need
a greedy suckle at your neck
and you think of high school,
of backseats and blow jobs

and now it thrusts,
presses fear into flame and
you smell cigarettes and popcorn
and your daddy's after shave-

a slick tongue
wraps with yours and pulls,
sucks out secrets like a lover
never did and at once

you taste your
first cock and your first Jack
and every flavor you had forgotten
fills your mouth until regret

spills down your chin
and still it pushes,
strokes that shatter your spine,
nail flesh to fantasy and

now you know,
this is how you want it,
this is how it should have been;
relentless, revered,

rushing up
from the dead spot like revelation-
it splits your seared throat
and you scream

the great primal howl
fuck me, fuck me like it never
meant anything and so it does;
snaking under your skin,

piercing your bones
and it licks the inside of your mind,
feeds on what lies hidden
eats questions you could never ask

and spits the answers
behind your eyes; they gather
in the corners, muddy puddles of doubt
and disregard and when you wake

you'll rub them
and wonder why you can't remember
what it is you can't forget.


And The Question Was

a real pisser; posed by a guy with a mic
in his fist, mousse in his hair, and a cameraman
wearing an ANARCHY RULES tee-shirt whirring
Shocking! Graphic! footage into eager TV's
across the viewing area so I said-make that spit-
what the fuck do you think I'm doing,

Mr. Rather-be-an-anchor? Just a cannibal
trying to eat her words, standing here with
RBC's clotted on my mags, Pollack-style splashes
drying on white cotton issue and won't they be
the bitch-kitty to get out if I ever get to take
it off so just what the fuck do you guess

happened to joe blow, hardening on the concrete
with his gray matter where it don't matter,
giving you such good profile while all these
gawkers and shoppers and kids -Oh My!-
talk in not-so-hushed tones about it being
broad daylight and what the fuck do you

suppose we'll do once the cops finish taking notes,
snapping pics that'll end up in a dead file because
nobody ever sees nothing; once we scrape joe
into a black bag and the firehouse boys hose away
what's left over so everyone can forget until the
next one and tell me, what the fuck will you care

after the film stops?


On Sweetgum And Faith

I hold my faith in my hands.

Steady, they clip the straps that hold
the sweetgum straight against its stake.
Now, it bows only to drop seed to fertile earth.

An ovenbird cocks her tail, watches me
from her canopy perch, close and unimpressed.

I spread my fingers, let thin rawhides fly;
morning will find them bunting for her bed.

Tiny scars cross the backs of my hands,
their fretwork remembers years long buried.
I trace them in the dusk of memory.

I open my palms; gods that never answered
drift through the cracks, ashes on a scant breeze.
Behind me, the ovenbird trundles her nest.

Quiet. The dead are tolling their bells.