Posts for June 3, 2018


A Tumbling Along, Still

We had horses
not exactly together, because you never trusted them
but still we had horses.

We had trains
we had a tumbling along and metal made and you loved them more than me
write me songs about train tracks.

You are the slowest walker
and the fastest mind changer.

I look like commitment 
and a determination to make a fool
you look like running away
and a fear of fucking up.

We didn’t have anything, I know
but I still have airplanes 
and the view out your window to imagine your day.

I walk down the block
you imagine me walking down the block.

Mourn her
keep me in mind.




is never packaged as



In the beginning

It is enticing, dream-speaking


 that invokes beauty and passion


It is the one thing you give yourself–

Your HEART to–


In this broken world–

the finer things are packaged in deception


Anything, in this world,

you give your heart to

controls you


The end result





a dream of hugh

i used to think Grand Central Station was hell.
the immensity of it and all the ways you could get lost
by turning into the wrong corridor or 
just getting moved along by the crowd 

and when i dreamed of you after you died
and we were in the lowest lowest part of the building
where you often went to repair something
so when i dreamed of you there and  you were crying
saying “i have to go but i dont want to go but i have to go”
i thought for so long that…  maybe you were..  
i can’t even think it

i don’t believe a person goes somewhere they don’t believe in
does that also work that you can’t go somewhere that i don’t believe in?


Home Is Where The Hurt Is

I watch you wipe your hands, then your mouth.

You’re saving your voice: two and a half
Hour shows almost every night for 4 months are
Taking their toll.
Honey lemon tea
And something that looks like a CPAP machine
Keeps you going.

You’re reading Ginsberg again –
With copies of Seamus Heaney collections in your lap
Meant as gifts wherever the plane lands
Next. You were careful to send Guinness ahead of you.

I sit in the near silence (engines grunting under our feet)
Wishing you could see me here;
Knowing if you could you probably wouldn’t like me much.

But that is the way with parents and children.
(You don’t know you raised me, but you did.)
Children learn, but in the end, choose for themselves which
Aspects of the parent’s example to follow and which to disregard
Or even rebel against.

And the tension of so-much-alike breeds disappointment,
Dislike, disagreement, estrangement,
Felt-but-never-shown respect. 

But how exactly does that awkwardness translate
When Da doesn’t know he is Da,
When the child is a perfect stranger – 
Another face in the heaving sea of faces answering
Your cues for singalongs and lingering after the rest have
Departed and your crew is dismantling the stage?
When the relationship is necessarily

At this moment – in the in-between air of gig after gig –
You look wearier than any camera has ever seen you.
You are fingering the phone in your pocket,
Eager for touchdown, eager to call home.
Because you’ve finally made one for yourself.

But I’m still searching for mine.



She did not drive.
She lived in her house
And in the garden.

We came, we clung
We counted on her
And ignored her.

She built a quiet world
Grace and peace,
A tender quiet.

The voice that never rose
Speaks now, tells,

In hard effort
A ringing lesson.

Susan M. Stephens

Content with undoing

when asking your
soon to be
former spouse
are you happier
you aren’t afforded
the privilege of feeling
victorious when the
academic team
quick recall
lightning round
tie breaking
buzzer response is



Brittle fire behind the left-side nostril
throat starting to itch
and seems to want to burst.

There is a sky outside of high humidity
and approaches: hence now the year of the Jackel;
I am King-witch.

shepards of the feathers of hearts
and antidotes of skyjuice and mercury
is in retrograde. My heart is throbbing

like.nothing else, but I won’t live long.
I will be dead before winter. And
stand heavy in my own alpha.


The End

I spent weeks looking for an end or 
an epiphany to come to me, 
in the iridescent reflections of rain puddles 
where there was nothing to be found 
except for painful reminders  
of what I was trying to forget. 

So I went inside and found 
solace in my own solitude, 
staring out my bedroom window, 
as I watched the breeze flutter the bark 
peeling from the branches of the river birch tree. 

The symphony of the past didn’t echo
quite as much and a new kind of
eloquence replaced yours.  
And most importantly, 
I could breathe again.  



When bird was on top of it
like snow on shad fish,
she found table legs
in the Santee River
running all the way
up the bypass to Hickory.
It was a time to forget
everything she remembered
about filling a home
and staying in it.
Bald cypress knees grew
up from the water
like hairbrush bristles
and, to welcome spring,
while brushing off winter,
was not an easy song.


Benedictions for the Anthropocene

“But all I ever learned from love/ Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya” -Leonard Cohen

I watched Venus drift across the evening sky, thinking of you &
not thinking of you. I had this feeling like
giving in and opening up all at once.
I don’t think we’re going to make it, all of us,
through this age we’ve made. Still, I
take care to jump over a frog, I 
take care to not take too many yellowwood blooms, I 
take care to get cardio
three times a week. Jupiter drifts, 
prettier, and I can pick out Vega, too.
I’m sure someone else has felt this,
a love where you know
you belong to it &
not the other way around. I’m happy,
running here by this creek
smelling the blossomspice, muttering silent
benedictions for the Anthropocene,
knowing you want me to touch you
at least once more. It felt as if 
all the love in the world was pooled up, like
a star had collapsed at the base of my rib cage &
I was just biding my time as you circle the edge,
waiting for you to fall into it, waiting
like you were a fly on the edge
of pitcher plant, 
no story left for either of us
but whether we outwit 
the other. But I don’t want you
for nectar bribes; I don’t want you
to drown at all. I run faster, then,
thinking of what it means to be something impossible
like a flower with no bee; could one become
something else, maybe, 
like a Vega or a Venus 
with no me?