See the chest as a cage
and all the wriggling beasts within,
see the ugly slicksome feelings
given shape and undulation;
see the way they grip the heart and
gnaw with horrible corkscrew teeth;
see the ache that yearns to burst
for only the want of killing you;
see their bodies swarm and struggle
like snakes strangling a beautiful creature;
oh, oh,
oh my god,
if only they could be seen.


Layers of waste may eventually harden
into beauty,
accidental cabochons on steel rings,
(as good a fate as possible
for industrial drippage)
flashing colors to rival
sapphire and aquamarine –
byproducts outliving
rusted, junked Fords
rotting in Nevada tomb-lots,

how many of us merely byproduct
of rusted and junked families,
left as incidental, hardening,
waiting for a clever eye
to notice our sharp and swirling lines?


Folks are melting in the streets tonight
fat and muscle roiling and
clogging down storm drains
and the good people will pay
top dollar
to have someone hose the viscera
from their driveways.

The Shape Of Lakes

We walk a changing Earth
unawares, thinking the mountains
immovable, the ocean vast,
the lakes lapping at predestined shores
all things chained to boundary.
We build roads just off shorelines and
cities in bays, we
do not dream of shifting seas or
mountains filed down to smoothness;
do not think of the homes we dwell
submersed like ancient forests,
nor lakeside towns crumbling to desert –
we only pick our way through living ruins.

Growing Bird

On its own for the first time,
it gapes its beak and points at
worms, at maggots and beetles
fleeing across pavement –
it invites them gently into its maw
and waits,
and waits.

Vaguely Magical Creatures

We learn the rules:
the garlic by the bedposts and
running water circling the farm,
we read all we can and find
peace in the contradiction
we know they can’t get in without permission
(except when they do)
we know they turn into bats and wolves
or control them, or
are merely bestial at times.
we know that some would claim even
gods and monsters must follow
our flimsy rules,
we know that every city on the earth
must operate on the same basic principles
as Alliance, Ohio
that in Belgium and Dubai
a tossed ball falls equally fast
and the creatures of the night
all fear the cross.

I Can’t Recall

Was there a reason for our sacrifice,
a reason for this war,
did we help the soul and sum of Man,
or have we only left bodies
battered and bruised and
as old as they will ever be,
did we make craters of cities and
believe ourselves justified?
did we tread on screaming faces
and think ourselves liberators?
Was there a reason this was done,
now or in the past –
is there a reason it will be done again?


All things parsed must not be praised
nor do all unknowns deserve obloquy –
the past made new is served again,
and again,
and each time mobbed and each time
degraded by further references,
by mere alikeness,
mild intellects scratching at sooty mirrors
hoping to catch a glimpse of