Working with clay

to see you working with clay,
hands wet and sticky, leaving
fingerprints as you mold,
a tune of yours happies
the room, you
look to me and all dissolves to
sculpture and serenade,
the clay slopping over the rough spots
and mending them, the fingerprints
smoothed with song and scraper,
forgotten in the molding; now complete,
pleasant, soon to be dry and useful and
your hands, too, smooth and drying,
filled with softness and sweetness and
the promise of greater works yet.

to you who feels so little

a single spark is all it takes,
one ember left burning after the humiliation of water
(or, worse, a pit that knew neither
fire nor water)
a single spark is all it takes,
inside or out, a wisp of smoke can
burn the world, or something else –
the static from your socks and a busted valve can
level a city block, yes, yes, a single
spark is all it takes,
just one wayward thought
can be terribly explosive

Rung of Ripple

oh, new rung of ripple,
formed full, radiant,
spreading, long then thin ,
then replicated;
oh, how you resemble the impact,
and break apart reflections, how
you’ve built circles within,
circles without, how
imperfect an echo you are, my new
rung of ripple,
and how we are children,
all laugh and cheer
at this new start,
how you make us all feel like
we, too, are just a new
rung of ripple.

The Taste Of Brambles

Thorn-pricks and pin-points and
electric on the tongue,
the rushed spurt of blood
from soft places,
the change of moisture –
acid to base
(like wind shifting north to south,
no change in composition
but it feels like leaving home)
and the thought that
you can’t keep this where it lays, certainly
won’t be able to mash and chop and chew and
swallow down these brambles, no,
but they’re lodged too deep to spit away, no,
and nobody wants to be seen
spilling their brambles out to polite company.


We look up at the stars and thank, thank the
cool night and the mucky earth and
the buzz of mosquitos,
bzz bzz bzz and the quick slap, the
dab of blood, and we thank the
crimson pinprick
and we thank the slap, too.
We look up at the stars and think how wondrous it is
to live in a world with so many poisons,
slick and warm in the gullet or
fast and lethal in the blood,
how wondrous it is to
leave new red pinpricks on our arms,
how happy and whole we feel,
how heavy,
and how beautiful it is, the two of us,
sinking deeper and deeper into the muck,
with our fingertips up,
brushing away the heavens.

led by the guess

plates on plates stacked
and spinning,
teeming with masses,
who guess that the rung above
knows; each rung, knowing only
that they themselves can only guess.
Surely someone knows,
surely someone is keeping the plates
spinning, spinning,
surely this is not the mere
slow flying apart of a system,
or so we are led to guess.

are friends forever

do they emerge, wholly-formed of clay
and light, do they
spill sunlight from their mouths and
shed tears more precious than diamonds, do
they know who and how they are, do they
know how much will be lost with them,
how much would be paid for them, do
they rise in the morning and
fall in the evening (we can only suspect),
do they last beyond warranty,
through repair, do they
survive earthquakes, the hurling of stones,
do they stay with us, from town to town
and life to life, do they
remember our faces or
do they end up,
in a crinkle-metal junkyard
with all the rest?