My brain is beat with flukes and foam and
dreams of the sea,
and dreams of home,
and lancing at leviathans while
wondering, wondering:
Is all the world a whittler?
Whittling whales from every wild wood,
and whiter whales from wilder ivory?
Oh, whittler, take your stabs and strokes,
for creation is a painful thing for the created
and perhaps equally for the creator.

Warp And Woof

The world is all meridians,
woven latitudes and longitudes,
and power surges through them all.
Life is ups and downs, lefts and rights,
Raging storms and wilting calms,
The interpolation of sorrow and succor.
And this is good,
And this is good,
for an easy life  is a thread that frays at slightest force,
but this mesh? This warp and woof?
It will survive shipwrecks and sicknesses.


There is an American in my heart,
for good and ill,
for death-drunk nights and
cheaper thrills,
There is an American inside my brain,
coring and boring, silently,
a worm veining the lumber,
There is an American in my soul,
yearning to be free, to
exult, and
to subdue the world.

The Burning Of Gilgamesh

I hollowed out a vessel
from the yielding basswood,
placed you inside and
tacked a paperboard lid on top.
It was my own hand
fed Gilgamesh to the pyre.
The rain tried to drown your flame but
a strong spirit swims through either,
and gone you were,
and ash remains.
And some will say,
“It was only a fish.”
I am only a man.

Roses Are

Roses are and
Roses aren’t and
all that lay between is
the flicker of a moment;
that universal gardener,
weeding and succoring,
cultivating now, only to
appreciate a fragrance
before the frost smothers all.


No mother asks to birth a martyr,
no father wants to know his son
will stain the hands of wicked men
only to prove a point.
No country ought to need more martyrs,
perhaps paradise is nothing but
a place nobody needs to die for;
but how deep are the bones it is built on?

The Waves

All the waters of the world are mingling in the sea,
and rage against the stonework as they clash into the lee.
Do the stones feel much compassion?
Could they regret their role?
Or must beating down the ocean be done without a soul?
It is not for the ocean to wonder after rocks;
The ocean’s duty is to rage,
to rage, and level out.