human landscape

there is a point
where solitude
becomes religion

a small house
in a wide open field
beneath a brutal
white sky

two young sons sleeping
through the
hottest part of the day
and a husband who
may or may not
love you

who may or may not
be with another woman
as you stand in the back yard
feeling the curve of the earth
beneath your feet

and you are too small
to break the silence
of the day

you are afraid of
the sound of
your heart

something this fragile
cannot last forever

on becoming the person i am

and i am not the man
who tells you
your scars are luminous

i am poor company
even on the best of days

am worse when
the sky is an iridescent grey
and the rain begins
to fall

what i remember
from my childhood is my
mother crying in the bedroom
while rocks pelted the
front of the house

laughter from the
wooded lot across the street
and the recurring dream
of fire spreading from
room to room

and i wanted to scream
but nothing came out
and so i grew up
to be a poet

disappointed my family
with each new choice and
learned not to care

there are
ways to survive on
nothing but anger and

there are reasons to
step back and let the
addicts of this world
destroy themselves

none of us were ever
beauty without a price


august in the
year of blind gods

no one
mentions the starving
and no one pities the weak
and no one thinks to
water the plants

you understand how irrelevant
these facts are

you stand on a boat
on a lake in upstate new york

the sun is a silent glare
the air a fist without mercy
and your wife asks a question
you don’t hear

you turn to her to speak and
what comes out is
(i don’t love you anymore)

clean and simple
and not a cloud in the sky

maybe the small laughter of water
or the sound of your son
playing at your feet

maybe the quiet roar of blood
pounding through
your veins

your hands can hold
suddenly broken beyond

three fathers

man drowns in
a burning house

sleeps and dreams that
he wakes up
in his wife’s arms

dreams that he
never wakes up and
all i can tell you is that
twenty years spent walking
these empty streets will
get you nowhere

the man you find in a
one-room apartment in
the most hopeless part of
the city of butchered dreams
is not jesus christ

he says you look familiar

asks to borrow a twenty
but doesn’t
offer you a drink

sits in a faded chair
watching a silent television
while flowers grow from
de chirico’s bones

through the afternoon
and wakes up
forty miles away

wakes up
on a kitchen floor
groping for air

not dead yet but

slow song with piano and accoustic guitar

sitting at a red light
twenty-one years after lennon’s murder
with the radio on and
the rain falling like a memory of itself
and i am not lost but in exile

i am the father
my own father never was and
my hands are cold

i want power but have
only words

and my list of grievances grows
and the war drags on
and i’ve been told that not every
slaughter is a crime

i’ve been lectured on the evils
of money
but never by those who have it

have slept on drunken floors
with nameless women while
the raped wrote their own versions
of history and i have never been a
believer in stories with morals

i am sorry for the weak
and the starving
for whatever good it does but
i am not a brave man

i will drive home and
kiss my wife

will read to my son then
put him to bed
with the knowledge that he is loved

not every failure i fear
is my own


i give you a dress
a stone
a handful of broken glass

nothing that’s ever

and i catch angels
with my bare hands

i pull their wings off
and leave them to bleed
and the days pass slowly
and forcibly

like poured concrete

like rust

two years now
since my father died
and i give you bones
and white light
and a dozen reasons to cry

i drive down
deserted country roads in
the last fading minutes
of the day

i put knives through
the throats
of crippled children

i wait for a sign from
any god

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