poem written, then left untitled

sunlight in
an empty room
changes nothing

the mirrors are all blind
the windows slowly melting
and i believe
in the burning girl

i believe in the boy
buried among the redwoods
by his father

these are the myths
my son will inherit
and this is the country
and the politics of fear are not
politics at all

what i call silence
in this house
is actually the sound of
clocks running backwards

what i call sorrow is
actually guilt
despite the fact that i have always
maintained my innocence

and on the day i give up
the last of my teenage heroes
my oldest friend writes
to tell me he won’t be
writing again

a minister’s wife from the
town i grew up in
is found naked and dead on
a stretch of railroad tracks
eighty-five miles to
the north

we are always spending
too much time
measuring distances that
can never be crossed

first thoughts from a season of drought

sufocatingly hot again without
and i spend
too much time in my car
at the edge of this parking lot
reading names from the book of

i wake up always in the
memory of a burning house

look around you

the land here has risen up
only to fall back on itself

the roads are lies and i have been
believing them for too long

i can’t explain it any better than

i was never promised anything
but still feel cheated when the
blood i taste
is my own
and so i turn against my wife and

i walk from room to room in
an empty house

and there is a sound the phone
when it doesn’t ring
and there is no way to measure

there is no way
to lash out against it

it’s a simple mistake equating
nothingness with god


the poem is
just beneath the

the skin is pale and
easily opened

what happens though
is this

i find myself
out of words

out of breath on
the front steps with
the roses i bought
already fading

with apologies falling
from my lips

and if i’m not a
person you could ever
love and if
you don’t have the strength
to hate me
then what?

we are all afraid in
the thin air
of passing days

held to the ground by
the sheer grey enormity
of the sky

by the lack of

one among us just
waiting for the
perfect moment to step
forward and be

this is the sound of crows

and she is there
at the edge of the field

she is gathering flowers
and the sky
surrounds her

we are not lost

we are not forgotten

we are hopeful
and the book of days is empty
and in the town we left behind
the poets have all
been hung

this is the truth

this is the sound of crows
after three months with
no rain and she
is there

she is gathering flowers
and they turn to dust in her
delicate hands and
the poem inside her heart was
never meant to be read

was never
meant to be written
and the dust falls through
her fingers with the slow
grace of angels

and we are far from home
but hopeful


but the horse is
the rider blind

the doors of the weak
are always waiting
to be kicked in and
i have been promised
rain for
three months now

i have watched
the rivers fade to

i have watched the
hand that holds the flame
reach out to the burning boy
and the smell of his pain
was familiar

the sound of trains
and the screams of young girls
as the showers were
turned on

this is destruction
far beyond the feeble scope
of god

do you understand?

the mother is starving
and has nothing to eat but
her child

the child is sick
and will be dead before
the season of famine
is over

if the word you choose is
there will be no one
with the courage to

for poetry

what you want is
nothing less
than everything

this is not uncommon

the history books are
filled with murdered tyrants
the ground with forgotten

i sit at this desk
too often
obsessing over unpaid bills

i lose sleep
i yell at the baby
i watch my right hand
chop off the left

there is the day job
and the night job
and my pocket full of change
for the pay phone

i am the voice my wife
hates to hear through
fifteen miles of wire

the man my friends
speak badly of

i have no use for poets
for poetry
or for the bones dug up by
beaten dogs

anger is a fuel
and self-pity a drug
but this you already knew

if there is money
to be made in selling
your fear
i will do it

nothing is so dirty it
can never be spent

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