A Taos Courtyard

An old man sits with his son in a courtyard.

 

The son must be 40, maybe a bit older.

 

“Should we walk?” he asks.

 

The old man looks at him.

 

Hunched and hairy, aged, and bright in the face.

 

Without the worry of the younger one.

 

“We should walk,” he repeats.

 

They leave the courtyard.

 

A well of air, of tide and memory turning in their place.

 

A slight stirring, and the binding. 

 

 

Laying in Marrow 

I lay awake all last year

waiting to make love to you last night.

I lied to myself all my life

and it got me where I am.

The loose doorjamb,

thinning hair.

 

I don’t know how lovely I am,

how simple, how beautiful and unadorned.

I am a soft rib

in the carcass of a surprise death.

I know all the answers.

It’s keeping them from myself

that’s grown hard.

   

 

 

Ditch of Stars

Night of black paint,

where mud swallows wheel through soundless tunnels.

Dense, shapeless hills block the moon-white.

Descending the low trail at 4 a.m. she slips off the wet,

street-lamp macadam, glow-humming at a curious frequency.

In the exhaling foothills, her insistence alters

the unnamed length of her faith.

The spilling stars map her way up the black draw.          

 

The moonlight land delivers a humid breath.

Walking into fear, into the last of night,

she prepares herself as agreement.

Her walk is a searchable presence,

a shallow-breasted signature.

At twilight the grave moon hesitates.

A powder-black, resplendent sky holds her,

 

fallow. The night draws a trail by her, rudderless,

beneath the green-white star field.

Its bright, revolving nearness, like spindles

of eternity, dresses up the danger.

Passing its burden she is like a folded-in star.

The ditch trail walks her down the willing land.

Abandons her at a silver trough of light

 

the boundaries. 

 

 

   

The Sky, Ripening Around the Sun

Soft, worn appliance metal, angled gutter arms like children

half sunk in warm willow grass,

 

nothing more worn or metal than Mildred herself

on the stoop of her bright backyard,

 

the handfuls of shrunken, black oranges,

still decorating salted trees

 

like small, crenellated lanterns,

ornaments from tiny holidays

 

held at Delerey Street, and the kind face

she put on for you, Katrina.

 

The southern cyclone, the greenevil night,

shoving houses,beating barge board all the way back

 

down the Mississippi, on Gulf water,

warm and brown as Louisiana oil.

 

 

 

Road Cycle: Thousand Palms

Time comes

bombardiering down

around a railroad siding.

I am hoping

to watch a train,

seem to be alone,

 

always. Busy things

shine in and cushion up,

hubbub-happy.

 

No sound in here.

Things alone

abrupt for the weeping,

 

colorless,

a place for pass and going,

the free-way edge

 

and iron seams

and bottle-green stones.

I walk into dense stands

 

of flat green forgotten,

dark bends and wind seams,

the bzzzz and tamarisk bees.

 

My memory jurrrs

and moves

and has place

 

and murmur. Absent

wandering, renders

out of the unalloyed

 

east a bright freight

rocking in, rolling,

spray splattering

 

and diesel dark,

a ton-metal

grey weight, intoning

 

gorgeous

out of the wheel wells wailing

Plowing selfishly, swaying,

 

swing-way and

through what is deafening

wet,

 

and dark for succor.

In between,

semiotic bleak tracks

 

somewhere always, working

the spongy creosote

stitches .

 

I am sliding toward

re-abandonment,

my transitory long ago,

 

the salt cedar air

and certain known,

fraught memories. 

  

 

 

What Happens in the Upper Atmosphere When We Fight

She’s a meteorological challenge, falling down the electric latitudes,

damning geomorphic urges.

Wet, green storm banks curl through her

eyebrows, one foot of air is between us: she is speechless

and sudden, and both our nerves for the moment are permanent,

vaulted, astray. Our heads wander as good as myth and sculpture,

distracted and stone. Indigo clouds float through our valleys —

we fly blind, me tap-tap-tapping the silver magneto,

lost and airborne inside her,

the engines spitting my helpless way forward.

 

Dissolution threatens in tall, avion blue anvil towers,

convection quarrels, human squall lines, heartless and stalled,

seeding my eye with her future rain. A rolling,

forecasting, motion blindness grips me,

slipping beneath her curtained eyelids.

I might never land how I might never leave.

 

We are inconceivable contraptions, bones, glass hearts.

The damp air floats in gardens and Roman ruin.

Our lie down life is fixed like marble, motioning us,

stifled and posing, statuesque, known for slight gesture.

Wrestling the marble David down into her arms, feeling his weight,

caressing his musculature, holding the potent stone,

his mass conscience; his brilliant eye,

now beholden, the moist, marblelific tone spores,

the hand quivering, the cool cloud of the skin.

She spots herself down there, serene-sad,

her laugh, languor, her rolling surge temple dawn to dusk.

My dials swaying, leading me along her outer banks.

Flying quiet, I look down through torrents of tears.