Trio No. 28


If you are able, find a patch of clean earth

Where the grass has not been cut

And no roads have been built.

Lie down and close your eyes 

And do not rise until the dampness of the soil seeps through your clothes 

And cools your body.

Until you hear the sounds of the crickets rustling past

And feel the ants crawling over your neck. 

And even then, if you can, stay awhile.


I'm only writing this in hopes that you'll notice my intellect. 


A list of objects and compound objects:

Thirty three balloons. 

An empty room with blue walls. 

A necktie. 

Two bowls, nested. 

A broken tape player. 

A fir tree in winter. 

A fur coat in tatters. 

A fern. 

Trio No. 27


To speak your name—a sacred act; 

A tiny sin, a fleeting fact. 

To let the small sounds fall from lips 

Or letters drip from fingertips, 

Is just enough to keep, I think,

My head and hands in duty's ink. 


My only real feelings on modern music have to do with whether or not it speaks to or moves anyone and if it does well I'll let them to it and give it all the respect I give anything that speaks to or moves me after all who am I to invalidate anyone else's emotions or to compare the objective value of one piece of expressive art to another?


A list of objects and compound objects: 

A fork. 

A knife. 

A spoon. 

Western civilization. 


Death By Beauty

When I was seventeen
I began to dream
Of a beauty so deep and so pure
That it would transcend my being.

And so I began to search
For the perfect chord,
The perfect color,
The perfect face.

To find it would be
The end of need
And pain
And desire in me.

Now I'm thirty-five and
Last week I realized
That this experience is called

And I am no longer afraid to die
But somehow still afraid to live.


Trio No. 26

The moon is large and black, 
And in dusk-light disappears 
Behind the silhouettes of winter trees. 

Even when my mind and heart are on the rim of breaking there are moments when my body feels as strong as a musk ox and and I could break through walls though that is rarely my desire. 

A park before dawn. 

A puddle of water below the curb. 

A pond covered in fallen leaves. 

A red scarf. 

A blue scarf. 

A dead battery. 

A broken wheel. 

A seagull. 

An airliner. 

A park at midday. 


Trio No. 25

My biggest regret is having told a child that there is no adventure left in the world. 

He is grown now and I hope he didn't listen. 

At summer camp I always took archery class and when one of us shot a perfect bullseye the instructor would let that camper launch an arrow into the woods which was a fairly irresponsible thing to allow. 

A list of objects and compound objects:

A set of leather stamps: the alphabet. 

A plastic wristband, signifying aquatic prowess. 

The dew-wet grass of a soccer field. 

The hand of a red-haired girl, which I never held.

The same hand tousling my hair, which I never forgot. 

A chapel, where I was held hostage twice a day. 

The counter at the new snack shop. 

Overalls worn by the counselor my counselor was in love with. 

The moss I peeled from a cabin roof. 

The boys I threw it at. 

The circle I ran laps around as punishment. 

A letter from home.

Trio No. 24

She drew hard on a cigarette and then flicked it into a pile of dry leaves.

It smoldered there for a few seconds and then died.

Nothing interesting ever happens around here.

They told us all that sex is not normal and that people who want to have it are deranged or depraved and to be avoided and when we grew up and married one another still we could not have it because even the thought of having it filled us with shame and guilt because of what they had told us and we lived into old age and died unhappy and that was the end of the human race.

A list of objects and compound objects:

A wooden boot jack. 

A bowl of onions. 

Six dogs on six leashes. 

Cardamom pods. 

A worn salt shaker. 

An anchor. 

A bent nail in the claw of a framing hammer. 

The cold floor of a basement workshop. 

The only window in an empty room. 

A field of dandelions. 

A garden of marigolds. 

A pot of gardenias.


Trio No. 23

The problem with the outward speaker
Is the same problem with the inward listener:
Neither holds the truth

But one knows it
And the other can't hear anything 
Outside his own head

If I had said today what I believed I would have doubted it tomorrow just the same as if I had never said it at all and I'm not sure which action (or inaction) makes me look the bigger fool or who it really is that I think would care. 

A list of objects and compound objects:

A book of rules. 

A glass wrapped in a towel at a wedding. 

A wild horse. 

A child's porcelain bank. 

A trip wire. 

A set of rubber tires. 

A coconut shell. 

An evil spell. 

The status quo. 


Trio No. 22

And give air to the thing which lies
Under the veinous floor boards
As the cavern fills with blood

Something about the sails on that particular boat triggered a memory of my uncle when I was small sitting at the dining room table under the stained-glass lamp that gave dim light to the family and it was the way he sat up straight and maybe he was somehow shaped like those sails or colored like those sails or empty and floating sad like those sails. 

A list of objects and compound objects:

A key. 

A watch. 

A wallet. 

A fox. 

A plate of fruit. 

A handful of foreign currency 

Two toothpicks. 

A fast car. 

A rope, one end tied to a pier, the other end frayed and floating. 

A wig. 

A fig tree. 

A fog. 

A log. 

A log. 


Trio No. 21

I had almost forgotten
The way the words refused to rhyme
But made music all the same. 

I had almost forgotten
The voices that were suddenly allowed
To speak for themselves

Soon after I made myself a note so I wouldn't forget what to say every night I was told to stop saying it but I left my note there in order to remember what I had said and each night I imagined what it would be like if I were still allowed to say it. 

A list of objects and compound objects:

A stage. 

A piece of black tape, left over. 

A door that lets the light in. 

The foam covering a small microphone. 

A small screen, closed circuit. 

The middle ring of a binder. 

The jackhammer that I can hear but not see. 

The nose of a co-worker. 

The chairs in a theater. 

A coffee cup, almost too hot to hold. 

A homemade tattoo. 

A small, empty room. 

A grand piano. 


Trio No. 20

I found it again. 

The place we came and smoked a hundred cigarettes. 

I don't remember the words of our conversation. 

But I remember the tone, and the pace, and the pitch of our voices. 

Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't that the sweater she was wearing on the day the earth shifted underneath us and we were scared for a moment before laughing nervously and asking that juggler which way the train station was? 

A list of objects and compound objects:

The graffiti that read "Live here", with an arrow pointing toward two dandelions. 

Two dandelions pushing their way up between the cobblestones. 

The cobblestones that led to the water. 

The water that slid over the round rocks. 

The round rocks that provided a pathway out to the sandbar. 

The sandbar where we found red salamanders. 

Red salamanders.