September 15

chimney
There was an island.
I’m not sure what all’s left

after the hurricane,
division the same as multiplying

by fractions, loss masquerading
as gain, but then again

long before it hit we hiked
over to the Chimney

on the Bay side, a brick stack
remained, the rest imagination—

this wasn’t the first time,
and won’t be the last.

Things get displaced
in a memory, I wonder

if I could still trace a path
from the Pouldeau Lagoon

to Ranger Station, dunes
moving around like shook

out blankets, edges slipping
under the big blue Gulf—

I haven’t stepped foot
in Pascagoula in over

eight years, but I still think
about someday taking a boat

out to watch the molten
aspect of one more sunset

that I’ll never get quite right,
to hear just after nightfall

the calls of great herons,
rusty saws or Satan himself,

flat-footing across the Water’s
Crossing, to shake a yellow can

of seasoning into a shrimp boil
and meet the ink-globed eyes

of the recently deceased,
to ponder on the way

a horseshoe crab carries
the weight of prehistoric dreams

and maybe there is something
to be gained from the way

we cling to whatever we kept,
whatever was left, no matter

how little, and especially then—
like those tiny snails

clung hard to the grasses
in the salt marsh, evaporation

at work, losses, again—
but we were nonetheless

amazed to watch the crystals
appear from out of nowhere,

and of course we knew better,
we just didn’t care.

Standard

September 14

A large dark joy of evergreen
forests, this stellar’s jay
scrapes through the gutters,
utters guttural croaks,
tossing compacted bits
of pine needles and moss
to the deck boards below,
ostensibly in search of food
but I’ve always thought
this bird is sort of a punk,
with his shock black crest
and hard-eyed stare
he says he doesn’t give
a damn, damn, damn,
until I start to get close.

Standard

September 11

Usually not a big proponent of prompts or poetic forms, but figured eh, why not?

Late again. Still not done.
This morning was chilly but
then the clouds burned off.
Already these lines are not
the right length, I contain multi

-tudes too, but poorly.
Too short. Too long. Is the point
of school to deaden
the soul prior to working?
It was unclear, so I went

back for more and still
don’t know, anything, really.
Except that even
a few words a day can be
delightful sedition

when they are not
the stilted citations
expected of me;
a casual study of
clouds needs no peer reviewing,

and even flat guidelines
for laboratory safety
can be converted to
poetry if one needs it
badly: All compressed gas

is hazardous, and
most cylinders are equipped
with pressure relief
valves, but if these fail an [extraordinary]
amount of energy

can be released, fast;
this is straight from the standard
operating
procedures but what it means
is better to fudge the lines,

four for a five,
or six for a seven,
the importance is
writing–  i.e. matter, expanding
(and relatively safely).

 

Standard

September 10

Wide awake at four AM, 
a sore throat woke me,

throat– a word so squat and toady
no wonder things get stuck;

unspoken words a likely
cause of hoarseness, hoarse–

derived from hoar and hearse, 
old and musty, hint of deadly,

an all-but assumption of frost,
forgotten all summer until 

overnight the blades
of grass merit the sobriquet–

encased in ice they crack 
under their weight,

cue frozen creek beds, drifts
of snow, which sounds drowsy,

but no– the heaviness
of arrested motion 

is too keenly felt
in the wide open hours

of night, it’s too big
and still a space–

the moon too cold,
too bright, no matter

the blankets I pile on,
I’m frozen out of sleep

and my throat, 
it aches.

Standard

September 9

All today the sky has been 
a softening gray, so passive
the sun in retrospect seems
harsh–

by the evening commute
the far bridge was lace 
against lush, lights of
distant cities floating
like everything,

like a mirage hovers,
but real, when nothing
else was, or at least
is as good as forgotten– 

we all swim home,
starting to think of going
to bed early, getting out
from under this blanket
of humidity, going from
dream state

to dream state, slippery
places, hard to grasp but
easy enough to inhabit,
especially if you’ve
been here for a while.  

Standard

September 8

Who could have known
the turn of the night,
as on the pier

the Ferris wheel glowed,
we watched from above,
it spun though long closed

for rides, you wanted to go,
but were leaving at dawn,
and I’d like to inquire 

if these minutes will add up
to anything at all, no—
it’s enough, maybe,

the way moonlight spills across
the bay, that within minutes
of seeing a face one can

still sense that there’s more
to come, even if not the shape,
or time, or place, and a kiss

is just a kiss, I know,
still wearing your scent from
when we came close,

the same old story,
and somehow
it never gets old.

 

Standard

September 7

An edge. Even today, kayaking,
even on water, in wave-derived

furrows, patches of wind,
a division between like and not 

like. No, not exactly that, not here
and there, either. An edge contains;

convex, concave, even drawn flat
it makes two from one and holds each

one fast. On the east side of the lake
I paddled ahead beyond the reach

of your voice, trying to beat a hefty
wake. An edge contains, it could

constrain, but even then it has two
sides, trapped and free, though never

advertising which is which,
a choppy spot, a sheltered cove

where spindly docks prolong
the shore, or whatever else waits beyond

the curvature of land–  

Standard