November 26

Sixteen in the shade, but a high open sky.
Some places, the sun doesn’t go anymore–

There’s snow from days ago on the butte’s
burn scar. An owl landed on the roof

but didn’t call– a weighty presence,
waiting overhead. The nights get deep

and silent here, the withered scrub
brush doesn’t stir, no wind, the lake

is static, stretching out like expectation,
a hole in the landscape, of unspoken depth.


November 25

Sometimes I feel shy
as a rabbit caught
in arrant moonlight–

I loathe extremes.

What is this light
that floods my life?
Am I prey

or is this love,

for so long I have
sought out gray:
Too dark for night,

too light for day–
purposed impossibilities.

It isn’t only doubt
that makes my heart race,
but those howls at dawn

chill my heart
to an ice-clotted lake.

Everything is loss:
Of stars, of sun–
so who am I to gain?

Warren-deep, moon
-bright, in any state
that catch-all refrain:

What have I done
to deserve this?




November 22

Sadly, I part from you;
Like a clam torn from its shell,
I go, and autumn too.


Distance, felt viscerally.
Almost winter, this cool sun

returns me: I rode
a retired racehorse, once,

around a frosty outdoor
track, he was prone to startle,

making counterclockwise loops
at an unhinged gallop,

reverting to a yearling heart.
Ashamed of its unruliness

I put my through its paces,
but really, who works who?

This day is so clear,
a sylvan sky above

a clatter of towers,
and acres of hours–

how I wish
you were here.


November 21

Mums are finished
nothing left to write about
except the radish

And I return to lemons,
their solar scent,

spice dishes with a heavy
hand. I might collect jars

of jam, seeded with constellations,
figs from the Adriatic,

salt, pine, and citrus–
once I wandered

the walls of Dubrovnik,
above the red clay roofs–

and yet it’s still winter,
and here I am,

haunting or haunted, steam
rises from my soup.





November 20

Awakened at midnight
by the sound of the water jar
cracking from the ice

Basho, I’m too well-acquainted
with the small of the night,

the lonely hours that pull
one out of sleep, so desperate

for company.
Seeing only frost

from my window,
a hoary silence,

and lacking discernment,
I thought it had snowed.

It’s noon, now,
golden, and I’m a foreigner

to myself.


(I don’t normally do writing challenges but was tempted by this great post by Crow, to spend three days exploring quotes as writing prompts. Expect more Basho…)



November 19

Again the dockyards, again,
so much space

in this sky, this air,
it’s getting intolerable:

Nothing weighs on me
like nothing


By the museum
on the south shore

an art installation,
a small house filled

with a snarl of branches,
meaning, I guess,

that the facade we build
is still an extension

of our true nature,
or something about

the impermenance
of shelter,

but then again
I’m usually too

literal in my


But further down
on Mercer, two giant heads

built from enameled iron,
characters and symbols

wrought from multiple
languages, two lacy

craniums, and you can
go inside them,

confront another
hollow place:

Words do not suffice,
not even here, so full

of holes that you
could slip right through–


November 15

Maybe it’s a lack
of solid ground, afloat

in a sea of glass and iron,
but my tongue is growing

sharper. Scaffolding
and sterile girder,

these do not unfurl,
have no grace

of life, just conceal
so many empty rooms,

like lidded eyes.
The sky has a presentiment

of coming weather, grows
dull even as a crack

of blue appears,
but it’s just another

space for lease, too

and meek to last
for even an hour.

I’ve had enough
of so many words,

now reduced down
to daily records,

to limp binaries:
No rain. Rain.