Avatar Index


Old Men

in the park—
marked cards:
the sum of chance
brimming their hats.

At the end of
a finely wielded
bow, the head
rests next to
the feet.

Beards grow
a good while longer.

Old Women

reap harvests
behind wailing
walls, spin
white hair into
fine nets,

catching shadows
of a song. The last
note splinters. Roses
lay in fragments: mouths
that nobody can close.

The party
happens somewhere else.



I am finished with all that
measuring: an eye for an eye,
a tooth for a tooth.
Toothless and blind,
I am going back
to the desert where I lived
a long time ago when rivers
still flowed under my bed.
I take nothing, not even desire--
I have no inheritance
other than hopelessly
unsecured checks and a few
confessions scribbled
between soup recipes:
for years I had wanted
to write a history
of the body, a cycle
of movements, a formation
of undanced ballets in blue
beds. Still, the bodies
declined, stubbornly
faked the upright walk,
which, like any high wire
act, is useless and so much
remains unwritten.
But I am finished
with all that
and the desert is cold
and clean and the papers burn
like lovers' bodies, untouchable.


On the Nature of Time

The freighters threaten to sink when they leave
the harbor. Slowly they press themselves
into the stream, roar their signals. The city falls
behind. Applications for passage were denied.

No room in the ship, no cabins for passengers.
Thus we know little about the remains
of time and if it really is thrown overboard
in the middle of the ocean.

I follow the ship's wake in a boat.
Schools of fish cross my course. Weeks pass,
months, then years. Birds migrate
overhead. Sea gulls are my entourage.

My boat becomes heavier and heavier
since I turned it into an ark. But the ship
ahead rises with the passing of time,
climbs out of the water, its giant

body eaten by rust, gaining speed
as it lightens its load, distancing
itself. It's useless to sic the trained
dove. So I stay, see the flight

of the cormorants, their wings hitting
against the horizon. Somewhere a river
rushes over a levee and a war will begin
when stored time slides off the shelves

into the valley, into the harbor where
at this moment not a single ship anchors.

speaker.gif: On the Nature of Time.mp3



The dog's dead in the road, the same spot where last week a truck slid
Into the ditch. The dog's dead, his eyes are open. He watches
Cars approach, swerve, missing oncoming traffic. His eyes follow
The drivers to the dry cleaner, to the bookstore, to a Friday night
Football game. The dog's been in the road for days now, watching
Sunrises and sunsets, the whole of a day, the whole of a night.
He burrows himself deeper and deeper into the asphalt until he owns
The road, and no amount of rain can wash him from this spot.
This is where the dog died, I tell my friend. I know this makes her
Uncomfortable, this talk about death, and this is an ordinary evening,
Dark, a few stars, a moon I can imagine behind the houses, getting ready
To rise nearly full and white. Finding this place again has become a habit.
Something should happen here, something other than death, something
Other than a slipping sense of déjà vu and my friend four weeks
Into chemo and we haven't once said the word. Lights blind us
Momentarily. The mark on the surface of the road is behind us,
That moment is behind us. The dog's eyes stalk up her spine,
Into her chest. He sees, that dog. I have not broken any rules, have not
Stepped on any crack, broken no one's back. That dog is a good dog.






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