snow up my shin, slow 
through the mile of the forest 

come to where I had cut
branches heavy with leaves

they always used to bother us
on the ends of our walks

dipping and kissing our heads
as we crossed the bridge

something alert near the edge
in a crop of brown weeds

machete stuck handle-first 
buried in the earth

flew out of my hands 
cutting too recklessly

thought I lost it last August
trimming the tree ends

couldn’t hold on—
I was thinking of you

searched through the muck
kneeling in the creekbed

swishing a stick
disturbing the glass

tangle of rotting leaves

Wrestling with the sage. Retreat to a stronger position. Act with humility. Maintain your composure. Do not move out of desire. 

Receptive force to enthusiasm (contains a warning). Great treasures to splitting apart (when I see the open lines stack up I always know it is coming). Retreat to bonding (but what is retreat? from which position am I strongest?). 

Answers are also sought in poetry. Lyric poetry a repeated failure. An incapacity to reach the beloved, even if they like the poems. Always reaching toward and always falling short. The failure of language to measure up even as it exceeds its strict bounds (in for instance the sonnet).

In these lines too something is undone. I cast them like the I Ching: hexagram four to forty-four. Inexperience to compulsion. Making up distance that can’t be made up.


waterstained topography
rocking with key presses
dusty drops of distant isles

rays trace the speckled
ceiling. some blood vessel
burst in the peninsula

between brows—
discovered previously
on another excursion

roving spotlight:
screw needs tightening
haloing metal hallooing

don’t always want 
to look on eyes fixed
despite shifts, bumps,

to be stuck there
past its surface, shrunk
within its silver frame

dream of rain, dream of 
violence, dream of couches
burnt, and disappointment

turning its face down 
but hanging still within