After Eruption

Rend the earth again
Tear, rip through miles of rock and soil
Till the swollen, rounded,
core lies exposed
Bubbling, glowing,
Sputtering out
Reaching tendrils of itself.
Note the flow,
Time the pulses of heat,
Beating with undulating life seen and unseen.
Then watch the viscous liquid cool,
Solidifying against the pain
Of each cold breath you expel
Stilling the beat of life.

The transformation to cold, hard stone
Within the earth’s crust
As thus,
A mother’s heart,
Torn open once too often,
Stops.

Cleaning

To clean a heart and soul,
the way we clean a house:
scrub away
the grime and grease,
bleach away
the mold and mildew,
polish away
the dusty dullness,
vacuum away
dirt and dust
and leaves and grass
tracked in on muddy
dog paws,
who then shake wet fur
all over the floor,
yes, even vacuum away
all the hair shed upon the floor
by dogs and you,
then mop away
dried dirt,
straightening and organizing
as you go.

Then rest,
enjoying the gleam and shine
before opening the door
to visitors once more.
Yes, if only a soul
Could be cleaned
So very easily.

Joy (for my daughter)

Joys in the morning
Coffee and a cigarette
Then a run
Under the blistering
Texas sun
Simple things
Coffee, cigarettes, a run

Yet another year looms
And older I become
A year stretched out
Like a blanket
Of meaningless days
Thoughts of what will be
When my blanket of days
Is folded and finally
Put away

To rest
Content
Having found
Some thread of meaning
Unraveling from all the threads
In this blanket of days
To pull the thread,
Letting the others fall away,
Hold it close,
And say,
“This was enough.
Yes, this was, indeed,
Enough.”

Useless Things

My words are useless things.
Their journey
from soul to heart
to brain and down the arm
to the hand to the page
is a time too long spent traveling
to retain any sense, any power.

As I read all the words
I’ve written for you
or because of you—
I am shamed
at all these words do lack
of elegance and grace
in their tangled broken threads—
they’ll never be the banner
I wish for you.

I know if only I could find
the right words
to weave the right patterns,
the turn of phrasing within the fabric made—
you would know,
completely understand
Everything—
See all the beauty I see
when I look at you—
Then there would be nothing,
nothing
you did not know of me.

At Sunrise Over Water

At sunrise over water
Remembering a dream
Within tears
Things neither given
Nor ever felt
Linked by all the fears
To form decades of a life
Lived like a stranger
In my own skin

I have stood
Since dawn
At this ocean’s edge
Waiting, waiting
To hear something of a siren’s song
And now at noon
The rain begins
Fierce pelting blows
Washing me clean
Of all I know
Or dare to dream

And I will know no song
For living continues
As a stranger
Within my own skin

(Provincetown 2015)