Every so often I am dilated; the
Swallow everything—a catchall soup,
Two cauldrons, stubborn in the bald glare
Of bathroom light. They are hunting
The sea grass, the blue cot rocking;
In sleep I am a Spanish dancer,
Awaiting my cue at the velvet
Now and then groping for the sash,
Or on horseback, abducted, thumping
Through pampas. I sleep too much;
I curl in at midday, sheepish,
In strange rooms. Clouds are hurrying by—
The walls, a wash of white; still
Are mazing through their dark gardens,
The great lamp shut, the crescents duplicating.
It is only a temporary state of
The sun boils behind the moon.
(originally printed in Gulf
You Furze, Me
The only true synonyms in the
are "furze" and "gorse." — Tennyson
Furze, Gorse, of equal and abiding
But for the speed of each word off the lips:
The warm and cornucopic cup of U
Hanging on by the very fingertips
Of the lazy Z. Furze, you would lie,
Luxurious; you would make a mattress;
You would carry yellow torches nightly,
Barbed fingers circling in slow caress.
Raise the lamps high, let us look at ourselves:
Once a tender union, now turned fierce,
Twins scratching across sands and rocky shelves.
Furze, Gorse. Which cuts worse?
The claws that grab and cling, purpling the skin,
Or the sudden spike that stabs and runs?
(originally printed in Western
For the Fog Horn
When There Is No Fog
Still sounding in full sun past the jetty,
While low tide waves lap trinkets at your feet,
And you skip across dried trident
Fling weeds, and do not think of worry.
For the horn that blares although
you call it stubborn,
In error, out of place. For the ridicule endured,
And the continuance.
You can count out your beloved - crustaceans -
Winking in spray, still breathing
in the wake,
Beneath the hooking flights of gulls,
Through the horn's threnody.
Count them now among the moving. They are.
For weathervane and almanac,
ephemeris and augur,
Blameless seer versed in bones, entrails, landed shells.
For everything that tries to
The surly sullen bell, before the going,
The warning that reiterates across
The water: there might someday be fog
(They will be lost), there might
Be fog someday, and you will have nothing
But remembrance, and you will have
To be grateful.
(originally printed in The
Southern Review, reprinted as Poem of the Day for April 29, 2003 on VerseDaily.org)