All the Lineages and Laneways as They Disappear

into the thinnest ether
what is this ether
will it help me sleep

all those night singers
swinging their tippers
pound their bodhráns

strange ones
made of dragon skin
let the goats roam free

leave the misplaced Ferris wheel
on the mall behind
at least I still have a stoop

even if the vestibule window
gets smashed in the middle
of the night the way I no longer can

there are always strangers on a train
that’s just how it is
in this stanza

a future one
will house Uncatena
the ferry and the island

here on a plane about to take off
for Ireland / some turbulence
some troubles ahead / please not again

delicious thoughts of death
she sleeps with one eye open
I see it with my own left / over eye

it’s an affliction
not addiction
this arriving everywhere early

listening to the National’s “Sorrow”
I don’t wanna get over you
I am doomed

to this single story
looking for the overstory
in an understory realm

I bought no wool
I drank no Guinness
attended no mass

I ate no lamb / gave no blood
the way this island
has given me mine

don’t leave Eavan on the plane
like some perfumed magazine
flipped through / barely read

yes / the swan-necked streetlamps
were on / Eavan / and I could have strolled
through St. Stephen’s Green

100 more times
as 100 shades of green
course through my veins

before New England
there was this Ireland

allergic to wool
just like my dad / his dad
worked in the mill

and it was that disturbed English poet
Charlotte Mew who said something about
the little damp room with the seaweed smell

Another Thousand Days and Nights

from the grave pages
and pages will spew forth
and spill all over
the aching hill / constrained
compressed / blessed lines
that murmur all risks to come

start dancing
with all darting flames
stop fearing the afterburn
of desire to touch his face in darkness
continue seeing the color red
before it swings too far into orange

beyond the street
and window sill
and peaceful ceiling
there’s water
I want to say
there’s always water

not always the right kind
right amount / in the right places
I want to say
fold up all the floods
stack them in flat file drawers
forever vaulted away

where’s the fun in that / stealing
from the best
when the thief just wants

to nap
on a soggy bank
under a bare oak
and dream about another thousand
as if my life
and death depend on it

What Can We Build Underground?

“He’s not building a playhouse for the children what’s he building in there?”
—Tom Waits, “What’s He Building?”

all the machines go out
of sync / down rhythm / up soaked

garments / I can’t smell the ginger
essence the way I used to

before everything stopped
spinning / I want to steal your words

about all that imaginative wood
I want to run

the architecture of poetry
the poetry of architecture

on parallel tracks / neither express
always local / makes no sense

to skip a stanza
when those abandoned ones

have true ciphers
on their platforms to decode

all the notes I scrawl
in the margins

of a page with no margins
become the scaffold

for this wall
that intentionally leaks

sound into breakdown lanes
bleeding into view

the next grid
of streets above us

delineates where the traveling
gets good and gritty

nowhere near as grime written
as the subterranean

dwelling captioned possibility
Saturday mornings become sacred

suicide doors with broken handles
cannot touch me / I have a retirement plan

capital letters shout out zeroes
the lower case hum

spells poiein

We Are What We Listen to in the Minor Key

“sing into the fear
may we break the bed
we were dead before
we’ll be dead again”
—A.A. Bondy, “Images of Love”

the brood is breaking
open the sky
vernal equinox
in the rearview mirror
I know nothing of
unlicensed inside
the gloam / I will awaken
the loam / this red
dirt on my hands
your red door
would only swing open
once / that night
in Saint Paul
the train rattles
window panes
you confess
to that hallucination
I might dance for you
a ballet I didn’t give him
this can’t happen / that lightning
place on endless repeat
myth / my favorite
neighbor is moving
is leaving me
I play all the instruments
equally unwell
I’m singing on the inside
the outside can’t be seen
with this tunnel vision
of the addict
swipe away one cathectic object
another takes its place
short attention span
or drawn-out stare beyond
everything fails everything
fails everything I touch

we’re not dead
we’re not dead

fails everything fails
to miss

Upcycling Light

if color
is a state
of evolving being

as backwards walking
creeks have begun
to trample hearts

I reserve red
for the moment before
I call it

a night / yellow
for yawning
and other contagions

in early morning
lilt / blue to bury
false positives

during a shift
in seasons / green
is no longer a color

is no longer a mood
we’re allowed to mention
let alone feel

is engaged to gray
and the story has been taken
off line

we all can be upcycled
in secret
beneath the right light

New Weather

drop the fire iron
you’ve been using

to poke holes
in your own left side

untie the noose
around your ankle

pour another glass
of water into the wine

goblet you recycled
16 years ago

let the commas go
free the letter O

from its own mouth
the river will live

on after the thaw raises
the stakes / punctuates

another river
and another taken

out of context
give up the negotiation

you’re no good
at it / find the perfect red

lacquer chair to build
your own cheerful forest

puddles bleed into puddles
till the night stills

either fizzy or flat
facts about erosion

not rhythm or rallies or robots / no
it’s religion

that threatens
to wreck the view

daggers overhead
masquerade as icicles

a fox with its teeth already sunk
into the hind leg

of a rabbit / forearms
of channels begin to tilt

one more ice jam
to force the creek

to flow backward
temperature whiplash again

the next meteotsunami
over Lake Michigan

bomb cyclones
and freezing fog

when green is no longer
a color

Dwell In/On It

I will be Charles Simonds for a day
avoid too many geometries / no more
clay / I will 3D print ruins

in gray resin to go
in crevices of our crumbling walls
punctuating echoes in stairwells

deconstructing another dooryard
Whitman style / affixed
to non-load bearing beams

dangling from exposed joists
and jokes / tucked in a corner
on a ledge too narrow

for even the narrowest
fellow / they will contain zeroes
and ones and I will wish

for the one word
perfect enough to print
all dimensions in glass

sourced from the sand
we buried our small feet in
at low tide / why didn’t anyone

place a nameplate
over the hearth
of the waterfront cottage

I had my 15 minutes when I was 3

painted-on block letters
black over white
no more illusions of steering

this dinghy ashore
in the storm
it’s going to rock / I was going

to remain the name
on its port side
no map to lead to a boat

graveyard / cannot know
if it faded away
or still measures tender fame