Early Sunday Morning

She walks deserted streets. Not the real
you, but one
she’s been fabricating 

with rope, leftover images
from an old black-and-white
film. She believes in 

rewind, fast forward,
long pauses. The sun
reveals gray 

in all its shades—romance
along a wave length,
a particle spinning 

and at rest. 

She has no way
of knowing where you are,
what you might be 

doing in this moment.
Only hopes
you’re in it, 

touching something
more real than this
creation that dissolves 

under the light.

Timing Is Everything Else

I would begin with your boots,
would want you to relax
till it was time. I would want 

you to do the same, would imagine
you gliding those zippers down 

with ease. Snaps
on your shirt would sing
their pop song 

as I pulled them apart
to discover what I’ve imagined
would be strong, 

broad, well-covered. Amazing
what you can see
through all that hair—this hiding 

is a writer’s only true lover
who waits in the dark.

Prelude to a Season and

Your cold retreat just days
before becoming
officially on 

is a cruel dance
on last night’s sighs
into a buoyant civil 

dusk. You turn
me on only to turn
your back to my naked 

fantasies of an us—two
turtles on a broken branch
over the rising river. 

It crests in the valley
at the convergence 

of the small into
the mighty. Floods 

a grain terminal
in new repurpose, drowns
an island for now, distracts 

me from your absence.
This pulled-up leather
collar collides 

with that last image
I’ve been working
into you.

The Line

Turns out musicians
are mortals—shouldn’t be
a surprise. All those young
martyrs. But still it is. 

You’re the latest
You left behind
one of the best. And because 

I, too, am
mortal and
a thief, I can’t resist: 

“I can’t get a license
to drive in my car. But
I don’t really need it,
if I’m a big star.” 

Step outside
the city
on a clear night. 

Note:  Stolen lyric from “O My Soul,” by Alex Chilton, from the album Radio City.

Before the Cruel One

Who waits
for the river
to rise rises 

above reds
to reach clay
tinted sky. Who 

runs from dry
spells into March
gusts and shifted 

light shifts
with each new

This window
then that becomes

highlights for whomever


He was minus three
when those songs from heaven
were playing on
AM radio. I was zero. 

When he was zero, I was
in Northern Illinois
learning how
to say three instead 

of free.
I would never be
so much so again. No multiples
will return me 

to that coincidence—one
he’ll never know.

Graffiti Blues

Dark lipstick stains
on the rim 

of a coffee mug, a juice
glass, cigarette 

filter, napkin, so far
from the neighborhood 

of your lips—they can’t be tagged.

Duplicate Triplicate

in strong,
skilled hands, mud
in most. Who am I 

to seek twins
standing up to one another
in this historic park?

Who do you think 

you are to judge
my choice of wrapping
through another stretch
of drizzle? Who 

do you think I am
when you gaze this way
that way? Who 

do I think you are
when I forget 

what I might say
to you under its grip?
I’m thinking 

fraternal ones
and three grown
sisters, one
weirder than the next.

Clutching Tags

Aphasia is anonymous
in its demand
that poems be 

without words.
I’m not ready to give 

mine up. The wave
of an ampersand 

ropes them in
just in time.

Tags Along

Methodist metronome
middle age middle C
mill Minneapolis
Minnesota Minnesota 

River minor
deity Mississippi 

headwaters Mississippi
river monk
monosyllables moon
moon cup moonless mosaic 

tile mother
moths motion mount 

mountain mountains
mouth muddy water
multimodal murmur
trestle muse muses 

nagahyde naked
apes New England New 

Haven New Jersey New
Jersey Shore New
Jersey Transit New
Orleans new soul new 

wine New York New York City New
York fire truck New
York subway Newark
Airport newborn 

Nick Drake 

Nicollet Mall Farmer’s
Market night night
club North Atlantic North
Clark Street northern 

Minnesota nostalgia
nudes nymphs