Question of Property

“I almost called these poems
Pickpocket Blues
because they are the repetition
                              by memory
                      of earlier poems
                        stolen from me
b y    t w e l v e    t h i e v e s.”
—Jack Kerouac, from the 2nd Chorus of “Orizaba 210 Blues” (Book of Blues

She doubts her bones
will be put on display.  Sees 

how she is blessed.  To be a thief
in this time is what’s left. If he channels you 

to music, how will she tune in, listen,
take away what she can 

to call her own? If possession
is nine tenths, she has her doubts 

about the other tenth—does believe
it has something to do with the shape 

of the moon and whether she bothers
to look for it each night. Did she steal 

that one too?

Letter in a Mirror

“Tainted Love” won’t hit you
the way it did in 1982 when you came late
to Studio 54. Always arriving early, 

you miss being
the impact.  Pregnant
new wave singers, punk 

ones already overdosed, your phobia
keeps you clean. You are one
of the dirt eaters.  We can tell 

by the lines on your finger
nails, by the look you give
trees. Your envy is not pretty— 

it’s what you wear
when nothing else seems to fit. The seam
is endless 

around your assumptions.
Your shoe size is not
what you or I think. You would be taller 

if you could give up
the memory of those songs—
the ones that didn’t deliver 

the truth, it turns out. And it is
this—Noguchi is dead. Your soul mate
isn’t yet born. Take a deep breath, 

my dear woman, move on.

Living Tower

Even if it was an option, it’s not 

an option 

to date your guardian angel,
even an accidental one.  You may believe 

you’ve exhausted them all, been pushed
to the edge of the jetty—rocks everywhere 

sounding off a raucous
laugh.  But the one who guides you ashore 

cannot be the one to take you 


to love you in a half lit, half
darkened solar. This is more 

than semantics.  This is
a rule bronzed and embedded 

in each Noguchi sculpture
you hope to see and know you’ll want 

to touch.

Letter to Another World

Emily Dickinson’s soul mate rides
a bicycle down my street. I can tell
it’s him by the way he compresses
his shoulders between parked
and moving cars. Handsome and nimble,
Emily, constant and quick.

You, Conduit

To pretend to be
an atheist and still believe
in guardian angels is 

this house
where I live with blinds
closed tight. To profess to live 

in solitude by choice
while scars of loneliness tattoo
my legs, my soul, is 

to give loners
a bad name, is to let myself
down root 

cellar stairs into a leaky chamber
where only humans go.


I understand how it is
to become mesmerized
by a sea 

siren. I’ve had my own
Ondine. I’ve wanted
to destroy immortality with my mouth 

and hands. Had my own Rose
too—have followed the unraveling
of all tapestry 

in motion. It’s a disturbed drive
to erase all plot
to revel in what remains—a face 

framed just for me.


To climb this side
of a grassy knoll in platform 

heels, to find relief
in the reliable 

presence of a Noguchi
sculpture outdoors 

in the Midwest, to not get lost
in America, is to be 

this alone
on wooden planks unafraid 

of those who barrel through,
of a sunset she can’t 

quite see.  It is to fear only 

the absence 

she recognizes in trees’
fluttering spiked leaves.

Not Really a Dirge

When gulls and loons take over the wish 


tree branch anchored in a river grave,
when yesterday means to 


otherwise, then we’ll be turtles 


to issue a forwarding
address through a break 

in the current.

Taking Root

Just as suddenly as it resurfaces
in some stirred-up
grit loosened 

by spring, it can sink
into a new dormancy
nourished by her calm 

flesh. It can but hasn’t. Alert
and proud, this desire
has begun to float.

Soft Rime

I resort to artificial tears
when unexpected
wind dries up my view.
When I reach that confluence
where I must drop 

it, so I can heal, I’ll be ready
to swallow easy. My eyes
will no longer resemble
the backside of my tongue.
The weeping didn’t 

last.  Even briefer
than the heart on heightened
alert. Even briefer than a moon
to moon gap. Should I become
a faucet, I hope to filter out 

all of that gritty pride.