Stripped to Bare Stone

I don’t know if
the bees will
rise again.

What if
I give up
the pen—

dump all
I’ve captured
into a two-minute iMovie.

Photographers are thieves
like us. We steal
bodies to reframe

and remind us
of all we cannot know
like those bees

that can shake
pollen off
a flower’s anthers.

As a high rising terminal
climbs up the left margin,
a vocal fry slides down the right.

This is a monotone—
my mantra to the edge
where I wait

for the city and the sea
to bleed

into each other. My wings
beat so much faster
than either of us predicted.

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