The shoal of night recedes, light licks the earthly shin
A trammeled inspiration begins to speak in hymn
Wet pencil lead to paper, thoughts fall like rising yeast
Fear is my retainer kept in scoured bin for waste
Words reflecting objects, adjectives inflicting depth
A penal code of execution, pause expression
pawning doubt…
To write as though unconscious or in hibernal dream
Soul expunged by symbol, impales emotive drone
Echo of somniloquy revivifying vellum
The id of self-extraction abstracted into realm
Noun speeding toward conjunctive, slides on extradited verb
A vehicle in mayhem, careening through blind curve
From talisman to halidom this topiary sings
A compact oratorio of participled scheme
Opera laced with orphery
Lampoon sullied in the potash
God festooned in oil and greed
Love camouflaged as witchcraft
Philosophy and vermin can populate a script
Mediocrity and prejudice pearls up on scribbled lip
The divine, releasing symphony
Freed verse in breach of plaster
A mother strokes her labored poem
“I’ve conceived another bastard”


Inspecting the Dark


Does not a form
of vision bait this hour
while frilled sharks of sleep
slide in between impaired
and deafened ears,
feeding on monsoons of dreams
I am here
breathing in this night of spring
on darkened curb below the plumes
of foliage that offer paper lanterns
of cavalcading lilac-whites,
their fragrant light accompanies
my sack of lonely bones tonight
as I inspect these trees
against that moon,
sit in this obscured
outsider’s room with quiet houses
walled within
the passing pantomime,
standing circumspect
and bricked around the slumber
of their occupants,
playing those lickspittle tricks
of a sober, fixed
blinded by the slighted hand,
waged and mortgaged
by the soundness
of illusions we expand.


Abeyant limbs stab the ides
with a flimsy shade,
Parked buds tumefy,
eddied in the tepid jetstream.
Lonely gaggle-strays
prematurely return,
stand selfishly straight
and ringnecked on a pond island.
Aviary music swells
beyond its clipped wings; blankets of feathers
break over pimpled birdflesh
in recurrent waves.
Hands of internal clocks sink
to a depth of the tallest hour,
while an unconscious violet
rises with a split clitoral petal.
Snow is razored by the sun
into clean shaven slopes
and intermittent springs
rupture the ground
reminding me
how winters lie.


What We Know Sonnet


Possessing not the insight found in time,
that wraps a journey unaware, and claps
inaudibly in cadence, fractal rhymes.
We yawp, express this life in tattered scraps
of what we feel and map what seems so new,
but is it fresh or just repeated strolls;
the human gait still searching for a clue.
Insisting on rewriting former scrolls
of dead ideas there inked by bygone blooms
of us. Immersed and yoked with joy and pain,
the wonder of encounters since the womb,
our consciousness evovles beyond the brain.
Alive, unchaperoned and forth we go,
from youth through death recalling what we know.

Finding the Bitterroot


Drive past the the weeping pinions
with their fists thrown down in cones.
Leave Sun Valley to the wealthy skiers
and the silent City of Rocks
and their hard opinions
to the climbers.
Become accustomed to the volute Snake
at the feet of the Sawtooth.
It will only cut deeper next spring
shedding a skin of rafters and fisherman.
This is where the White Sturgeon flex
through the tourmaline depths
staring from the sides of their heads
with dime-open eyes.
They slice the water with their scythe of a tail
into jejune zigzags.
Imitate them in your undulating rise
through White Bird Canyon
shrugging its way to elevation,
leveling on the Camas Prairie.
Be taken by the gargantuan cultivated ripple marks
of the Lake Missoula flood,
it has combed its green hair
and turned amber into September,
funneling dust behind percussive
John Deere machinery.
Pass through Lewiston breathing through your mouth.
Inhale the pulp mill that levitates its sour stench on the valley,
caring not that infants are born there and later
the odor reminds them of home.
Follow the Clearwater as the river starts
to pinch out egg-shaped boulders
that roll down from the peaks
knocking off the corners of centuries.
You have begun your ascent up the Bitterroot.


It rained all night, snowy peaks blink
at a freshly washed valley in their abdomen.
People squint, hint at their fatigue,
but can’t hide the vacant intrigue of jaywalking
through gawping Sunday roads.

Manholes explode with steam
are flapjacks on the tarmac.
A metallic morning is netted
in the bird bones of naked trees,
licked by the curved tongue of a curb.
The day reflects in rubbered
black galoshes, squashes and disturbs
everything the darkness had assumed,
is aging into noon.

I am here too soon,
squandered in this light, laundered by last night’s
sheets that swirled through thighs and elbowed
plushly pale hellos to our
wallowed limbs on down pillows.
Exposed profiles,
disclosed pieces of nuance,
made a separate peace with consequence,
distilled forgets
with common sense.

This day arriving, scatters,
grows up late,
gathers deadpan jokes, matters of fate.
I fumbling, failed,
derailed, survived the bend
and humbled in the end,
to understand delay.

Softer Than Itself


Complications fade in the proximity
of a your unexpected form
and strips magnificent
in shoulders, hips,
revokes the facade,
catches the day and quietly
tosses it away.

Ceasing to rely on recognitions,
tenderness undresses
in bundles of nakedness,
twists together hairs,
spins them between
gentle digits, forgets
remote strands.
The heat in private tears
and treachery retreats.

How gracefully gaunt hours
can encompass a pilgrim’s
compassionate touch:
towers of loneliness pencil
intimate shadows.
Foreignness migrates
under careful fingers.
Flesh tested
with subtle finesse
responds beyond
its boundaries,
expands and
is so much
softer than itself.