Thursday, May 22, 2014

Residual Haunting

Remember now the fraying of shadows,
the transparency of hours witnessed through a veil
stitched tightly with wandering forgottens.
Time lifts languidly past towered waves 
that roar blackly against sorrow's sands,
like tears and scratches on the lost attic film,
or wounded hands clasped against the darkfall.

Now remain indoors, the storm has descended
this snow-wreath'd mountaintop,
and no headlights dare cut the gloom
as you steer your crumbled way across
your map of worn, indulgent nostalgia,
thrust into the arms of regret, of towns
with stray-dog borders and 
wayward allegiances devouring
along fire-carved hillsides.

There's gravity in these harrowed fields,
these slow sleeping buildings and interstates, 
and the glow through the collapsed birches
where the sun decays its abject half-life,
a land swept apart by candles in windows
and hex signs scrawled in chalk on barn doors, 
the whisper of shorelines and skiffs unsailed,
and the songbird's most desolate call.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Night Work

Your signal fires are paling now, 
all that luminescent vitriol
sputtering back to the earth like
spent catherine wheels 
in the half-lit summer chill,
or the blossoming of fireworks
flowers over the high school fields
of this half-shadowed youth,
pines lingering beyond the goalposts
and the looming levees,
their jagged black spires 
like knives aimed towards 
impossibly distant stars,
a receding gloom of embers
as the rusting years commence.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

An Incantation

Gather and join hands together,
this is the autumn of our mountain.
The blindfold is thin protection
against the black winds raging
from the snowcapped peaks
through the hollow eaves of the valley.

This void stands, precariously balanced
in the talons of shadowy birds,
hunting the gray skies as the
crops erode into dust,
and the windows are shuttered
against the promise of a darkened dawn.

Scratch each name across a clouded mirror,
and draw an X through every one.
This is the blood season of last things,
and last words to recall them by.

Monday, April 28, 2014


In youth there were days of such blinding splendor
that in each scratched and faded photograph we're wincing,
as if we were all staring at the sun in our backyards, 
collectively waiting for some fantastic rapture to descend.

In those times I knew every fire road like my own skin,
every bone and vein of those rutted secret trails
carving at the forests beyond the neighborhood.
This was my topography, our permanent abandon.

Now those lines have trailed away into hovering mist
between bent branches, disappearing beneath leaves and logs
or ensnared in the rusted teeth of bear traps yawning metallically.
Now the timber paths have sung their last refrain,
and haunted, shrink softly into the horizon.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Memory Oval

As time defeats its half-life,
the already opaque shades darker,
a shadowed tree on gray and snowy land,
bordered in the depths of a mirror made of mercury,
ornate golden edges crumbling against 
a disappeared realm of peeling wall-roses,
in a room where seconds dissolve like hours,
and the years seem hollow and unfathomable,
all dust and ash and corroded tarnish,
without human whispers to support them.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Early April, Burlington

Winter's bitter grasp has receded now,
though lines of faded light still haunt 
the distant hills at evening's close,
and the trees remain gray configurations of bones
in the deepening green of waking backyards. 

There's still traces of earth and cold lingering in these walls, 
territories of candied frost along windowsills and steps,
and though the birds have grown bolder in their stirrings,
we remember the silent cast of snow on unlit streets,
and the rattle of plows traversing the neighborhood.

Yesterday, the cat brought me a rabbit,
young and soft as a fallen feather,
a single claw piercing its heart, staining the 
fresh white fur with the deepest cloak of red. 
At day's, end, she had felled another 
and left it on the porch threshold where we ate,
and it seemed spring's magnetic orbits 
of birth and death were there with us,
like a feastbound ghost floating in the margins. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Forest Fire, Linville Falls, 2007

How these dark flames lick at the branches of thorn
on the trembling hot eve of summer,
and whittle them to broken gray ash
with sparks showering orange pinpoints in the gloom,
each tree cowered helpless before the conflagration. 

This horizon was a jagged collection of black spikes
halo'd with pulsing columns of fire, 
striking lakes to pools of hell and murk,
instantly fossilizing the quicksilver of life beneath.

There is only open country 
and worried stars beyond this fevered blaze,
and the frame houses where rural faces float worried
at yellow-washed kitchen windows, 
the pair of us looming in the sour air 
at the threshold of a church parking lot
as the mountain crumbles and burns,
a swath of furious red, 
as if an airliner made an unscheduled landing
in the depths of these woods,
and burst into pieces upon arrival.