Under the Swollen Moon

It is autumn now, and down by the creek
The trees bend in the northwest wind and wait
For nights to bring frost with long, thin fingers

Wielding scraggled and wispy brushes to
Paint everything with the colours of fire
While clouds roil and stream away in dark wisps

Under the swollen moon crouched on thin legs
At the edge of its wide white web of stars
To hatch a pale brood of spiderlings

Who will spin soon, in long and twisted strands,
Winter storms that freeze the creek and drift snow
Over this grass yellowing and matting

On the bank in the weak afternoon sun
While I remember your lips warm in the night.

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At the End of Day

In the fields oats
bend their heavy heads
at the end of day,
wait for rain
dawdling lasciviously
over the apples
turning red
in the south orchard.

When the rain passes
and the sky clears
we will see what will be
the harvest moon
already
honing its leading edge.

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Old Woman Walking with a Cane

The sun rises to find her on the move
Between the kitchen table and the sink
After buttery toast dipped in hot tea.
Every day she does everything the same.

Between the table and the kitchen sink
She’s carried everything over the years
Every day. She does everything. The same
Motions take longer than they used to now.

She’s carried everything over the years
In a sack stitched from bits of memory.
Going through the motions takes longer now
After more coffins than you’d care to count.

In a sack stitched from bits of memory,
She rummages all the time, distracted—
After more coffins? Perhaps lost her count
At last, this old woman walking with a cane.

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(Fuck) Teleology

And those who say every damn day,
Because they are enamored of why,
“I am not content to look at you
And sometimes, perhaps, even listen.”

Just because we hammer with why
The world is not required to love us,
Nor even to pretend to listen
To the thud of blood in our veins.

The world is not required to love us.
There is nothing intrinsic hidden
In the brackish flow of our veins.
I’ll tell you this secret for free:

There is nothing intrinsic hidden
In anyone in the world any day.
Sit on concrete, or under trees;
Be content to look at the sea.

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oo 000 oo (poems from old notebooks, summer 1997)

The moon, slightly past full, looks
squeezed at the top as if
                                        someone—
some god, some child (same difference) had
reached for it in a moment
                                        of desire
(perhaps for an over-ripe kiwi) and had it squirt
between thumb and palm into
the night sky.
The stars? Well, they splattered there.

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Pareidolia

Today the city blocks the north wind,
Leaves the harbour nearly calm
And keeps the small boats slack-sailed.

Slow clouds hang low in the sky, turn
The surface gray and streaked—a chalkboard
Gulls drag themselves across all day

In shrill, recursive scrawls that seem
Almost legible. But there’s no more
Meaning on the water than on the wall.

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​Happy Happy Joy Joy

Us? Just
trees in the wind,
memories of our dead
torn plastic bags snagged on
branches.

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