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Some Kind of Compass

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if we stare into the dark long enough, we see ourselves at some end or beginning –


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Sometimes cats had to die or dogs

The Moons of Jupiter

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Danger Above, Danger Below

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And you know that notion just goes to show...

Seven Haiku for Sad and Scary Times

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The Cheshire grinning/ moon cups itself to capture/ Venus should she fall.

Digging a Hole to the China Sea

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Could sampans fall upward, sailing from the bottom of the Earth? If so, which way would their sails bend—up, or down? And would the strange China Sea follow suit? Would salt water geysers spurt from the hole we dug, flooding the streets of Seattle?

When the Muse Abandons You

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I am abandoned to the mundane/ calculations of a small mind/ trapped by small considerations

The Secret of Belief

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I don't believe in symbols but there's a hole in my living room window in the shape of a bird

A Debt No Honest Man Can Pay

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I'm sitting here listening to Nebraska and it's / breaking my heart

Wednesday late, Friday early

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I wrote this during a poetry workshop at the Atlantic Center for the Arts with Carolyn Forché. January, 2015. So much more has happened since that stunning week.


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There's a mutual recognition...

Where I Live Now

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The young man is back again, solo,

Louis Belfast

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"You know, there really is a death of the heart."

Notel Nobel

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That was before Cohen died. Castro died. Castro Died should be a title by Samuel Beckett. Once I nearly went out to buy a bass clarinet just for the purpose of playing along with Leonard Cohen.


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Long slow night / moody lumbering freight train

Syllables of the Dead

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Nothing has changed// except the toys and fashion.

How Dinner With John Updike Ruined My Teaching Career

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Christmas Eve, 1989, I had dinner with John Updike.

Any poem is possible

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I wrangle word juice from the Oxford American, sighing at photographs of blues musicians with solemn lakes for eyes.

Animus and Vitriol

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At some point, we will have to shoot them/ through the eyes and skull and heart

Of Cameramen and Death Squads in Tbilisi

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we share somewhat the same past he was bureau chief of ABC overseas

He Spreadeth Sharp Pointed Things upon the Mire

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My uncle looks into the bleached eye of his cat and asks "What happened to my ear?" The meerkat’s eye replies: "You had cancer. Remember? They had to cut off your ear to save you."

Strange and Silent Hands

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I shuddered. This is how we are chosen by strange and silent hands.

Fatuous Dialogue #1

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—Was it true, what you wrote in that poem? —Pretty true. —What do you mean “pretty true”? Was it true or wasn’t it? —It was as close as you get to truth in poems.


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It isn't for you to know


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A tiny story, 55 words, just enough to fit on a . . .

Napomo 17: April 7-12

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The drinking will continue/ until morale improves

Hart Crane Pantoum No. 1

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One must be drenched in words.

When the wind/sky really is God

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and all the trees are holding/their limbs up in prayer/and rain is mating with soil