These lines on my belly are tangled and thick like
The dark underbrush of some Amazonian paradise
Where between the indigo streaks of
A primeval forest
Dance vibrant birds.
I can hear them singing there, chirping just beneath my skin,
A simple song of birth; of a million women clawing their nails into the earth, as in ecstasy they hear,
That first soft and mewing cry.
These lines are stretched thin over a canopy of soft and
Rolling skin, once taut and bronzed,
Now gentle and accepting,
The dance of tiny fingertips and toes
From deep within, and now without,
In the darkness of the night,
When I pull the covers to surround my children in
My warmth; the love that seeps from
Forests deep inside, and trickles without end
Through every hallowed line.
A high ridge in western Wyoming.
A heavy backpack on my shoulders.
Beneath me and rolling to all sides,
Darkened slopes of alpine forests
And reddened canyons cascading
In jagged crops of rock to
Unknown and wild gullies below.
And beneath the western sky,
Along the continental divide,
I am feeling like a thing that blends,
Like I could will my spirit from my skin and let it bleed into the sky and all the mountains calling, come!
And I would answer,
Here I am! Take me! Fade me into your crystalline air.
Erase me! Let this body go and drift my spirit into your singing spines.
And let the wind begin to roll,
In great waves,
Over slopes of thickened pines and brush,
It floods me in a rush that sounds like the aching song of something still free.
The rise and fall of a magestic, sacred sea.
Bent like an ancient oak with rivulets of
A simpler time
Running deep through etched lines
And leathered hands whose grasp tells stories
Of cows, and dirt, and constant work;
A lifetime of losses buried beneath the skin,
And in the earth.
Warm the way he coddles my babies,
Tussles their hair and stares
As if cradling diamonds laid bare
Against his work-worn arms.
Laughing, his eyes dance from face to face
As if he can trace the cords that tie,
That bind and intertwine,
So many generations.
Worn thin and torn, that same old shirt, those wrangler jeans,
Socks pulled up to his knees,
And a ratty baseball cap, covered in grease;
It still reads, “Hereford beef.”
And now, the ashes of a cigarette, a favorite coffee mug,
The scent of hay, the settled dust,
muddy footprints on the rug
In a quiet house,
For grandpa to win this bout,
To overcome the longest drought,
The meanest stud,
The cancer that cripples him up
In a hospital far away.
And when the butterflies returned, they fluttered down from
Hidden caverns draped in verdant moss.
Trailing dark tendrils of apocalyptic dusk
They settled on the fragrant grass,
And like recessed memories,
And when the butterflies returned, they flapped their harlequin
Wings like Ashanti dancers in the wind
Clothed in Kente cloth,
Alighting on graveyard moss,
And like the faded wording on a wooden cross,
And when the butterflies returned, they skimmed like vibrant gems
Across the sea, and gathered like scattered drops of multicolored rain
Across the fallowed fields,
And rivers that had healed,
And where man’s touch had once disfigured,
Now all forgot.
pick your poison,
burn burn burn, and
snare, flesh out an idea
and let it take hold. grit
your teeth, strip the bark
or just strip instead.
cherry, rabid, dragonflies
and headlight eyes.
this dream running us
ragged, this glittering
copper and boil before
There is a piece of your skin that refuses to burn.
I keep sinking my teeth into it.
shivering dogs have no business
jumping in cold waters
expecting a hot towel on standby
their bones will pay the price
when the rot and damp set in
poets and old dogs have no business
writing poems with gummy mouths
no bark or bite to the written word
the end result an illegible prescription
see the new dogs on standby
the muzzle off their writing
their teeth bared
foaming at the mouth
Dance me out like a demon,
Tremble, froth, quake.
Shift your hips with the screaming
Of phosphorescent snakes.
Dance me out like a demon,
Convulse in jagged tongues
Whip your back till you're bleeding
And beat like a ragged drum.
Ooze me out like a seeping,
Weeping, bursting, dripping wound,
Roll around like a sparrow
Arrowed dead beneath the moon.
Dance me out like a demon.
Quiver, retch, cry.
Shake me out and weaken
To the rhythm of my thighs.