No Potential For Grace

An ache in the left shoulder, numbness radiating down the whole right arm, and all before the sun rose through rainy clouds. So little was held in reserve as always. And when the arrow couldn’t be found after, well . . .

He felt the process of pixilation as it happened, his smile literally grafted away from his face, until nothing was left but thin trails of smoke. A longing for tropical fruit whose moral components could no longer be avoided. And sadness – whenever he wrote about anger a whisper somewhere suggested instead he try sadness.

He felt his way from abundance. An ice storm, litter, a long painful flight. They were better questions than the answers indicated.

I looked North, as always on these mornings when the coffee refused or wasn’t blessed and so my “spirits” simply bumped along, bruisey and roughened. She moved on to spiders, a redirect of some kind that confused me. A barn wall adorned with antiques indicating what now.

Forward friends, the deluge awaits us all. Her brief note brimmed with similar sadness but curiously deviated from the well of expectation. Must I sleep on the fulcrum again, the blanket stapled to my chin?

Nobody wears green eyeshadow to department stores anymore. Finding the right guy – who says I didn’t? He wrote, he allowed himself that the one act of generosity.

I felt you all over my body with no potential for grace. A familiar dream blurred by chalk, embers, embarrassing references to love.

Categorized as Sentences

A Sign You’re Out There

While napping, I heard voices two lawns over, discussing what sounded like a pending crucifixion. I knew a man whose voice sounded like a fan belt going.

The mist muted distant trees, their lovely foliage, the only effect worth mentioning. Love and pride commingled in that moment with tears which as always were gone as soon as they appeared.

I keep waiting for some sign you’re out there, listening, but it never comes. I did notice walking yesterday that the fields beyond the river are officially forest.

That mist, wraith-like, the first time we tried getting high. When cars passed I stepped far up the bank as if death were right there watching.

The twenty sentences struggle later in the day. All day I wrote and now my right arm feels shorter than my left.

The best thing about having student is how much they teach you. Sleep is as always a refuge.

“I long for something – something that I don’t have.” The pumpkins, for example, which steadfastly refuse orange.

My childhood was defined in part by the presence of pheasants. Adulthood by turkeys, possibly bears.

I await word and it never comes. Repetition is harder than it looks.

The tree that holds us all up is hidden in a glade. Like a loved one’s prayer I coasted through the day.

Categorized as Sentences

Only Longing

The umbrella reminded him of turtles, condoms, walking sticks, and certain letters of the alphabet. One stone fell into one shoe. She apologized to the executioner who leered, brandished a pair of shiny silver scissors.

The city was fake, invented as a dream, and when he reached out for it he was revealed that way, as one capable only of longing. The sheep came down from the hillside, bringing with them rain. The umbrella was broken but he couldn’t part with it because it reminded him of an old photograph of his grandfather.

That was how it went in those days, three bills for dinner, then a long slow walk by the lake while the sun set. Your profile haunts me the way an injured crow might and not a single poem passes without some day set aside in it for you. He wrote, he made shit up, he put it all out there for anyone to read.

The last of the summer turtles slipped off its warm stone into the pond’s murk and the echoes of it passing stayed in the air longer than one might expect. The ruins of old cars, a tractor, broken glass, shotgun shells – markers, all. The walk was long and on it God forgave him, lifted him up. made the brown trail and gray rain lovely for a moment.

One day and the mail arrived! He wrote that words alone could save him and this was something you understood, however you had resisted it some twenty years earlier. I did not forget the rose but only lacked courage to bear it forward in the face of your family’s class-based disdain.

So at last the twenty sentences don a pale pink ceramic mask with painted tears below either eye. The circus was only half-set up before the mayor came down and said zoning laws prohibited its operation. The workers wrapped up in their musty blankets touched each other in the dark, they were the only ones who could say they were unafraid of sorrow.

We pulled the sleeping bag tighter which was an admission, and somehow also a letting go. The words falling away in the dark like drops of rain go unimpeded.

Categorized as Sentences

What Do You Hold Back

Was it a brown sweater with holes? Was it one candle or two and were they – was it – scented? What poem did I write with all that empty space so privileged?

Was it a leap? Was it a fall? Was it a dance of some kind, a sad folk dance perhaps, one that invoked death, that drew forth the Goddess’s ceramic mask?

Was it snowing or raining? Was it cold or so cold? In what phase was the moon?

Where was Dan in those early days? Had either of us yet read about the Salem witch trials? What was Albany but where my father went to return so tired?

Did I piss on the other side of a guard rail? Did I deliberately forget the rose under the dashboard? What was it about walking that we went so many miles so happy?

Did you become a teacher or an antique dealer or both? Do you ever think now of Lake Champlain? Asked about art, what do you hold back from your answer?

Is there such an event as the last time forever? I dream about you a dozen times a year, nearly always linked to the new moon’s elide.

Categorized as Sentences


What you cannot say in words you must put in visual terms. This is a happy family. You are supposed to be grateful.

Run and try to catch one another. This has to do with pivoting on an axis. If you want to kill your rival in the eyes of a woman.

A realization of any kind. Zealousness is the enemy of meditation. All women become weavers.

Something that is not visible. A danger of groundlessness. Mystery is more interesting.

The serenity of the landscape above the water. Color is a blessing. Very fragile on its legs.

Tools of torture, mostly cutting. Made with pleasure. She gets shot at.

A solution of continuity. During the night I count the hours.

Categorized as Sentences

Pleasant Thrum

One child understands space, the other time. Where the marigold was last seen waltzing. Winter runoff exposed blue glass, gleaming detritus from a decades-old dump.

Red mud, white scat. A square of sunlight mistaken for papyrus, even these days. Low brook, pleasant thrum.

They come hard or not at all which – I can this now – isn’t true. Three acres alongside a high wire. He turned off the engine to give me directions and I was greatly impressed at how gracefully he pronounced the name of several Hindu gods and goddesses.

How did she feel, the actress, kissing him there on the boat? They watched stars fall with others at the airstrip, though nobody said a word to anybody else. I’m back, ready for bed.

“Why do you always have to do your twenty sentences?” One of the dogs slept out all night which made him friskier than usual come morning. The tent drying on the dining room table made both of them laugh.

No going back, no “tweaking.” One of the students reminded him of Scott Baio, another of Luke Perry. That’s not music, it’s a fan belt going.

Archers on horseback, that’s what I want you to dream about. Or Randy Rhoads, whichever comes first.

Categorized as Sentences

Not Curative

Calliope music where the horizon blurs. Letters read in trees inflame the heart. A red feather no doubt signifies a dead fallen cardinal.

Or else, where the last of the ‘mums gathered dust. A dip in the earth you could call a valley. Sipping wine beneath clustered stars, blossoming frost.

Fear spreads like butter in summer. Bicycles, canoes, roller skates, trucks. See where the fragments conspired to become a list?

A folded cloth in the center of which was blood. The toothmarks of rodents on bones found in a glade. Pink quartz resembles liver in sunlight near the bathroom window.

Leaves just fly off the calendar, they do. There was a missing arrow, there was a threat of additional mail. Dancing despite his death, thank you, twenty years ago in a defective Piper.

The options include milk and not choosing. Rope was used in place of the traditional leather belt. His serenity was skin deep, you could pop it with a pin.

Learned powerlessness. Where knowledge itself is not curative.

Categorized as Sentences

Lady Macbeth’d

The holy black spot. G force affixed to the broken larynx.

Gorging on the history of deprivation. Bales of anger sinking in the ragged sea.

You foresaw all of this and penned a blank check to me anyway. The linoleum whispered its own vague promise.

Bears in the distance chuckle as the gibbous moon rises without strings. Shooting up in the old days is no longer an option.

Cheap beer, cheaper cheese. She failed to open her arms which given the magnitude of his headache didn’t really mean anything.

Amount to what he wrote. Searching medical dictionaries for likely phrases.

“This land is my land, it isn’t your land.” The llama would never make it in Greece where men bear their insults differently.

Old card games and then some. Repetition is also a way of making a point.

Hence, the holy black spot. A gored matador in love with oxen.

He wrote in search of the Sisyphean grace. Also the holy black spot which so plagued him it Lady Macbeth’d him.

Categorized as Sentences

Collusion Against The Whole

Between two full stops like a black desert train. A butte, a plateau, a field of wiry cactus – all this comprised distance. Was it only yesterday that we wrote about the motivational properties of steam?

Syrup in glass bottles rattle at a sudden passing roar. They turned their faces into musty pillow in order to muffle a spate of loud moans. After, he slept facing North which was comforting as always.

The apples “busted out” of the orchard. A moose picked slowly over the sweetened deadfall, an ache in his left rear thigh. The poem began to gather momentum where the phrase “anterior ligament” entered into it.

He modeled his approach to poetics after a favorite porn actor whose death had grieved him. Held loosely as a fist might a beloved pen. When the fluttering of leaves was considered sufficient and incendiary.

Halloween as sport, also an occasion for snowflakes to make an appearance. He struggled with the idea that sculpture was an event in time, seeing it instead as an object that was obligated to bear the passing of moment after moment. Theory, he wrote, was never my strong point.

An old dog in the still-dark dawn mistaken for a lumbering bear. Dreams of fruit juice offered up by an old teacher. He considered his belly a harbinger, hence all the poems having to do with hunger and fear.

What do you have against a heap of fragments? So many pieces in collusion against the whole.

Categorized as Sentences

This Nadir Here

Orangutans tickled the ivory. Split level cake, piles of whipped cream. Over coffee, beers, tall glasses of water.

Slumbering fundamentalists faced with Emily Dickinson. She stepped back to breathe and the world followed a model of obedience. You can read this sentence any way you want.

A phenomenon that ended after diligent head colds. The true nature of crisis arrives over breakfast. Sunlight filtered through the last of the tomato plants, was deeply reminiscent.

We were borrowers awaiting a dream. A story line that promised fame and fortune yet otherwise remained elusive. Darts, dog barf, doughnuts.

And sterling silver in unopened drawers. An oval begets a mouse. When it came to geography vs. landscape he didn’t hesitate to take sides.

Over-cooked steak. A wine bottle rolled back and forth over the kitchen floor making those who watched think of the sea. Let us now bid farewell to the primacy of the word.

A letter arrives, awash with sweet steam. This nadir here, not the other.

Categorized as Sentences