Greatest Hits

This entry is part 4 of 28 in the series Conversari

The inhabitants of my planet whistle in unison — I hear them through the airlock. It is their first & only dawn, & they emerge with joyful shovels & shadows. When they dance it looks like walking & when they walk it looks like the swaying of a drowned woman’s hair. Pennies from heaven fall into their pockets until, weighed down, they drop to their knees. Or so I imagine. They are too small to see, these natives, most of whom didn’t even exist at the beginning of this sentence. They subsist on a diet of pure sugar spun from sunlight & a few other ingredients (which are proprietary information & therefore may not not be listed). Despite their complete immersion in what passes for primordial soup, they have no time to bathe. It’s already noon. The metronome by which they breathe has slowed enough to permit the formation of a thought: I AM, or some such absurdity. Soon there will be letters of fire where before only lightning had graffitoed the clouds. They will look for ways to reproduce that don’t involve budding, which is frankly beginning to seem backward & provincial. They will discover the others who have been there all along, & what big teeth they have. They will head for the exits.


See Rachel’s photographic response: “Bottle of dreams.”

This entry is part 3 of 28 in the series Conversari

Facing backwards on the train
like a waxing moon, hidden wheel
of my belly a little wobbly,
I watch the hills pile up, blueing
as the gulf between us grows.
Who knows when or if I’ll pass
this way again? And then
I focus on the close-at-hand,
& realize all this time
I’ve been staring straight through
the reflection of a girl
who faces forward, pale
& attentive, hair the color
of autumn fields. We slow
down. The intercom crackles.
A station platform assembles itself
around us & stops, & the doors
slide open. What place is this
whose name requires two
clearings of the throat?


See the photographic response by Rachel Rawlins, “eye.”

This entry is part 33 of 63 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Autumn 2011

“If I cried out/ who would hear me up there/ among the angelic orders?” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies

We heard the news, we saw on video how
they sat in rows, arms linked, no chorus
sounding anguish from among their ranks.
Or pain, or anger— not that the formality
of silence cannot mean something seethes
beneath the bludgeoned front. Attack the head,
the ribs; pour acids down the throat and
scald the eyes. What civil liberties we take.
A student writes, They’re human too, they hurt
from all this fear.
Long days ahead, of vigil;
flushed nights spiked with sudden chill. All’s over-
cast. Phalanx of blue: faces that look, as they
close in, like neighbors’, brothers’, uncles’—
What you see, before the bodies fall to blows.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.