Running Stitch
The hand that spins the yarn has also sanded the frame, has lit the fire and boiled the morning coffee, has brought the trash to the curb for pick-up, has started the ignition of the car that sits in rusted place in the old garage.


Noon is the hour of making do: smack in the middle of need and want, those two tips that touch and break, touch and break, mimicking the hinge in the collarbone.


The earliest words learned in a new language: body parts, swear words, words with which to make a promise, words to oil a stone. Which ones cannot be taken back?


You know when someone will change your life: that split second when an edge makes itself more sharply apparent. For instance, an upturned collar in the crowd. Then, stepping into the sunlight’s bronze hoops, blinded by something you cannot quite decide— whether akin to remorse, or pleasure.


In response to Via Negativa: Topocentric.


Nobody has time for work anymore, we just commute — four hours each way in our air-conditioned sex machines. Real objects have been given painted shadows so we remember what we’re here for: to know our place. The ayatollahs of sacred architecture instruct us to watch our feet as we walk & keep count of all our steps in a spiral-bound notebook. The forests may have gone away, but we can still plant flags in the cracked & peeling earth. I stop to admire a crowd of feathered dinosaurs bobbing their heads, closing in on that lady with the walker who’s scattering crumbs.

Proclamation 1021: A Ghazal

“…even a Bodhisattva’s career is oriented within emptiness”

It was the summer after the fall, after the First Couple fled to Hawaii. We joined
the crowds lined up to see her museum of shoes: each pair embellished with emptiness.

We’d just come from a trip north to visit old churches. We gaped at such audacity—
their likenesses painted on a basilica wall: as angels ascending through the emptiness.

Who remembers those days, those nights, or the period called martial?
The soldier who raided the arsenal dined with us the week before he disappeared.

And countless others stormed a bridge, raised a banner, painted slogans,
took to the hills. They warned: the countryside is not a vast emptiness.

We housed the daughter of one of my father’s friends. One night, maybe two, as she
fled from agents of the state. Blacklists grew as our houses feigned emptiness.

Memory’s faulty, memory’s short. History’s long, or really, just repeats itself. The widow
and her son are back in power. The poor watch politicos squabble in the emptiness.

Who remembers those days, those nights? Rallies and explosions in the square, our poets
and intellectuals jailed. A people’s anthem of a captive bird, singing in the emptiness.


In response to miscellany (living hagiography 9.20.2012).


This entry is part 29 of 34 in the series Small World


Keep it together, brother.
Don’t fret the empty head,
the female thread.
Don’t let them call you
a dumb thumbscrew.
Stand tough over your stuff
with your spatulate antlers,
your battle rattle
ready to let fly.
—Or is that, in fact, a pair
of tin ears?

A Thumbnail Taxonomy of Rivets

This entry is part 28 of 34 in the series Small World


The rivet family is generally divided into six genuses: fully tubular, semi-tubular, self-piercing, split, tapped & compression rivets. Depending on their niche & matrix, they may be made up of copper, brass, aluminum, stainless steel or carbon steel, and their heads may be flat, oval-shaped, counter-sunk or trussed. Fully tubular rivets are mostly hollow, with a hole depth equal to or greater than 112 percent of the diameter of the body, while semi-tubular rivets, the most commonly encountered genus, have a hole depth less than 112 percent of the diameter of the body. It’s unclear, however, to what extent this classification reflects a meaningful cladistic distinction. Self-piercing rivets, despite their name, do not pierce themselves, but simply pierce sheet metal or aluminum by themselves, without needing to fit into pre-existing holes. Split rivets have evolved to inhabit soft materials—wood, light metals, leather & fibers—which they grip in two ways, the body piercing the material & the sharp prong ends folding back and biting in. Tapped rivets are found in materials too thin to accept their own tapping—a mutualistic arrangement. Compression or cutlery rivets, with their solid bodies & chamfered shanks, have adapted to the extreme environments found in the handles of knives.

Fire Drill

This entry is part 46 of 47 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2012


The alarms go off at ten, lights flashing
on each floor. And dutifully we file down
the stairs to the courtyard, where fall’s
first sharp wind is blowing. The sky
is full of rain clouds dark as the underside
of vultures’ wings. And you know, where there
are vultures, there is always death
waiting for its cue: even in those old
Looney Tunes cartoons, they watch with interest
from the canyon’s rim as the wild-eyed hare
or speeding roadrunner miscalculate the road,
then skid, and plunge— All is practice
for the real thing. But not today, not yet
today— Shrill bells cease their jangling.
The elevator lights blink green. The bunny
with the overbite and the long-legged bird
spring up, intact. The chase is on again.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Speaking for the 47 percent

Erin Belieu:

I see who you are, Mr. Romney: you’re the kid in the locker room who assaults a boy for being gay. You grew into the guy who thinks it’s okay to tie your family dog to the top of your car for a road trip. You’re a man who lacks a basic empathy chip in your hard wiring, the essential character to experience other beings as more than percentage points or likely voters in swing states. You have the suit. You have the haircut. You have more money than God. But you don’t have the soul to actually imagine others outside of your small and privileged experience. And this, I’m afraid, is your personal tragedy. Please, don’t make it ours.


This entry is part 27 of 34 in the series Small World


A god-shaped hole
filled with suffering.
Go ahead,
wear it around your neck
as if you’re entitled
to the gleam of others’ tears,
as if your own
microscopic irritations
could so entomb the light.
Tell yourself the oysters
sleep easy in their beds,
that no pea could keep
such plebians from
a sound sleep,
& that it’s absurd
to see a world of pain
in a grain of sand.

Letter to Convergence

Dear one, here I am again, still always addressing
you; and here’s the season’s changing light, the juncture
at which the past and future are once more equinoctial.

When were they not so? Meaning to say, there is no need
to make it harder on ourselves, no need to agonize unduly
over those who walk past in such cold, glittering beauty—

oblivious to the soul perched on the farthest twig, brown
and insignificant, damp and trembling slightly in the wind.
You won’t believe me if I say it will get easier; I can’t

blame you. Yet I know wet tinder catches fire, eventually,
burns no less brightly for its numerous delays. Now, gray light
and rain; but blow, wind; scatter your auguries for change.


In response to small stone (151).


Idle Words:

And really, what are you supposed to do if you suffer from a factitious disorder? Go to the doctor? You’re already at the doctor! And anyone who wants to get better, by definition doesn’t have the disease.