Short Bio, with Lines from a Sci-Fi Cult Classic

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
 A spit might've been the after-
thought from some god's mouth 
or a chunk of reclaimed rock, 
but not in your lifetime.  If you 
remember what a coastline is,
it's no longer a project. You can drive
local though not on the freeway;
and sing, though you never learned 
to whistle. You've kept  ladyslipper 
orchids alive and brought a pilaea 
back from the edge of wilt, 
though you've never been 
to the Amazon. Have you calculated 
the ultimate question of life, the universe 
and everything? Hell no. You're the milk
you sniff after the sell-by date and decide
it should work fine for coffee; the wad
of paper towels you re-use for wiping 
down a couple more counters. And you're 
always attuned to the twinge in the gut 
which lets you know you're not yet 
a lesson  beyond loss, a grief beyond 
mourning. A speck of grit, a smart 
in the eye; a mouth for rounding 
a string of vowels at the moon. 



 

Balloons

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
As a child 
I used to see them
more often than nowadays
—floating free of some
child's hand, rapid speck
of disappearing red
against the blue, yellow
caught in the trees'
gnarled tresses. I'd lost
my own share long ago,
though the string might have
been tied around my wrist.
The ones we took home 
just sadly bumped
against the ceiling for a day
or two, before sinking to
the floor.  What for? 
But I remember watching
as such orbs of brief-lasting joy 
made a break for the open air.
A slip, an accident, and we
open-mouthed on the ground. 

Negative

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
We wait
for the sign
of a skittery hyphen, 

the slightest color change  
within the shallow bed
of a plastic wand.

In other tests, 
the sudden fall below 
or spike above a safe

threshold might spell 
peril and not release. 
90 systolic or 60 

diastolic. 10 million 
times or more than 
the average 

viral load. But
in these strange
open lots we navigate,

there's not one space
where you can park
that isn't half-lit or 

some way 
compromised.
Nothing's neutral.

Positive doesn't 
mean yes, negatives
can be false.

Sometimes we circle
around and around 
confusing ramps,

wondering where
to exit, wondering 
where to pay. 

Yes, Opulence

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
“The value // of joy is in its / asking, what now shall I repair?” ~ Kaveh Akbar


Unseen, mostly 
               invisible to the human eye—

the ways in which the neural
               networks search and fire, fire

and convey, or quietly sputter
              then restart along a fault—It's why

sometimes we'll hesitate in front
              of the open hand, the overflowing

plate, any corridor gilded with crystal
             and mirrors leading to a promise

deep within a velvet-tufted hive. For how
             does a padlocked gate or the garden

receding into wild ruin yet harbor the condition
            of repair? A house of paper can hold

both fire and the wind. Bits of coal 
            fell on the soil after a shower of lights

showed a door in the air we could enter, a space
           where we could sit, our faces glowing. 
             
            

Lyric and Narrative Time

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
I know sometimes I make up
names for things that might be
known by some other term—

Once, I gestured from the crown
of my head to somewhere 

at the end of my diaphragm,
saying Vertical time; by which
I meant all the ways in which

a moment feels either stopped
in its tracks, or many moments

that suddenly organize around 
a single  point: sand filaments
forming a starburst or corona

around a magnet positioned beneath 
a sheet of paper. All the while,

the minutes tick horizontally
onward: the minute hand 
moves from five minutes to 

the hour to the actual 
hour; a horn sounds the punctual

schedule for a drawbridge to lower
and then again to lift. Lyrical
shaft of sunlight cutting 

through glass before 
the shade is lowered.


FTL

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
hummingbird hover full 
tilt fast lane blink of 
an eye chop-chop
posthaste wind's bustle
hell for leather death's 
rattle drops of food
color in cold and hot
water upper limit wave
length changes in 
particulate matter 
but nothing
faster than light

Phenomenology of my Fears

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
If this is but a study of the appearance
of things or the way consciousness
has structured the experience of things, 
then this is the room in which a locket
has gone missing. This is a pillowcase
into which the thieves stuffed silver
and small electronics before climbing
out of the window and into the rain. I closed 
my eyes and pretended to be asleep while 
they rifled one last time through the drawers. 
That was long ago, but when it comes back
it still feels real. Moonlight passes through
the blinds, touching as if it could take.
I watch the windows while you sleep. 

Life Cycle of White

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
Ivory, ecru, massed
petals on three heads
of hydrangea. After three
days, each begins to sport
a light ochre outline. We know
what it means: everything 
goes into decline. Yesterday, 
a communion. Today, a wedding.
Tomorrow, blooms falling 
like snow into the open earth.

Nature Doesn’t Choose; It’s Just Nature

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
 
Everyone is counting on their fingers, 
holding their breath, waiting for the next
creature to come out of the sky to devour 
them. Corpses kneel on the ground, 
praying to remember the last thing 
they ate or saw or heard before boarding
the ferry. Clouds bearing promises of snow
prowl overhead. Sometimes they are selfish,
other times just careless. Who said Life
is a dream? Close your eyes, but keep 
your radar tuned to voices in the ether,
or the odor of rosemary and cypress. 
A man fumbled for hours in the woods, arms
outstretched, following the voice of an owl.

Living Inside the Poem

holloway overhung with ancient trees n Cornwall
No one told me 
what a poem really was 
until I heard a woman 
say in an interview: We 
are all living inside a poem. 
I thought then of the poem
of my early morning: 
the tiny bit of salt 
sprinkled on an egg
as it fried in the pan 
after I broke the white-
walled fortress where
it kept a little sun  
captive. And I thought 
of the poem of midday,
a window straining to open
after months of being shut, 
but whose wooden frame 
now shrinks from the cold.
The poem of the world
inside the radio crackled
with news of ice storms,
and people on the road 
huddled together all night
researching every pocket
of warmth to be found.
In another poem, a man
was bringing his wife
home from the hospital.
Fish in ponds looked up 
every now and then 
at the frozen ceiling, 
before moving back 
into their blue-
speckled rooms.