Saturday, March 27, 2010

Essay at Eagle Lake

The warmer weather here in Kentucky is allowing my boys and I to get out and take long walks in the woods. Sometimes those walks inspire poems, as this one, written towards the end of last summer, when everything was at its peak. Essay at Eagle Lake is forthcoming in Inscape, Morehead State University's Literary Journal. You can also read more of my published work here. Enjoy!


Essay at Eagle Lake
Morehead, Kentucky

Twice the doe has strayed to the bottom of the hollow,

where chicory and goldenrod grow,
where tree line meets path,
and path meets water.

And twice have I met her, and once looked for her.

I have found geese as well.
I run at them just to see their excited departure.
I want to watch them fly away from my simple violence.

Of course I stumble and fall.
I’m afraid I am as my father: impatient for the infinite.

I hunger.

I look for the doe and I look at her long.
I feed on her soft doe-eyes.

I brush the gnat from my eye.
as she twitches her ear,
and stamps her hind leg to shake off the horsefly.

I never stop looking.
I cannot let go of the strange, bestial embrace of our gaze.
I fill myself like a tick until I am
satisfied as if

my blood-gorged body hung
from the white fur of her belly.

We are in this world together for a moment
and then she is gone,
bounding away like she was made for this dream.

I must return, too.
Of course I recite these lines to myself along the way.
I do not want to forget them.

These things are valuable to me:
the doe, the geese, the purple and yellow of the chicory and the goldenrod.

It is because I can use them again and again
that I emerge from the woods like a madman, a gadabout, a poetaster,
dirt-drenched and sweating, mumbling, always
mumbling to myself.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Poem

We missed February (well it was short and snowy, what can I say?), but I have high hopes for March.

I thought I'd just post my brand newest poem, which is always a risky venture, but it has been vetted by my brand newest writing partner. We meet Monday mornings and share whatever's presentable or new and exciting. So here it is, after one round of revisions. Thoughts and comments are welcome and appreciated.

Happy almost-Spring!!

In The Moment Before The Teacup Hits the Floor, I Think of Lao Tzu

Just like that I dropped it
almost like I meant to do it
the teacup from my grandfather’s house

It probably belonged to my grandmother,
though. It was an M. A. Hadley,
sort of special, not too fancy, just homey.

In fact, there was a picture of a little home
painted on it in blues and greens.
The cloud next to the little home

was loopy and swirly in its porcelain sky.
At the bottom of the cup, it said,
“The End.”

I was thinking all of this as I mourned
for that little cup,
on its way down, containing

a column of clear air,
cupping cups-full in infinitely
minute spaces of time and then

letting each go, infinitely.
I suppose I felt a small—tiny, imperceptible maybe—
surge of relief as it smashed

a satisfying noise and a satisfying
pattern: the shards exploded radially
as petals from their stamen.

“Oh wait!” I said, trying to ward off
my oncoming thirteen month old daughter
“Wait! Mommy needs to clean this up.”

But she didn’t listen. “Uh-oh,”
she said. “I know, it’s sad,” I said.
“Hug,” she said, and did.

For a moment, I held two big pieces
together, contemplating crazy glue
but I didn’t want to be reminded

of my failure to hold on
or of my grandfather’s gap-toothed mouth
so I dropped the pieces

into a plastic bag and tied them up tight
so as not to cut the hands
of the men who collect our trash.