Winding down, descent into bedtime, the plane
is landing. Rough sheets, honest & white.
Dog curled up on his pillow, a life less
material, yet more bound. I drop the books,
I drop the pen. The sunlight falls on open

grass and shatters into pieces the dreamworld’s
colours are clearer, the rainbow’s shards brighter.
Too clear, I’ve dropped my body. I fiddle with my toe ring.
My list of books to read is growing; the list
of books to forget is forgotten. The mosaic

lamp casts its aura - broken rainbow glass.
Look, Dax, tomorrow starts another life,
with every sun that rises we are born
with every sun that sets it rises for someone
else.  It’s time to go to bed, you dolt.



That last patch of snow was no match for the Sun
Helios Anesti, begone Felon Winter
Today the green leaves began their appearance
The dog was giddy from all the scents
Revealed by the Earth's unfreezing

Through the Back Bay, the pond in the Garden
Waiting for water, people gathering in sunlight
The buds split open to reveal the start
Of a pink bloom, flowerbirth

Revelation, all the crap and sticks
The snow was hiding, lost items
Barrettes and gloves, dog shit
Bright enough light for all to see
The world that was so ice clean and white
Is now dirty, and this is the one time of year
We admit we like it that way


If a dream

If a dream can catch on twines suspended by
my head, it seems a wretch like me can ask
for more light & green than smoke & grainy
pellets of snow. Spring – waiting for
magnolia undeterred by today’s flurry
it came as it went – surprising it might seem
muscular tension would dissipate in steam
like threads in a design, but you can walk
around the building for several days and not
know if it’s winter still or spring yet.


Sunset thunderstorm

I burned away the grain
the rain coloured everything
birds uncovered the plot
secret garments rended
the mergansers are still absent
there is no train to Bermuda

Why did the lemons drop
their flowers and never leaf?
The sun's pain shone fervent
effervescent air, clouds, rain
froth of madness choking
gulls blown off course
the full bloom there lacking
pale petals, only stamens.


Easter Monday

If there was an extra soul
to break open when the first
was worn down, it was needed
Mondays.  The burst appendix,
the foreign visitor, the rum,
all the rum, Jesus Christ.
We couldn’t help but turn away
and run off, hoping for sunshine.
Feisty devils, they caught up,
the stray vultures, dying of thirst.
He spoke unheeded, they couldn’t
hear him.  I couldn’t hear him
but I saw his lips moving
and the scowls of his confederates
and knew it was time to go home.


last poem

this bed is too big, I roll
in my sleep seeking warmth,
breathing, these sheets go
to waste - I hear every frog

chirping in the night every
thrushie’s peep the buzz
of the electric fan lulls me
in this silence marked most

by the absence of your breathing
the dull thud of my heart promises
to send up bile, my hands
shake, I reach for you in the night

and find only memory the hairs
on my arm tickle me anew
the sun is bright and the air
is not poison but still I ache for you


Night drips down

A drop hits my bald head
I reach to feel the wetness of rain on my scalp
no I look at my fingers and they are ink
I move my eyes to the ceiling
blue and white, not gray
but in the very middle
the highest point of sky is a black spot
wet with ink dripping
this night instead of filling the eastern sky
and dropping like a dusky western curtain
is pooling in the middle completely black
the spot grows, the sky soaks in the dark
the whole sky will be taken before long
a new way of becoming night
if I ever forget to thank you
for sending the sun every day
may my life be bothered constantly
by gods that look like humans


Roosters Ocean

roosters crow, crows caw, macaws screech
screech owls whinny, winnies eat honey
honey is silent but bees hum, hummers roar

roars stifle and stifles bury, berries stain
and stain brings wood to life after its blood
is leached by sun and rain. rain patters

and patters are well fresh and fresh is a feeling
rarely felt these soiled days. days go on and on
suns set and hiss as they hit frothing ocean.


frieda kahlo

parrot with flames of hair, wings end in hands
his hands are clean in the clear moonlight of the islands

I am not a demon he declares with bloody teeth
trees behind bleed sap and green smells like death

there were many thousands trolling the graves
only he survived the night the earth heaved

whoever can look at him directly will turn
into me, but I will have grown thorns.


books are for reading the life that you want
into being alone – all the same, intelligent
monkeys can claim to have known the scent

of uprising, obscene and spectacular, burrowing
into the quiet betweens of the heart, narrowing
choices and feeling brows gone to furrowing.


roosters crow different at noon, bleached
houses glare their white back to over sky
above there is only blue and white, so simple


variations on a line I thief from √ėyvind Berg

the silence rasps
these loons rise up so
thistly, no serious poesy
those lying icy hours pass
the soil once rosy pays.


Can't Done

Today the rain can’t done – every gut
is spoiled with mud and rocks spilled down the hills
and roads – spewing the island’s blood into
the chalky green harbor – it’s now the drought
decides to end? On Wednesday midnight thousands
plan to take to darkened streets and dance –
For who? For life. No gods that wait to send
their rain and clouds till now get love from us.


Psalm 23

O horde of lepers: I shall not haunt
curdling pastiches. He lives in the rose, beside hurtful matters he feeds me.
Seething pressures my souls and rides me down white paths toward tame snakes.
Eating so, I balk at the alleys of wealth. He beats me, I hear no revels. You are my guide with your shoddy half of grizzled outrage.
Your head a fable to bore peons; height of woes, you appoint my dread and foil, my cup overthrows.
Overly good, guessing why it’s allowed me all the ways of strife. I call hell the house of the Lord, for the tears that call it home.



So what are roots anyway in these days of wireless? Today on the side of the road, shards of mirror lay on the ground by a dumpster, chickens pecking around them uninterested. Every single one reflected back to me something different. I have no native language.



How about dropping into pools, plop
at night swim eat flies or strive then bask
belly tan and cream heaving solid black
eye beading at the sky toothless mouth open.

Palm trees trunks so thin fronds hang
from nothing green black silhouette
bursts of rustling grassy flutter
underlining stillness dusty footsteps

How about the tail flicking where it dropped
tiny eggs in corners, babies if that's the word
hiding behind a painting whose orange sky
reflects burnt earth before thatch huts


how the bomb learned to stop loving us

The bomb wanted to hold us, but our flesh doesn't keep well touched by tentacles of flame, shrapnel makes the beloved bleed.

The bomb wanted to graze our fluffy hair and gaze longingly at our limbs; we responded by going bald and casting permanent shadows on walls.

The bomb wanted to breathe its promises into our ear, whisper its sheltering words. We died by the score, prostrating ourselves to the metal gods we made.

The bomb worried - our voices crumbled to nothing, our teeth fell softly to the ground.

The bomb stopped trying to love us and tried to love itself.

We had never asked the bomb to love us.


conure emergency

Outside in the dark there is a conure emergency
Erupting. The parrots shriek and break the quiet,
Nocturnal chirping bugs stop - I hear no flutter
Of wings escaping. A cat perhaps encroaches on nests?
The racket dies. A truck climbs the hill across the valley.



I never learnt to embroider or knit
I tie cloths in knots and tie
the knots to each other
I'm making something
to cover the table
I don't know what


Can flowers dream of

being people who still dream

of being flowers?


An afternoon at the beach

Everything around me is evaporating
The dazzles on the water this afternoon
Turn into clouds further down
The archipelago – the wind whips around
Umbrellas in frozen drinks, lotion
Glistening on tourist’s bodies and mine
Drips into sand and everything ripens


This Body is so Small

this body is so small. it doesn’t fill the porch. it doesn’t make sufficient noise to stop wars or make clouds drizzle out. it doesn’t shelter small animals or birds’ nests.

the porch has all this furniture that’s empty. the sun bleaches the chairs and the only other things moving are the potted palm trees and their shadows. and the wind. only ghosts can sit out here when it’s bright.

i tried to make a bigger body, but giant food was abhorrent. vegetables are dead and meat gets sticky. candy was rotting my teeth. water wasn’t enough to giant me and it never turned me into clouds.

i have to learn to be happy here. maybe it’s not so bad – i fit through doors and when I rain, no matter how much my eyes burn or how wet my skin gets, i don’t disappear. i might even grow to like food if i don’t expect so much of it.


the week ends

Sub base sunset, rastas hold still
for tourists, who start to slink
back to ships, sweaty workers
skulk down dusty paths, done
with their days, traffic heads west
with the sun, away from town,
pastel houses line dusty hills.
people exhale and are quiet,
respite is in the very air


Paper wasps and birds

another sudoku poem

brass wasps madden my space, each one flips
it gold ringed map about to make its crispy paper

a purple bird hurtles through new camps of the absurd
raspy breezes sound like papers clacking like shackles

it's safer to see the pulp bared in supple shadows
made by moons or brass lamps, avoid the gasps

I flop down and clasp my shadow, a bird limps
and chirps, drags cool white paper that bears the image

or glimpse of brass men shaded by paper and loss
they flop down bored and ride turtles, poor birds

above vapor into moons breaking up over hot meadows
whose bugs whisper about clamps to bind the moon

later so it can pour its supple cusp into heaps
they've heard the bad or swollen speak, popped

mostly words that flop about pasted down to moody
shadow people, glints of brass better cleansed

if the purple bird brings in its mouth another flapping
bird that's made of hissing paper bones and heat.


ars poetica

Being the first speaker of a new language
is sort of like being the last speaker
of a language that plans to die with you.

Actually there is no difference.


who gave the stars the right to break my windows?


Oyvind Berg

Pens express, squeeze out lines and create with tinges of ink
while I say all through cringing the streets with my eyes
filled with yes - this lit understanding I see on pages from Norway
differently burns out my nose. By pressing I express and depress

the destruction of structure that calls for instructing constriction.
I get what reading is for but writing is to forget the winter's snows
I didn't recognize sitting in my rain barrels, wet as Easter. It's time
to list what ails and drop it in a brook, since wings are not ours to give.


Once in a lifetime

I sharked into Troy, recalling kings
Who used to run their fingers through my beards:
I was Greek that day, my polished rings

Held diamonds and souls, I was feared
But only if crossed. This was before
The Troubles and Helen, there were deer

Dashing through gardens and the golden shore
Found me oiled and waiting for princes
To notice my charms. Like Hector, the poor

Darling should have come with me - the hints
Had begun, the rust colored clouds were gathering
In sky that hasn't been as gin clear since.


Emancipation Garden

I puzzle at the bust of King Christian IX
with its Danish inscriptions, a language whose
ghosts haunt our streets: Kongens Gade,
Wimmelskaftet, Fort Pladsen.

But if this is Emancipation Garden, where
is Von Scholten? What plaque bears his words
we all learned in school:
"All unfree in the Danish West Indies are, from today, free."

No flourishing rhetoric, no long-winded speeches,
no qualifications:
"All unfree in the Danish West Indies are, from today, free."
And where is Buddhoe Gottlieb who guided the slaves

in their petition for their emancipation, whose
name means "god's love"? And the Moravians, who taught
the slave children to read because at least the Danes
lacked the hypocrisy to ban such a thing?

Instead we get Christian IX, who became king
after all this, if my rusty Danish is right, whose son
accidentally burned down the building across the street
when a Christmas party got too raucous.

They've never rebuilt the third floor. No one knows why.


Burning Bush

blazing bougainvillea, the purple
burns my heart I cough ash
dust brown as the hills dry
to bone - amazed how fires leap
from petals through eyes and yet smell sweet
I am bewildered in all ways