Study of Forms

Incandescent immersion.

Unless some energy comes to haunt, there is no movement in these words. But where does it come from? Things remembered, things observed, the contents of a collector’s shelf, or some displacement. A long drive will find it sometimes, the quick flash of wild creature crossing the road. Other times, it’s a matter of grim execution. Always the question of how much to push in the effort to grow a nascent being without killing it with overwork. We all move between the given language and the first, this waiting muscle bared and tense, all attention.

On Walking

For Frank O’Hara.

Some thought you traded transcendence for the unadorned insight of the street, but for you the moment was evanescent, always a strike away and you watched for it, another said, like a bird of prey, like watching for lost friends and death itself. 

Even your delight was uneasy, and your affections could glint like the knife’s edge you traced on your lunch hour walks, to swim your everywhere nowhere self in the drama of its lack where in a crowd of windows even what is––

a step away

was only ever 

possibly so.


Inspired by this morning’s time with the work of Frank O’Hara.

Hatching Plans

From the nest.

We watched the nest with time nodding in our direction, like Wait for it and our mothers said Don’t touch. We kept a holy vigil, peeping. They hatched when we were at school and we missed it. There they were: fuzzed heads, open beaks, waiting mouths. Their cheeping. We stood there, beholding our capacity for a reverence so raw, suspicious already that it would expire.

We missed their first flight, too, and their last day in the nest. One day we came home, and it was empty. Just like that. Later, it was gone.

There were things we wanted to know about birds––no, that’s not right. We found these lessons dull: rapid hearts and hollow bones, we nodded, watching the clock for dismissal. What I mean is that there were things we wanted to know as birds, of flight and how you would go about doing it for the first time. And how to land––anywhere, really. As opposed to floating off like forgotten balloons. And how did a body manage to break its shell, the boundary between almost living and now? To say Go! and mean it, beyond the race, the mere game. If we were birds, we would know we were real.

When one landed, the grandmothers knew it as the dead returning. When one came inside a room, it was a warning, desperate wings and beak sirening against the windows. We called for someone grown to help it out.

A warning about what? We wanted to know. But they only said that something is coming.

We meant to keep watch, but we kept missing the moment for the secret. We meant to bird ourselves up and out, far from the shadows that held us, to get to the part in living where we could cast our own––long and wide, over everything.

Spore Song

Beyond borders.

Sing to me, love, of in-betweens: sky and earth, dog and wolf, sea and shore. Here is closure and what separates. None of these vessels are self-contained, and yet. The machine hates an anomaly, abuses imperfection. Let us go now, growing over and around its quaint confines. It knows no better way to organize than these neat coffins.

What are these living forms if not nurtured by the choral collective of attendant force? And what evolves except by steadfast alteration of the given lines of code? We fly, spreading the mat of our mother’s limbs. Our destination is forever unknown. The strangers we find at the edges of the given world are our continuance.

What is this grace but an abiding refusal to submit to narrow names? Take this body, ever merging with the living and nonliving, with itself and every form, still unborn.

Voice of the Age

A study in fragments.

The voice of the age is a fragment, still jealous of fireflies, starlight; still confused about the first dead goldfish on a stage stripped of shadows, where shadow itself is barred, where the bars themselves leave no shadow, erased by floodlights on every side.

There are more words for the heart and what’s in it, for the world and what’s in it––and more still, maybe, for what isn’t anymore, but they keep getting disappeared in the moments for their imagined entrances in the rest of the sentences we keep starting by these ghost-limbed reflexes to word what we meant to declare, or ask, or exclaim with a full-throated yell.

Subjects lose their organizing action, and the actions continue, amputated from memory centers, and wherever the suspended would-be actors are, it must be somewhere and not the opposite of somewhere. As in, nowhere. As in, everywhere. As in, here.

Speaking of which, is another fragment. Who is here? Who breathes? Or what.


The opening phrase (“The voice of the age is a fragment“) comes from Brenda Hillman’s ‘[to the voice of the age]’.


Of intentions and nourishment.

Born carried away, of a desire that will neither die nor introduce itself by name to a stranger, it becomes obvious that I am that, too. So taken––from every place and the self, too––I cannot arrive.

At the end of everything, when the flow continues, so does this singular insistence. Bleed.

Hand opens soil to hide these delicate hopes, even at the end and especially then. Flower? Maybe. Of course, they will be trampled, as lives are. And yet. They will live, too. There is no certainty in this, but there it goes, happening.


Moving to stop.

A long way from their destination, the travelers continued for a very long time. After the last of their maps was lost in the wind, they kept on. They had enough provisions, but nothing of visible progress. Eventually, one among them said, “we’re not getting anywhere.” No one objected.

That night, there was a great celebration. Food and drink were passed around. They joked and argued, cried and laughed, danced and loved. Eventually, everyone slept until it was time to move again. The group continued, arriving nowhere, and spirits were vastly improved. 

Alice, eat.

Overheard, between chases.

There you go again, Alice, with your rabbit. What now?

Let me guess. It’s the old question about time, and

why you can’t see it, exactly, even as it leaves traces

everywhere while this visible abundance of space makes

a mystery of itself by including the atmosphere

with no evidence to label: this. It cuts you.

You should eat something. Here. Apple slice?

This, at least, is visible. Maybe also at most.

See the lilac, its leaning posture even in rest.

Now the oak, raining leaves.

Will love save any of it? I can’t tell you, Alice.

I am not laughing at you. Okay, a little. Here,

have another slice. I know you want to know

if it’s enough, but what are you counting:

acres? Dollars? 

Look, only a machine will move in reverse.

Your question is moot, muted by necessity

of movement between stations and the

fact that you are still hoping for a chance

to erupt from this constellation of endings

into a singular, magnificent bloom.

Another Invitation

To a dear poet.

To inscribe passion, make of it a history, burning with love and regret, holding posture ever toward the mortal crowd at the gates, immersed in time’s noise, still listening, long after Eden, for the miracle, knowing any journey can be a stand-in for all journeys, ever, the constant flight to another life: the dying, recalling; the oblivion, searching.

But what is this moving at the bottom of loss? It won’t be sold another scandal when it’s time to gather signs. I will lose myself and go again.

One day, when the barbed-wire walls are down, I hope you will come and see me in this bird-painted room. We will sit here together, watching the light move with the cat.

Light Sickness

Unprotected by shadow.

Madness is vision unregulated,

constant sight without ceasing.

Revelation without the refreshment

of blindness can only debilitate.

The continuity is unbearable.

To love and lose, again and again.

And yet, we madly want

this madness.


Inspired by Maurice BlanchotThe Madness of the Day (trans. Lydia Davis).