In the intertidal zone.

After time and weather have eroded a vision to sand, its attendant body may be found standing with wet feet in the remains, facing the invisible tide. There is substance here, too, but no name. We pour our loaded attempts to define it into the sea and she absorbs them, one after another metaphor, including this one now, until it becomes possible to say that the one with their feet at the edge of a lapping wave is actually long gone, adrift––waving, or not, and we hold cupped hands above our eyes, saying back and forth, Look, look out there, squinting.

Between the Word and the World

For John Clare.

Some remember your madness, your poverty, your unusual grammar, your melancholic breaks, but you loved the land and had some of the wild pasture in your blood––and the blight.

An eager listener, a student of nature’s music, you let yourself be carried on the wizard noise of the wind. You were always inviting others to join, but your neighbors preferred to count the land in parcels. To no end.

For you, poetry was the means of hearing, and by it you learned to read the living land, a music unto itself.

You found the world through the word, learning to name its birds by the sounds of their wings in flight. Listen a minute, you reminded, and hush.


When I learned that today is the birthday of poet John Clare (1793-1864), I decided to spend some time with his work, as well as with an essay by Stephanie Kuduk Weiner, “Listening with John Clare,” which highlights the poet’s particular sensitivity to the sounds of the land he walked so well (from Studies in Romanticism, Fall 2009).

Among Shadows

Treading light.

As I look again 

for a light in the dark, 

let me remember 

how the quality 

of its glow

will shape what 

I can see. May I 

find one to teach 

me to bear 


which also allows

for shadows 

to magnify 

some of the shapes 

I’ve been missing, 

that I may find 


and architecture 

for what is barely 

here, to coax 

its becoming, 

feeling edges 

with slow hands,

careful not to break 

the fragile wing, 

for the response 

of some soft give,



Worlds within worlds.

If every universe is wrapped in curves, each around an imagined center, 

and attention is a magnifying glass, consider the patience required

to work in miniature, to fit an entire nature in a grain of sculpture

and how the dreamer can renew the small world simply by moving

the face.

Here, too, is all of it,

and here the entrance





With found phrases from Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, Ch. 7 “miniature,” (section V., 159-163). 

Bodies in Space

Where we turned in wartime.

We became a constellation of bodies, orbiting the war.

which war? any war.

We saw one another as we saw its agents, half monsters,

half men.

                                    and the children.

We looked for patterns, traced the blood, and still we

could not see its inside.

                                    still, we asked

One another, what do you see?

                                    and sometimes said nothing

And sometimes we were a chorus of bodies in orbit,

                                    looking into ––

We were there, I saw the others looking through––

                                    it was so much

We could not take it in

                                    it held us to one another

Still, we turned.


Inspired by the art of Roberto Matta, especially Inside Outside.


What the falcon sees.

The poets arrived after the disaster. We learned to change colors for camouflage, as chameleons do. Sure, we were terrified, but we were also drawn to it, the gravity of this widening gyre––out, out. Where was the invisible falcon, the one who could no longer hear the old calls? These were creatures who could see what we couldn’t, and we wondered when they scanned the below of wherever they had flown to, in the unwinding beyond far from the center where we had once thought we knew ourselves––if they saw us in it.


Inspired while thinking about a concept in Samuel R. Delany’s “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” (which I couldn’t find online this morning so am including a link to the anthology where it appears) in the context of William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming.”

First Knowing

What powers may be.

There is knowing before proof, before language––a well of strength,

and a voice. All humans are creatures first, and does the oriole argue

for song? Is the song her testament? No, the song is what she is

singing, because she is.

For us, of course, sensation is not enough. But it is a useful power,

this measure between chaos and the beginning of self. How tragic

it would be, has been, may still be––when knowing is limited to 

what can be readily explained.

Beyond what simply is, what is it that matters? This is not about

what is done, but how. Not ends but means. If there are no ends

but this, imagine the meaning of a life, this fullness.

Here is a power born of chaos and from it, music moves, and through

its force, a body may learn its dance. What songs are missed when

this is muted, what unimagined means, and into what might we

pass, from this dark hour?


Inspired by Audre Lorde’s “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” published in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. And birdsong.

Last Landscape

A choreography of separation and rebirth.

In exile, a body becomes the means for making truth, denied.

The artist’s body a surrogate, the absent and the dead shine through.

In this container of memory, the present is only fleeting:

bird, river, house. Drip, wind, birdsong.

Gather now, impossible communion.

Human form becomes arid field, then a river

running. Witness, can you remember 

the homes of your lives

and your deaths?

The body is the song,

the message, 

the map,

the only home

and the last stranger on earth.


Inspired by Last Landscape, choreographed by Josef Nadj, with music by Vladimir Tarasov. 

Firefly Watch

Air, bread, poetry.

Let defense of ideology be drowned by birdsong. Let feeling, dream, heredity project forward and out, free of realism, a hallucinatory language of hiccup and fumbling spasm, following these enigmas of moving points of light until they erupt from your watch, another sun giving way to the next, the seismic pulse of these collective lights.


Inspired by (and with phrases from) the (translated) work of Aimé Césaire, Martinician poet, playwright, educator, and politician born on this day in June 1913. He died in 2008.

Scaling the Hours

Experiments in measurement.

An experiment in time, the idea for breaking it at the hours. You can, if you are willing, do what most children won’t. You can carve them as one would with an animal at the harvest, follow the joints––or lumber, into pieces to be assembled again, one segment at a time, the collected tasks the bearings for the dizzy hand, some terms that a body less willing to invite the dizzy spins can hold. Only by these cuts can we arrive at the conclusion, so often remarked by the aging, about how short it is. A child knows that a while a moment may be short, a glide, a song––Again, again!     

    ––it may also be made of so much forever that it becomes impossible to tell a body’s beginning from its end.