Texanah

in the North where
the beauty wears magnificent trees
and glacial rock sculptures
they still have to borrow sky
from Texas, Texas is nine parts sky
and blanketing above, that
cloud-boil, above the cities too
where the deer trails are paved
is not a place, not kept, not held, no vault
an Olympic tangle of mind and air
roads chalkline straight
tide pools French-curve shallow
horizon a dazzling shaft of lightsaber
and skylight so thick
you could build a house on it
and think about retiring

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Sometime a Ballet

on a scale of one
to when, seen again and again
lace-mated shoe pairs
old nikes and reebok, adidas
dangle high and put on airs

who cares look now, ballerina
pointe shoes pirouette it
as she dances dark ideas
go to dance class, no forget it
twirled up with care to spare

in the air, retire on a wire
what culture, let’s fire
one up along the way
there’s a time for ballet
but get real, not today

Slurry

The Artists Of Altamira, arthinks (blog)


hypnotic slurry of brilliance and
stupidity, compassion and acute heartlessness
and endless demagoguery
these ancient cave paintings

these wartime leaflets
these political campaigns
this social network
this us, this me

it’s still here

a sour feeling in its stocking feet
the drip coffee brujo divining
a caffeine poultice in the
filter basket, his sweat lodge
as his supplicants pace the ceramic tiles
eager for blessings

a fitful sleep is begging to be recalled
to stake its claim on waking territory
already invaded by packs of wild obligations
our noses in our notes
obstacles of tempered steel loom
that still life painting
in the hallway taunts me
with its confidence, its sense
of fulfillment, its dubious claim
that things can bypass the madness
and simply come to rest

what appears to be real
does indeed appear as real
it’s all an inexhaustible network
of causality where even
impertinence is sustained
and the logic of what’s allowed
to be admired, or to be shunned
the judgment
ease back, ease up
the rough edges can be deburred
by the embrace of ease
and small talk, clinking glasses
can later be heard at
the judge’s chamber door
if you listen, really listen

that exquisite stillness just before dawn
I slept through it again
but it was here, it’s still here

Poacher’s Grip

our jeep tracks on the savanna
under shimmering GPS satellites
my hands on these tusks
your DNA on this currency
we see the world like ivory
we see ivory

a tusk, a carving
a little dragon made of ivory
rare, valuable, and like a child
I’ve been told not to touch
as the money march of days, the trades
the deals gone sideways, the dancing
obscene jig of shifting market values
stampede through the grass huts
of all my efforts, my wrongdoings
the dream chasers, now the prey
my own teeth thought valuable
apart from my mouth
like a smile, apart from my face
on each side of my trunk, reaching
down and then up
from below my seeing eyes
to above

the border has fallen
defend us at the tree line
the village has fallen
defend us at our cottages
the perimeter is breached
defend us at the closet door
the door is opened
defend us at our honor

with our cache of ivory
and the betrayal of our
childish love of elephants