_Sincerity often
needs two hearts,
one to
root and one
to flower,
one to smile
in time
of drought and
hold the
poisonous wine of
pain, the thorns
of love and
one to stand
straight, open
his arms and
hang like a savior
on a cross.
_Then red trees turned barer by each afternoon
like a bruise disappears and mice empty the silos,
vermin also enter the libraries gnawing on books.
I drove the road under shadows of the dying corn
to the rain and family gravestones.
The faith was tried by ordeal of water
as I wore the same clothing and bone
afraid for the woman and girl who come visit me.
And the mulled wine and apples colored the sky
like them I am widowed and childless.
I rubbed the epitaphs to make a name for myself
when the chapel owl took flight like a giant moth.
_ moon/light
spilled in
as she slept
next to me
in the gray darkness
of the hotel room--
dreaming something
behind those
half-moon eyes.
I realized then
I was in bed with her
not to make love,
but to learn.
not to touch her
bare shoulders,
but to study.
and it
almost took
my life
to watch her
w/o thinking

                    after a painting by Peter Hurd

cup the flame
and feel the heat
burning in the low fields
burning the mountains
blue, in the cool dusk
burning your cheeks and
the insides of your fingers.
Don't smile. But stare
at the origin of fire
feel how it can warm
like a dream and burn
like a fever. Then hold
the thin candle deep into the night
deep, deep into the black night
and be still, very still, until
the light


_ you leaned on the bar
like last time
bent over the pool table
to make your shot
cue stick
sliding through your hand
like a scepter.
i asked for more
jack daniels
& wished i could
turn up the volume
of the “4 songs for a dollar”
you smiled
after scratching
& sipped your
sex on the beach
just like last time.
i accepted then
your vacant eyes & how they
did not remember me.
soon it was 2 a.m.
the bartender
kicked us out
like last time
& unplugged the jukebox
before any of my
songs had played.