Friday, August 22, 2008


He asked if I was hungry
I wasn't, but I wanted
to watch him eat. I wanted
to sit across the table, let words
spill like wine between us,
drop like pebbles into
deep water. I wanted to see
him touch the cup, make
small smiles around the knife
and fork. I wanted to hold
my own thoughts,
reflected in crystal,
poised at the edge
of a plate, waiting
for a hand on the back
of the chair, his fingers
at the nape
of my neck.

Originally published in Up the Staircase, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Copernican Moments

The sun, fragile and cinnamon, 
pushes fingers of fog apart, 
offering rare stereopticon 
glimpse of garden—
the unconcerned sticks 
of dark roses,
the overachieving narcissus, 
with urgency, struggling 
through cold soil. 
I pour a second cup, 
stir, lick the sugared spoon, 
and stare at a pristine page hoping 
for a frenetic genesis 
in the frozen clay of my brain—
as if the stirring of digestion 
and desire could make
ink pour thick and rich 
like coffee, and words could 
grope and grow 
like the fleshy purslane 
beginning to crack the sidewalk 
or the mint that thrust—
all winter—
its thin yellow fingers 
through the stone 
into my empty basement 
only to dangle limp, pale 
and blind with fatigue, to die 
above the washer, as brittle 
as sun-bleached bones 
lined up toward an oasis 
in distant untroubled sands.

This poem originally appeared in Juice, Issue 1: Spring 2008.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Horse Returning Mountain

This poem was originally published in Vibrant Gray Issue 3.1 2008.

Horse Returning Mountain

There are no horses here, only goat boys
fishing with string nets, a woman washing clothes,
brown murk of the Yangtze soaking into
her blue trousers, and a few unconcerned goats
snatching ferns from the cliff face.
Three red characters painted on rock name this place:
horse, return, and mountain.
No horses, though. Just a row of sampans
on a gravelly beach. No roads, no trails. Not like
Emerald Gorge where holes in the granite walls recall
huge beams that held ancient walkways, wide enough
for wagons and whole teams.
A horse might wander from up there.
Leave his master stranded in Double Dragon town
where he stopped for a cup of tea and some
little potatoes grilled on bamboo skewers,
the ones women still sell
to tourists at the water’s edge.
A horse could go down, looking for tender ferns
and long grass, down to the river
where the goats play with the garbage
washed up to catch on brush.
And maybe some fishing boy would find that horse
among his goats. Ride him back to town, get a string
of coins for his trouble. Square-holed Imperial coins
his children's children's child would swap someday,
on the riverbank, for three American dollars.
Maybe he painted the three red characters there.
On the mountainside, just above where goats graze.
Goats are never lost. They know their boy will come
to chivy them back up the path, crowding the tourists
who tromp toward mountaintop temples to stare
at the hundred Bodhisattvas of white jade, and gilded wood,
and paper mâche.