Daily Archives: April 21, 2010


Save your voice,
Tom Waits;
there’s not enough tender gravel
in the world.

Save your shades,
Bob Dylan;
what you see under the bare land
needs your filter.

Save your hat,
Leonard Cohen;
something unrusted might yet escape
through the top of your head.

Save your battered guitar,
Ellen McIlwaine;
something remains to be drawn
from the funk inside.

We sleep in the ore
you smelt for your needs.
You mine our beds
for your raw materials.
We sit at the forge’s door
and gasp at the heat.
You bring out the work
and we hustle to touch it, still warm
from the fire.

Save us, sidewalk
blacksmiths, alchemists
of dark iron.  We’re always
in need of a little steel
and your blacksmith’s marks
upon it.

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Ten Point Buck

A cross-fox
bears black bars
upon his shoulders
that demand attention.

One red squirrel
glimpsed at the park
means more
than all the gray ones.
Let a black one show up
and someone will call the news.

The white skunk
(not a scent of black
on him but for the eyes)
comes through the yard,
and it’s as if a yeti walks among
the trashcans and weeds.

When Maggie, the new girl,
raised her hands
on the first day of high school
and defiantly showed us
her twelve fingers,
we shuffled in our seats
and communally resolved at once
to shun her.

I am sure that in
the years since, at least one
of my classmates
has been deer hunting,
looking to to hang
a ten-point buck or better
on his wall.

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Regarding White Privilege

Walk out your front door
and into the street.
Look up and there it is:
your sun, won
on the last hand last night; the jerk
told you it would be yours in the morning
as soon as he could get to the bank
and the safety deposit box;
now he’s gone and there it is
hanging over you, out of reach.

At least you know it’s yours
even though it’s beyond command;
you can always trust the word
of a fellow gambler, after all.

This sun of yours
crosses over myth
as you watch.
Do you own the myth as well?

A street’s only as good
as its sidewalks:
having a pair of solid paths to parallel the main line
is crucial.  Places
to walk safely, more slowly
than the primary traffic.
A curb against which
to butt tires,
or crush jaws.

Take your rabid imagination
to the street, stare
at your possession
and decide to own everything
it illuminates as well…

In fact, this sun
belongs to no one,
lights everyone’s road,
warms every face.

Your deed to it has only the weight
of a shared perception
that it’s a valid deed.

The paper burns when the rays pinpoint upon it.

Night follows day.

You made no bet
regarding the moon.

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