Daily Archives: January 14, 2020

The Look Of An Eagle

Some people love
the look of an eagle
so much they forget

the terrible things
an eagle
could do to them

with that
noble head
and those tenacious feet. 

The eagle
will be mostly unconcerned
with those people

until they 
a threat,

and then, then
we will see
what happens:

the gripping and biting,
the tearing.
The panic. The blind support

for more of the same
as long as it’s not done
to them.


Your head
wants to know what to do next,
and you can’t tell it

You can’t even tell it
who is listening to its questions,
if it is not the head itself. Maybe
it’s one of those old distinctions
at work — heart, head, hands.

Perhaps your hands are talking to your head,
or perhaps the heart has its own voice
and that is what is bugging the head for action.

The bigger question: where are you, exactly,
in the mix? Do we need to pull
the soul into the inquiry? Or perhaps this is
a case of ego, id, superego at play;
anima or animus goading the persona 
to action while the shadow sits aside chuckling.

All this speculation gets you is panic,
is a spur of the moment step out the door
in a T-shirt and pajama pants
in mid-January. You have no idea 
who’s doing what inside your shell;
maybe, just maybe, you’re just plain nuts;

but look: a coyote
trotting down the sidewalk
on the other side of the street,
much to your mild surprise.

It does not look back at you as it passes. 
As if it should. As if in any space
where Coyote runs
you, you hero, 
you man of the hour,

could mean a thing —

you go back inside
shivering and 
brimful of silence.

Brutal Word

A brutal word
has come to me.
It seems to hold some truth;
I don’t know for certain.
I didn’t invite it,
yet it seems to be
inside me,
digging itself
a home.

I am trying
not to think of it
or say it out loud. 
To do either

would be to allow it
to claim a place in my life;
even more dire,
if it required
a definition from me
I’d be forced to
give it more meaning
than is proper
for a man like me —

who would I be
if I understood
such a word, 
its use, its context-
making energy?

When the word
begins to chafe
against my resistance
and demand that I voice it,
I have to hold my tongue
in ice tongs I keep
for this purpose — cold
teeth biting into
stubborn muscle.

I sit in a standoff
with this rude particle
of language, hand clenched
around a torture tool, refusing
to yield to the word’s claim
upon me — its demand
for time and space
in my mouth and beyond.

If I cannot win
and the word triumphs,
burning itself  
into the hard poem it seems
to be made for,

I may be a better, 
humbler person.
I may in fact
have told the truth —

but that is
not at all
what I came here for,

and not at all 

what I came to say.