Poet In Process

More about the Process; Less about the Product


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Mojave 

A desert underneath

The crooked line that makes the shore

Which calms and curls the sand back

To an image of itself.

The winding pull of water still

Remembers every grain of sand

It’s hot rough essence, the quiet still

At the bottom of the current

On the crest of a dune. It calls out

With a winded hush, what matters now 

Is water, what has always been, 

what will never be

Enough. A desert underneath, 

takes time to quench. 


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Santa Cruz, 2016

They came to see the death
–even my mother, who turns from the evening news–
shuffled quickly to the edge and bent to better see.
The air was sweet with the prayers of strangers
and yet, they came to see the death
to witness the unyielding bay
which swells on the rocks and tempts
even the bravest to jump,
a dare–perhaps–an urge.
On this day, we stood quietly, hands wrung
while they searched for the swimmer
who was not swimming
who was surely lost.

–ECW


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Europe, Summer 1997

we count first on our fingers
in bundles of five,
the places we have seen
the people we would visit
then we count from memory
the houses whose doors are yellow
standing out against rusted drainpipes
taking a second moment before
becoming grey in the passing view.

We watched the compounding skyline
which began as rooftops but became high-rises;
a wooden rendering of our own jourey,
which began on foot and boarded the railcar.
You, looking at me from behind our father’s glasses,
offer up a sigh of relief–we are moving now.
Moving on to something else.
We were young but I remember a sense of longing
an emptiness only time can fill,
following the footpaths of cobbled alleys
knowing a home-land in a place I’d never been.

–ECW


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Stations

thoughts before i start a new job

.

.

 Beasts know it true

to guard against the larger

and feast on the lesser

this is not the only rule

rather a lesson of bounty;

of knowing ones station:

what stands before us

always a conflict of weight.

And yet we are burdened

with other means. A look 

in a look in an instant. 

And what we look for 

are cues of weakness, smallness

in another. We are looking 

outward with wide thirsty eyes

when the vital notion is inward,

essential and unknown. 

–ECW


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Coracle

for my father whose friend has passed

That silence spoke for itself
an infinity of wide open eyes
and I stood with you at the edge
with my hands on the brim of your
canoe and gave a gentle nudge.
Ours was a bond of time
as much as it was friendship
and after all these years,
my quiet hope for you is peace.
As it is for myself; as it is for my children.
We have seen enough to know
the difference between life and living
the difference between happiness
and the burden of hope. I wish
you carry all this life’s sweetness
with you on your journey, even
the bittersweetness,
which came with time.
–ECW


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Shadow Box

It’s the detritus I’m after
the quiet accumulation of time
along the back walls
of the closet
in the underused drawers
of the night stand.
I purge them
only to regret my harsh
judgement of ticket stubs
and tidbits of parcels
it’s a life after all, my every
everyday, and I’ve kept them
for one reason or another,
because I am afraid of forgetting
or that I may never be happy like this
again. But they collect,
the casual evidence of suburbia:
receipts, wrapping paper,
whimsical notes,
until I gather them up
and feast of their sadness…
sad that I kept them
sad that I will
never change.
–ECW


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Night dancer

image

Mayflies track false moons
flying sideways and over
one another to catch sight
of language written in
bright lines
spoken to them
in night lies.
The mayfly is papery
floating outward
and down
able to catch only
a moment airside
before gliding under.
Mayflies fall always for light
in a candle or a lantern
believing this to be
their guiding source,
a thunderous ache
for revival, but
things are different
now that ever street corner
has a stoplight
and every home
a well lit number.
–ECW

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