which is to say

reflecting on the travels my loved ones experience
that are somewhat diluted in their retelling.

which is to say


this, the shape of a fist
a temporary stasis, we will expand
          the universe deepens,
          man colonizes frontiers
          families dig motes between them
there is beauty in it, beside the chaos,
a quiet loveliness in moving out and over
the spreading, its own kind of journey
the distance, a pattern of language

which is to say,

we’ve gone from here knowing
left doorways ajar with the best intentions
of returning, but we’ve never come home
that part of us so vital, rearranged to fit new perspectives
cannot sleep in our childhood beds
or eat quietly
amongst our elders.

which is to say,

I’ve missed you,
collected trinkets for your giving
met strangers and we laughed under greek constellations
but none of it was ours
not even when
you shared it with me.

farewell phyllis

on hearing a patron is ill and will not be returning to the library. 

babies are born
and there is death also,
not one after another
like the plucking of a broad grinn’d
gerber daisy, but huddled
together like passengers on a ferry
there will be times of loss
and then, just as suddenly
bounty.
Who will keep such a catalogue
of misery and joy, who
will collect the timestamps
of lives like a bookend.
I sat in wonder and forgot
just as suddenly.
There were emails to answer
after all.

–ECW

filling

first,
the needle
a long
narrow
relief
and next
the drill
with its
many min-
ature bits
not sharp
but whirring
singing
like a light
sings on the
eye, brightly.
They hand me
sun-glasses
to numb the
intensities.

I am reminded
of diamonds
with two sets
of hands
in my mouth,
the assistant
dexterous,
takes and
offers tools
with her
littlest finger
while the doctor
wields the drill/
diamonds are cut
by other
diamonds
the strongest bones
in my body
are cut like
diamonds,
slightly, just
a little at a time.

I could fall
asleep if not
for the drill
and the vacuum
and the banter
above me,
over which
porceline
makes for the
strongest
molars.
A chuckle,
a shrug,
were they
flirting?
the assistant
and her pinky,
the doctor
and his drill
in my mouth
bite down
he says
measuring
either side
does it
feel any
different?
–ECW

the beetle and the bean

Fog came, higher up,
      despite midday sun,
the trees wore cloud-
cover and light rain,
      threads of sacred
ceremonies, the coffee
on the mountain ripens
as it grows, seasonless
relentless, each tree yields
for a human lifetime and
             recedes.

The island is the mountain.
Even the mossy pockets
forged from volcanic rage
      are quiet and fruitful,
      the coffee is steeped
in the seeds of meatier flora
in the pitch songs of Pele
who at the center of the island
churns a fearsome
              storm.

I come not for the mountain,
which is young
         like we are, but
the seeds and their companion
an invasive species of beetle
no larger than a grain,
             bore
with little instance of failure
into the belly if the bean
when it is young
          like we are
and together they grow
the fruit from the tree
the bug from the seed

It is a frivolous love
that eats its own bed
and sleeps in a pithy tomb
but the beetle is bound to it
as are we,
       newly wed
        freshly bathed
wandering through coffee groves
under the modesty of clouds
revealing in this yield a wet black
                   companion.

—ECW

inter.library.loans I

paperwork for strangers
is best left unfolded

since you don’t know how it’s filed
–whether in folios
          upright like reeds
–or envelopes
          dangling like wind-chimes
          from clotheslines

whose to say,
        the way
a stranger might file paperwork
        or not file it,
they might just pile it, up! up!
until it shifts under its own importance
        creating layers in eras
          we might discover
   after the roots have grown stiff
 and words are sap and honey.

paperwork for strangers
is intimate that way
      personal/impersonal
vital, lifelike, removed
written in secret–in a way–and not so
rushed. It takes time to say
  exactly what you mean
        to a stranger
        out of context
without clarification
  to say exactly what you mean
is best left unfolded
so as not to imply
            or assume
            or limit
the life of a document
      which you have sent away.

–ECW

With Aura

How can I simplify
the set of lines running,
binding what is perhaps
a probability, to the reality
of me. Nerves that never
cross come in contact
with pulses, which are,
perhaps, thoughts or maybe
words that carry with them
the weight of language,
empathy.

This roots my migraines.

I cannot fathom the mind
with my mind. Maybe this
is the true hope of computing
to see through object
lenses a sense of human
unburdened by ourselves.
I would not imagine
that each cell is itself
a star, but I have heard that,
in passing, that the brain
lights up more connections
than stars, even though
we are uncertain how many
that might be.

This fuels my migraine.

Still I am uncertain of the soul
but have most certainly
seen it from the left side
washing over what is real,
perhaps, or maybe not real
in the least, a gesture
of light that beckons away
or might not beckon at all,
I just see it that way. I have
seen the soul, or maybe
my own soul departing,
returning again and again.

This shapes my migraine.

I know less, it seems,
in the morning
when the narrow
pulses have passed
and even these miniature
symphonies have ceased.
I am quiet.
As is the migraine.
Which is not separate,
as much,
from me ,
as I might have hoped.
I am the migraine.
Which now, it seems,
is not so imminent
to cure.
—ECW

Stray Evening

Dreaming: I walk the city
places I dare not go by day
are nigh roads lit velvet in the mists
which cloak the town;
which cloaks my trek.
This is a city in a dream
fearful but unwinding
I find the roads once closed
to me are open
so such is my mind;
so such is the way.
We go where we mean to
without hesitation
this is the gift of a dream;
this is the burden of dreamers.
A lamplight careless road,
where I can pace the median
and feel no urgency.
Places I have mapped retain their luster
despite their infinite recesses:
our starlit swinging doors.

–ECW