Online since August 2002

The Temperate Zone

"I've returned to writing poetry after having published fairly extensively on contemporary poetics and the philosophy of language and of intentionality. My recent poetry will be appearing in upcoming issues of Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry and These!."

Movement of reflections
Across the lake surface
Ripples, two clouds
And the muted image
Of the treeline
Washed-out brown and leafless
Breaking up
And reassembling
As wind moves
And water clenches and relaxes

Midges turn
In a shaft of sunlight
Winter pauses under the locust
Making real
An imagined possibility
In the same way
That one empty tree
Constitutes a winter

Snow-haze over the moon
As the eastern sky
Turns silver
Beyond the dwarf spruce
We planted after Christmas
The cold air lifts
A Gothic tracery
In wood
Bare twigs
Upholding the sky

Light from millennia ago
Only now reaches us
Though life is thrown out
From the stars
To the earth
Fused hydrogen
Eventually making its way
To sugar and protein
And skin cracking
In dry air

The image moves
Across the mind
Wrapped in blunt cold
And seeing X
We call it "this"
This point
Where our histories
The way they
Hang together
An oak leaf
Brown and parched
But still
On its branch
In January

Close in
The honking of geese
In flight through falling snow
The sound muffled
As the burden
Of human being
Drops away
The burden of
Calling down form
From the air
Forcing contradiction
Between the breath
And the thing
Solid in the hand
The type that got away
From the token

Here we learn to say
Not "this" willow oak
But "a" willow oak
Its species existence
A chord
Blending voices
Into a single slow-moving
Where we only hear
An arpeggiation
The individual
The points at which
Matter becomes a life
Each with its own
Past and future
And its eventual turn
Toward silence

A new year
And the same sun
Comes up
Black leather seed pods
Hang withered from the locust
Wind caught
In a spider web
And spring moves backward
Into winter
Through a rose and charcoal
A tangle of winterberry
Enfolds empty space
A knotted herm
Dividing inside from out
Red globes in frozen orbit
Around a dry grey axis

Hours independent
Of light
The earth's turning
Toward snow-blue dawn
No allegory
No pasteboard figure
Winged and on crutches
The image
An artifact of time
That will vanish
In time

The black sky bleeds
To a silver line
At the horizon
Sirius hard at the hunter's
In the frigid wind

Published April 2007


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