paper lizards



after she stumbles we both stop 

it’s a tack she says picking up that tiny blue I guess kids are pulling them down she stretches to the top of the board reinserting the construction paper lizards leer and form orange-tongued hisses I nod I get it I understand

there are days when the air is so full so heavy with voices sound words metal simply pops out reptiles fall down little feet crush what gluesticks stuck together it’s hard to hear to feel your own lungs breathe you just walk on 

please save all the data to the disk

if there’s a penguin on the tray it’s snowing but no one has coats when the bell rings this isn’t a talking time we are quiet mice yet syllables rise syllables fall consonants and high-pitched vowels melt together on our tongues

the cafeteria will furnish bagged lunches

green papers wave now everyone turn face the building we don’t know we don’t get the message but what does it matter lead us back to our seats to the carpet quickly quietly now everyone sit down now everyone      breathe

the last person in closes the door

wordle 291




storm warning

she speaks monotonously to the bend in the wall.   she drones.
outside this window the field is full of birds:   pairs of killdeer, of canada geese.
a red-tailed hawk circles then lands on the broken goalpost.
I turn away;   I turn into the cave of this room.
sun binds the space between us.
your mouth is a straight line — a vow of anger, of silence.

red-fisted morning
this branch like a small tree




wordle 108

kernels | summer edition 2013


answer me.


am I dust to you?
am I ash?
a gasp swirling in gravitational pull?


answer me.

my face
my arms
a cloud of sloughed off cells

am I blessed to you?


am I a pulse?
a breath?
am I?

in this instant
in this shared ride
in this unbalanced slide into blue

answer me.

(when you slap me do you feel my wings?)



wordle 98

this is the (art)

this is the mist
this is the road that curves
this is the air
like a
this is the linen
these are the edges that tatter
these are the bones
this is the mirror
this is the silver deposited
this is my skin
like a
this is the art
this is the smallest unit of life
this is the sparrow
its own



wordle 92 and wordle 93

my name would become legend


                  “Come with me, Mama Goose!
                    I know where your baby is."
                          — Puss in Boots


the burden
of this palace
breaks me
each step a bitter virtue
within success this hidden
I lie awake
to the fire
searching through that tumult
for the clarity of my diminishing
I’ll ditch these
palace steps
this giddy
to be king




wordle 90 and wordle 91



she smokes like a chimney
she is brandishing an unfiltered cigarette

we cross a bridge
the coke-stink of this town hangs between us
like a tombstone

we pass the tobacco field
a green infusion into a rural wasteland textured with steel
and mountains     stripped of coal

there’s always snakes in the tobacco field
(she says)     I roll down the window

the sun ekes through empty branches
it breaks onto the slurping river
glinting like rows of tires in a junkyard

you know I told him to stop
(she says)     I told him

she crushes the cigarette between her fingers
I look at houses flying past like abandoned railcars
boards on the doors     gaping windows     sad sagging roofs

I really believe her this time
I forget about the snakes     (shiny black and thick as a tire)

yeah     (she says)
there’s always snakes



the sunday whirl