when your poem

when your poem has its mask with
drawn    when

guile stands silent and when
the truck of many voices
shakes the bear of wisdom    this

when your poem shucks its mask
when time

begets another time    as we
and as you    when your poem
annuls its mask    withholds &


we stole the shadow

we stole the shadow
we stole the shadow of my ancestral
tombs; we became as gods    we tried
to leech the final sound off the

pallor of the living ground    and we
slept as the shallow seeds of an
aftermath resounded with clarity, and

we stole the shadow of my ancestral
tombs; we culled each minstrel’s hark
and say    we stole the sounds & ran


to clinch the remainder of servitude
to clinch the remainder of servitude    to
bleach the dawn

gray    this premonition is goading surrender
this reminder

to sew the drain    clean as in the wash of
my gullet’s dark

we fly inchwards borrowing your sorrow making
mine peace with

this    dust

absence as pretence

the deep of my ground is sound
ed with

no pen no stalk of each new; we

we stalk we dance the ground &
bury; a

lone whistle is sound this deep
this un

approachable distance where riot
keeps a

wary watch

what is one to make of
   past summer   spring
hails the cloud to make do

the mountain makes do to
sing   we call the watchwoman
and ask her to sing spring

the stream makes do   what
is one to make of this valid
thrust of spring stream cloud

i have gone past the unlit moon,
the shuttered

mast giving red its color, the
waste of each

night’s marrow becoming more; i
have been touch,

solved the curvature of the unlit
moon and stood

unmoored as the whistle of rust
calls my name, &

i remember.

This is the rumble of the

the bleached mouth wanting
the sun

and its molars stretched
as shine

how will the moment believe
in this

here and this panned out

Absence is pretending to fit
in silences   it is goading the

Rite to speech and failing suitably,
floating in mid air   the flit

Of a ravine and its midflight recall –
the bird of harm hones in & whiles

we dig these trenches

This bleached night is a sparrow’s song
and home    this

Furthest of form, article, pretense: a
grip on time    we

Stray on the fictions of an undiluted
lie    and streak

The night white with pain    we dig these
trenches and flee

Poet’s Epitaph
He sang until his death
singing close to his eyes
to his true life, his real life of lies;
and to remember till he died
how it had lied, his unreal life of truth
– Muriel Rukeyser’s translation of Octavio Paz’s poem

Why so loyal to a worldview which
Shrinks your

Space    are they good people? Why
So crumbling

In deference to so many potted stances
Have their hearts

Spoken anything true of late?

Unborn song

my full song has yet to be
born but it

was sung yesterday and it
will be sung

tomorrow   my first song is birthed by wood, stone and
participle   it was sung before and will again   my loud

song is silent, but silence is dawn, and it has your roots.

The mouth saying nothing.     The air saying live and die.
The womb saying welcome, the sun saying Dare.
– Muriel Rukeyser from ‘Unborn Song’

this cot of unsong/birthed
with revel   this

brood of a long slant of edged faith   this crime

this crime teaching further buds to unburden the crime
    this cot   yes
    this cot of unsong   flame

witness across the threshold of sense

You mark this song, this horror
Of syllable as eye

Witness to impalpable harm, ex
Nihilo crucible of

Further waste - turn now, read
The shades of hade

He is forever trapped
who suffers his own waste.
Rain leaching the earth   for lack
of roots to hold it
and children who are murdered
before their lives begin.

– Audre Lorde

Whatever cries and changes, lives and reaches
Across the threshold of sense; I know the piercing name;

– Muriel Rukeyser

tremble as gather

to tremble is to gather
sight, plenitude of
   evidence – mostly ash but
   nonetheless mathematically

tractable, computable, function
of sense, eye and hiss –
   redeeming vision from talking
   too much, plagiarizing time

From the furthest away tranche you gather
   from the slant

Of the perched icicle you tremble   from
The least perceived

You ask if roar is hid   from the wiles of
A reeked air you beg

we reach in words

we reach in words
   a steel bank
   a rimed percolate we reach
   in words

a bible truce im
   maculate slouch where the
   green greed of
   terror builds

The dream on land last night built this boat of death
but in the suffering of the light
moving across the sea
do we in our moving
move toward life or death

– Muriel Rukeyser

I trundled feather, am done,
Will begin as love’s

Craft sheathing watchful fleece-
Another bearing of

Fear as it says word, bit and the
Dark rum of a doubled