All these ordinary things are giving way Times of late, like the dead wrapped in their winding sheets Familiar in outline still But disintegrating into melt and worm beneath He feels infected with the guest’s unhappy mood Uses the word, not having spoken with de Clieux He thinks the time is now to broach disturbance […]

The Lay of the Land

“I imagine…I will not say admit…the possibility of cordial relations— You see what he’s done here.” The tenant of Wisham’s Hill Cottage has got the field gate closed to traffic For good, more or less…for the time being Put a sinister trip-wire run through a boundary stone “He ought not to have made that hole,” […]

A Little Joy

The young gather near old Timeworn The age of him lies like a bundle Poor yellow tom The stink of an open toilet and the menace of a grinning man He knows they’re like that A little joy in the killing The back steps concrete crumbling This fault they’d ticked This needed no entering No […]

Sans Serif

She’s crushed her fingertip under a trunk lid One purple nail the adornment of her hand No rings and nothing else Just this, playing across the jacketless blank “I’m hating this,” she tells him *** She has a book with a hard grey cover Two gritted fangs forbid the eye Looked I don’t know, a […]

Essay: The Insular I

 People don’t like poetry. That, of course, is not universally true. True enough, a lot of poetry you read (or glance over) launches like the voice of someone you’re stuck with in an elevator. I write poetry, and I too get that twisty feeling when I’m afraid of being trapped by it. Poetry is a […]


You’ve never sat, doing your work …if you had been me, on a stool upstairs Made dumb by the green walls of Lippard’s laboratory Looking down, as directed, through the lens at the wing he’d razored along the vein Some of the colors are not pigments, you know Only reflections of light He hated girls […]

A Conduit

On this day when fire could not be thought of A sooty pall stains stucco shaded by the mantelpiece But under this Winks a brilliant blue and does persistently …this Morse Code going on since yesterday Refusing glances dart away And none feels safe to read the message Three men chew and meet each other’s […]

A Folly Series Primer

   Now that the folly series is into its third story arc, I think it might be helpful to those who are seeing these poems for the first time, to get some background. The folly is one of those Victorian-era architectural fancies that landowners built to amuse themselves and their guests. The year is 1933, […]

Petal and Perfume

At their tables, they waited She had made them see, by knotted strings That flared white, and danced, and left their Interweavings on the eye’s lens Against the contrast of brown limbs A bower of surpassing craft Decked in petal and perfume All that was prelude The trespasser spoke at length *** They were sleeping, […]


We thought they were not men They, beardless, most, but for their slaves Vaunted trophies keeping costumed show That in all weathers tell their vanquished homes Came by war-engine attended Came regaliaed steed, foreguard of chariot Wheeled cage of sacrificial beast Gentled by their magic; all these mounted ones, Their faces red-scorched by their foreign […]