The Orrery’s Tale

Night’s window is a makeshift looking-glass
Reflecting only spheres of wood and brass

You taught me words for dreams I did not dream
And hung them round with stars of wood and brass

I tended gardens sown with bagatelles
Where statues cried their tears of wood and brass

You crafted clockwork hearts and wound them up
Their mechanisms geared with wood and brass

You cried out; canyons echoed with your voice
I listened with these ears of wood and brass

When empty skies stretched over my bare bones
You built me wings veneered with wood and brass

The dragon’s heart beats metronomic time
I’ll measure out my years in wood and brass

Another ghazal for you.



, ,

You gave me a half-choice: stay here, take your hand, go alone.
I decided. My words fell unheard on the sand and the stone.

The sirocco blows wild; spread your wings where the plains meet the sky.
Shadows scatter beneath you like birds on the sand and the stone.

Can you see, love, below you the houses and spires of the towns
rise like hoodoos, their worn edges blurred on the sand and the stone.

Desert canyons scribe patterns; decipher the strata and map
treasures hidden where cinders lie charred on the sand and the stone.

With the clouds as your islands, make port in the sky and the sun;
I will anchor you here, standing guard on the sand and the stone.

I called after you, begged you to stay, but my voice was too faint
and my name erodes, leaving no word on the sand and the stone.

Quick shot at a ghazal this week for our poetry slam at yeah write. I’m torn about the difficulty of this form; on the one hand the requirements are pretty simple, but on the other hand like many “simple” forms writing a good one takes a whole lot of time and editing and rejiggering.




A sliver on the screen, a ghost
of what will come, a shadow
waiting to become a bump,

and underneath each bump
of furrowed autumn earth a ghost
of last year’s harvest casts a shadow.

Watch where light and shadow
fade into each other, where they bump
into chiaroscuro’s ghost.

You are no ghost but premonition’s shadow, little bump.

Just before dawn


She was a fox. I mean, a real fox,
not a female human that some awkward but heartfelt
dude was hitting on, trying not to look like scum

and she picked her way delicately black-footed through the scum
at the water’s edge, one small fox
and the reflection of a fox, while my heart felt

all of the things that it was meant to feel; by which I mean my heart felt
happy sad warm cold love hate glorious scum
trailing after her like the shadow of a fox

in each fox-footprint my heart felt collected together like the white bubbles of river-scum.

Returning to the tritina form like the scene of a crime with three words from the lovely Natalie.


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