À la Sicilienne

My father cuts hair at Cinema Paradiso.
I see him in barbershop mirrors
Like time is repeated on eternity’s reel.

My cousin owns a purgatorial liquor store.
As it was on earth, wine and rapture.
As it will be at rebirth, wine and rapture.

My grandfather shivers like a boy
Even though he’s crossing a lava pit:
Empedocles between love and the void.

My aunt knits ground snail covers
Fit for the gardens of an earthly nirvana
And cradles of dead, infant, elder brothers.

My mother is like a Greek statue
Who gave birth to music in stone,
The triumph of death in the mirror of bone.

Beach Stones

“The insolent quietness of stone.”
                              Robinson Jeffers

To gather beach stones is to catch the eye
Beneath transparency receding in a wave,
And reach the sand before your hand
Draw up the dark margin of the empty wet.

There was one from the recesses of rock.
Another tumbling as in the prime of life.
Others as though sounding out the lake,
Seem older than the geologic clock.

And when I dig one out of the sand
It is to shake the grains from the sky
And see the stars of many million suns
Alight from the alluviums of night.

Something of myself each seems to take
In whatever aggregate, color or shape.
My erosion compliments their insolence.
My quietness is like their perfect lake.

Flower of Insomnia

The flower of my insomnia
blossoms on the back of a clock
it grows in the soil of a family cancer
it flowers like I’m buried alive
as though a heavy snowfall
thaw to bright air and exhale its pain
a shred of rest wavering in spirit wind
the flower of my insomnia
a Venus flytrap for my blood cells
feeding my anxiety back to me
my night inspiration and inward light
that lack a season
the Queen of flowers
the white rose of the black hours
the death mask of Keats with petals open

Ode to Spirit

I pardon shadows and open doors for ghosts.
I know the apparitions
By the twang they give my nerve endings,
And it’s not just people
But dead animals I see,
Their fearful symmetry.
Even landscapes that have been
Return to the place I’m standing.
Neighborhoods appear
With time in arrears.
What is immaterial
Takes on transparent form.
For me it is Grundnorm
To approach things unseen,
To compose a place
For living space to rest,
To toast the friends
Neglected at their best,
Amend wrongs of time
With thankful rhyme.
To pull those voices out of air,
Their absence must the heart bare.

Blood Lust

Is that what you want
The taste of blood
Is that what you desire
Blood on your door
Is that what you can’t do without
Muslim blood
Jewish blood
Christian blood
Black blood
White blood
Is that what you need
More and more blood
Is that why you wait
For the blood of the moon
Is that why you follow
With blood lust support
Is that what you stand for
The blood of words
Is that why you’re baptized
To be dipped in blood
Is that what you worship
Money and blood
Is that what you crave
Flesh and blood
Is that what you dream
Innocent blood
Is that what you extol
The blood of your enemies
Is that who you are
Blood sisters and brothers
Is that what you preach
The blood of Christ
Is that your obsession
The scent of blood
Is that who you are
Baying for blood
Is that your politics
Blood that runs cold
Is that your drug
The blood of the slain
Is that your position
To draw first blood
Is that your belief
A God of blood
Is that your legacy
Blood on your children
Is that your unreasoning
Blood and thunder
Is that your good
To be cleansed in blood
Is that why you pray
For the spilling of blood
Is that why you rage
For rivers of blood
Is that why you gather
For the blood that will tell
Is that who you are
Blood sisters and brothers
Is that where you are
Hands defiled by blood
Is that what you leave
A covenant of blood