snow dogs


when I draw my guitar close
to stir and ruffle the air
the exquisite impermanence of sound
draws the dogs to my feet
loses them in sleep
until it's time to go out
and bury their noses in snow banks

you were so small


and hung with mist


not what I dreamed:

brooking melancholy


together in a tall house we bathed in light

moving through rooms of wonder


you hungered for solace,

surrendering to shadows, you were


hiding in the crannies of night.


searching, I find a beach of cloudy sand with woolen waves

pink tongue shadow

a black bullet








my shadow


rolling in the snow


twisting ‘round my legs







s  p  r  e  a  d   o  u  t   c  o  u  c  h  l  i  n  g

A Large Orange Moon


A large orange moon

is nestled in the clouds

over the Key Food parking lot


The mountain of snow

has been reduced to a

frisbee sized lump

surrounded by trash



black as a moonless night

sniffs among the debris

straining at her leash


A siren splits the air

and fades into the distance


We continue walking to Ewen Park

where a few short weeks ago

a black iron lamp

cast its pale light on the snow



Walking into the park

sycamores swoop up and over us

and Lucy

remembering the snow

rolls luxuriously on the cool grass.

Take Your Sorrow to the Mountain


so now

we climb a different mountain

with feet buried in oceans


we curl gratefully around trees

wander through streams

shadow bellies clinging to us


up and up

hour upon hour

legs burning

finally emerging

past the tree line

into dazzling blue


a sunbird sits like a jewel

in a luminous king protea


we stare down a thousand feet

across vast oceans

to the far curve of the earth


         v  a  n  i  s  h


are breaking the pack of ice

are beaking a crack

for the first worm

the sun's warmth


loosens an icicle's grip

sends drips

to the tip

of my tongue

My Brother's Coat


my brother died

and left me this old leather jacket


it filled his life

with unfinished sentences

and long memories


I hope

during his war

it kept him above clouds


it couldn’t save him

when his motorcycle threw him

into pools of our mother's tears


where he drowned

with happiness

we talk of diamonds


 we talk of snow

and watch the sky turn white


arms outstretched

your laughter swallows the night


 an August moon slides behind clouds

 over the Narrows bridge

 the night invites a walk by the water

 and the mulling of dreams  


earlier, in front of the little row house,

Mohamed mumbles something


about tandoori chicken with garlic nan.


he speaks English with a mouthful of marbles


he’s eating lunch with his fellow masons.

they’re covered in dust,

sitting in a circle on plastic buckets.


got me thinking of the Skyway restaurant

on Bay 25th Street:

a little window on Pakistan

with the scent of Old Town Mombasa


in the depths of Brooklyn

Italians have shipped out



ears submerged

water’s full of pops, groans, creaks;

and voices


eyes closed

floating in the womb of this motionless beast

I’m a strange foetus

with seaweed hair


I want to stay until the imminence of birth,

to keep my tail and gills.


instead, I’ll be still-born as my old self,

too stubborn for transfiguration



a miracle of tiny hands

has unmade the bed

casually turning back the covers

digging up the sheets,

preparing it for planting

I can’t resist

I seed myself

roots digging into the dark tissue of night


my eyes send out shoots

my voice: thick with dreams


I emerge to rattle my leaves at the sky

and cherish the myriad insects

quiet beneath my bark

Chick's Cha-cha


There’s a god in Mozart’s A major Piano Concerto.


He’s been romping at will through the score for years now,

utterly sure of every step.


With a plan in mind, Chick bows to him as he passes.


On the podium, Bobby cracks a smile.


The entire chamber orchestra of St. Paul senses the coming riff-shift;


Just as I’m settling down

that damn god yanks my earlobe

and punches me in the solar plexus


With absolute delight, Chick takes his cue

and throws a solo into the deep

bubbling gumbo at the base of his brain.


Chick, the god, Mozart, Bobby and

the entire St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

collapse into paroxysms of laughter

Dig a Hole in the Earth


And let water seep in

With seeds 


And honey skin

My tidal brain

Now neap, now spring

Turns summer to fall


With grace and a grin

To winter

No shivering

No sighs

No regrets

Just a brittle need to sing



I saw a squirrel land

on a low roof this morning

in the talons of a hawk

Another American in Iraq

has lost his life

Fragility is

the thin spine

of my cat,


Indian Moon

a gibbous moon


on the ocean

I hang

my guitar

in the sky

the Kaskazi

spills its breath

over the strings

this wind

has come

from India

it carries

the tender drone 

of sitar



of tabla

our shadows fall on the sand

and sleep together all night

in the morning the sea wakes us

leaving salt stains on our skin