Poetry Northwest

Steady Dreamers

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Almost everywhere they are silent, even
their eyes do not tell. If you joke, they
laugh; turn, they wait, for they have learned
not to compete with feeling. They choose

to love—they know you will not believe
them. This resistance calms them, they bring
what they can, remember everything
they once revered. They do not teach you.

They do not take you places. They do not want
your money or your good looks. They are not
afraid. Not afraid of being alone, they are
not afraid of being wrong, they are not afraid

that it’s not worth it. They just continue living
in your expanding universe. They listen,
they hear you object to ambiguities, discredit
the ridiculous. They watch your face fade

in the room like innocence. But they are not
fooled. They deny nothing, admit nothing,
they are walking the back streets, lifting
belief from ruined worlds, taking the odds.

Running by Water

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

for Anika

Here at the Connecticut, where the Sound spurts
as the wind kicks up the waves and spreads them,
stretching and gliding from Black Hall to Niantic—
is the best place for learning to run in the dark.

Not on packed sand at the water’s edge, where
a spill would only mean a slight rinsing, but
back near the beach grass, with the dunes
and bleached wood, pushing yourself full face

toward the wide drift of the marsh hill, lifting
your knees almost to your out-thrust chin: eyes
closed, back straight, finding your balance by
running, relying only on the fall of the land

and the direct wash in your face to keep you
striding in a line, reaching out your arms
with grace, trusting the pull of the moon,
as if your motion were one motion

with the arc of a wave, the turn of the earth,
daring the body to believe the only collision
you’ll chance
will be a new breath of yourself.

Cop Show

Monday, May 4, 2009

She lives entirely by default, let late dusk be
sufficient decision for the day. Her halt and stammer
is excellent argument alone. She sits and smokes,

she sits and smokes and waits, and later fits
the pieces of the TV hoax into an arrest—clear
proof of her gumshoe aptitude. But what would interest

even the thirty-ninth latitude
could not get a reading with her. She’s more intrigued
by transsexuals and razors under a pyramid. Fall

is for taking the Volvo to Vermont, December
for wrapped gifts and blue spruce ‘round the crib.
These rituals continue, with her patent lack

to make the connection: memory is only one red
brick on top of another red brick, back even
and face up, separate and dead level

as the cold nail of her gaze, rejecting
the contradiction she can scratch on faces.
Because for her, each sentence has a meaning

and each sentence has another meaning, just as
everything has a place and everything has two places,
as she ponders never stunned, never moved, met—

the plunge and promise of the wild bird goes
under without a splash, a gush, not one wet
spurt, without the bead of a single green word.