snow turns to cold rain
the alley is full of trash
and tired cooks smoking
under a ripped umbrella
my head, shorn like joan of arc


taking the night bus
I peer out the dark window
wet streets, the walk home
three beers slosh in my belly
on the yellow-lit sidewalk


a cairn of stones, heaped
rough-hewn boulders, flattened rounds
pond bottom pebbles
each day remove a handful
watch the lean body vanish


saucer-eyed pea brain
dustrag moppet meowing high
and thin for supper
she drops, purring, from my arms
to sulk pretty on the stairs


strong unsweet coffee
records spinning in the haze
nag champ and sunshine
beyond the slatted blinds cars
drive up and down the mountain


your sleepy lion face
squints at my staircase foot falls,
jewelry box rummage
you lay your head back and smile
man of my house, my heart's pride


cap a week hard won
bring a dark pint to your mouth
by the high river
parse the the grain and malt between
cheek and tooth, the cup and lip


we traffic in words
breathe them into seashell ears
cocked in reception
the air is swarmed with thoughts: pull
them down, love, and give them names


sweet cord of my days
frayed from mending these pale weeks
pulls taut, tight and snaps
a hawk tumbles from the sky
and screams, tangled in a bush


i am a glass pane
a jar of water, a gust
blamed on a meek ghost
doors close before me, open
for nothing but swirling snow


slip slip stitch, knit one
yarn over with stiff fingers
turn the work, make one
the needles click whispers in
strange language of creation


we found a staircase
winding from a wet gutter
to a high hilltop
we paused at the top, breathless
eyes tracing the grid of streets


hamster in a nest
of tea cups and kleenexes
pillows and sour soup
i watch night fall, bleary-eyed, 
from the mouth of my tunnel


I lean my head back
as we skirt down Liberty
in the lush black night
eyes closed I know every lurch
and rise of the orbit home


buckets of roses
kitten heels, commuters clutch
cellophane bouquets
the gulf tower glows red and
the whole city is in love


on the wet-black roads
snow gleams like a candle flame
but when i look up
millions of flakes fill the sky,
a universe of dark stars


within the cavern
of thick sleep the mind turns
to observe itself:
forms open like bird's plumage
hanging from a flowered branch


trees are full of ghosts
plastic bags choke the branches
shredded by the wind
a twisting gust chills my bones
and rattles the strange harvest


winter walls feel close
I look out every window
and walk between rooms
in the deep month of winter
the clouds hang, claustrophobic


patchwork afternoon
flowers, trash-picked living rooms
bold women grinning
I remember being broke
twenty-four and transcendent


a vision of mouths
wood and charcoal, a long beard
and drawing blackness
I knot thread round my finger
and squint, try to remember


hunched over the desk
red wine and the radio
leaking small voices
razor between my fingers
scraps of paper at my feet


snowfall tracks cat paws
reveals her nightly sojourn:
a rest on the stoop
the disruption of smooth snow
where she slipped under the fence


watch the breath taken
slow rise of shoulder, exhale
like a soft word sighed
in scattered hillside homes lungs
pull in and out, mark the night


my boots crunch salt and
silty streetwater as I
eyeball the masses:
one hundred strangers walk by
ciphers smoking cigarettes


a step and a gasp
my leg locks in the cold air
with a deep dull pain
I brace on the chain-link fence
and coax the joint to motion


a flash of turquoise
reveals two peacocks, scratching
for grain in a drift.
snow gathers on their limp trains,
white lace shrouding bronze-green eyes


on frigid pavement
sputum puddles freeze into
grey slicks of pond ice;
in a drafty gallery
we drink wine amid nail holes


squalls blow sheets of snow
opaque as lambs' wool, cold as
a mid-winter birth
we gather at the table
warm our hands with a shared meal