He understands himself to be a “post-language” poet

Don’t understand
that poetry
that wants to be so clever
only a few PhDs can comprehend:
insular and safe, protected
from the public,
talking amongst themselves,
talking to the like-minded.

Put on their cap and gown
and transform into professor poet…
Pack my verses tightly
in little Russian dolls
and speak an obscure dialect…

Or be the one they sneer at:
popular, accessible. Accept,
gladly, such dirty words and
be transparent to the average Jane,
who just want to know
someone understands.

Cooking time

Green and red peppers,
An onion,
Cloves of garlic in a jar,
Endless cups of olive oil:
These are the objects of my attention.
I can imagine my pennies
Collecting in the bank,
But there is still a cost:
Time I am not reading,
Time I am not writing.
I worry that it means
I am not serious about poetry,
Because the chopping and
Frying and washing gives me
Such great satisfaction.
How easy to slip into the routine
Of office and kitchen and laundry.
I need my pennies to go far –
To the doors of the university
And back – but I hope
I can steal time for writing and words,
which, after all, are the point.

Word games (revised)

We play
by text message:

yardang, lepidoptera
anacrusis, mana;

trading syllables
and spellings
and meanings.

I magine his face
as he speaks each
word, see him
smile as he
stumps me.

Are his eyes
or deep ochre?
or raw umber?

Is our time together
or ephemeral?

I search
the fallen leaves,
but find only
amber and cinnabar,
goldenrod and

You collect words,
he said,
but does he know

 I also catalog
each look, each wink,
each line on his cheeks
storing them
for the coming winter.


I feel truly alive
When the words
Wash over me
At a reading
In a room half full
Of students and professors
And the odd refugee
From the corporate cube.
We gather to worship
The word, the sound,
Our mutual attraction
To the movement of breath
Over lips and tongue.
Even if we could live
Every moment
With perfect attention
We would understand nothing
Until it is written in verse.