The Last Battle

"So," said Peter, "night falls on Narnia. What, Lucy! You're not crying?"
"Don't try to stop me, Peter," said Lucy, "I am sure Aslan would not. I am sure it is not wrong to mourn for Narnia. Think of all that is dead and frozen behind that door."

C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

The earth split like a fallen man's skull,
and the burning skies painted every river red.
Everything ended. Stars crashed to the earth
and lay in the grass smoldering,
weeping, mourning their extinguished children.

Embers. Dawn. A door in the air.
We are all blood and dirt. Through the gate,
only silence. If it is teeth and ice
it cannot be worse than this day.
I step through.

photograph by flickr user la fata matta



The carrots are born and the rabbits
are dying. The root came up--
crayon orange, firm with promise--from
the dry rows just off the porch.

Over the fence the neighbor's pool
has claimed another rabbit. Face first
like a fish. Still as a lily pad.
Her nose does not know
the riches are ready.

photograph by Emily McPhie

Interlude: Other People's Poetry

from Not So, Not So

I cannot walk an inch
without trying to walk to God.
I cannot move a finger
without trying to touch God.

Perhaps it is this way:
He is in the graves of the horses.
He is in the swarm, the frenzy of the bees,
He is in the tailor mending my pantsuit.
He is in Boston, raised up by the skyscrapers.
He is in the bird, that shameless flyer.
He is in the potter who makes clay into a kiss.

Heaven replies:
Not so! Not so!

I say thus and thus
and heaven smashes my words.

by Anne Sexton
photograph by flickr user whose name I have sadly misplaced. If this is your image please leave a comment.


The Wrong Way

Don't take this the wrong way,
she said, but I love you.
And inside the lettered breath
of every tongue-carved syllable,
the truth in whispered ink:
I do. I do.

photograph by Alison Scarpulla

Next Year in Cannon Beach

Cassandra Barney and I will not be appearing at the Spring Unveiling in Cannon Beach, Oregon this year. Ernst & Ernst Collectors Gallery, our host from last year, has closed its doors. However, Cass has parlayed her relationship with nearby Bronze Coast Gallery into plans for next year.

So! Next year, in Cannon Beach! And with all this time to collaborate, you had better believe we're going to put together something fierce.


Saint Anthony's Fire

The fields are full of demons, child.
You must know the new color
of this old madness: it is red. Do
as I say. Take both my hands.

The angel descends. My body
is his flaming sword:
we will all be consumed. This
is our only salvation.

read more about Saint Anthony's Fire* here.
photograph by flickr user tworm

*not to be confused with Saint Elmo's Fire.


Driving Home

Orion knelt at the tree line. Venus was gone
from over the barn, and the raw thawing earth
refused my feet. I remembered what I'd heard
about Australia, and how the stars there
are hung upside-down. The winds have changed,
but still no word.

illustration from Bats and Swallows


Tour Jeté

She was stunned at the revolution
of every year. Each time a season turned
she squinted, surprised. Did anyone believe
autumn would come again? And, too,
disorientation—she was alive this time,
this year, reason be damned.

Equinox and warmer light left
her eyebrows floating, dark
in the lake of her forehead.
(The leaves are actually changing,
the April air does feel like that.)

an old poem, revised for 2009
photograph by Alison Scarpulla


Why I Don't Send You Dirges (On Reading McDonald's "Anniversary")

How strange, these days, that love--
improbable, impossible, unforgivable--
not grief, is the birthing tide
I've come to ride to quiet morning shores.
Each night erases the last.

photograph by flickr user el neko
original poem here


Preface à 'Mystères de la main,' or, The Inventor's Daughter

after Adrien Adolphe Desbarolles (1801-1886)

She held Hyde Park
in the palm of her hand;
She offered London to me--
Gold lashes lined two forest pools
that would have drowned me outright,
had she offered those
as well.

Glove Map of London (1851) by George Shove
Inspired by Persephone's shove


Hey, Universe? Thank you.

In the midst of what is admittedly not the most awesome time of my life, I get today's news:

"The Werewolf's Wife Confesses" has been accepted for publication by Poetica Magazine.


photograph of some of the Denishawn School's first pupils from flickr Commons


Interlude: Other People's Poetry

I am seduced by trains. When one moans in the night like some
dragon gone lame, I rise and put on my grandfather's suit. I pack a
small bag, step out onto the porch, and wait in the darkness. I rest
my broad-brimmed hat on my knee. To a passerby I'm a curious
sight—a solitary man sitting in the night. There's something
unsettling about a traveler who doesn't know where he's headed.
You can't predict his next move. In a week you may receive a
postcard from Haiti. Madagascar. You might turn on your
answering machine and hear his voice amid the tumult of a
Bangkok avenue. All afternoon you feel the weight of the things
you've never done. Don't think about it too much. Everything
starts to sound like a train.

by David Shumate
photograph by Osvaldo Zoom


Today's Water

Rain, but rain so fine
only puddles give it away.
On the restaurant roof the steam
changes direction, a wholesale maneuver
like indecisive geese, or so
it seems to me, the girl inside
who cannot feel the currents.

photograph by flickr user t0asty



Heard more from Isotope this week. No word yet on which issue my poem will be in, but they did mention that as part of my payment I'll be able to order copies of that particular issue at a discounted rate. The magazine itself is not something you'd find in the newsstand or at Barnes & Noble; I don't even know where you'd get it, aside from their website.

So: If I ordered a few extra copies of the magazine, signed them and mailed them to you, would anyone be interested? Your cost would probably be about $9 per copy.

I'll have to order soon to get the paperwork in the mail, but there's no point in having a bunch of copies of the magazine around if nobody wants them. That's just sad. That's like sitting-in-your-high-school-bedroom-staring-at-your-football-trophies sad.

So. Any takers? I will not be offended if there's no interest. $9 could buy a lot of donuts.

Moleskine watercolors by Lucinda Sweets


Cross Those Digits, Kids.

On the recommendation of the program director I just submitted my application to Skidmore's Summer Writers Institute. If accepted to the master class, I'll spend two weeks this summer studying poetry--one week with Deborah Digges, and one with Robert Pinsky.

Let me say that again.

Robert. Pinsky.

Wish me luck.

photograph by flickr user martian_hemoglobin_x

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