Paul-Newell Reaves’










for N. S.

My brightest joys are found by
the depthiest discords of my mind.

Only four about N.S.,
many more about my love
affair with heartache.
She knows which.
You figure it out.






Lucky Star
The Powerful
The Hard Jazz
Summer Storm
Honest Facepaint
Another Love Away
Sick Bed
Fairy-Tale Realism:  Long Ago, Not Far From Here…
Lost Love Letters of Lucas Solace
Fragrant Eyes
I Dreamt of You
What to Do With a Dream
Fairy-Tale Realism: Ogre and Fairy
Lost Love Letters of Lucas Solace
Something About the Sea
What I’m Gonna Do to You
Sherry Told Me
Women All are Spiders, Men Snakes
Karnak, 1935
Crazyman Math
Black Hood
Surfing Fear
Fairy-Tale Realism: Book of Secrets
Lost Love Letters of Lucas Solace
Quiet House
a non-Normative Beauty I know


copyright 2012, 2014





Lucky Star


My horoscope read one word: prey— so I prayed,
consulted my zodiac, sought my true star,
the star I was under when born long ago…

It holds all my plight, all my happiness, woe,
so I invest prayers for my fate in its might,
not knowing Copernicus changed the whole universe

almost five-hundred years ago in May.


People believe in some wondrous ways.
Star gods are nicer than most.

Oh please, just this once, I then prayed to my star.
My star didn’t hear me, but I felt no worse.
It stayed in the heavens, untroubled by Earth.

It glimmered, it gloated, undaunted by men.
How could you deny me, so cruelly deny.
This star– the most powerful being in heaven–

has nothing to do with human dreams or hopes.


Deities often are careless with hope.
Deities often care less.

For Circumstance knows neither kindness nor thought,
no ears to hear prayers nor voice to respond.
Though God-like, omnipotent, Luck remains deaf,

Alone and unyielding, it does not need love,
demands no raw tithe, seeks no worship nor glory,
Life, governed only by this, only this,

endless chance, blissful chance, a gorgeous, cold device.


Luck is the stuff out of which are made dreams.
Death, though, is deaf just the same.

For death― old hag― chemically alters our minds,
a trip that’s worth waiting a lifetime―  or more.
And endless, since relative only to self.

We trip our last instant, wherever we wish,
and all we believe will become manifest
inside our own heads― with both vision and audio―

lingering like the final star of dawn.


If we but conquer our crippling fear,
Paradise’s real for a trice.




The Powerful

Kicking feet, shaking head, bull
tosses puny cowboy from saddle.

Throttle pulled, steam diverts through
valve into chamber.  Steam pumps piston,
a further steam injection shoves piston
in opposite direction, driving wheel,
pulling other wheels, down along tracks.

Fuel oxidizes and, in milliseconds,
ignites, thrusting rocket skyward.

“I say, I say, Mr. President, I stand before you, here,
a simple man– a simple man with a simple plan
to renew diplomatic conversations with Iran.”

First, silence, for light’s swifter than sound.
The light, first white, turns yellow, then red.
Twin halos appear.  A mushroom cloud rises.
As those clouds outreach those halos, a monstrous thunder
pumps. The clouds turn black.

Every millisecond seventy-two times more powerful
as the Tsar Bomba nuclear device, our Sun
casts one thousand watts on every square meter
of Earth’s surface.  It gives light, it gives life,
it gives inspiration.  If anything physical in heaven
or on Earth is worth worshiping, this Titan is.




The Hard Jazz

Be-bop blue-whop sashay-boom bop
The dark horn flies up a discordant scale.
Insane, inane, the keys– white, black–
recall the swift, echoing cries
of a padded room in the mental ward.
Slap pop glip glop, the electric bass
amplifies a rhythm so driving
that one absolutely has no choice
but dance.
The snare-drum speaks
as both sticks combine
again and over, fifteen seconds
building to a climax,
both towering and vast.

Suddenly, silence, or so it seems,
the volume so slight,
the tempo so subtle.
From amidst a swamp
of harmonies– black and white–
condensations of melody
dew glassily.
Be-bop shuffle-hum
now trumpet
now bass
now piano




Summer Storm

The skies belch their hydrous acid– thundering across the sky their long list of abdominal complaints– lightning bolts crackling like greasy reflux.  Clouds slather the skies in iridescent blacks.  Fifteen seconds of fine spray, followed swiftly by the downpour.  We wade through the gutters.

As hurriedly as the clouds moved in, they move off, to soak some other Sunday afternoon suckers.  The humidity has lifted now, the grounds smell sweeter than before.

I suddenly doubt that you love me.




Honest Facepaint
To be is to be perceived– Samuel Beckett

Carew emptied the drawers of his favorite possessions, tossing them haphazardly in his duffle, then slammed out the door.  He ran the ten blocks out of town, slowing only once the houses petered out and the road turned to dirt.  The vast savannah stretched before him, offering everything he had dreamed.

As the sun sunk lower in the sky, he saw the smoke trail whisping toward him.  Sprinting the last three quarters of a mile to the tracks, he lay in the long grass till it was passing, then hopped up to swing himself onboard.

She saw him, out the window of her car, back side of the circus train, then sat down at her make-up table to fix her hair.

When Carew opened her door and saw the car occupied, he tried to close it before she noticed.  “Come in,” she murmured, not even turning her head.  She slid the last bobby pin in place, and began to unpack her make-up.  “What are you running from?”

“I hoped no one would see me.”

“I won’t turn you in.  I meant, why are you running away?”

“I’m not running a–”

“Yes, yes you are.  Tell me, why?”

Carew’s mouth grew tight.  “I– I don’t know,” he stuttered.  “It’s, just…  that town, those people…”

She told him, not smiling, not looking at him once, “I don’t like small towns, either.”  Her hands began to smear a dark cream onto her face, turning it an olive brown.

“You’re making yourself darker?”  He asked.

“Yes.  For my act.  I’m Auset, an Egyptian Princess who can see the future.”

“But you’re not Egyptian.”

“I’m not Egyptian, I am not named Auset, and I cannot see the future.”

“I see,” he said with a smile.  “It’s a scam.”  She stood up very suddenly, and turned to face him.

“I’ve never scammed a person in my life, I just tell them what they want to hear.  I happen to be honest.”

“Uh-huh,” he was still grinning.  “So honest you paint your face to work in the freak show.”  Her eyes tightened and she turned back to her make-up mirror.

“At least I know who I am.”  That shut him up and quit his grinning.  “I’m an excellent fortune teller.  People tell you so much without even knowing.  You for instance.  You’ve never had to provide for yourself, but you’re running away.  A day and a half from now you’ll be at the end of the line, without a cent and very hungry.”

“I can take care of myself,” he mumbled, unconvincingly.

It was her turn to smile.  “Why did you runaway?”

“They just… they want so much from me.”  She walked over to him and gathered him in her arms, and he lay his head against her shoulder.  “What if I can’t do it?  What if it’s too much for me?  What if I’m not what they think I am?”

“Aww, baby.  All you are is what people think you are.”

They talked so till the train reached the next station.  She gave him a dollar, and he caught a bus back home.



Another Love Away

Fly, pretty Love, fly away.
Don’t worry about me, I’ll be OK.
For my next love is but another
love away.

Another love away, another love away,
my new love is now another love away.

I met her in the morning,
before she’d done her hair;
I kissed her in the evening,
when her scenes were over.

Another love away, my love, another
love will while away;
for my old love is now a whole
new love away.



Sick Bed

Motionless, she lies, sideways across the bed.  She cannot be comfortable, for her neck is angled upwards, her head face down on the radiator next to the bed.

Raising her head to angle an ear to the door, she listens for footsteps in the hall, hard.  Hearing none, she resumes her position.

When the sound of footsteps does fall upon her ears, she scurries underneath her blankets and pulls them over her head.  When her father enters the room, she pretends to be asleep.



Fairy-Tale Realism: long ago, not far from here…


“Daddy, I’m sick.”  He felt her forehead, and it was boiling.

“Damn, Joan, you have a fever.  I don’t think you should go to school today.”  She coughed twice and rolled over.  “Damn.  I’ll call your teacher.  Just stay in bed, and I’ll bring you some juice.”

Fifteen minutes later, he was off the phone and back in her room with a glass of orange juice.  As she drank, he ran his fingers through her hair.

“Daddy,” she asked him, “will you tell me a story?”

“Oh, honey, Daddy has a lot of work today.  Go back to sleep.  I’ll be right down the hall.”

In fifteen minutes, as she padded her way back from the only bathroom, she stuck her head up to the crack in the door leading to his office.  He was sitting at his desk– elbows on the dark, mahogany surface, head in his hands, fingers sticking through his hair.  The coffeepot on the floor was now empty, and there were already five cigarettes in his ash tray.

She pushed the door further open, and his face changed its grave expression to a smile.  “Can’t sleep?” he asked her.  She shook her head.  “I’ll tuck you back in bed.”

“Are you writing, Daddy?”  she asked, back in bed and tucked in.  Sitting on the side of the bed he snorted.  She knew that he had not been writing, had not been for many months.  “Tell me a story.”

“I may as well lose time in here as over there.”  She smiled and settled in bed.  “It all began a long time ago, not very far from here… There was a beautiful princess named Joan–”

“I don’t WAnna be a princess, I wanna be a knight.”

“Damn, sweetest, you’re always a knight.  This time you’re Daddy’s only princess.”

“I wanna be a knight!”

“Alright, alright, there once was a knight named Joan–”

“A BEAUTiful knight named Joan.”

He looked at her, intensely grumpy, but his eyes mischievously sparkled.  “A long time ago, not very far from here, there was a beautiful knight named Joan…

“She lived in a very small kingdom, surrounded by many other very small kingdoms.  Her village was the largest village in the land, and she had a great many friends.  Some were young; some were old.  Every day they would meet by the village well, to chat and swap gossip, to entertain themselves.

“‘Have you heard,’ said Joan’s friend Claire, ‘about the ogre that has taken over the castle on the other side of the lake?’  There were a great many castles in her kingdom, but the castle on the far side of the lake was the largest for many miles, and included in its parks the whole northern shore of the lake.  ‘The ogre killed everyone who lived inside that beautiful castle, but wickeder still, he hired the WORst interior decorator.’

“For her ninth birthday, Joan’s friends gave her a horse, and she named him Boa.  One day, she was out riding Boa, when she came across a very young man by the side of the road.  He was crying.  ‘Hey you,’ Joan said.  ‘What’s wrong?’

“‘My parents,’ he said.

“‘What could your parents have done to make you cry so?’

“‘They left me.  They abandoned me in this forest.  I’ve looked for them everywhere, but they must have hated me so much that they moved away.’

“Yheessshhh, thought Joan to herself.  This guy must be a real nuisance, if even his parents can’t stand him.  I want to help him, she thought, though I don’t want to be stuck with him for too long.  ‘Do you have any friends nearby that you could go to?’ she asked him.

“‘I guess so,’ he sniveled.  ‘The next village from here.’

“‘I tell you what,’ Joan said.  ‘You hop on the back of my horse and I’ll drop you off with them.’

“Boa galloped along the road– Joan wanted to finish her good deed quickly so she could go home and tell everybody at the well.  They passed through one town and when they finally reached the next village it was late in the afternoon.  Good, thought Joan, I’ll have just enough time to gallop home before dark.

“They road up to the house where the young man said his friends lived, but they weren’t at home.  Drat, Joan thought.  They sauntered toward the center of town, looking for his friends.  Soon, they noticed that there were no people in the town at all.

“They reached the town square, and no one was there, either.  ‘Creepy,’ Joan said aloud.  As Boa walked aimlessly across the square, they heard a long, faint cry.

“The young man jumped to the ground and pulled his rapier, turning this way and that.  Joan thought the source of the noise was in the direction of the church, so she urged Boa toward it.  As his footsteps fell closer and closer, another cry emanated from inside the open doors.  ‘Come on Boa,’ Joan whispered.  They were at the doors now, and Joan shielded her eyes from the external glare.

“She exhaled bitterly as a sharp sent reached her nose.

“Inside the cavernous church hall were the villagers.  Many were badly injured, and the unscathed attended to the wounded.  ‘What happened here?’ cried Joan.

“The minister came up to her and held her hand.  ‘The ogre from the north side of the lake,’ he explained.  ‘He was here, in this very forest.’

“‘Oh nooo,’ she cooed.  The young man entered through the church doors.  ‘I’m so sorry,’ Joan told him.

“‘What’s going on?’ he asked, trembling.

“‘It’s the Ogre,’ Joan said.  ‘He’s eaten your parents.’  The boy fell to the floor.  He was weeping and pounding his fists on the ground, but then flew into a tremendous  rage.  Jumping to his feet, he swore revenge, slashing the air with his rapier.

“‘You’ll help me, won’t you?’ he asked Joan, matter-of-factly.  She inhaled a long, ponderous breath scented with stale flesh.  How often in her village had she longed for adventure, for romance.  But this was very different.”

“Daddy, why do ALL your stories have so many DEAD people?”

“Because,” he told her, suddenly stern.  “That’s how the world is, sweetest.

“These people in the church were hurt.  And the young man was not her Prince Charming, that’s for certain.  He was not very assertive and none too bright.  Besides, his breath stunk.  She looked at the boy.  Charming or no, he had asked for her help.  ‘What’s your name?’ she asked him, making her decision.

“‘Vincent,’ he told her.”




Lost Love Letters of Lucas Solace (youngest son of Rowland DeBois)


Dearer to me than water, breath, God, life– Genevieve;

Either running through flowering heather, or rolling in dry leaves,
my simplest joy depends on whether I have golden Genevieve.

As branches across the river, or gold sifted through a sieve,
my heart is caught and lifted by you, glorious Genevieve.

Our lives have now come together to braid a delicate weave,
what balance, what mimicry our days have made, yours and mine, Genevieve.

yours, wholly,




I Dreamt of You

I found myself at a party, you were there, and many of our friends
we kissed again our first kiss in a hallway
the snow began to accumulate
you drove us all home, because everyone else was drunk.
You wanted to stop for swimming at a place you knew
we came to a shallow pool
you and I waded in
I swam around you, you dove beneath the water
we swam in circles around one another, spiraling toward one another
we climbed a hill to escape the others,
and fucked like popsicles on a hot day.





Red sands,
white sands,
black sands,
olive sands
and turquoise seas.
Reiki of Angels,
Maximum wage.
Tonic, gin, lime,
curious questions assuaged.




What to Do With a Dream

Dreams are meaningless.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t honest.

Trying to decode, or understand, or find meaning in a dream is like trying to understand birdsong, or a Picasso painting.  There is no meaning, only expression, expressions of beauty and wildness and pain.

A dream bears the fingerprints of your life.  They are inhabited by people you’ve met, they are set in places you recognize, they reveal your own anxieties and desires.  But they are irrational, they have no fixed relation to your inner psyche, they manifest no deeper, secret voice.

And therein lies their great worth, in their meaninglessness.

How did we evolve the ability to dream?  I do not think they evolved separately from our sense of self awareness.  Dreams are the side effect of consciousness.  As we sleep our astonishing sense of consciousness cannot cease to create in our minds.  And so we dream.




Fairytale Realism: Ogre and Fairy

“As Vincent and Joan approached the castle on the Northern shore of the lake, they were guided by a hideous scratching noise.  A grinding yowling, a churning tumult: before the gates to the castle, the ogre was using a grinding stone to sharpen stakes.

“‘Well?’ Joan said to Vincent.  He looked at the size of the ogre– 350 pounds if an ounce– and then back to her.

“‘Urrr…’ he slithered down from Boa’s back.  ‘Ummmm.’  In one jerky motion he pulled his rapier and charged at the ogre and began hacking at the monster’s legs.  The ogre didn’t notice at first, but eventually swatted the boy aside.

“‘Oh, for heavens’ sake!’ said Joan.  ‘That’s not even how you use that kind of sword.’  She took Vincent’s rapier from him and turned to look the ogre in the eyes.  ‘Sir,’ she said, ‘you have eaten this boy’s parents, and now must suffer the consequences.  Prepare to defend yourself!’

“Moral alert.”

“Um, boys are dumb.”

“No, contemporary society has seen a reversal of traditional gender roles, whereby males are frequently sheltered and innocent, while females– confronted with protecting themselves and their sexuality at a young age– are world-wise and know how to defend themselves.

“The ogre picked up Joan and Vincent bodily and stuffed them under one arm.  Grabbing Boa’s reins he lead them up into the castle and down the steps to a gloomy dungeon.  He threw the boy into an empty cell and put Joan down on her feet.

“‘Will ya-you,’ the ogre stuttered, Joan had never been so scared in her life, ‘join me for tea, Mah-madam?”


“The ogre picked her back up under his arm and climbed many flights of stairs to a well lit tower, with a table and several chairs and a china tea set.”

“DADDieeee, ogre’s don’t have tea.  This story is silly.”

“My stories are never silly, Joan, I haven’t finished yet.

“‘My name is Montgomery,’ the ogre told Joan, once tea was underway.

“‘Nice to meet you, Mr. Montgomery.  My name is Joan,’ Joan said.  Hot tea was doing wonders for her self-confidence.

“‘No, not Mr. Montgomery, just Mow-Montgomery.’  There was quiet for a moment.  ‘I hurt my head,’ Montgomery said.  ‘Real bad.’”


“‘OHhhhh,’ said Joan.  ‘I’ve heard that closed brain injury can bring about violent tendencies.’

“‘I have a daughter, too, like you.  She’s not ugly like me.’

“‘I don’t think your ugly.’

“‘My face is not pretty, but I am ugly.  I do ugly things.  I hurt people and I don’t remember.  But my daughter, she says I am an artist.  She says I can express myself and my hurting people will go away.  That’s why I was sharpening those pencils in front of the castle.’

“‘Those were PENCILS?’ Joan thought.  ‘You could write for years with just one of those.’

“‘There is a li-little fairy I know,’ said Montgomery, looking toward a footstep at the door, ‘but he is always late for tea, so do not worry.’

“‘My GOODness,’ said the fairy, bursting his slim, slight frame through the door, ‘I do apologize.  Had I but KNOwn there was company in the castle I would have arrived more punctually.’

“‘He speaks funny, too.  This is my new friend Joan, Mow-Monsieur.’

“‘OH, new friends are SO divine.  Almost better than old friends.  My name, mademoiselle, is Monsieur Cocteau.’

“‘How do you do, good sir.’

“‘Oh, wonderful, I am simply WONderful.  Is there anything, anything I can do for you?  I happen to grant wishes.’”


“‘WISHES?!’ yelled Joan.  What would you wish for in this situation, sweetest?”  Then he added, as her eyes bulged, “don’t be greedy.”

“Oh.  Um, I guess I’d wish that the ogre would get better, and not hurt people anymore, and be a great artist and win awards for fiction.”

“Hmpt.  ‘Monsieur Cocteau,’ Joan said, sincerely, ‘I wish that my new friend Montgomery could write again, and not hurt anyone anymore.’

“‘OH-HO,’ laughed Cocteau, ‘write AGAIN.  What a powerful wish.  Yes, YES, I am seeing something, I am definitely having a vision.  I see a distant kingdom.  I see a ruined city.  Yes, yes, and in this ruined city there is a manuscript, a book, a book of secrets.  YOUR QUEST, will be to find this kingdom, find this city, find this book, and bring it back here to us.’

“‘ALRIGHT, a quest!’”

“‘You are a good friend to me, Joan.’

“‘You go, girlfriend.’”

“Daddiee, no one says That anymore.”




Lost Love Letters of Lucas Solace (youngest son of Rowland DeBois)

My mind’s synapse, my eye’s iris, my heart’s beat– Genevieve

I’ve prayed and prayed for some new invention, that I might write a poem
worthy of your affection.  Some metaphor never welded, some simile never cast,
unthought by eons of aching poets, clawing out in writing from the past.

My spine tingles and my hand shakes knowing your fingers will touch these pages.  But that I were paper, so soon to feel your gaze upon me.  I envy the ink of my pen, to be graced by your presence.






I am not a spiritual or religious person, but the power of prayer is great.  At the very least it provides enormous therapeutic relief to any person praying.  I do not know if Allah– Sufi mystics consider collective unconscious another name for Yahweh, Jehova, Holy Ghost– or Gia– although life on other planets in an infinite universe seems statistically logical, if we are alone, the collective life force of Earth is the most powerful force in the universe– answer prayers– I somewhat doubt the sun or stars answer prayers– indeed, I do not know if prayers are ever answered.  But if they are, that power may be within our own minds, individually, but even more so collectively.  I believe that large numbers of Sapiens, all concentrating on one thing, could, be the most powerful force in the universe.  Yeah, somewhat like Avatar, but for realistic things– come on.





“Well water, sea water, river water, rain;
lightning-struck wood, candle aflame;
bark, soil, vine, pollen, grain;

“Ram’s blood, horse’s hoof, hair from lion’s mane;
grass from where a Prophet’s lain;
an honest soul’s true name;

“Hymen membrane;
crumbs from dead men’s last meals, a starving hunter’s game;
fingernails, deaf man’s earlobe, teeth pulled in pain;

“Tiger’s tongue, eye from dog that’s lame;
musician’s throat, a poet’s pen, a mathematician’s lobotomized brain;
moonlight, midnight wind, stir with stolen dagger regained;

“Crush and sift; stir again and strain; double, triple; ripen, wane;
fill syringe; inject in vein.”




Something About the Sea

“We live in darkness, and in despair.
Man, who knows the full depths of your discord?
Sea, who has sunk to your hidden floor, or
finds those secrets you so jealously hide?
Our pugilism stretches beyond written memory
–unrelinquishing fists, furiously panting breaths–
each eternal foe to foe,
so fond, both us, of slaughter and death.”  –Baudelaire, Bad Flowers, 1857.




 What I’m Gonna Do to You: NS-PNR

I wanna tear into you.
I wanna throw those growth-disorder legs over my shoulders and rip you apart.
I want every micro-millimeter of your Puerto-Rican body on my mouth.
I want to eat you out for a quarter of an hour and feel your thighs quiver, spasm, luxuriously round
my neck.
Then, what I want, you on top me, then,
I want to press both your arms overhead.  Then, me.
I wanna to roll over, over you, so the sun-bleached, golden strips tail end your wavy, hip-length hair
stick to me.
I wanna kiss your throat and run three fingers down that sexy indentation of your spine.
I wanna see in your wide, brown eyes.
I wanna fall asleep and wake up next to you.
I wanna smell like you all morning.




Sherry Told Me

Sherri told me I’m full of brandy.
Brandy told me I’m full of gin.
Djinn told me I’m full of beeswax–
I still don’t know just who I’m in.  (you?)




Women All are Spiders, Men Snakes

Rattlesnake and the Brown Recluse;
Water Moccasin, Brazilian Wondering;
Funnel-web and Banded Krait;
Tarantulas– New World and Old;
and the Red and Golden Spitting Cobras.
Pit Viper, Tangle-web;
Six-Eyed Spider.
A Black Widow and a Night Adder.




Karnak, 1935
For H.D.

Dear Sirs;
I write to you now afraid for my life.  I have succeeded
in unlocking the sapphire Eye of Horus, and in so doing,
fear I have driven him to divine wrath.  I came here seeking
nothing but truth, found millions in gems and silver,
but now wish nothing more than to complete my mission
and leave this place alive.  I have been impregnated by divine
fire.  A solitary falcon haunts my sky by day and by night.  The gash
it tore in my arm will not coagulate.  I cannot remember your faces,
dear sirs, only the timber of your voices as you questioned my
abilities and mocked my weakness.  Each night, dreaming returns
me to the temple, where I am dressed in white. The plains
flood and wild wheat grows in my belly.  The train from Luxor
whistles.  I wake and pray. Thursday, I was color blind for three
hours.  Please send me a new Victrola, mine will only play
my records backwards.

Forever yours,
Natasha Cohen




Crazyman Math

One only needs four numbers to count all things, and only four instead of two– repeated forever like a sine curve– because the first number is zero, and that makes things complicated.  So start all your counting with the first object as zero, proceed through one, two and three, then ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, followed by twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three… do you follow?  It’s a perfectly simple quadrinomial system.  Once you reach thirty-three, you move on to one hundred, one hundred one, one hundred two, and one hundred three.

A similar system applies to the dimensions of our universe.  Advanced applied mathematics supports a model for twenty-three dimensions– by which I mean eleven dimensions in not-crazyman math.  My point here is that counting begins with zero; there is a zeroeth dimension.  Time-space is the zero.  Think about it, the future certainly does not exist, the past only exists in memory– something else entirely.  The present exists for such a short period that it can barely be said to exist at all.  And yet it is always renewed, and always changing in value.  Time-space exists without existing, like the number zero.




originally published

When I fear– the dark, or cold, gunshots in a shady quarter,
that demons of shadow follow me; when I feel–
like isolating, closing down, covering my head, turning inward;
when I am overwhelmed by the dangers I sought out–
need to lock myself away in a world all my own creation:
I throw up my black hood to execute my fears:

A world of light, of magic tricks, gyre and gimble, dolls that talk,
hopping trains, of running gin, speaking French or Arabic,
of watercolors, oil-clay, graphite, inks and fountain pens,
colonnades and pinnacles and quarried marble blocks;
complexities, infinities, problems without solution
–of movable type, of telephones–
where minds may wander, illuminations bloom; where
every doubt’s akin to sin, where intuition’s understood.

When you’re alone,

when you feel doomed,

throw up your own






Surfing Fear
thnx to Jane Shore (whose book, That Said, is in bookstores now)

When your home town’s a war zone and your backyard’s
full of graves, turn away from the television,
the view is better out your window.
Steel crumbles, concrete burns.
Look down from the mountaintop,
watch the black smoke rising.
Now you’re surfing, surfing that tubular wave.
And the wave― blindingly gorgeous,
awesome in an old-testament kind of way–
the kind of wave you wait for your whole life.
And while you’re right up in it, instinct takes hold.
Time moves in blocks– one moment, three
moments, then suddenly twelve.  And you’re
paddling toward it, intensely thrilled while
impairingly afraid, trying to turn your board, but
the wave catches you by surprise, washes over you.
So you’re ready for the next one– paddle hard, then harder–
now you’re in the tube, you feel the back-current catch, you
plant your hands, trying to rise up― but you’re off-balance―
the board’s back sinks, the front smacks you in the face,
and you fall backwards into the sea.
And your face is bleeding in the brine,
your nose is broken, the undertow pulls you out, away
from shore, deep and deeper.  Your body sinks,
your head throbs.  Your feet touch sand.  You crouch on
the bottom and thrust toward the surface.
Breaking through to air, you choke,
gasp, cough, your whole body sore
from lack of oxygen, but damn you’re alive.
And you relish the welts and bruises because
they’re real.  Lie back in the ocean,
watch the black smoke rising.
Once in a lifetime, this kind of wave.
Or if you’re very lucky,
every other day.




Fairy Tale Realism: Book of Secrets

“As the horde of scorpions skittered away, the Temple of the Book of Secrets sunk to silence.  Through a crumbling wall, a vista of the Lost City stretched below the mountaintop.  The sunken buildings and toppled towers were soon obscured by a sandstorm blowing through from the Eastern desert.

“Joan crept across the temple hall, toward an alter of muddy gold.  She burnished a candlestick with her sleeve, and it shone like an small sun.  She put it in her pocket, then shuffled behind the table.

“There, lying on a swath of dusty velvet, surrounded by pillars and engravings of dirty gold, was the book of secrets, itself covered in thick layers of dust.  She brushed it all away from the cover page to reveal the title of the book…”

“What was the title,” whispered Joan, as he paused, “of the book of secrets?”

“Shrunk and White, the Elements of Style.  I won’t let you read my copy, for it is tattered and careworn, but someday I’ll buy you your own.”






Lost Love Letters of Lucas Solace (youngest son of Rowland DeBois)

I think not of the now, but of the past– Genevieve;

I am enflamed.
You are detestable to me.

I am sorry.  I did not mean to speak to you so.  I am wounded and lashing out, no more.  I will remember and love you, always.





Quiet House

A moment alone, enjoying morning’s stillness,
a quiet undisturbed by the crickets or birdsong,
a quiet amplified by muted strains of old house–
pipes and boards and beams–
settling-in, in an abstract rhythm.





a non-Normative Beauty I know (sonnet)

She doesn’t care her lips red.
She doesn’t care her cheekbones high.
She doesn’t care she holds her head so tall and well bred.
She doesn’t care her nose so fine.

She doesn’t care her eyes wide
as lanterns in the lighthouse.
She doesn’t care her arms slim
as birch tree limbs in wind.

She doesn’t care her belly’s flat
as shore stretching along the sea.
She doesn’t care her legs are long as you could Ever find,
thighs rich and thick, slimming
as they progress toward her knee,
for she leads a life of the mind.






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