Friday, March 26, 2010

The Day the Wall Came Down

I say go there at night. Go there when the wind is pulling on the galloping flags like so many small hands. I say go there when the lights are holding the statue, ten feet from the earth. Because it is then, in the calmest of moments , you see the horses for what they are—small beginnings of a storm.

When I was a freshman, the horses were new. The old people would come in droves holding their grandchildren like spaghetti, and offer them to the bronze gods. The old people knew the wall before it fell. The old people knew the horses.

Years later, I still go to the statue. A man now in a world of children, I sometimes take them with me. I hold them up to the steady eyes of the stallion, the steady eyes of the mares. I watch the wall fall in their reflective eyes.

I say. Go there at night. Go there when the wind is the only sound. Go there when you can softly hear the Berliners—their maddening cries of victory, defeat.

The Graduate

Let me walk on the
thin ribbon of your
Möbius mind, and I,
a dangerous kind of
new, will defy the
tired cords of gravity
and stay suspended


in the airy jungle
of the unknown—
this lamp, my only

A twisted head,
just the beginning.

Tomorrow, I will
twist your yesterdays
until you find

upside-down and awake,
the only un-eaten apple
in a sea of falling ants.

Open Letter to James Earl Rudder

And what of the wind
that snakes and spins
across this open field?

Do you hear it?

And what of the trees
that bend and gnarl
beneath the singing sun?

Do you see them?

And what of the buildings,
stone comrades,
standing ever ready?

Do you salute them?

And the students
that flood by you
like a slow brook,

and the faculty
that hurry past
in shoes of things to do,

and the other men
and women, just as still,
reflecting the same light,

do you know them?

And are their names,
just as ours, written
on the heavy pages

of the book you always hold?


In German, the word
for horse is pferd,
the word for wave
is welle.

Were we all
drowned in this
mighty pferdwelle?

If so, it must have been
a beautiful death.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


how is it that we,
the air, the wind,
the ones destined for hell,

are saved?

if we temper
the fire within
if we cool it
if we cover it
if we strangle it

will it not
on the day of our baptism
ignite and boil us alive?

No, we, the air, the wind,
the heat, the light,
the ones destined for hell.

we are the still magma
bubbling beneath the earth
we are the blue flame
coiled like a snake
we are the unloved

and hell rides us like a chariot.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Roc

I've been sitting
in my overstuffed chair,
a dictionary on my lap,
waiting for a roc to come.

I want to see that
mythical bird fly
down, a great pet of
the gods, perhaps
a god herself.

They say she can
carry away an adult
elephant with one
snatch of her claws.

I want to be here
in this chair when
she comes, when the
shadow of her wings
colls the sun,

and we sit in
silent anticipation
for that terrifying and wonderful
first feeling of flight.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Silver Taps Revisited

The soldier
tight like wire
on my right

has metal bones
that rattle
in this thin air.

He is brilliant
in the moon,
a quiet, unsettling

These moments
are meant
for the darker
cupboards of
our kitchen

where we
are not fragments

but a whole,
faceless and wide.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Prayer Tonight

My prayer tonight,
as our little square
of earth passes
lazily in the lampless night,

is that tomorrow,
when we wake, the globe
will be smaller,

and the next day,
smaller still
both nights and
days are just seconds
on a spinning top,

and we would not be able
to put the sun to sleep
without it rising at our backs,

and we, the romantic
would collect evenings by the wagon
and build small castles
out of their hesitant dangers,

and we, the guilty
would collect mornings by the bushel
and finally sleep soundly
in their promised mercies.