(Preface: This book of poems began with the writing of the poem Looking Down in the hills outside of Santa Fe where I spent a summer camping and diving down into the city to experience as much art as possible.  I initially went there to attend a three week improvisation intensive that was based in exercises to help people create movements, sounds, and narratives out of the present moment without any plans.  But after the class was over I stayed in Santa Fe till the fall before heading back to the shores of Lake Superior, back to my wall tent and my wood stove.  While in Santa Fe I attended as many poetry open mics as I could, but there was one especially that took place weekly at in a bar/restaurant on Canyon Road.  It was different in a way from the others because it was at night with dim red lighting and, because it was weekly, to an extent, you could gain a certain amount of trust from the audience, that over time you could use more varied harmonics and juxtapositions without people feeling they were being cheated, for I think in a way our culture is so full of language-oriented deceptions that people are generally suspicious when anything shows up out of the norm.  It was funny because so many times I’d wake up in the morning and think about the poems I was going to read at the open mic but then realize that those poems I was thinking of hadn’t been written yet, that the type of form I was thinking about I hadn’t yet put to paper, yet in that in-between-just-awakening state it seemed like they already existed.  Then I wrote Looking Down, which I was so excited about for its impressionistic extravagances while at the same time being an accurate description of my love for the person I wrote it for.  And when I returned to Lake Superior I wrote many of the other poems of this book.  Many of the poems are meant to contain juxtapositions and spaces where the audience can create into the various proximities of ideas, images, and sounds, and between those juxtapositions myths can appear out of the sand.)





–for Sarah











Between The Stations


Dreamed of showing someone my bare footprints in the damp dirt and saying how distinct and identifiable they are while they showed up as a huge variety of foot types, all sizes and shapes, so that I kept trying to make the one I believed was myself to no avail. I want to understand this music of vastness, the minute cells of the night sky and galaxies of my blood, the marriages that take place between strangers who come to us in our dreams to free us of the equations of our daylights, of our eight hour days and eighty years we’ve decided are the only streambeds of restrained gestures allowed to us on this earth, like ocean currents so afraid they refuse to sea, to truly sea in sight’s extent, plagued with nameless, beautiful colors: only the mast of this ship is the forest that sings with us so ready to succumb—do the waxwings close their eyes as they pass the berries beak to beak between us?














Looking Down


Like two mountains who want to make love send deer and foxes to mate on each other’s hills, we’ve shed our costumes of burning pollen and smoke, forwarded like letters from the crowds of trees, limb to limb, Ponderosa Pines drawing the wind and clouds before the sun like a mask of rain—I’ve become rock and lichen the tint of flowering tissue, Primrose lips, and to carry you from mountaintop to mountaintop while buried deep inside you and descend in the silken grass near a spring, butterflies like winged horses drinking the salt from our bodies as we work toward some understanding deep within. We are two mountains in love, putting the people who live on us to sleep like children so we can groan beneath the starlight, and they can awaken and say to their lovers: “I had a dream your body was hard, like so amazingly hard, and I found caves that were full of fabulous oceans and moons that sent great silver carpets to my feet, and people who gathered and drank the moonlight in cups and sang to the moon,” all through our cacophonous love, ragged ravens and morning cloak butterflies with the frayed wing-edges of summer storms dance an invisible saddle of sky above us in the wind and dripping pines of our breath, the moon hung in the antlers of trees swaying from the great globe of our pounding, chaperone of the mountain lovers sternly ornamenting our sweat with silver light. And suddenly, as the sun rises and descends, I see the purple clouds dump rain on your distance, see you as yourself, as a mountain that I’ve climbed, that I sent pollen to, that I’ve been the instrument of the wind side by side, that I’ve shivered on cliffs wondering if I could ever go down, that I’ve built fires and shelters out of your words, and understood solitude, that every impossible moment on the way to the peak was nothing but two mountains in love…














October Gate


So exquisite this life

So exquisite these wings

So exquisite the decomposition

That sings of flight

Through the gods closing their eyes

in the earth that rings

between us

Deeper than space

There’s other shining senses

Even more

Even less

Than renown

It’s where all the castles reach in their burning

It’s where the goddesses take the hero back

to be again the darkest blue

It’s standing at the gate where-ever I fall and realize

it’s always been right here

as I dance with the call

of the first leaf of fall

Like the feather of a raven

landing among

a wedding party














Beloved of the Beloved


God in the morning

God sleep-deep and soft

as if falling from the stars

to bury us in the moment

God in all the food and laughter

God in the seeds released from

the hinges of autumn

God in these eyes

God in this mouth

God buried with me under these three blankets

The snow banked against the walls

of my canvas house

fallen in the wind’s ocean

God to make tea for

as she lays with her last dream

in the flowers that bloom in winter

spread across the pillow

facing her own wind

Listening to tea come to simmer

and the maple logs crackle

God, could there be

anything else?
















To be like a Bittern

beak to sky

and become cattail and sedge

Or a Morning Cloak butterfly

dancing the bark edge of a tiny Noh stage

rotting into forest duff

only to spread its wings and lift

like a piece of dark sunset born into another shape

In Chicago an art show about plants

with a glowing tapestry of sun-dried tomatoes

and Inky Cap mushrooms dissolved into white paper

like brush paintings

the security ladies looking at the paintings all day

rocking back and forth

one lady said to me: “You know, I been looking at this one a little bit,

and you know, I actually think there’s something goin on there,” with a grin

To have the skill of an Aspen leaf rocking down and attaching itself

to a Sumac branch

as if it had always been there

then laughing off back up

into sky














Night Metal


All the loves of moonlight

Ghosts and births of moonlight

Lovers lost in moonlight

Lovers born of moonlight

Lovers’ breath orchestrated by moonlight

All the incarnations of moonlight

Moonlight earth statues

Moonlight that silences the wind

Hand-raised moonlight

Moonlight envelope opened to a wolf’s song of distance

Moonlight berry of winter

Trees exploding drunk with moonlight

Moonlit antlers and frozen tawny rivers

Moon blues of the sun

Seeds released from the luminous rattle of summer

The moon shines between drumbeats

The moon shines on the waves of a beaten drum


Ghosts of moonlight our voices forming from silver

Swelling inside this costume of presence

Skunks in the garbage like true royalty

their bodies formed of dragonfly wings and beetle bodies

and half-eaten sandwiches and microwaved lasagna

polished and striped by meditations

on lightning

Barred owls of the balconies

Moon envelope falling like a petal through air of birth

Moonpose following the human funnel calling from night

Our bodies this village of metal and star map costume

Our body this village of desire

with a tree at its center

like the earth growing a fountain of tingling mirrors

glazed with the moon’s light
















Fishing a pine twig from my cold tea I realize I was always this person


Every stirring of wind in the forest is another voice to sing

Roaring wind can you make me small enough?

Deep enough to weep like dawn’s well?

Like the river formed by two streams coming together

Like the river of stars converging above the poems of Li Po

Like the story from the Altai Mountains these two star trails merge

as the Milky Way after a hunter loses one of his skis and keeps gliding

on dreamtime’s black snow

The wood thrush using the depths of the forest as its instrument

Or is it the forest giving the wood thrush a home so that the forest can sing?

The roar of traffic reaching into the hills and climbing with the sun

The wind sings through the leaf-flutes diamond swung

The wind sings in the trembling aspens

The aspens using the wind to sing

My old stovepipe has become a home for other things

This wind is breath that has nowhere begun


Fishing a pine twig from my cold tea I realize I was always this persona














Even Now Eternal


What would you give I ask this president, this king, this slave who thought his chains would change in the chiming air between Nighthawk legs—spotted underwing of spring and autumn dusk, the first stars of migration begin to appear where I sprouted and fell like a fountainous form: flying fountain of bird-form, of oak cascading acorn and leaf-grasping effervescent tree-form, autumnal fountain brown, lichen sprays, human springs as if astrally singing. These migrations of Nighthawks are great gestures thoughtless, to see ourselves gliding above ourselves as the earth sucks winter down from the moon, as the seasons laugh through the holes of history, and we struggle to find a way to fill all our ill-fitting costumes with jewels: two soldiers meeting among the char and flowers of glorious morning: “Who told us war would set us free we must bury even now as a friend, even now eternal.”














Medicine Garden


The Wood Thrush gate

As the oaks and maples listen

Flute song of wind

The great caress of breath music

that keeps arriving

The leaves of last fall on their journeys about the ecstatic sleep

of decomposition

and the lifting eyes of vibrating dawn

in the layers of revelation

The Wood Thrush gate cannot be found with any tools

The shared silver of lovers sleeping in the garden mist

These borderless dreams laugh beyond the skin

and this skin is revelation’s song

revelation the height of tomatoes and Echinacea

This song of deep midnight

Garden gates of everything imaginable

and garden gate gardens lifted

like a verdant hatch

Tasting the midnight in the squash

and tomatillos in the midnight

Lips shining this solstice of growth

and this verdancy growing thicker to refound the dawn

Love’s leaves compressed into the rich ground of unknowing

the fuel for decomposition

the fuel for ascension


A bear died here before the medicine garden was born

and sent back plants from other worlds

through orifices too vast to be found

too free to be a single location

except every single grain of dreaming dirt

dance ground of fallen castle bricks set into mosaics of nutrition

and maternity

the falling and ascending matrimony of bodies

that have relatives in the stars

fragrant mist and owls as far as the night offers



We’ll put our bed where the bear disappeared

and align our kidneys with arctostaphyllus

our livers with yellow dock

and shake the hawthorn so hawthorns bounce from your black nipples

and wear blue crowns of vervain

held by the compost of moon


The shining moon of ponds bridged by verdancy

Green gift of cascading radiance of the wood thrush gate

descending into your beautiful body unfolding

the waves

of a night bell














One More Moonpose


Are we enough for the morning and for the night, for dream’s contemplation in flesh and bone, for the angel and human to converse in this form and practice between skies snowing into a gold and purple crown, for ancient beings lifted out of the mass of love’s desire for definition and heat sung through flower-throats born along by streams and wind? The angel and human dance, one arm to each, one leg only to themselves, lost in love’s extravagance, thrown upon the shores of cities of bone we call our own, like a wave-crest’s dream—the angel’s foot sunk in the deepest lake in the world while cranes sing to each other on the shore, the human’s sole upon burning sand, dancing toward dusk’s heated bed, where they’ll read to each other poems by firelight, languages like ribs of deep forest ferns and fern shadows, watching the dancing flames lift the words from the page with a new arrangement after dancing the day among the waves, flame-chosen, poems lit by breath of earth transforming. The angel speaks of morning, and the human speaks of twilight, the scent of dusk, and they sleep smelling each other’s feet in the soft warmth curled around smoking coals of dust.














Night Harmonies


The night made to sing in the space of love

First the deer call out

Then the Barred owls

Then the coyotes lose the night’s composure after the partridges have blustered

The wind becoming pines hardening into dusk before they disappear

This is all the night’s vigilance

Pregnant oil lamps

Trains pulling toward the wordless solstice

Deer pressing their heart-shaped prints into bear piles beneath apple limbs

sprung by fruit fallen through the stars

This royal seal pressed into the hot wax of travel and dreamtime

Bear and deer passing into dreams of earth and open snow

Eye open vigilance

Eye closed vigilance

Vigilance of leaves falling toward birth and earth and frozen stone

The forest’s frozen corona stillness

Illness full of sleeping breath like a hollow tree

Gatekeeper night

In the space of love the night made to sing


Dying green breath of October skull hole

round, brilliant

waiting for our apple faces to ripen

hawthorn face

eyebrow corn

frozen forest corona stillness

our love to be love

our love to turn its blazing face toward home














Personal History


In this house of smoke

In this body of wind

In this enormous heart I lit my way with the light of a poem

changing the words whenever it dimmed

combing the snarls out of all the monsters I found

commenting on all the fabulous home-cooked food

at this holiday spread

in the caves of the moon


The moon-drenched beach is strewn with shells

and sleeping bodies

that have fallen from love

girded by mountains shaped like Adam and Eve

finding themselves warm for the first time

lying in each other’s arms

finding trees full of fruit growing in their dense bodies

(as Jesus drops down and evolves before their eyes)

And Adam and Eve falling back asleep

dreaming deer walking like humans

humans wearing antlers like tendrils of smoke

that every physical form is the space between each raw glistening breath

of their silver torsos

light with beginning

(that never smelled like anything but this moment)

fallen like compost piles in the rains of autumn

(millions of years of washed rock and alluvial dust)

(leaves shaping rain)

fallen like apples

for the bears and deer and foxes

who dance

into each other’s arms

All because of you Adam and Eve

All because of you














Constantly Falling


So vast and priceless your eyes

that drove me to the mountains

like a shimmering herd

So vast and priceless your skin

that taught me to swim

among the sailors who became dolphins

in the ocean of colors unknown


We watch the stars together

This bed of love falling

Always falling

Onto the branches that sing

(and caress the moon)

There’s not enough daylight

To contain our endeavors

Our music so vast

Our bodies everywhere


Deep movements

whose emanations are the only thing describable

and yet it is like the surface of a wave

describing what is sees of the ocean

Like mountain climbers in love with the impossible

the ones who form the world only from cloud

always taking their clothes off in order to float into where nothing is solid

only to find that words are bodies

that words condense

into October wind














Night Flying Poem  (for ZHU Xiao-Mei)


this voice behind the voice

this style behind the style

speaks to the voice behind the voice

the style behind the style

like the Vltava river coursing through the center of Prague

two streams coming together and forming this great flow

between the cities we’ve formed into bodies

this river of stars and snow

like a tunnel’s glow we suddenly see

upon death and love

has always been our home

bone-strewn stars falling and shining faces lit

roads vast as our eyes closed

vast as your sleeping body traveling through

ancient and new

as we stopped to watch the moon bending in the stream

and called it birth

between parties

speaking beneath the speaking

loving beneath the loving

the loving beneath the loving is the ground

resoundingly born














Landing From Silver


The unfolding sea, the multiplying sea, the sea full of members brought with thought messages born by beacons from the points of light turning earth into a gleaming face multiplied by heaven’s gate, heaven in the molecule’s form’s laughter, in the remembered becoming that was never until this dream, seams of understanding sewn alone with invisible hands attending, crone’s deer throne rich in autumn’s fire, sleep-deep in a world ascending in raven coal in the bridge of croaking, the vibration of highway thought taught to find its way to noon marrow and stew the soup of unrumination blessed by the moon, scope the crest caressed on your armor my castle love to lie and become a home to other things and take your art beyond you, rich and dire, broken and shimmering, ugly as beauty new—


Beneath the beat we consider life, those expanses that love calls wet with words, forming cities of fallen leaves drenched with autumn, shaken free in the winds of spring to dance again, woven on heights for mice and decomposition and all the childrening of thought’s disuse—these are the pictographs of the gods of morning


From the interior stormlit telepathy of cells and molecules

The falling leaves of fall calling from sunset to sunset

The ecstatic leaves of decomposition and the fallen leaves of fall calling


Stars like a great river disappearing into the distant trickle of a stream

And the moon who laughed straight out the other side of the wind

and entered the blue-lit caves


Spotted underwing of diamond morning

underwing of spring shadow

cloak of peepers shed for the scope of humanity

like a husk born of two seeds

singing the dawn to each other

with bodies tanned from this world of sand

sifting the wonder of form

and nightships free of the wonderous creaking of bone

and hands to be lightened and balanced

in the hands of a child

I found this body suffused and full of caves

of lake lore

and where the caves have entered me and found

new ways through my own singing

glistening like slug trails

never to be found again

always new

never to be discerned and returned

never to find the pathways home

by rearranging poems into what we thought they were

as we had added words and danced with combinations

to find ourselves here

with only a home in every step

in every glance

in every word of caress

I never meant to spoon you off the bed

but you fell into your own ocean

like Icarus

with the story unseen

by the Greeks who woke from the dream

too soon

to see he found where the moon rebuilds itself

and helped it lift even now

where the wolves and bear and deer tracks

are painted and washed and spread

landing from a silver spoon