Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ship turned towards sky...

Let all my ships go, let them sail away.
Loosen the bolts, empty the cove,
the docks are at midnight, the ocean a sheen
of new water, soft-frothing, silk-green

beneath moonlight; here comes that old tide
lifting wooden planks, ropes, our sails flung wide
to the wind in a greeting, brief-fleeting, and hushed
as an ocean at midnight; its waters thick-brined

and swirling, with dreams we've charted, now known.
Its tempests familiar, rough waters like home, 
and our damaged sails now dragging behind
we are hopeful, ship turned towards sky.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The heart, slipped through....

Hold it tightly in, grasp the roughness, inhale
to keep poised and aligned, no one needs to know

what slipped through the ribs, unrestrained: your heart,
airtight, packed up, tumbling now and all for what, over brown bread,
over safety nets, over shared chores and shared beds

and something shared that never should've been: your hands,
knitted fast to a blanket, knuckle-white and gripped to last, but

worn things are better worn through; new things are better made
to undo what's been lost: the heart, slipped through
the ribs, unrestrained, and now sewing it anew,

with patches and stitches and rolls of yarn;
needles and safety pins and scraps of fabric, used.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Heart, you are the redeemer, deemed in half
of what can be gained of love, for love
cannot make known its make, nor have
its honest value weighed.

A Dream of Kuwait

There is a boat on top of the bookcase, wooden
with a flag that reads Kuwait, reads
not of deserts, but something of sailing.

Habibi, I never went, but was told through others
of orb-like towers, built for water, and the streets
grown so hot, you feel a great weight hovering over you, pushing
like two hands folding the earth.

Binti, you would call, little one, and we would lie close,
and you pointed over waters and waters as though to find
that far away coast, where we could watch
the great eye close, and a final surge
of solar perplexity and vague mystery
as green light broke the waves.

This is how I love you: a green burst
among the waves, and every night
when the great eye closes, and again when it awakes.
We are as heavy as an endless summer, and as thick
as stars spread in the wilderness, where I looked
at sand for hours seeing only your face.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pieces from Fall 2009

Just wanted to talk to you today.

Just wanted to say your name
to someone.


I am seconds away
from pure color,
from autumn browns
and dark stone,
from flying up to the
brilliant tree cities,
into the sunlight-spilling
gold ridged sky.

Thought you could skip me
across water, did ya?
thought I would sink
like a rock.


A realization
I have

Breaking through
some inner layer,
didn't think anything
could run this deep.
I think I might just be

Saturday, December 3, 2011

We make our way, a thousand days
of dreams; we turn pillars of parking
garages into fortress walls, and kingdoms walked
wearily, we tread to our cars.

Eventually, we thought it would make sense
as violets do, sprouting heads above the dirt. We thought
each ray of sun is for someone blue
and each moment of blue is to remind us of solitude, to
take our hand and sit us down for a talk, like our mothers
used to do.

But we have been reprimanded for changes, for calling names
and praying, we were blamed for the wrongs we made,
but even right things lead into corners and squares
like boxes and papers cut in halfway planes. I am fully immersed
in the world, but can never quite fathom its shape.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I am sitting in the back
of a fogged car, gray seats
and not enough leg room

behind a gas station, where rain falls
on the windows, on the roof, to our backs 

where a forest sits of
towering, overpowering, pitch black
trees with eyes that watch the night
as I am staring at your face

in reflection, water sliding down over your eyes
smoothly pressed and soft as an empty freeway, closed

to the mountains, impassible; we are late, it is cold,
ice is falling, and I am holding you.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Long enough, I have cultivated fields of fog and corn, happiness
as fragile as a young bird; you don't know how long it took me
to plant this garden, and now, a sudden lack of seed.

the rows are shallow, dug with a spade. I expect too much
from a patch of earth that has never been planted
and I am watching to see what grows -- nothing
but the wild seeds blown over the wall.


I told you it is madness, a constant back and forth, upheavals, swoons, dives.
It seeps up and debilitates; watching a sunset sink into silver hills. This is nothing.
There is a woman sitting
at a window, looking out upon the weather,
and she glances back -- whether
or not you stand with her in the room, she will not
look directly at you.

In summer seasons, she fishes at the river
reeling bodies tied on strings, to dangle
helplessly, then toss them to the currents.

And her child, not born, but distilled
inside her womb, who died
ages ago, yet is ever smothered in her breast --
the little girl does not rest, but cries a lonesome wail
of innocence, and the heart's cracked details
of a blanket torn away.

And the woman is still waiting, ever waiting
for the day, but does not realize -- she will never be
revived, restored, remade.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


You passed, a gray swan
at dawn's light. You passed
through wire branches and low, bending limbs.

You flew across
distance, wingspan
of our armlengths, hand to hand.

And for a moment, the wings broke
to either side, and I realized I mouthed
my own name, while looking for you in a sky
that was empty, save for the distant call of birds, and the subtle mist
that emerged from memories of you, moments tossing stones
into blindness, the constant
balancing attempts and rational violence, with no release
but a burst of wings.

There it flew, all of you
as everyday as a gray goose, no silver swan-necked, hovering bird
but there, your unloved, molted wings -- gray, yet true.

- - - - - -

What is the unnamed? The unreachable
peaks upon wings upon a broken wind; what speaks
through us, when a hole opens
and nothing replaces, fits.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


what is light? all
that we see or do, that is spread
on fingers splayed; a certain weight-
less flow, separate from shade,

where two rays fall freely; there is sweetness
in the way you look at me
now, as though a switch
has flipped up, on, and a room illumined.

it can be in pieces, divided
to the touch; your face
when mouthing the separate vowels of a name;
or when engrossed, playing
as children do,

there is a diffused glow, light made ambient
by you; a lack of feet, a hint of clouds
passing overhead in a passing shade, like a laugh-
ing mouth, sliding lips, flushed, you are light
as a touch, a word, a kiss.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The heart is no titan

I am nothing known nor meant, no titan,
no shepherd immune to the heart's deceit,
where a warlord's keep still towers, and my
feet tread back and forth at the gates, asleep

with no means of retreat. My defense has
flown apart, exposed as mere bone-molded
arrows and spears, not rock, not steel; no fire
to forge such a blade as your heart has pressed

to me. And what for the whisper, the hope
of what this land could be? There was a wind
come from far overseas, and I sailed out
with a quest, a prayer for something fierce

and wondrous, but your walls are yet unbreeched,
and your fortress no sweet shelter for me.

I cannot love. This heart is a forest

and I don't need flowers

or insensitivity, like a cold rock thrown in an ice blue sleep. I don't need words
of praise or peace

or hands to build a house amidst my leaves; i am a blowing thing
of rampant insecurities and dashing,
thriving beasts; I don't need lips
to touch sweetly, nor a trail blazed, nor fellow tree to spend dark evenings

amidst the howling, hushing brush; I ache already
in the moist morning
where your feet have trampled
such delicacies.


Maybe I am dreaming of what love is supposed to be.

You cannot fill me, as no one can

for a creature's heart is empty. And I

am not that vase or glass, not fine

enough to fill myself with sand;

What is as hollow

as your cupped hands?

Love is small, and five fingers can hold nothing.


a surge of speech, verging on old news, i am seldom heard
by you; i can't interpret myself

like a kite, a solitary flier
wrapped up in a lamppost--
i'm not made to flutter.

it's like speaking to a beech tree, a deaf love
with verbal inconsistencies and sign-language adultery;
if my words were leaves, they would weep
down around you in a flurry
and i would never know if they struck
water, or just crumpled to the ground--

and asking words from you is like asking
salt from the sea, you can only give
me a silent tide but no sieve; no method
of drawing salt from sand from an ocean deep;
your rocks are words
and i want your rocks, boy, your rocking
to and fro
but your waves refuse to speak.


and you talk like you want to tie the knot
but there are too many knots tied
and i am not
a knife, love doesn't cut it;

and what is love without words
of love -- just trembling
sighs and mouth eating lips with lies.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


i cannot walk; tied to a post,
grief grows stiff in
my arms, my legs,
splayed as a scarecrow.

dig up the fields, Lord.
why must i watch crows pick at the body,
eating seeds and shredding limbs? You are
tearing down Your work, Lord, and
hallowed be Your art.

what the eyes let in
and what You have placed before them:
rotten hands, railroads, constant rolling farms
and season after season's end--
i want to flex my fingers, Lord, pray at Your feet
but these days the limbs won't bow; you keep me
standing, Lord, on a fence post
watching endless fields churn; You tear them apart.

Summer's fires are what ready the earth.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wind Poems

i feel it as frost in my wrists, brittleness
like bent wind through scraping pines

it creeps up to the elbows, a slow ache;
embers in the brush, burned out on fallen leaves,
a mixture of old things, decayed branches
and stones covered in thin dirt.

looking high and low, i never saw
you enough; you are a history, a story
like old bark peeled from new wood;
trails of wisdom and words leaving
pathways through featureless terrain
where i grasped, but grabbed
only wind.

* * *

i have moved away.

leaving the place that leaves me winded,
roiling through open tunnels
i am swept, Lord, taken high and low
by your hands, which have taken me over.

* * *

i cannot walk; tied to a post,
grief grows stiff in
my arms, my legs,
splayed as a scarecrow.

i would rather you
dig up the fields, Lord,
then have me sit still and complacent
watching crows pick at the body, eating seeds
and tearing limbs, but You are
tearing down Your work, Lord, and
hallowed be Your art.

what the eyes let in
and what You have placed before them,
rotten hands, railroads, constant rolling farms
and season after season's end--
i want to flex my fingers, Lord, pray at Your feet
but these days the limbs won't bow; you keep me
standing, Lord, on a fence post
watching endless fields churn; You tear them apart.

Summer's fires are what ready the earth.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Faux-Fairytales I: The Winter House

The Winter House


T. L. Shreffler

She found strange satisfaction in watching the silver gaps between the trees at night. It was just past the midnight hour when she would take her lonely perch at the tower window, settle her eyes on some distant branch or cloud, and wait.

And she told herself, not many moons. Not many moons before her intended beloved. He would arrive at the tower steps before her fourteenth year; she would be a child bride, perfectly loved.

And then she thought... no, it would be as a young lady, and then as a woman, full of moonlight. And each night, she watched. And never did anyone approach.

And as the years passed, she forgot that she was waiting, and took to sitting in her room, creating art from sounds and symbols, pressing love upon them, sewing her heart into a warm cloak that she wore tightly around her shoulders, because the nights were colder now, and a thick winter underway. It felt as though it had snowed longer than the season; days shortened and lengthened, and yet ever there was snow on the windowsill. Birds migrated overhead, one direction and then eventually another. She forgot how many times she noticed them pass. She felt as though time had grown as cold as her fingers.

And slowly, slowly she became ice, and then stone, and then part of the very tower walls.

* * *

When he first saw the house, it was as a fortress of ice and thorns.

He looked upon the wild gardens with no small wonderment. Abandoned, perhaps? It was impossible to tell, and yet night was closing in, and he had followed the road as far as it would go -- it had ended here, at the wrought iron gates, strange, spiraling beasts arching above him, sentinels to the silent dwelling.

The windows on the lower story were broken. He could easily climb the gate, slip in.... It would be sure suicide to stay out on a night like this. The winter of this forest was dense and permanent; some said a god had died here, hundreds of years ago, and now no warmth would visit its tomb. Others said it was the eternal chill of a woman's heart... but he couldn't imagine anyone ever living in this forsaken castle. The gray stone was blackened by what may have been centuries of weather and wear. Even the vines that climbed its spiraling tower were brown, hardened by frost.

But night was closing in. "A roof, a bed," he murmured, and gripped the iron gate with two hard, strong fists. He pulled himself easily upward. "And with any luck -- a match."

* * *

All entrances were either locked or barred, but he grabbed the hinges of the kitchen door and pried it from its frame. The wood gave easily, soft as a sponge.

He stepped into what may have once been a kitchen, but was now a room of dead leaves and branches, the ancient remains of pans and clay bowls. He followed the obvious path into a hallway, long and worn, dusty, shadows elongating into billowing drapes. The hallway led him into a cavernous room with a mahogany table stretching from one end to another. A massive fireplace took up the entirety of the northern wall, large enough to have cooked an entire stag. There were remnants of expensive carpets across the ground, rusted dishes and empty, faded picture frames, all covered with a thick layer of dust. From this room, it was impossible to see outside the windows, which were thickly coated by frost. Webbed patterns reached from the floor to the ceiling, traveling up the glass like lines on a map.

He could have stopped in that room, made a place on the floor and set a fire in the hearth, ate from the fragile roots he had gathered and what was left of his travel bread... and yet curiosity stirred in him. Who had lived here, so many countless years ago? He had passed through a town not far from the forest, where he had learned of an abandoned house, a palace of ice in the heart of this cursed winter. He could only assume that this was the place where the curse had been born. What had happened here? It seemed that something had been forgotten.

He left the cavernous room and sought the stairs.

* * *

A stranger had entered her walls.

She watched through windows, through mirrors and picture frames. His shadow was tall and lean as a willow tree; his clothing dark and tattered as the earth. He left soft marks on her carpet, indentations of wide boots.

He crossed the foyer to an abandoned fireplace, but did not stay there. Rather, he sought the tower. He sought the stairs.

She shuddered, each step a violation, like a hand pressing between her thighs.

* * *

The tower stairs led only to a singular room, and yet it was a room that he did not ever wish to leave. He stood in awe at the doorway, gazing upon the smooth stone walls, every inch covered in paintings. The colors were bright and entrancing; fields of gold and brilliant reds, emerald forests, flowers on the verge of bursting into bloom, nighttime owls swooping beneath silver moons which seemed to drift outside of their frames. Faint light seeped through the frosted window, barely illuminating the dark shelves and rusted furniture, yet the paintings seemed enough to light the room on their own. They shivered on the walls with their intensity, as though some sleeping force was on the verge of waking. He wanted to reach out and run his hand over the thick oils and acrylics.

The room was sparsely furnished: a sewing table, baskets of old brushes and dried paints, forgotten vases with the dust of dead plants, a small hearth to the side and a large armchair in the middle, perhaps the most preserved piece of furniture he had seen in the house. He sat down upon it with a weary sigh, his eyes still combing over the walls, over endless scenes of forests and clambering wildlife. It hardly resembled the cold winter outside the window. He shivered, the chill seeping up from the floor.

A red cloak was flung over the back of the armchair. It was soft to the touch, and he pulled it around his shoulders, startled by the warmth of the fabric. It sank into his skin, spreading through his bones like warm honey. He let out a deeper sigh; old stresses were released from his muscles, loosed from his neck. It all flowed away. There was a security in this room that he could not name; something that bid him to stay.

He slowly fell to sleep.

* * *

She wrapped her arms around him and pressed her lips next to his ear. “Don’t leave,” she whispered. He stirred in his sleep; she knew he heard her. “Please don’t go.”

 “I must,” he replied groggily, dreamlike. It was a dream, or perhaps not, she could not tell anymore. “I must awaken the forest.”

“The forest sleeps because I sleep,” she whispered. She could no more explain it to him than she could herself, only that she was cold; she had become cold and she didn’t know how to relight the flame. Fire needed fuel, and the sun could not shine through all weather. “You must awaken me.”

“Who are you?”

“I am over your shoulder,” she whispered, and held him tightly.

“I want to see you.”

“Build for me. Build me the house I once had. Make it warm. Then you will see me.”


“Tear down the rafters, pull apart the roof, dig up the floor and replace it with young wood. Open the windows. Uncover my garden.”

“I cannot stay,” he murmured drowsily. He turned, his face warm and flushed, and pressed it deep into her satin folds. “I am only traveling through. I am a journeyman, a wizard, a curse-lifter. People have need of me.”

Stay,” she murmured.

“I cannot.”

Please stay.”

* * *

He awoke. Was it ever morning inside of this tower? He stretched, and the cloak slipped over his skin, a soft caress. He smelled her suddenly; a subtle fragrance in the air, like some forgotten summer. The dream came back to him… no, not a dream, a vision, or a visitation.... Her voice had whispered to him from the floors and ceiling, from the countless paintings that strung the room. She was here. He could not see her… but somehow, she was still here.

He stood up and went to the tall window. It latched on the upper left-hand side. He was a man of great height and was able to reach the locks, and he pulled them apart easily, their rusted hinges crumbling like dried bread. With a mighty shove, he pushed the window open, forcing it past countless years of weather and wood rot. The clear air struck him like a knife, piercing his lungs with unexpected ice. Yes, it was morning in the woods, and it was snowing, white flakes swirling down from the sky. He could not see the wild gardens beneath him or the distant trees. Instead he stood, breathless, and tasted the dense mist, the heavy scent of pine trees and frost. All was still and silent.

Open the windows, he thought. This castle needs light.

Down the stairs he ran, and room by room he traveled, making blueprints in his mind, opening doors and curtains, finding a music room full of instruments, a library full of yellow, dry books, closets and compartments and bedrooms full of lace. He flung open cupboards and drawers, set rugs over windowsills and threw out chipped plates and battered dishes, and ever she was just ahead of him, the train of her dress hovering beyond a corner, the fragrance of her perfume behind each door. She was here, all of her, waiting, hiding, drawing him deeper into the house.

And soon a whole day passed, and he spent another night in the tower, where her embrace covered his shoulders and he felt her arms around him in the depths of sleep. And another day passed as he tore up floorboards in search of hidden treasure, uncovering long-lost necklaces, gold watches, fragments of family heirlooms. He took rags to the dust on the mantle, poured new oil in the lamps, and each night he wrapped himself in the red cloak and slept in her soft chair, and her hands ran over his shoulders and he shared stories with her, memories of his childhood, wrongs he had committed, love he had thrown away and family he had not seen in years. And she listened, and laughed softly, and her breath was as gentle as the breeze through the window, which now held the trill of birdcalls, the trickle of water, and the occasional rustle of a passing deer.

And finally he found himself outside, in the garden, where frost had long overtaken the earth. Nothing grew but for the spider-like vines, the dirt solid-packed and impenetrable. He walked the length of the house, inspecting each corner, his eyes perceiving the damaged bricks where mortar had crumbled; cracked and leaking pipes, rotted flower boxes.

In the back of the garden he found a shed, which he broke open with a well-placed kick. Inside he found a shovel, an ax, trowels and hammers and other tools, surprisingly untouched by the harsh and endless winter. He took the ax and hacked back the vines, cutting his hands on the thorns, fresh blood bright against the pale snow. They clawed at the earth, vicious and reluctant to go, but he cut the vines down to the roots, and discarded them in a fire towards the back of the house. He cleared the old brush and rotted boxes… but there were no nails in the shed, and no new seeds, and as he churned the earth he could tell that it was rich soil and in need of planting. He would have to go back to the village where he had first heard of the cursed forest.

* * *

When next he slept in her chair, he turned his face towards her and settled his cheek against her softness. “I must leave,” he said in that space between dreams. “I must go, but I will return.”

Take me with you,” she replied, and it pulled at his heart, because she sounded so alone.

“I cannot carry a house,” he said.

“Then carry a piece of me, something to remember me by.”

And the next day, when he set out for the village, he wrapped the red cloak around him and walked with swift, long strides. He left the forest quickly, for his pace was that of a tall man, and when he reached the village many stopped to stare at him, for although the villagers recognized him, few had expected his return. He saw them turn and whisper to one another, pointing to his red cloak in admiration.

He walked into the trading post, a large building to the rear of the village, made of stout poles and a thatched roof. He was surprised when the men parted around him, gazing at the red cloak as though transfixed by some rare jewel. He went to the counter and opened his coin purse, withdrawing everything he had.

“I need all of your seeds, nails, fresh lumber, and nutrients for the soil,” he said, spilling the coins onto the counter.

“This is more than enough,” the clerk said, but took the coinage anyway.

“Then give me a horse and wagon to carry it,” he said.

The clerk nodded, then pointed over his shoulder. “Who is that beautiful woman behind you?”

The woodsman turned, alarmed, but saw nothing except the crowded shelves and dull occupants of the store. “What woman?” he asked.

“The one who wears the red cloak,” the store clerk said.

And the woodsman looked high and low, in every corner, but could not see her.

* **

He returned to the house, just as he had promised. He cut and laid the lumber, rebuilding walls and rotted steps. He then spent his time in the garden, at first wrapped in layers and layers of cloth, since the wind was fierce and the sky dark as lead. He tilled through the snow, set the seeds deep under the earth so they would not freeze, and warmed them with his own hands. It seemed that the season began to turn, for slowly the wind changed and blew less harshly, instead caressing his cheeks. He thanked the weather and the woods, blessing them with murmured words. When he could do no more, he took the paintings from the tower and distributed them throughout the house, and it seemed that each room became brighter, filled with its own quiet light.

He did not know when it happened, but suddenly he looked upon the house and no longer saw a fortress, but a cottage, something much smaller and sweeter than what he had first taken it to be. The tower, which had once stretched above his head like an unconquerable arm, was now small enough to climb, and the vines young and strong where they grew on the trellis.

And ever at night, he waited for her visits. He asked for her name, though she had none, and so he came to think of her as a voice, as snow and sunlight. He asked for her hands, though he could not clasp them, and instead she caressed his shoulders, the back of his neck, ran long fingers through his hair. And he begged her to come to him, to appear as she truly was, to which she replied with a soft sigh, and said “You have seen how I truly am. You have seen my battered roof and creaking floors. This is all there is.”

To which he replied, “I do not care if you are damaged.”

And she held him close, but could not reply, because beauty was not found in an old house, and though winter held its own enchantment, it was also harsh and suffocating. Yet at night, when she silently walked the halls of her abode, and left the tower room and stretched down hallways, peering out of picture frames and polished mirrors, she could not help but smile warmly, because each chamber held a piece of her, fully restored. She found herself wishing to walk down the hallways with her own legs, not those of stools or tables; and when she saw the open windows and the freshly churned earth outside, she felt the sudden need to melt, to settle her weight against the woodsman, to rest her head on his shoulder.

And she did not know when it happened, or how, but the day came that she woke up and there was light at the window. She stood, though it was not as a chair, and she wrapped her cloak around her, and she stepped to the windowsill to peer outside at the garden. She saw vines climbing to her bedroom window, and far below, a patch of earth, a sprinkle of green grass peering through. And above her, in a whirl of sound, a flock of sparrows passed into the forest.

And when she turned, he stood at the doorway, flowers and fresh earth in his hands, his eyes gleaming down at her like two warm stones. And she smiled, because she didn’t know what to say, only that joy bloomed in her as quickly as the garden outside of her window.

“I am the heart of this house,” she said.

“Then I am your builder,” he replied. And he took her in his arms, and lifted her from her feet, for he was a tall man and could carry her from room to room, walking upon the new wood and polished floors. She smiled upon him, and the last trails of frost melted from the windows. Each thought that they might be dreaming, but knew that it could not be, because she was solid in his arms and he was as strong as she had imagined, lifting her easily down the front steps. They walked into the garden, which was now full of cascading sunlight, the air thick with blooms, and he thought that she was more precious than the flowers, more awake than the sparrows and the pine trees, more vibrant than the red cloak. And she thought he was as beautiful as the woodgrain of a new house.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finely shaped and firmly wrapped --
is love a mold we fit within?
Or does it sit in shifting form,
and must be cupped by steady hands?

And when walking, will love first approach?
If we sit idle beneath some roadside tree, shall we chance upon
a deeper shade, and look, and find love
sitting perfectly --

or does love spring forth from hidden brush,
burst upon the unwary to tie our feet,
that riches from our pockets fall
and all is taken desperately;

or do we set our blueprints down to build
a bridge, a foundation set in stone
to span our gaps, and easily contend
with the weather's force, or a river's bend;

is this not love? yes, something found,
yet something stacked up piece by piece
until garden walls encase two hearts
and in sun and shade, grows steadily.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A moment -- I am attempting to light
a match;

brittle wind
gasps at each snap of flame, inhaling

that which would be blown away.


I am a tight-bound fortress
towering red-brick walls
of chipped stone that do not balk at weather.
I am behind the windows of the balcony
gazing out upon a windy morning, watching
leaves upon leaves flow past, and your hands grapple
at the window locks. You think I am asleep
but I stand vigilant, always, even
with my eyes closed. You do not know, but my treasures
are made of cold stone, gilded gold
yet ready to sink in water.


Frayed strands of things unwoven;
pieces slipped past while new shapes emerge;
mist in the vision.

Subtle work, the way it all slides
and upheaves, downheaves,

wearies, bears down, strikes;
we shift colors, rooms merge, voices refract
off walls and stories are discarded --
something new, yes, always
and something old that slips.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

and sometimes we fall
between cracks, oceanic crevices
and we feel two plates slide, two crowds split
upon either side, and we brace our arms
for balance, because neither would we choose
to linger with the tides of old
nor follow new currents with a flood unknown.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Builder

A small opening through which light pours down
and at times, floods, and fear is struck, for those
who hide yet still seek for love have nothing
to lose or give, yet know a heart demands

a price for light, for shadows illumined;
a poorly thatched roof that must be torn
asunder, a porch rebuilt, and a pathway laid.
Yet where does light fall, but on a heart in shade?

On unkept doorsteps, where feet do not tread.
On windows closed, yet hinges broken, that those
who know a builder's trade might break the locks
and tear down walls, all rooms laid open.

Is there space enough for a shaft of light? Oh heart,
hold strong, but don't close too tight.

Love Repaid

Love is what begins on the ground, on knees
and hands that tug and pull to stand alone
yet cannot, and so willingly receive
the hands of another: a bargain struck,
your feet for mine, your arms to lift a stone,
and my eyes to pick the path where diamonds
gleam and fall, and we give our gems through deeds,
and exchange riches upon riches
until, our pockets emptied, we have no coins left to find
but a wealth of love, its riches repaid in kind.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Sir, you ask, and ask again
and look as though you expect my words
to come with ease; but I am unversed
and slow in speech; I have not the means
to speak falsely, lie, nor confess
my heart, which is a cavernous room,
its corners unknown to me.

If I could describe these darkened drapes, or drab fortress
built of ice-blown stone; if I could run your hands
over the cold climbs and show you rivers dammed, and salt-rocks
densely packed to stop all visitors -- would you turn back?
The walkway has not been cleared in a year
and the snow is solid-packed.

But here, at the window, with you looking in
and I, gazing out, a glance through the glass--
one hand to the frame, fingers grasping
at smooth surfaces. Again, again, you tap the pane --
Which way inside? your lips have asked,
and I try to draw the curtains, but can't,
so I am left to fog the glass.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Faith of the hands....

It is a cloth between my fingers, worn bare
by pulling and tugging. It is fine silk,
smooth to the grasp.

Again and again, I have ran my hands across its length
folding corners at the hem, cool as water, restless;
This scrap will not be pulled from my hands, though I am bid
to put it down. I am sewing,
and the weave has taken shape.

I shall wear this cloak in winter;
I shall wrap its length around me, shelter against summer fires,
against blossom's rain and sleeping rivers,
but its length is a paragraph, and I write on lace,
asking questions of a blank page:
Why bid me to put it down? I cannot drop
the needlework that bends my fingers to the bone;
I am weaving,
I am coaxing threads into shape.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No love can fill a hole like this,
and no love make whole what is not whole
unto itself.

* * *

Yet God's love
is a wholeness
that can only be known
by those who have been made empty.

God knows where you journey, where you reside,
and where He resides in you.

* * *

I see now that nothing can be.
Nothing replaces the space where you paced
back and forth down long halls
and no matter where my words wander, still your words
are lost to the world, wisdom whose only mark
is the deep scar you've left on me.

And God, sweet silence, speak silently to me
of where, from here, my heart shall go. I do not hide
yet wait for the day, for the hour when I shall
resurrect you.

You must take, and take again, take away
all that makes me hesitate, that my steps do not waver
and voice sounds strong, that when the time comes
those who must hear can hear what I must say.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

here is the desk.
it doesn't open the way hands do.
i have tried every key, but there are too many and
i would ask, but the words waver after a while, hand-written
because i have called for you again and again
and only paper answers pen.

it could be that this is not a room,
and the floor is not flat, and no patterns exist
in the tiles, and i am not seeing anything
that you used to own. i thumb a book of names
found in the top drawer because
you would phone them often, and for a while
they called me instead, asking for you, and i would
explain how their voices permeated your voice,
how we have all become one sound,
talking walls, talking frames, talking pictures
because the picture frames are not down from the walls, they are
right where you left them.

Monday, June 6, 2011

it is always with wolves
and through wild lands
we run, howling no names

yet always seeking.

answer me, echo
the earth and sky, blood on the ground
and warm mist rising in the air.
because this lamp shade could mean anything,
structured glass, cream and brown.
because it isn't sitting on your desk,
the lights aren't off
and you still aren't writing.

because the wall clock means nothing
though you picked the red
to match -- i don't know what -- certainly not ink
or a stained book that doesn't lie open as
i am laid open.

here is the desk.
it doesn't open the way hands do.
i have tried every key, but there are too many and
i would ask, but you never answer your messages. i am still writing
but the words waver after a while, hand-written
because i have spoken of this again and again
yet only paper answers pen.

it could be that this is not a room,
and the floor is not flat, and no patterns exist
in the tiles, and i am not seeing anything
that we used to own. i thumb a book of names
that you keep in your top drawer because
you would phone them often, and for a while
they called me instead, asking for you, and i would
explain how their voices permeated your voice,
how we all became one sound in the end,
talking walls, talking frames, talking pictures
because the picture frames are not down from the walls, they are
right where you left them.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sitting at a table selling
jars, full of ugly scolding things,
fifty cents a dirty jar.

A small child works the table
on a long row of giants
who laugh, spittle thick
on thick lips
their voices towers, towering

fifty cents a
dirty jar

what is there to sell?

no one buys
a child would rather give
take, take a jar
for free, a jar cracked
as petals spread apart
as pollen, blown.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All Things Run With Him

My God walks on
stark plains, cloud cover
and meets me face–down in the earth

where I hope for a flood; I wish
to let go and go
but my God does not release, no.
All things run with Him, and I must
find a way to keep pace.
I have sank down for days within days without end,
but the least of us follow and follow. He lends
His strength to those who dispirited, bend
in the place of His prints—yes,
All things tread with Him,
even we, with the ground to our lips.

Hours - Experiment


Heart, your days demand
a bone from love, taken
from one's own chest to save. Love --
you are a giver's gift, a wayward's way,
a short harvest from long seasons of
well worn shovels, where beneath the dirt
your hours lay. 


Heart, your love is for branches and bracken --
the blackened woods, by which your doorstep, keep.

Seek me out those hours
by which your branches sway and bend,
for it is by your wiles that I tread path by path
and I might know your cast of shade upon shade.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

God, what do I lack that makes the heart
a thing estranged? I have no faith in love
for love has kept its solitary pace
with shallow steps, and I am fearful now
of that which comes too late--

and God -- a heart? have you not sent a heart? what use
shall come of idle friends, when this, your trial
heaps upon me mountains, and another's pace
would slow my steps, rather than lend wings.

Oh God -- I beg a heart to have and give, to live within
and seek to hold, oh God -- you know
just what I've asked, and how I've made my word as gold --

but Lord, it is an untried faith
that wavers as an untried wind; you seek within
to give me what I am, for we are not
the things we know, nor do we understand
our need to give and give.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The heart need only be spread
to be seen; a sleeve worn openly

on limbs, flung wide --
yet the body has much to hide;

depths within depths expand, slipped
through with knots, rough guides

leading foreign hands over lands
of soft earth, as though waters were drawn

up from roots in the ground
to dampen our sleeping fields.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

that dirt street
everything hard-packed
hard breaks
hard kicked pebbles
hard cuts, dashes, flies over short stone walls that wend like rivers

think of cross stitches
think of folded maps
think fields of clover and ditch
the road

Sunday, April 17, 2011


When I speak, I ask questions, while some
continue to babble; I always hear

like clear water: a look
on the face like a stream

which cannot be dammed. It says
be tranquil, dearest, as shade

over deep water; you are
clearer to us, as dear

as the river stones, as smooth
as the voice of the river.


Death, you and I
have a bone between us.

You pull and tug
but I would rather snap

than bite down any harder; I am
already unhinged.

Can we talk about this? I do not want to be
a burden, yet you make me

lonely for a dark place; I would rather share your room
for cold company, than be released
from a warmer, less certain embrace.

Friday, April 15, 2011

water is not water anymore
nor does air taste the same
when the lungs change, when we breathe light
and know it is a deep gasp that brings us 
faith, a swallow, a gulp.

Legs to Stand On

i am writing a poem on your table
it is flat
we are round
we touch across hard surfaces
but the carpet is soft
are steady with four legs
i walk on two; who could walk farther
table, chair, or fingers on a keyboard
traveling taste after wooden taste;
words seldom relieve me, but
gratitude is
a solid table in a dark room, voices
from the TV, and a singular light, a pleasant blare.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What is it that leaves us, Lord, when breath becomes
entwined with branches and shakes
through our lungs. What gasp escapes
begging a name, Lord,
what of a name-

And when does hope leave us -- is it a slow leak, crawling
on our knees to find the source,
cracks in pavement, warped wood --
do you reside between my fingers, where
itching and grasping I pull close a sweater --
or is it an envelope, a letter, mail forgotten
on my kitchen table, signed August 22nd, 2009 --
deceased, return to sender, or

perhaps your name, Lord, is written
on the pages of my book, the pages
I have turned over and over again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More pieces, not necessarily related....

I'm chipping paint
the walls are running between my fingers like chalk
I am scrubbing tiles
I am digging grout
I am gutting you
like a fish

* * *

time is what time is
it is always tired
it is rounded up to a whole
it throws punches
pops blood vessels
takes two seconds to spell incorrectly
and who cares about mistakes

* * *

i wake up in the mornings, the heart hammering like a bent rib jutting
through the spine; i run races in my dreams, hide from endless faces and
foes; always
another fence to jump, another ditch
and when the door is closed, when the gate is locked, i bend the bars
or bend myself

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

and if I was shoved in a basket
if my head was thrust under water
if I was told to walk and walk until my toes curled inward
and I had to beat my hands against your car window
until it broke, and glass became
all I could eat -- if my mouth was sliced
every which way, my tongue to the pavement --
I would still find a way to say
fuck you, I have more
to give, God,
and this blood for your blood
is gold.

Monday, April 4, 2011

In search of a name....

I left their company in search of spacious rooms, no more
wax flowers. Like chalk,
their voices scuffed the walls

while I searched for a slip of tongue
that would lead me to where you sank
through a darkened door, an empty desk, or dropped a pen

that I swear once signed a name -- one
I am folding in half as I write.
and when in love do we generate self? a child
asleep on a staircase

who we tiptoe past, careful to speak
in whispers. when did we love? and when did we

share the countless steps
toward sainthood,
tied in matrimony tied
between us. And where

in those binding shelters have we
placed our foundations -- between walls
or collapsed in silence?
Because nothing makes sense to a woman
she sits and stares at windowpanes,
a multitude of droplets;
skipping spaces with her fingers
she smears across a name --

and because all things make sense to a man,
he takes one road to work, one road home
and each stop along the way is spent in
building a place to go, go --
a place to sign in turn, and sign
a name.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

there is a body eroding inside of me, rotting
out my mouth

but i do not think, no matter how many times
my internal dwelling collapses
that death ever leaves, nor do i ever

leave it

(how could i, with our bodies entwined
and our voices combined to create one voice;
when i speak, or love with this heart of our hearts
does death love through me? or in me? or of me?
what is love but a thousand chips of bone;
a collection on our mantle, trophies of solitude
and eternal winters kept tightly confined)

a season is churning inside of me
i am choking up snow
i know i am a vessel, a harbinger, a black lung
sick with the love of decay.
Pain is not worth poetry.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

because you are the house.
because you are the road in winter;
the endless passing

you are more than a year. Where
you travel, I linger
for want of a roof; yes, I need
the floor and the walls.
We have arrived --
a winter twice as cold
and air twice as clear. We know
we have changed by how many
layers we need -- boots, sweaters, coats.
I've counted bricks upon bricks
measuring a finger's width between.

The house is still
fogged in place; I am standing
at the doorstep with the key
because you have yet to arrive.

And how long
before your intended arrival
or my departure, when
what is thrown open shall be shut tight--
you never confirmed,
yet I still suspect your pace
across vales
and veils of snow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Bits and pieces not necessarily related....

I know no other word for love,
I know no other word for you,
but love and you, you and love,
love and you and you.


Sometimes, it is like having a ghost stuffed in your mouth, a phantom lurking blindly behind the couch, waiting for you to sit, yes, sit quietly, listen to the TV and then suddenly, spark, a flashlight flash and you're thinking, he's here, no, he's not here, are there two in the room or just me?

And other times, we write letters to strangers, seek no one to speak to, seek hard, seek up and down, climb stairs, jump stairs, under stairs, perhaps under the sink -- have you checked the pipes? Where did we stuff his fingers, the soles of his feet? Is he dead

or just an afterthought, a flavor of the week, he'll be back, that's what you say, you liar, you heartless lying slug he'll be back, he's on his way, just fifteen seconds more he's on his way....


because most days I can't find
anything, not a damned slip of paper
or a noteworthy thought, anything to jot down
on envelopes, bank cards, order forms, receipts,

and when asked for a name, I give your address
as though I could ever travel
by way of bus stop, or common flight to meet you
midpoint, halfway there.


Sometimes, sometimes, it sneaks up around corners
and springs, outstretched, claws
into the neck.

It strikes between
words, skewered
on a pike; where is my head?

no doubt, 

holding myself
high in conversation, 
I am struck down by 
what is behind me; what is over 
my shoulder.

ice swept, wind swept, wind fought, hard wind
hard light, hard touch, touch earth, touch me

we are here, not here, there, always there
outside, digging

our holes, our wants, wishing and

down, down, down, down
F A L L 
again, time, again
push me 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What clouds do to me...
or maybe my sudden sobriety...
or maybe the acute, frigid stab of air
or the same street after street after street

or maybe the gunshot
bleeding out
over sheets, and two morons useless
in the next room: trapped
and dying -- dammit, stem the flow

I want to feel
the burn of ice and
heat in my gut -- anything

to subtract from where
I spill all over the carpet.


I have not forgotten the subtle
ways of speech, a click of jaw
or tilt of head --

ambient light
and a discourse on salvation
that proved the discourse of our hearts --
your eyes as a child --
the simple way you laid your hands.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Poetry speaks from the empty

sheets of compressed

A poet is hollow
that floods may pass, and
thunderous, churning waves consume.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Did you hit the blacktop?
Skin chilled, dark into destination.

I didn't know when to meet you.
Did you

walk into the slick and pose
against headlights, eyes aglow

to let them pass, but could not
time your step; there were trees

lining the highway, fruit crushed
and branches strewn; what of distance?

you are a stone's throw from the road

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Small Pieces

Small pieces not necessarily related....


Never shall there be another He and I --
whoever left first was luckier than the One
who now lingers in corners;
                           and could I follow
He who remains
uncharted, absent, or infinite -- I would be uncertain
of where We go, or whose shape leads.


We loved, our lips
cold but for
the warmth of a stone unmoved.


His breath rose in the morning and I called it
glass, soon to break; broken, soon swept,
tossed as slivers to stones.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dwelling Places


between two pieces of China,
perhaps under a rug; did I hide it
or did you hide from me?

somewhere, a cottage, a doorstep destitute;
termite holes, pottery, sheets of unused wood, rugs matted,
chipped floors -- hardly a window;

it took me three hours to finish the walkway; the house
fell to me -- thirty years
of tightening, clasping, bolting and screwing
doors, doors, doors,
always problems with doors.


We lived for some time by a quiet slot of
sand-worn purple sage and morning calm;
no one can quite relate the value of beach property;
spent all of our time by the surf, bearing pen to reed
to wind to tunnel to flood, to inrushing waves, to outpouring spray;
verses upon verses turned over, but never ink to paper.


another place
is behind bookshelves.

I checked under the Chickering, an upright Grand
against the far wall, years cramped
between the keys; small spaces,

your belongings tightly packed, still in question.
Was this our house? was it old or young?

How I remember you -- a wall
indented with last year's calendar; I never turned the page, never made
plans, never left

that which has left me -- to be sought for
in a humble compartment, our dwelling place.


perhaps I swept it into a heap --
stacked it with papers and threw it in a barrel, lost
track of notes you sent me -- letters;
locks to a silent house.

I find the best place to listen
is in your chair, where you sat the strongest; Bach's portrait
and the keys resounding with each bump of wind -- door rattle;

will it fall from the ceiling? I think footsteps. I wait --
   but always the wind, always a sage brush of leaves, of torrents,
   of sweeping the porch in expectation.


And at night, your sigh
once so familiar, is a gust in the hall
at an endless hour; an unfound watch or post card
shoved in a winter coat, bottles tipped over.

So many places
I might have dropped it, but I am tired now, asleep
but for the dream of it, of a house, our title and deed.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Return from Winter

I settled by the buried remains
of acres absent of leaves; in the heart

of winter, I tilled fields. My hands did very little
to pockmarked, half-scarred

earth; I waked
without food and in lucid hours

saw fish frozen as stars, and trees smooth as bone
casting thin shade from a whispering sun.

What was your offering?
I have outgrown gardens,

groomed the undergrowth and watched it wilt.
Yet soon ends an epoch of perfect white;

floods from the mountain tops,
fields turned flat by the thaw.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I have taken to watching you sit at an outdoor table. You threw kindness
at me -- though it could have been as ordinary
as a good lunch.

I am pasting your smile over a sandwich because
I am starved, looking for a place where
I might enjoy crumbs.
We are in this place again; I only know how to swim with ice.
Heat is as painful as light creeping through closed lids--
my hands haven't moved in a year.

you left, as did the Sun; do I hide now from dawn
or is a momentary thaw simply a deeper night,
ice melting to freeze again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I do have days of abject hopelessness. This is one of them.
It could be that you changed... but more likely, given our circumstances and the direction of the wind, it was I who changed, I who pulled back, I who unveiled the flaws. I am disgusted... at myself? Certainly not at you; at something that was in me, something I didn't see.

There are days when I feel poisoned. I just want to extract it out of me, delete the words, not see the damage. You leave a residue of toxins; negativity; egotism; vanity. I don't know what was once so charming. I was seduced by something, your mystery, that which needed to be filled in or saved. There is nothing left to be filled. You are full of holes and I am quietly growing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I am not mad, though I fear at times that madness may not be
a permanent affliction -- instead, it wraps us in cellophane,
suffocates small appendages that drop off over time, fingers, toes,
eyeballs rolling wildly across the ground; unable to see

myself, I am still speaking to the room where I store up silence
and open my mouth with endless -- faith, a god madness,
the creator within has triumphed, made me functioned and whole --
what humility, to discover our essential self rolling in fields
of dung and hay.
I said it first to the dirt that I am a prophet; I say no words
without first consulting the faith

made of blades of grass, our unassuming apostles, alive
to bow their backs

to the feet of others, those of no faith, who still know themselves
as pieces
of a wide something, pebbles in some design

(manmade, of course -- though I suppose man is still in the make)

spread thin beneath our feet. When I first looked down
and saw the dirt, I realized that here, too is a prophet of things
to come, mute but for love of the world.
A tree wanted to visit me, so, using
            the wind, it swept bits and pieces of
       itself to afford me a wealthy sample
of blooming fragments, abstracts, petals shattered
       by conflicting twigs, flavorless
                leaves coated in pollen dust
now entwined rapturously in my hair.

A body without legs....

I am tired of being Eve-- ill
at ease in the garden. I ate
an apple; they said it made me sin
but really, I was stricken by
the venom of a serpent--
(surely, my Father knows, he will
protect me, surely, my reputation)
but it was a man who found me
first, fallen, "Eve-- ill, Eve--
fallen ill
in the garden; how will she recover
the grace afforded her?"
They did not
rest my head peacefully in a bed
of roses; rather, threw me to the thorns
where the serpent's venomous weave
enveloped my form; I became
a body without legs.
when threatened or unwanted, i always end up the first one to push away...

in fact, i push away before anyone else gets the chance to push....

sometimes i push away without needing a true reason, just a bad feeling or a hint of discomfort...

i don't know if i have abandonment issues. certainly i've been abandoned, though not willfully, by any one thing. they say those afraid of being abandoned will usually be the first to leave, before they risk being hurt by others. i don't know if this is true. but i always assume i am unwanted. i always assume i am intruding. i always assume i am inconsistent with the group, somehow out of reach, on a border, foreign, unfamiliar. i always assume i am disliked, and out of this i try to make myself likable, but end up feeling, instead, like i am secretly despised by others. i hold myself aloof in the hopes that no one will form an opinion about me, because their opinions are hurtful. better no opinion than a bad opinion. better no opinion than a good opinion. better no opinion.

and my true opinion of myself is that there is no self... there is no theresa, no writer an no voice... all i am is a tangle of knots, emotions roiling and twisting around an empty void, or rather, a solid void where all is peace and nothing truly matters. sometimes i am the storm; sometimes i am the eye; sometimes i am the peace... and always, i am alone, and wish to remain alone.

better alone than unwanted. better not loved than unloved.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Of the heart that has gone astray....

i find shame in lamenting the loss of you,
as loudly as i may;

lesser hearts have split over lesser spills, but i'd rather
they think me beyond splitting-- no gaps in my design,
every piece fashioned in the shape of your absence.

i would contend with my greaters, but i have not yet recovered
a heart; nothing to compete over war-torn turfs, dug under.
it seems like a sudden age, gusts over fields;
the years ahead are what make me heavy, hammered, sullen
with endless wonderings: why be strong, why conquer the fear of others

when i cannot conquer the fear of you, of distant lands
uncharted yet inevitably looming-- your flattened face
was the final sight of love, buried now
in minor crevices, compliments, vague lingering remnants
of a heart which has gone astray, outdone.

Faith, A Rope, A Knife

in the beginning, i followed a single chord into the earth.
birth, at times, is death

i scaled ropes, earthen anchors
tied to those who would be tied together.

you need a knife, a divine edge
for cutting ties, cutting halves into smaller halves,
lesser selves, big chunks of soul
falling down crevices to places unknown, far away
from He who fashioned the blade. we seek freedom
in the roots of others, but we must

cut back; travel light.
carving the rot from our flesh
makes us born into new life; the beginning
of a rope, a thread, a strand

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Weather

I am ready to move beyond the blank flurries,
the voice of solitude, which banks next to me
and sails over my neighbor's roof --

I am ready for a forecast, for a simple weather drop,
but this is my sixth season remembering you
and as I count back days, it would seem that daylight
no longer keeps time; you are at a distance

i could never reach

between my watch tower and my neighbor's walls.
there is the sound of water thawing, motes and torrents carrying you away,
but the silence of neighborhood streets gives pause, still
iced cold, and your keys left solid by the door

Monday, January 31, 2011

I Am Struck

by Your Bullet

Oh     God

The    Self

(only its entirety)

blown out

You put me
at    stake
shooting out my heart
I    Am
your keen separation
oh God
I Am    afraid

(of the black hole in my gullet, dark matters
of incoherent lust. it is your    Love that drives me
to a sacrifice incomprehensible, like the spaces
between my teeth, or a second wind,
I Am Suffering)

when putting

Your    Word

on trial

You are cold steel in my mouth

oh    God

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When Writing to Strangers

when writing to strangers,
I like to include my second name: Lorraine
which is a region of France
but even more importantly, contains that word: rain
secondly, I would include
my nickname: T
because you can start any word with T
my father's name was Theodore Wilson Shreffler the Third
I consider Three to be
part of my heritage
Three eggs in my breakfast burrito
Three tries for my driver's license
Three eulogies by Twenty-One
which you can divide by Three
and get my lucky number: Seven
my mother's name, which I don't remember
started with an S, like Storm
or September
or Spitting Image
they could have named me after her
but instead, I took after my father
who named me anyway
lastly, when writing to strangers
I would say my chosen name: Terra Firma
because Terra sounds like Theresa
and I am a piece of solid land
in the midst of Lorraine and Storm
Did she walk far enough?

perhaps farther

Did she stop to look

down the road

at distant burrows

she might find

the various ins and outs

many other ways

acorns under rocks

to teach the trees to grow

she hoped to find

Did she walk far enough?

already, a windblown leaf

an empty river

pulling on her sleave

leading down, down

Thursday, January 6, 2011

like a tattered rag, I shake it roundly
until unsatisfied, I drop the remains
and sit baldly, contemplating the heavy weave
until I might lift it to shake egain. Chewing consistantly
I have made no more progress on knowing answers
by seeking answers; perhaps I am on a better quest
for questions that might explain the unrest
of my tempered thoughts, which flip up and down
like a great switch, and when illuminated, seem
like a willful string untied.