New Poems

From the manuscript, Arctic Accordions

Forthcoming 2020

One-Eyed King


His highness appears to be asleep

In his chair, a few flies

Hopping on his eyelids.

He doesn’t know how

They found him,

Those dead flies in a restaurant long ago

When he rested his elbow on a sill

And happened to glance in their direction.

There was a young woman and wine then, 

A light breeze ruffling their wings. 

Like him, they only appeared to be deceased.


Maybe someone with a scythe 

Will pass us by one day.

He thinks. It will happen

Like the beginning of a hurricane, 

Gently passing its fingers

Through his hair. 




I went to my grandmother’s headstone by myself

Because no one would take me. 

It was quiet by the cemetery road,

And when I spoke to her I could almost hear

I loved you because love is unburnable.

Because the thought of love occurs

Before we can think. Memory 

Before we light the fire. She is in the snow’s star  

Now—I hear a voice 

When it’s dark enough. The less lit below,

The greater the view above. 



                     “Don’t ‘Your Majesty’ me,” he said, and tilted his                                            head to one side and closed his eyes. 

                               —Mark Strand


The King let go

Of his cape and it flew off

His back — 

He’d marched in one pageant after another,

Heard all the petitions he could stand,

Before becoming a poet

And dedicating his life to prosody.


Somewhere between the ermine trim

And royal blue silk

He discovered art. It struck him

Between the eyes and laid him flat,

Like a cudgel made of romance

And flint. “Don’t wait up for me,”

He said. “I’m not coming back

To the palace tonight.”

Then he kicked his imaginary horse,

And turned his back on 

Real things forever. 

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A History of Monsters



I was surrounded

By the electricity used to wake me,

A lightning bolt

Walking around in that suit from Sears,

Crackling as I strolled 

With a flower in my lapel.

Wow, people will think,

Who the hell is that guy

And why is he smoking? 

I noticed it too. Ushering out

Of my sleeves, a little leak

At the bottom of a pant leg,

Cuff on fire or smoldering 

Like a branch used to roast a sweet.  


It took weeks to think again,

I was so used to the limbo of mild diaspora

Like a child’s drawing dropping off to scribble

Before she fell asleep. I can’t tell

If I’m grateful to be back 

Or not. It’s been such a long, fragmented time

Being so many people at once 

And never knowing it. I think I’ll write 

A book of my lives—running from the villagers

Who hated me, befriended by the woman

Who forgave my nature and my ugliness, 

Hunting the creator in the dark.

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