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Selected Poems




If only you had been on the train
You would have felt its rocking
The hypnotic sway and swooshing
Sounds soothing your dread
Silencing dark thoughts
Bringing instead new dreams
Possibilities in an elusive future
But the train was fast
Challenging you in real time
When the mind
Snapped like a horse's leg
And the boy now broken
Stepped onto the tracks

Selected Poems fromĀ ASH ON WIND




Please excuse me Xu We, for stealing your title.

I'm certain no one remembers it from the 1500s


and it works just as well today, here, as it did

for you in China. You must know how I feel as


I stand in the rain waiting for a taxi after dinner,

though for you I'm sure it was a rickshaw. And


the memory of three glasses of wine still on my lips,

such pleasure shared throughout the ages!


I am delighted to learn that hao shi means

"a fine thing indeed" in Chinese, so the sneeze


coming on from this dampness bodes well. I know

the Chinese have 100 ways to say happiness. Surely


I have as many, but for tonight, it is just this one

of writing a poem here, in drunkenness, in the rain.





At Pioneer Park I search for the giant swings

where once I flew with the eagle

and found the secrets of Indians.


I reach the chain link barrier where

an honest herd grazed on the short grass

of the plains that went forever to my young eyes.


I knew if I climbed over that ten-foot barrier

and followed the buffalo I could find

the edge of the world.


Today I see two: scraggly, dusty,

hunched over they look weak.

I turn my back and walk up the rock-imbedded hill


where a statue kneels, fanning his fire

with a metal blanket. I look skyward

for messages but only see clouds.





She calls me


     says that's not

     what she remembers.


Isn't alteration

like paint I say

     added to a canvas?


Some images

are indelible, a rabbit's

     wild swivel struggle

     but hind end smashed.


Others, sweet changelings,

a bar of Fels Naptha soap,

     retro, distorted bubbles.


Those unpredictable leaps

into the past,

     the best of imperfect memory.





It carries anything and everything


Once it carried a ten-year-old boy

     from the path of an oncoming van

          to a sparkle of light caught in evergreen


Often it carries silence

     picking its way over rough terrain


Other times, its sides heave

     in a rush of wind and lightning

          the eye of a storm


It carries me to the edge of the world

     where I fly with eagles


Sometimes it slips but uses words

     to carry me up and over


Then circles and circles

     kicking up dust


Eyes of flickering light

     showing me what I cannot see