shed skins (20160807)

the eucalyptus has shed
its bark
now a smooth white
shushing like sandpaper
under my palm

it stretches fifty feet or more
and twists as it grows
a split the width of my finger
the length of my forearm
rises up the trunk

how simple it seems
to grow this way
add a ring
lose some skin
start over each year
praying for rain
and easy winds

Poem 20151112

the red line cuts through the words

not only striking down the extraneous comma
nor marking the place where something
that was forgotten
should be forcefully inserted

the red underlines the thoughts
that should be emphasized
and marginalizes the words with
annotations

this word would be better here

this word should be excised
from your vocabulary

this phrase seems redundant–
they both say i love you
more poignant where one says it
and the other keeps you guessing

the red line opens a red line
in your skin that is white
like paper
but only like paper

Poem 20151110

this is the real thing, this life
an absence of the not thing
a scarcity of the not life

your skin burns away
in the heat

your skin dries up
in the cold

we are mummies and ashes and ice

let it all crack and crackle
let it split us open
hollow us out before
we step into the dry heat

–at least it’s a dry heat,
they say, as if that makes it
a better heat–

we will be put back together
maybe kinstuki
glittering and showing our flaws
but whole

Poem 20150802

the heat of the sun
lingers long after
i have escaped
to air-conditioned indoors

in spite of a thick
layer of sunscreen
and the hat with that flap
that covers the neck
like i’ve been on safari

it tingles like a memory
that won’t form–
a vague image in the foggy
edges of a dreaming mirror

or a desire that won’t
expose itself to the light
hiding under the skin
to preserve itself
and the skin

Poem 20150711

the lump is solid and dead and wet
when you unsack it

you don’t even pull it out
just let it slide out on its own

gravity does the dirty work
you just guide with with your hands

watch it impale itself on a wooden stake
not that it has a heart

not yet

and you hear it separate from its skin
which you reserve

the peeling off of skin
the baring of red flesh not yet alive

after all, this is eden
you haven’t breathed life into it

not yet

as you take it apart
cutting with wire and knives and fingers

you save the pieces for later
keeping the bits in the old skin

keeping them wet because when they dry,
they are useless shards

Poem 20150220

your skin,
according to the textbooks,
holds everything in,
keeps everyone out,
keeps you from coming apart
(though you have no seams)

if we could shed our skins
like snakes do
scratching along rocks and desert scrub
the way a phoenix rids itself
of feathers in a fire
the way a koi trades its fish scales
for dragon scales at the top of a waterfall
we could melt into one another
and our hands would never disengage