dear lord in this time of darkness
help us see the darkness

dear lord help us to not pretend
no more pretending

dear lord may our gaze be defenseless
and unshardable

teach us the piety of the open eye

dear lord in this time of darkness
may we be unafraid to mourn and together and hugely

may dignity lose its scaffolding
faces crumble like bricks

dear lord let grief come to grief

and then o lord help us to see the bees yet in the lavender
the spokes of sunlight down through the oaks

and the sleep-opened face of the beloved
and the afternoon all around her
and her small freckled hands

The Anesthesia of Abstraction


Talk of oneness or twoness or the trinity,
of beingness or the Kingdom of God,
of love, presence, the numinous and eternal:
how far away such talk takes us, far away
from the shade of the avocado tree,
the thighs of ripe persimmon,
the tongues of cattle licking
the great blocks of salt
in a hot



For every time someone says systems theory
one must say pines in the darkness;
for every time someone says biodiversity
or biophilia or sustainability
someone must shout musk
or barracuda or the whiskers
of the carrot. The real, living,
piebald world: we drop a cloak over it
with our cumbrous sophistication.
For every time someone says
cumbrous sophistication
someone must say the thighs
of the goddess


It is the summer of the day, the gold-bodied hour, the good bookless eternity. It is the epoch of blaze, labia, white oblivion. No melancholy yet, nor reverie, nor singing, barely any talk—it is the matterful backs of cattle, thigh-quiet of tree trunk, insect wing nickeled with sun. It is a horse standing flat foot casting no shadow, the wishbone of fire on the flicker’s neck. It is the blessed hopeless hour, red thunder inside the watermelon.

This World

You can never have enough of this world,
its peaches, their taste so sudden a sitting man
stands, the kind hands of dusk, the boulders along the highway,
great blooms of time; you can never have enough
of wakening in a bed beside a woman you love,
her body fragrant with itself, and the nasturtium out the window
holding the dew, the sweet water of dawn,
in their frail green bowls; you can never have enough
of the poet in the prison infirmary
looking out every window just to find one single tree,
nor enough of the night-fisherman’s net dragging in stars,
the dark veils of tadpoles swimming in the ditch,
the dog sleeping in the shade of the mule,
the mule sleeping as the afternoon cools,
the boy kissing the girl’s breasts behind the water tank;
you can never have enough of this world …
and yet how we tire of it, how we raise our hand against it,
how we avoid it, as if it were a mother saying,
Look me in the eye. Just look me in the eye.