Winedust and Lamplight

of ink-
just here
then brushed off the page


memories smeared on the emptiness
wines of crimson light, a back,
a tombstone,
the stillness of rabbits

I remain
with dreams of the poem,
on the clotted streets,
bluejays haunting the first chilly skies


cold pines in the graveyard
bricks in the mist.
I linger under bridges
where the goblins of memory huddle
their mouths grinding in silent rant
echoes from sleep remain
like a voice from across the river


I read
in libraries of glass and dust
poems, mothwings, crumbling bookmarks
spill from the huge volumes of silence
stacked high on shelves of broken light
and though rain falls like ink
morning aches in empty notebooks


mist rising
lingering chill
trash, ducks; light unsteady
shadows on the pavement under the dead sky
a pot of soup
a bottle of whiskey
a walk among the asters, grey days,
this moon of last poems


the poem
is a shadow
cast on the mind
in a notebook of dust
the phosphorescent dregs
of an old mad wine

it is rain
beloved lamps
a face in an empty room
tears, salt, those sweet old days
images of a hand
holding a grape of light


moon on the porches
in the alleys
bite of coffee in hours of recollection
a shadow
a weed
an untoward silence
a paring down of everything till
I breathe in pure ghost

dead streets, gravel, trash
ancient machines
insect rasp of skin on bone
a few hairs

time to get drunk
blown away with the gossamer
the shadows
light itself

I dwell in this lull
this inkwell
between trees, clouds, breasts
lost among the dark houses
there was a lamp of luminous hands
hair in the night
the red Oh of a mouth

the world shivers, crows waken
between hours, streets, suicides


I get up early enough
to watch the night ending
things and colors spilling out
henna, rose, coal, gold

I think of women
who have graced my moments

tresses fall, hills unfold
cities flash off and on
I hobble to the kitchen for more coffee


a beautiful mouth
the remains of these words at the heart
of the day

glow of peach and dew
where the poem

gold parchment full of meteors
radiant plums
lips feasting on the drunken verses


grey Sundays
call up bridges and rivers
behind the low murmur of insects
oblivion's white skin is wet
with reveries

of city rains
neon-drenched hands opening
heavy windows to let in street sounds

there is a distant breath
of blank skies, silver on

the coming winter is everywhere


ink dust, wine dust
Japanese lanterns in a white bowl
lace memories of women
morning leaf shadows on an old door

dawn lines of a face
the wren sings, wishes still linger

dark pages flutter in a slow insect light


a second cup of espresso
I savor its taste
in my mouth for an hour
windows and shadows begin talking
to me. I reach for a pear, an ankle
a breath of gold
the moon blackens
pages turn to lead


butterfly dust in the light
deep silver
of minutes
music, honeycomb, teasel
stillness, the sky

cracks in the windows
old faces in a cup of tea
spiders and millipedes like jewels
bells ring in books
deer rise from the rivermists
disappear into nothing


hours pass like clouds through
the autumn stillness
a cat sits in the rain
I rant into the dark gulphs of Earth
blue asters turn to ice
at the core of the word is a cold star
the light does not move

the dusk is all stone and mercury
leaves turn black in the grass
branches scrape at metal awnings
ghosts pour in from the kitchen
as if from space
a lone katydid calls and calls
to the porch lamp
the deer leave their shadows on the street


crickets sing on a cold morning
green tea steeps
a shaft of sunlight
carries the dust of a million years

poems accumulate as I disappear
ghosts and demons remain
in every corner, under all the carpets,
behind the thermostat
it's midSeptember

leaves gather themselves on the porch
I set the cup down and watch
the steam rise like white silk
as I begin scribbling away
in the grey margins of the day

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