a brown paper packet on a trail
leading home.
Marked with barely legible
faded pencil
describing Columbine;
memory describing a future;
palm, green leaves,
a graceful arcing stem
a flourish of tender petal
quiet and admirable
in a din of brushy growth.

if planted.

if warmth and water and soil
are allowed to exercise the potential
of genetic transcription —
the dormant strands of DNA
wrapped in spiral —
lover’s legs sweat-clasped
in sheets —
stomata sighing in sunlight
the floral head nodding

but, just lean a bit more forward
drive a little harder
with the legs
push the packet deep into
a pocket recess
quell the vital memory
rebuild the bridge
the barrier
the small common lie
and add to the catalogue
of conscious, natural
in lieu of the
simple truth of seeds
found on a path
and a heart
rattling a ribcage
for escape


Lunar regolith
The wind blistered shores of the Hudson
Ancient waters
Thousands of kilometres away
If not millions
A blizzard
An Easter moon’s light pricks my eyes open
In springtime Victoria
Thrashes me around at 4am
Illuminates the interplanetary space
Lays bare the simple facts
That everything is falling apart
Just as everything is being held together
By invisible fundamental forces
By math and physics
And any other human conception
I can settle my mind on
At 6 AM when
The first birds ease my grasp and let me sleep

A few more questions

Will I look back on my life
And see a series of ragged breaths
Intermittent periods of fullness
Then vacuum; airtight seals?
And if I choose to reset the pace, then
What? What form does rhythmic gentleness
Or a long steady expansion take?
How do I make room for all of that air
In my self-crowded brain? In that
Shattered-mirror space? In that
inwardly looking black body in
Perfect thermal balance with
Itself steadily cooling, radiating
Its energy toward entropy, space,
Where even atoms do not touch.

another run
another thin moonlight bath
another run that won’t earn me fame
another run that won’t excuse me from
the work-a-day
another run that won’t elevate me
any more than the few meters this path climbs
no crickets too-cold taste of fall
running on an avenue of
simultaneous self hate and self love
wondering why
at 11:30PM I’m alone on a
rural road
no loved ones
knowing where I am
pulled deep into the carapace
pushing the intervals
through legs
tired from 4 out of 5
days running hard,
biking 10 miles to work,
and helping a friend move.
“no, I don’t need a ride home it’s not that late and I can bike…” awkward.
Silence except for
the quick controlled
foot falls that come
before fatigue
and my own hard

time, less

Seven trees: three oaks and four douglas firs
on a point of dried grass and black, ice-smoothed
rock overlooking the Gorge inlet
just the right distance away for aesthetic framing
a 4 second walk if I cared to do so
instead I sit there through days
watching how the sun lights up the interior foliage
in the afternoon versus the glint off the water in the morning
and the difference December-green grass
and grey skies makes
my butt becomes wet and then dries again
some frost and a little snow
Shrieking traffic on the road behind me
until I’m back to where I started
toss out the rest of my coffee and,
walk the dog back home
and try to recount the year past


I think about all of the branches
that my life could have taken
how many loves dropped
and how many opportunities were presented to me
All I had to do was believe that I
was the person they thought I was.
Be the smart, creative, friendly
scientist capable of juggling and doing
and making new knowledge and forging
strong relationships.
All I had to do was not run.
All of these things still lurk inside of me
all of these potentials
that somehow were never fully expressed.
I guess that’s true for everyone to some degree.
That their greatest selves are only exposed
for a limited part of their lives
as if baring those parts would lead to hardening
and desensitization,
scabs or calluses and
any number of unlikely things.
As if showing those parts wouldn’t open
up grand complexities and happiness of human connection
or joy at experiencing an expanding life.
Instead I poke out for a moment of brilliance
instants of confidence and pride and capability
that shrink and close like a poked sea anemone.
safer like that
surer that the inverted stomach
will digest these scraps of
a fuller existence.
Ensuring the extraction of
nutrients to build stronger chitin
a carapace to hold in
a greatness that no one
is allowed to see.