Sketch 3

November 2nd
North Wind whistled down Canyon Road,
hands in pockets,
eyes elsewhere,
a jaunty traveler, just passing through–

behind him,
cottonwood cried, naked in the cold;
deer stumbled
for the protection of sparse pine,
children reached for mothers’ hands

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Sketch 2

Was a man I knew
once,
soul of a poet. His face
bright and quick, with
eyes ready to weep for a great cause.

he fell prey, suffered
soul-death, at the hands
of two conspirators:
time and poverty,
both grinning rakishly as they
knocked on his front door,
dressed in funeral clothes.

Sketch 1

Mirrors in Hell do not lie-
the damned must look at themselves with
doleful, understanding eyes,
must see themselves for what they have become:
wispy passions bound together,
sheathed in a thin layer of will–

they mourn for what they’ve lost,
hands outstretched like weeping clouds

Museum

Short                                                                                                                                                                                                       hours                                                                                                                                                                                       click long claws

down portrait-laden halls

snap-shot memories shift and move in candlelight:                                                                                                                                                           here is a photo of the woman I knew I must marry;                                                                                                                         here, a dripping sunset I knew I must memorize;                                                                                                                           here, a portrait of my grandfather the last time I saw him alive                                                                        November

time slouches forward, claws clicking,                                                                                                                                                     a luminous animal guided by its own light

down this corridor, around the corner to the right,

into a doorway through which I dare not go

Temporary Diamonds

can you speak of what
you believe with recycled words as
though words were water
flushed down urinals,
agitated in mechanics’ greasy rinse cycles,
spewed at high pressure into slimy New York streets,
mixed unmercifully into compost scunge and
sprayed across the lawn;
evaporated, rarified into purest form,
ascended, Christ-like, imbued with all our sin,
taken to Heaven,
purified to rain like
snow,
to ennoble brown October grass,
dressing each mundane blade in raiment
fit for a king,
encrusting the common, the ugly, the unspeakable
in temporary diamonds and fleeting jewels–
can words, like glistening frost in October morning sunlight,
hold the molten iron of what you believe?