Quiet ThingsAnd slow things, like molasses,
like pretty golden honey
or crystal corn syrup;
catch the sunlight
make it sweet.
Too quiet in here but I can dig it,
Too slow but I can dig it.
I can dig it,
And there's rain on the rooftop, now
but it's an easy kind of quiet.
Not a noise,
not a clatter,
nothing'd make you
or turn in your sleep.
Just an easy kind of quiet.
Catching dew drops on the swift
make 'em slow
soft like little jewels of rain.
Some caught with flakes of ashes
but we don't mind the ashes
don't mind the flaws
'cause we're catching dew drops on the swift.
Keep your voice down.
There's sleep in the eaves of the barns now,
barns in the joints of the hills,
hills making mounds of the cornfields
where the stalks sit still and lazy
makin' shade from fronds
for field mice.
Keep your voice down,
there's sleep in the cornfields, now.
Lake WaughopDucks cozying up along the shore shrugged thick beads of water from their down. They crowded in amongst each other, bleary eyed and slow, regarded the lake with a dazed sort of boredom; too early to search for worms and ailing fish in the algae, too late in the morning to take refuge in the brush, and far too chilly for sporting any sort of enthusiasm. They dragged their feet through the soil. They edged closer to the shore, testing the water. Some, surely young or new to the game, hopped eagerly out and floated along with the geese.
None were bold enough to breach the net of lilting Lilly pads, and there the loons had full domain they darted back and forth from the shore catching flies in their stout, sharp beaks, eyes blazing red and gold, turquoise feet swinging wildly beneath the waves.
The remnants of the morning's mist still rolled along the fringes of the lake like flour powdering the edges on a ball of dough. It left condensation on the leaves in its wake, peppering the
StaticThe first time I heard the song Natural to be Gone by John Hartford, I was watching a storm roll in with my brother on the front porch of a ranch in Montana.
The music drifted from an old radio that the ranchers had sloppily wrapped in cellophane and secured to the fence with a length of wire. Raindrops slithered down its sides, glittering and merging as they fell; Hartford's voice was drowning in the downpour, fuzzy and distant, until the sky flashed blue, the first peal of thunder sounded and the words were broken mid-verse.
I moved down the porch steps, past the lip of the gutter, and peered up, awestruck. Lightning darted between the clouds; it snaked out, threatened to touch the treetops and then rapidly withdrew, left a shadow on the landscape in its path. The ranchers and their horses didn't start, barely seemed to notice in their hurry to bring the supplies in from the storm.
"I've never seen it come down like this," I said to my brother as he joined me at the bottom of
Devil Dropped by at MidnightThe Devil Dropped by at Midnight
His words are like beads of glass - the Hebrew that once was the coarse, unremarkable bed of sand in the pit of the belly of the Earth
melted together by the pressure and the searing heat that radiates from between his devils lips.
The grains of sand blown into perfect, crystalline beads of glass
roll across the tabletop, their sides glossing against one another
in some chaotic dance, though the soft tinkling sound produced
is perfect, unparalleled, inexplicable.
The words are incomprehensible at first, too unrelated and too emphasized to coordinate,
theyre pieces of a thousand-year-old jigsaw puzzle rattling around in the hollow
of your skull;
beating like hearts and bleating like lambs on the altar.
But you lend an ear, you listen to what he has to say.
On the other side of the world, Bethlehem is bleeding.
He flexes long, copper wire fingers and his eyes are bullet casings filled with magma,
churning red and black and yellow
Disturbing the Sleepy TomcatHis ears fall back flat against the sides of his skull,
curving up like the blades on a couple of paring knives,
and a sliver of eyelid falls over one eye just one,
the other keeps open wide and glaring.
Thats what cats do best, they glare, and he knows its gonna strike the fear
of God into whoever happens to amble by, like theyre gonna see that
one droopin eye and just know that this is it, theyre in for it now.
God help the guy who gets on the wrong side of the tomcat.
And his pupils shrink, contracting into two little smudges of oil,
pointed at each end like the eyes of a devil in some old biblical text.
You get to thinking that hes probably got a forked tongue wedged between his incisors,
and maybe those ears arent really ears, theyve got to be horns.
That spit of difference between cat and demon falls away in an instant,
and for the time being, theyre really one in the same.
His whiskers are staring
FrequentersIts too dark now for the sun to set the windows alight,
and those tinted bits of glass are sitting solemn in the night;
nothing there to give the crimson glow, no soft and honeyed beams.
No slants of navy blues, or lights made garish, brilliant green.
Two panes are faux Orvieto, rise high up to surpass
the glossy form of Raphael, all hued in thick, stained glass
their gleam is dulled, the dazzle gone. The night has made them flat.
The chapel sits in silence while the angels swiftly pass.
These hours dwindle endlessly, the patrons come and go.
Most are new, and stop to pray; but the frequenters, they know
that the shadows grant no mercy to the pleas from desperate lips
that echo on these walls like lines hard-beaten from a script.
The frequenters, they do not sit to bow their heads.
They do not crease their hands upon their laps, or speak of plots retread.
They gloss their gaze across the altar, where the sacred scripts are spread,
and its understood within these wall
South SumatraHell spend tomorrow wading through the rain-slick, blackened streets;
barefoot, padding up and down the split and sharp concrete
with hands held out, and cupped, in that universal way;
for the traffic pumping through here knows what begging is, these days.
And the hills are made of metal, now; the fields are laid in brick.
And rebar stands where trees should be, blood-red and spiraled thick.
For the weight of ailing buildings was too much to be allowed;
the only marks upon the landscape left untouched are the shrouds
of rain that settle in the divots of the soil, dim and bare,
like gummy pools of oil, deep and black, they limply stare
up at the sky, where the stars are seated simply where theyve always been before,
gleaming white like tiny pearls on the gloomy, dusty shores
for no fault on Earth, or churning, buckled stone could deftly pry
those stars down from their crooks within the carpet of the sky.
So he sleeps now in the shadows of the wreckage left behind,
Cats Can't Use UmbrellasA silhouette is creeping through a foggy, tepid haze, and it finds
a way inside and takes to perching on the pane
to clean crooked, wire whiskers in the splintered window frame. He eyes the world outside his shed through the curtain of the rain.
A clock keeps ticking timidly from one side
of the room, where cobwebs crowd the corners, sewing
shadows through the gloom. The cat stirs within the window, turning one ear to the tune; his tail a tiny metronome for when the tick resumes.
The clouds outside his window take to churning
through the sky, and he dips his head to gaze at them, proud
that he is dry. Lazily, the rain lets up, the cat lets out
a sigh. He leaps down from the window and skips back out into the night.