Monday, January 25, 2010

Lately I keep noticing wrought iron benches

Oh you black iron
park bench empty
and waiting
for something beautiful as snow,

oh you black park bench
by sunlight
and the invisible

of one hundred
urban ghosts,

iron bench I
will scratch my name
on your arm

before the bus arrives
and takes me in
chains to
the castle of the day

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dear Night,

Thank you for the crows, the day
has borrowed them
for a very long time, and I

want you to know (as the crows certainly
know) that their calls to each other
from the ledges

of buildings and the wet branches
of sidestreet maples, the way they
rejoice at the opened envelope

of a deer by the side of the road,
their flight, whether silent
or harpied, all flurry and rasp,

all of these things should be
at night, dear night, your

time, your place, and so dear night
I have arrived to broker
a deal: we will give you back

the crows.  We will include the sawbox
containing their voices, and slide everything
into the drawer of underbrush rustle,

a coyote's bark, an argument
in the beastly dark.  All we need
in exchange are your bonfires,

those midnight bursts of morning, and later
we can discuss the true
home range of the moon--despite

your best efforts it has been seen
in the firmament one late
July morning.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dear Chihuahua Who at One Time Belonged to Gertrude Stein

You belonged because we knew
you, you barked because
barking is something that a small dog might
do, you
as if to say that you were not
all that
small, in the basket
in the basket in which
they carried you. When the ladies
made love you were locked
outside the door because you barked.
When the ladies wove a basket you dad-gummed
the knotted handle. You were Gertrude's dog
and you did not know me. I am I
I say because of that one
to their house in the country; sometimes
a little dog
can be a view

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Ferocity Even From the Remove of the Kitchen Window.

Yesterday my dad woke me up, calling to me to say there was a hawk in the backyard. The hawk had a pigeon in its talons.  A few feet away from the bird feeder, on top of fresh snow, the hawk plucked the feathers from the pigeon, and the hawk's curved beak probed and pulled strips of flesh from the carcass of the pigeon.  It was beautiful and hypnotic to watch: a ferocity we could sense even from the remove of the kitchen window. The hawk looked like she was dressed for a military action, black bands on her slate grey tail, reddish bars, the color of a female robin's breast, across her chest and belly, and the startling white fluff of her rump. The pull, the tug, the task of plucking a meal. She (later an expert looked at the photos we took and said that a Cooper's Hawk who was large enough to catch a pigeon was surely a female) she was such a harsh and lovely representative of nature "red in tooth and claw." I wonder if I'd feel so kindly toward her if she'd caught a cardinal, or a woodpecker, some bird I see as a "real" bird and not some urban trash.  Pigeons, after all, have their own flocking beauty, silver and startling against a grey winter sky. This makes twice in the past couple of months that I've seen a Cooper's Hawk, that baroness, crouched over her kill near a birdfeeder.  The first time was in Chicago--Darren and I leaving for breakfast disturbed a hawk at her own meal in the courtyard. She grabbed it and fled. Circle of soft down whirling a bit in the wind over larger feathers, speckled red droplets in the snow.  This hawk had killed a pigeon in suburban Michigan. The backyard feeders were silent and deserted the rest of the day, not even the plump squirrels nuzzled the ground below for the peanuts Dad puts out for them--somehow word got out that this was a crime scene. "Somehow" being the feathered circle, the red dots, mournful in the snow. But I had not thought the little brains of feeder birds capable of making these deductions and associations. Does every bird have a bird who would make of it a meal?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The art of Doug Stapleton

For Christmas this year Darren and I decided to get a piece of art together--and there was no question of where to look--we both have been fans and friends of collage artist, curator, performance artist and all around great guy Doug Stapleton for some time, and we knew we wanted to get one of his evocative, disturbing, beautiful works.  We were a tad worried that we might not agree on which piece to get, but a during a late December studio visit with Doug, where we got to see works in progress and older pieces, and talk with Doug about his process, his materials, and his art, "Harbinger" was the work that called to us the most. It looks great on the wall.  I want to sit my notebook and look up at "Harbinger" and write and look and write and look.  It's a project that'll happen soon.  Also in early 2010, an interview with Doug here at "Lives of the Spiders."