Night Flight (Excerpt)

When I was young and sleepless
I imagined opening the window and
taking flight like one of the Lost Boys
twinkle-dusting into the night chill.

Slowly ascending over the flat roof,
I would embrace the oak outside the window
on its own terms, finally, and turn to face
The great sodium lamp world.

And then southward I would plot a course,
Wind sweeping away my terrestrial cares
As, above the elementary school, rising,
I might rejoice for a moment at the majesty of time.


On a trail once, I saw a tree which
should not have been, a magnolia
in the pine flats, by the influence of
some creature planted out of place.

I gave that tree a name, and when I
can’t sleep the name crosses overhead
like Radio On in the darkness static
a nebula of memory flashing to quicken me still.

Und die blumen von meine Magnolien
sind Weiß in der raum dunkel
like footlights in the gloom
shining daylight past in the room.

Like magnolias, too, we bloom in the dark
putting out flowers brown by morning and
passing ancient signals through the
rhizomous earth from which we came.

It is the same earth to which we return and
what more can we ask of the soil mysterious?
Let it be together, we might ask,
let us glow together like blooms in the hunter’s night.

Commensals: Summer

I. Summer

Somewhere summer is gold, I’ve heard
but here it is gray as tired earth.

Like light mysterious to the prism,
so all it is nothing.

I pity those near the mouth of the den
embroidered with ceaseless energy.

By day by light accosted,
at night by heat exhausted.

To witness is to fall
short of empathy.

Where, then, are the fairy tales of haze gray summer,
Of dog days beneath crackling pines?


wood smoke redolent
of campfires at Ocean Pond

of spruce and pine pilfered
from the lumber yard where they worked

my father and
friends of my father

pleiades redolent
of amberglow stories told

of blinking night over
zipper pulls announcing silence

still, low burns the fire
warm glows the lantern, still

Relentless (Found)

The cause for the
slight progress is
to be found
a series of fateful events
which struck like a
relentless broom
tearing down the web
of enterprise again
and again
And like industrious spiders
the promoters rebuilt their schemes
upon the same foundations.

(From Alice Whitman, “Transportation in Territorial Florida,” Florida Historical Quarterly vol. 17, no. 1 (1938): 25-26.)

Abandoned locomotive at the deserted lumber town Copeland. Donald J. Marks.

Town Center: A Draft

Raincast mosaic on my hotel window
streaks Fogo de Chao and
blurs too-small memories

where here (for example) I shook the man’s hand
too small to see past
the shadow of work

or there (I presume) the slash pines stood
too small to stand against
Cheesecake Factory.

In silence unaware
they were taken down,
down across the river flowing.

Drop a quarter in the coffee machine
and play cup poker with the
boys at the side door you

draw a pair of aces blushing
and the boys fete you
on the good Hyster riding

high until lunch we
punch out and go down,
down across the river flowing.

Raincast mosaic washing down to the river, too.