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.
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?
It seems still
Somewhat a wonder That we should Own a windowsill Our talents providing A final resting place for Ladybugs and dust motes Cast verdant by Midday sun wasted On office-dwellers unrepentant
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
of amberglow stories told
of blinking night over
zipper pulls announcing silence
still, low burns the fire
warm glows the lantern, still
The cause for the
slight progress is to be found in 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.)
The road for miles And nowhere I need be And I shall paint you in sunset Alas
I cannot describe how thrilled I am to have a poem featured in
Panoply, a literary zine based here in Florida.
“Argyle Forest” is a poem about growing up on the suburban margins of Jacksonville. You can
read it over at Panoply with my deep thanks.
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.