dear wildcat

winter comes again in time and our
skin splits/ the heckling of stars:
the way implied, they could

be a sun, be the warmth
spoken of, yes I know
and we instead cracked

cups glued many times
upon the cloth-
hold fast.

how small the earthquakes warn
of a shatter and maybe
we choose to tie the rope tight
instead, tight around

our own eyes-

my dear friend, hold fast,
hold the hands of your choosing
eyes shuttered and heart wild
with hollow rage like

a sun burns
from its self until done.

and what can we choose but
an anthem of joy or
despair?

dear wildcat, please free yourself
of the hunters trap and if
you must chew your own
leg to be free, be free

or if the rope is tight
and just right, I will try to
find you if you ask,

because I know your wild heart
and you know I am cracked
and full of nuance/ how you

came along and saw me going again

above the waves, breath held
to go down again but I stay
where nothing will rip
feet from sand, even
the crash all around/ but
you could see that I was tired-

it will be a choice, my dearest friend

to let an anger go that will not
destroy your enemies, at the
knowledge that nature is unjust
and will not strike down those who

would harm but give them chance
after chance… for you and I
to speak truthfully and
uncomfortably is

the only justice.

so pull the wound wide
and see like the ocean waves
there is no choice

but to return to the shore pounding,
flailing as a storm brews or in a sleepy slumber
beneath a still blue free of everything
but the pull of time, no choice

but to hold, “thought by thought.”

through the trees

I smell gardenias when I think of warmth,
feel smooth, hardwood under still new feet
how little hands can scale old

umbrella trees like that iguana
castaway one morning after a hurricane
I spotted arching up into the leaves 

and little feet swinging in the air:
how I hid a small cache of treasure
perched on a branch that 

holds little girls, too/

shiny plastics from my costume
I wore during the warm, Miami nights
twirling and dancing in parades

flipping on the black asphalt,
sometimes landing on my knees still,
and unconcerned I’d collect the

shiny stones that fell off and
put them in the tree hole somewhere
high up- reminded of how I could shine

so bright when I moved quickly,
how people watched
entranced with my spinning.

One evening after dark
I played on the sidewalk on my own
an only child and wildly imaginative 

and spotted the cactuses slowly opening their flowers

like they did every night: a night-blooming
cereus that I went over to put a tiny lizard,
a green anole, on its topmost point

of green just above the little spike 

how it launched itself into the darkness
between itself and the ground way below-
my alarm and wonder at his tiny bounce 

before he ran. What if, he had stayed
atop the blooms having been placed
so safely by my hand,

where the stars above were now closer
and the grass that usually towered, tiny
and inconsequential? And, I hoped

it would feel freedom like I did
up in my tree, free from all
the must-dos and perfection 

the pressure to remain small
but be admirable. I found myself
closer to myself in every treetop

or perched on a floating log
in the partially frozen alpine lake
one spring or stepping further

into the warm waves of the Atlantic
where all that is heard now
is time and my own heart.

we guide the form, in naming

I could not be solid
being hard in thinking instead
far in seeing past
the stories I was told

were the way things were,
and holding this truth
felt dangerous at times.

I could not be solid,
yet more an amorphous
shape shifting with every
change in the wind

like a ghost I thought at first
like the chaos before the fiery
center of a new star that

is warm whether the sun shines
somewhere near or is one day gone,
I realized eventually.

But, it’s just truth, and I really
have wanted to hide in my room
many times or to walk into a forest
and be gone awhile, and instead

of getting angry, I tried wrapping
myself in petals and song
like Billy or Leonard sinking into
my heart and forming or

opened the window and let the wind
gather in my mouth until
I could laugh

and maybe it was good to learn this/

where what is real and natural and beautiful
is dangerous to people too damaged
and still in hiding, maybe

for the rest of their lives because
they are still afraid-

and children who cannot tell
because they must protect others first
to survive, feel it like a scream
they wouldn’t dare and

the feelings in that hypocrisy-
when you should cry
if it is time and rage if it is
required

because to not, makes
better understandable why
someone cannot love.

But, children learn to live
with a feeling they cannot speak
the name of except, I am sad
or crawling into bed one night terrified
of dying when the house is

so quiet and so safe,

it will take work to learn to speak;
and yes, I am serious inside
and thoughtful or maybe

I became this way and was someone
before, but I only know what I was
by what I survived then like

a starfish only looks up
from the ocean floor.

And now, I sometimes need to
stand in the cold somewhere vast
and empty or sit in the sun
as it almost burns midsummer

wanting to stay just there
looking and feeling for something
like a clock knows it was made
to tell the time and will

suddenly stop moving/ hands
pointing at whatever, maybe
it is one in the morning when no one
is looking and thinking, ‘that

is a clock’- how it notices
in this moment the shape of the moon
in its own inspiration and says,
I am not ‘a clock/’

becomes what can be believed
somehow and with little guidance
except stories and what we have
known of love and the songs we hear-

people like stars orbit an unseen force

and call the name and
tell the story of each
named thing like

this is my heart in
every name given.

the crash

Truth is to forget underwater
how the waves crash
beneath the seam

how the waves crash
truth in seconds
how under

the shower I crash
how in dreams I
collide with colossus

and tragedy and conquer/
uninhibited, un-able to
drive seed to

stem. Truth: I forget
to crash beneath
and end up above

the waves in
love thinking this
is who I become now

like summers I swam
between mangroves and hot
sea surging, that perfect

storm on the horizon – I love
so deeply in truth
underwater in the crash
of waves: how the seam

defines if we will live or die/

the crash beneath
stormy skies
and showers:

and how wide
is the breadth of
a wilderness

that came before the place
we can not reside.

us, mirror

The way of a mind like a seed
on the wind floats up

instead of with the wind
somehow, or people born
wedged in sidewalk cracks

deep away from the sun
know where happiness
resides tumbling

upon its arrival:
in this I feel almost
a lucky misfit.

Even a self divided is
scattered like pages
lost within the house

with no binding.

I see windows in every room
that inform nothing except
where I have arrived from,

and, I, in every room
stitch a binding, day-
in and out, am

surrounded by a puzzle
of words on paper.

But aren’t us the
song? Aren’t us the
dream and

attuned to truth:
the paradox of remaining
genuine when a melody

unfolding.

when the war ended

It’s a sad story,
the drowning man
in a cloud of fists

the first thing in morning
woken thinking of yesterday
and swinging wide like a boxer

finds the finish when he
splays on the mat, hair
absurd and wet for

just a fight in his memories
of fire and rush
of the way the sun

shocked when he woke seeking
like missiles seek below waters
a mid-night butterfly to take,

hunts

way of shore: soft
sand and dawn,
the cellar

where Geppetto carves a heart/
and how still is absence
of war. stillness

pulsing like a star grown
old or the shock of gardenias
in a scorching heat,

not a violin struck with flint
or the way a man can wail,

through city streets across
smelly kitchens and
mothballs clung to old coats

dark roads and alleys
in living of dying-
the flower unfolds

its self.

I think the man
questions if he can
swim in dark waters

and how will he meet
the sun, swinging
with those

wildcat fists? how
he could, like a shock
of gardenias, breathe

life of so-called dying;
make a home with
an artist in the cellar

where he is waiting
on the shore.