A Love Bound in Bark

Love is an arrow slicing through
the air. A thin yellow banner between
red slopes, where the river turns aside.

Love is where the valleys come together
and the heavens relax upon the Earth.

A permanent posture, without wooden
caskets, but with the body entangled in
skins and hand-sewn sheets, sometimes
bound in the bark of a Seneca harvest.


Despite my urgent need to tap into something
that is necessary for my time, I am left with a vision
of numbers. My pagan blood and sleeping moments
on the beach. Why do I still want to be Jimmy Buffett?

Idle and brutal from all eternity, like Rimbaud, sitting
on a park bench with my two best friends.

The wind blowing. The day glowing. The moment in love
with every other moment that has ever existed.

Three daydreamers, no older than five, gazing at the one
thing that interests them most.

Where the Forest Begins

Have you been to the bulge
in the forest where you do not
know when the trail stopped and
the forest began?

Have you been to that path in the forest
where the trees stand by like nosy neighbours,

and the leaves turn an incandescent blur,
like the seasons confessing their sins twice?

My Original Face Before I Was Born

lights up whenever it sees the occasional red-tailed hawk,
just as my son spots a jet contrail in the sky, every time,
no matter how far away, he catches it, as if it were a pebble
beneath the murky surface of a frog pond in the backyard.

I’m a Surrealist

I’m a surrealist. So what?
Surreal is dependent on
the real. To know that it
makes sense, in order to
show that it doesn’t. Does
that make sense? Do you
make sense? Does this make
sense? Why do you want to
make sense? David Byrne said
stop making sense. But that
means it made sense to begin
with. Did it? Who are you to say?
What sense does it make to
make sense anyway? Anyway,
do you think it makes sense?
What part? Which person? When?

I don’t think so. I don’t think any
of it makes sense. We do not even
know what it means to make sense.

We haven’t even learned how to make
sense of sense.

Hercules Without Muscles

I am Hercules without muscles.
Zeus without thunder. Hades
without an underworld. Drifting
like a show out of Nashville
without a guitar. Pure country
and dirty to the core. I am a Pollock
without dripping a single droplet of
paint. Brooklyn without a bridge.
People cross over me without
anywhere to go and no reason
to go there. I am a tape cassette.
The magic is in my obsoleteness.
I feel lowest when I am on top
of a mountain in the Adirondacks,
and quietest when I am in a bar
drinking shots of whiskey and red
grenadine, listening to the Dead.
A civilization tattooed on the skull.

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image: George Payne

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