Monthly Archives: January 2017

Studio

A Haida carver draws his blade through a cedar log, making a totem pole under the blue-black hats of trees.

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Miles Davis begins recording Kinda Blue on a scowling October day in the Columbia studio on 30th street in New York.

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The cedar log slowly reveals summers of endless whales, winters of starvation and, near the bottom, the People being born from a clam shell.

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Kinda Blue filters out of the Brooklyn studio merging with the night that flows like pillow lava underwater, hardening into a million glass faces. Miles will work all night to give the faces at least one good eye.

Holly Tree in Winter

The holly tree in winter snow
gathers robins in fat bunches.

Fermented berries
make for a loud drunken party.

Until a hawk dives into the tree,
exploding the party at the seams.

Swift

The common swift,
who flies from Europe
to central Africa
and back in ten months,
nearly without landing,
can feel the pinpricks of stars
in winding sky roads
that fall away behind.

Without radio or jet engine,
without even an inflight
movie except the one
unfolding below on
the brindled earth’s hide,
she stakes no claim.

She does not even seem to mind
when we give her a small antenna
to track her wandering, though it
costs her dearly in insect work.

Widow’s Walk

The abandoned house next door
squats in the rain-thick trees,
pissing beneath hiked up skirts,
watching the road
with magpie eyes.

Once, carpenters
with rough hands and a painter
with a fixed smile and a sore heart
came to court her
but she sent them away.

I believe she favors you
Death mother–
something around the eyes
and those cracked bituminous lips.