Good Morning to No One

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but the hardpan man with a cigarette,
locks of hair and smoke wreathing
like chain-of-love, a flowering weed
from Mexico. Under cerement of
sky, hood drawn and boots trussed,
his eyes snake a look too long
and lithe to turn back with a dustbaked
foot. Yet at the ranch, the slop
buckets must be emptied or filled,
the foals exercised or fed, the boss
pled to, a minor god or chord
calcining silence. I want
to light the man aflame—I want
the flame to bite the page—I want
the page to black with ash
to match the ink I drink some days
to watch the day burn orange.
Maybe living his way is easier:
no readings or film marquees. No art
but the craft of starting awake
at dawn cowlicking the land,
salt-blanched and sepia as this
photo of the man, quickened
to breath by a friend.

Good morning now
to his friend behind the lens,
whose brows are unburned
brush above eyes which say less
than the umber beard under them.
Whose fingers say most of all,
picking the frame, checking 
the settings, plucking the camera 
like a bird of rare plumage. 
In fact, it’s rare footage:
two men taking their measure 
against earth, sky, and God,
the machine
birthing their images—their images 
and mine.


Walnut Creek

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You step into a ring of antlers,
pallor of chaff;
the road like a veined wrist
                             then turns.

Grackles tattoo the sky
in thick black calligraphy,

while turkscaps tip themselves
in audible red tuxedos.

Stopping now to hear
the creek’s silty susurrus,
you coil your spine into grand piano wire.

To hold language underwater this way,
even if you call it music—

             yes, stones here have cracked
                           like sunflower seeds.

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