Ephemeral Empire


Headstone to a great man, employer, father.

The last tight fist of earth, held forever, that only

Recently had beat upon his desk.

How grand, to be an Aztec Empire,

Gilded once in sun, worshipped in his time

By flying snakes, feathered dragon-gods;

For red cups to be slashed and drank for he

Who bronzed the sky and seeded the wide forests,

A man who is the rising and the very

Setting sun of his own dynasty:

Lasting just one sunset long enough

To find his clutching heart had stopped;

Those jagged temples now echoing

An archeology to sacrifice.



The Aztec Empire lasted less than one hundred years, between 1427-1521: founded after the Battle of Agincourt, and finished before Henry VIII went and got his divorce. No man’s empire ever lasts. 




Winter Holds A Grudge



Winter holds a grudge: buried deep in the earth
It will never be over

We thought March would be the line in the snow:
But the air grew colder

He scratched notes on the window panes, white cracks,
A cold signature

Returns like a curse, comes back a like a cough
I couldn’t get over

Looking out, footprints marked their rue
In the silent powder

And shivering trees turn their branches back,
Look over their shoulders




No bruises show



They found my teeth in the silty riverbed:

Separate, yet still gritted.


Through empty sockets, you can clearly read

My eyes are rolling;


See? My jaw, smashed to an everlasting

Never mind.



I wanted to write something short and simple, about uncovering the skull of a victim: not of any specific crime, certainly not for any crimes that have ben tried; a victim of her partner, and her place in society. My alternative title was “Not Woke,” the preserved, sleeping head of a person who didn’t wake up fast enough. 



July Eyes



closed-eyelid colours, beating with the sunlight,

dappled space, the warm red resting out –

the song of breathing, heard outside your head




Still experimenting with briefer, less structured forms. And longing desperately for summer. 

why dont u just—



Well, maybe she would. After all

the encouragement, the touches in corridors,

messages in her desk: maybe she just might…


the talk had talked, and made it true: the songs

they sang for her were proof, like an Act of God,

the writing on the wall, and on her locker,


the paint in her hair. Perhaps, at last, she would.



Designs for Life


All artists wish for

a blank canvas. Clear enough

to reorder emptiness from drawn experience,

subtle shades, their own landscape,

forests murmuring out distantly;

features flourishing like asphodel.


The architect sees lines: the clean

structures , and order of light,

modes parallel, forms of

the constructed life.


The musician wants movements,

seasons lived across colours, depth

of wind and distant water, leading to

a lasting resonance.


The poet hopes for one

final, perfect word,

then silence.



O Pupper, My Pupper


But O, I long to wend this weary night,

All stratagems and schemes of woe to scupper

Met at homestead door by hurtling sight

Of he, most playsome and adventurous pupper!


To frolic fulsome in the honest throes

Of fluff at haste: prevails, the boundful woofer,

Chasing tails and reckless overflows

Of love with such as he, the faithful floofer.


How did you learn to snug? How came the Lord

To shape the cast, your form to cultivate:

And into this such endless huggles poured,

To render countless cuddles animate?


O pupper, scuttle scritches ‘cross the floor:

To hark approaching pupper, evermore.




I was asked by one of my followers, in exchange for a quantity of wine, to write a Shakespearean sonnet, Whitman-esque in dramatics, on the subject of doggos. It was perhaps the most fun I’ve had writing anything in 2018 so far.