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More Poems

Anchor 1

from Advice for Me and Maybe You

this thing you’re doing


right now it’s called



what thing? this?



We want to fall in love.

We want to

be loved, to have



in love with us.


It’s always someone else

that we want

to love us.

Always someone else we want

to do what we won’t.


That’s like saying, “Come on in,

the door’s locked.”

In the Gospels,

the word

in the original

Greek that English-

men translated as “sin”

did not mean sin.


It meant “to miss

the mark” as when

in Homer, a spear curves

off target.

That’s all.


There was another

Greek word that meant

sin. It was not used.


Christ did not speak of sin.

He spoke of missing the mark.

He wasn’t fierce about morality.

He was fierce about turning

from error.


Be fierce about turning

from any thought

that says you are not loved.

from The Morning I Married the Sky

may i walk with


may i walk with

the unapologetic

gait of the donkey

in pasture at once

purposeful and easy

as he flicks

his ears to drive off


when i rounded the corner 

when i rounded the corner 
an expanded empty 
paper shopping bag 
was tipping back 
and forth in the road 
like a sow that couldn’t 
get up but after sorting 
through mail on the front 
steps i turned again 
it was doing cartwheels 
towards the intersection

Shackleton’s Men



i listened with a mixture

of disdain and wonder unsure

how to judge

these mad men who ventured

with Shackleton in wooden ships

for hundreds of days through

fields of ice, faces

swollen with frostbite,

limbs black and weak

from scurvy, bickering

in the wake of each

implacable rebuff,

while the great war ate the world,

and all for no reason

except to be first

to cross the snowy crown

of the planet and even then

they failed


until at the end i heard that one

of the men—his name

was Richards—

said he had no regrets


“it was something,” he said,

“the human spirit accomplished.

it was something

you tried to do.”

Anchor 2

from Free this Morning

in this ramshackle



in this ramshackle


of small houses

the jay loops

from a wire to alight

nearer the pole

then hops

a wire up

while another


like Whitman

they don’t care

they don’t care

they don’t care

then they fly

beyond my life

the tree said this



the tree said this

is what I do. I

sing, I cas-

cade up—

a child’s project

made at school of green

felt and wire.

I’m the surf exploding

against the sea-rock, only

this branch

droops away

from the others. I hold

my hands

like this


I do it for you


if you want.

I do it


and outward.


I do it exactly

like this.

every day i write



every day i write

my book. well,

i say i’m writing a book

but really i’m trying

to build a house

to prove to my father

that i’ve accomplished


i’m really laying twigs

on other twigs and backing

carefully away


and yes, there’s a scrap

of satisfaction,

a tiny feeling

of having justified

myself for another day

when i rise from the couch

i write on


being twig-built, though,

the house tends

to collapse at the slightest

wind, like the hint

of disapproval in

a stranger’s voice, and then it’s back

to an empty lot


sometimes though i’ll stop

and look out

the window

while i’m supposed

to be writing

and let myself be carried—



by sun, by air, by distant

sounds, or the impossible

change in direction

of a bug in flight—

and float



past mansions built

by invisible hands

each empty and waiting

for me to move in

Anchor 3
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