(written upon reading that mankind has replaced Nature moving the greatest amount of earth yearly)

We who move tonnes
are digging a vault in our hearts
where to put the stuff we unearth?
To move a grain of sand is a little
step beyond moving it by thought;
the earth needs no reason or purpose
to its motion, moving, sloughing,
tiding, washing, grinding, pushing,
digging. But we who build
find as much to conceal as we do
to display.

As I survey my foundation
I find my friends are my bricks.
I am stacking them into a house
I will live in when I finish;
as I grow my head will brush
the ceiling and they will laugh,
tickled by my need to be hidden,
to be sheltered, to be encompassed,
framed, bound, explained, unbowed,
rebuilt and exposed.

So, I move some atoms. Flesh to hair,
foot to back, I am walking on the friends
who care to conceal from me the hole
I have dug, the pit that twists beneath us.
They dance to me on horseback, on stilts,
on tightrope, high seas and exuberance,
whispering for my ear alone, “It’s normal,
it’s OK, we moved quite a bit ourselves.”


your black heart finally rewrote
itself, and you knew it throughout
dear friend, you knew it
black, that bled through to true

you cut and erased
the trial, the sentence
you knew it was all a joke
the arrested, the penitent

and still the fire burnt

I remember you
earnestly, nakedly
flamboyant in a
somnambulant town

how my heart leapt to meet you
and our laughter intertwined

never once did you complain to me
as cancer ended your life
the painter who wrote,
“poetry is not a noun”


Tattoo the shape of love onto your imagination,
etch your name in the quivering wind, blow away
the sands of the desert to see what is written beneath,
erase your epitaph and replace it with a date
of your choosing. The pen is mightier than the world.