[Listen to readings
of these poems.]
Traveler at a Loss
Pulled to the streets,
like the night dog on its course beyond
the refinery fences and Four Corners,
I watch the casualty list grow
poets drunk in the crosswalk,
singers dying on the causeway.
refrains of weakness, of weariness,
Their vocabulary, remorseless as rain,
Stale until dawn,
I watch an emigrant moon traverse
a lane of live oaks and lantana,
August lilies blooming within the fog.
I travel with fist clenched,
a fine sharp knife, honed and wicked,
heavy in my back pocket.
In my writing bag
is a tattered map of southern France,
a mask of Stephen Crane, a mask of Townes Van
Wrapped in a camouflage shirt
the key to last year's hotel,
the ticket to last month's train
bookmark a Douay bible.
A morning sun slices leaf-flooded lanes,
curves choked with sites
of church grounds, schoolyard, first house.
Unresolved, still restless