HOOD ORNAMENT RADIO SIGNAL
I’m going to melt
a cross, a statue of the Buddha, and the arms of Vishnu
into a hood ornament of a naked woman with wings of fire,
set it on my car and follow it like a compass.
That’s all I need—content to follow her
while everyone else, itchy to test the waters,
pushes to see if the sky will open up
when they miss curfew.
For me, it’s all the same and just as easy
to be good as be bad. And if I need a sign,
I’ll follow my car to that field
outside the city where the radio antennas party.
There, when I was ten years old,
I took a handheld radio, scrolled the AM dial
until hearing my own voice for ten seconds of a breath
telling me how to proceed, and in what manner.
From: The Spider Sermons, originally appeared in 42 Opus
THE RELATIVITY TREE
The smell of sandalwood,
the wind-void beneath
this short tree, its branches
draped with teardrop leaves.
the tree is a negative,
frozen nuclear bomb,
its bulb an umbrella.
I think, with complete lucidity:
my irises are black holes.
The hills, gray foam waves,
the clouds playground dirt patches.
Inside, my heart the blowfish,
my brain the ludicrous raisin.
Everything is becoming
something else and drifting apart—
The silence under this tree,
moving in place, shifting.
From: The Spider Sermons, originally appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review
THE EASY STAR IN CHINLE
Standing on the discreet lip of the canyon,
it is easy to believe There is no Self—
Not a human sound or sight,
black lake that is the chasm before you—
Feeding the recurring stray dog
fry bread and shredded beef—
The only light, fire light
red and white inside a hogan below—
It is easy to think, This is the first light, the last light
of a big bang, cosmos buried in earth.
There is no Self with footsteps across the distance,
a boy sneaking out past curfew—
who knows you’re not just some moving cactus,
shouts Watch this!—lights a roman candle, lets it lift . . .
It spreads above, beyond you—
the Christmas light magnolia of an explosion.
He heads down to that light in the canyon—
if it’s there at all, really—
And you’ll open the car door,
let the dog burrow in the backseat blankets—
watch that point of light-bloom—
walk unafraid across the chasm,
getting closer as it gets higher
above the black lake—
car light flickering as the dog falls asleep,
quietly pulsing its whiteness as everything else
darkens, earthbound . . .
From: The Spider Sermons, originally appeared in Into the Teeth of the Wind