“I invented liking,” he told everyone who would listen. “Loving,
not so much, loving is very old, but liking and that loosely curled
fist with thumb upturned, that was mine, that was a thing I did
and got a raise and a bump in rung. Before me, folks didn’t know
how to enjoy just up to the point of love but not beyond, one tick below
and now look how many things we like, we like, we like, our hearts
and thumbs scooting their butts across the sill of an open window
where a man speaks promises and fears into a crowd of faces
so thick it becomes impossible to distinguish which is which
or each from each. The particular flattened, the likeness enhanced
until distinctions all but disappear. Like begets like, as you
well know. And I invented like,” he said again. “Love, not so much.”



deep river of things
conveyor of human freight

a crimped rill begins your chute
expands to a mouth
two hundred miles wide

effluvium of your travels
whorls of silt muddy the clear

the clear never quite clear
of hidden life that poisons
of rainbowed oil slick

a drone of wings carrying
god only knows what


At the gate we plighted our troth again
but found our flight had been delayed.
So we took ourselves to the bar instead.
And who does whiskey not make mean?
I believe you meant each word you said
when you claimed you loved, then loathed;
when one night you adored my form unclothed,
next morning, deplored and wished it dead.
It would be a lie to claim I was confused.
I grokked what all this meant: you felt both.
I swirled my straw in amber, pledged my faith
and saw how cunning tenderness is used.
Your eyes in the sun’s last rays shone clear.
It took me six months more to cloud them, dear.