Chicory IV

God shine 
goldenrod glitter 
across the bridge of your nose 
God shine 
down the crooked path 
that follows
somewhere time ran different
& I didn't trip 
over small obstacles
fumble with big words
turn things over too long
& it is in these days 
we pass together
that life seems to fall into place
I was meant for this
dirt under nails 
stomach full of raw greens
small flowers wedged in the holes of teeth
& your hair shining o-
all my small
to keep in tact
o- all I must keep behind pursed lips
hold honeysuckle on tongue
try never to speak such sweet things
o- thank the lord above for all blessings underneath 
the gradual turning of ecology 
that brings you back around 
with spring beauty dangling from your mouth
o- the subtle hints of pink on white petals 
dancing silver lining in my dreams,
the strain 'cross my face 
from smiling for a change
o- the days I knew you 
through scratchy lens
of urban mouse trap
I learned to leave once 
chased out of every alley
ejected from the conclave
no dead end in town
would take me in 
all the old ghosts pulled their hands from my sleeves
& it was me 
that put up those barriers
grew out those coats
walking trails of overgrowth
spitting up poisons on the side of road
crawling between bus stop shade trees 
on the pasture of Cleveland winter
looking for death in any form 
which might grant 
something to peer into
& it was you
held smelling salts 
under my nose
shoveled hawthorn down my throat
remind me to breathe
time & time again
& it was me
with lily of the valley 
in grasp
trying to get the beat right
one bulb too many
in the error of naivety-
I was once a man with nothing to lose
before flowers on my ribs
& I started wearing that safety
on my ankle
counting days
in dandelion feather
it gets easy to lose track
how many years now
carry tooth wort in my pocket
like I don't know 
the worth of such a cheap trick
like you don't see right through 
mask of woven grass


baka laka
when flowers are born
unrecognizable to the toll of time with soil in my skin
& you by my side
& the violets waking up 
& the poor mans mustard carving out heat in the gut
talk to plants 
when you’re not around
hope the message travels,
mnemonic in early blooms
& just off the interstate 
a blue flower 
with seventeen petals
& seventeen hundred miles 
every few weeks 
can't go broke
& just off the byway 
of hungry ghosts
God shine through 
single blossoms upon 
the stems of early risers
to remind travelers
of the bhodisattva
in all realms

I fly by 
too wrapped up
to lose track of you again
& all along the interstate
of blue flowers
I play a balancing act 
in the passenger of the car,
I was supposed to be your friend
& off the superior exit 
another vanishing act
into the beasts den
where I am secret as trillium
hidden from world 
statue of betrayal 
legs like broken pillars
head like twisted intent
& out the northern window
God shine on forgotten remnant
small gifts in the knotted root
I know why 
the wild grape vine 
brings down 
great trees
I know why 
it levels the forest
I know 
that the children must eat
I can see
the beauty
of its action

I know why 
I don't stand 

pray this place 
wrapped in ivy,
choked in grape vine
the land feeds itself & cycled through
with the skin of vines splintering in grasp
already had mine
for that
give back the flesh of a few digits
going south 
turning back


How can 
the chicory
as though 
another year passed us by
& why does it haunt my mornings
chew petal outside the front door 
watch for strays on wind
any kind of warning 
any benevolent spirit left round with my name on their tongue
o-how the taste can grow bitter 
held in too long 
o- the relentless turning of the hour 
on arid land
o- the wicked smile in the rear view
will take what it can get
o- all that’s for granted
the black plum that the statue denies
Certainly good enough for me


How can 
I carry a book
in my back pocket
& slide through landscapes
as though
it could teach 
what I've always learned from you
in absence lose track of step
playing Pocahontas
out in the marsh
tumbling over feet
hot breath rush to the head
tell me 
where to go
in a sea of bluffs
follow wind
& beside a rusty oak
nodding trillium waits 
just days from bloom
& she knock me down a few pegs
take what you need
but nothing 
such are 
the rules of this place
& give
give all that you can
there's more at work here
than you can see with those heavy eyes 
there's more history 'low your feet than this language provides for
there's more to you than this life
& If I should ever
take trillium
by the stem
see me cursed 
three times each petal


back at the block
the lindens have returned
& every morning
ask a small offering for my cup
& just a tree north
Albizia hangs confetti on branches 
though most
will be lost to the concrete
& this year too
& the cycle begins
all the wallflowers
in solitary
ask where you've been 
& I put my faith in balance again
mites get to work
fighting the loss
of petals crushed into concrete
of unrealized ambition
& I am of the Albizia 
to be carried away on wind
made an example of 
strung up by some east facing Windows & left to dry
& all along the interstate now
sore reminders of your going
all along
I look to the soil for signs
& just out my front door
chicory in the morning
& St. John's wart 
glowing from the wall
In the afternoon- 
might just be what I need
when you hit town 
with a new bracelet your own 
right ankle 
& sit beside me on the bench
heavy as concrete 
sidewalk water below feet
tossed my luck 
a rogue coin
sunk into 
the river
heavy as concrete 
solidago rugosa 
leans into the sun
& I lean on you
too heavy
might have lost myself this year
find me some stolen summer night 
make off with what I can get
the verdict in my arms & spilling out from palm as legs buckle,
trying to turn the hands of fate again
the psychic says gods got a plan
but he needs me to decide
& on the tablecloth where she holds her hands over mine
a framed picture of holy son
& you in the other room
the grape vine round my throat
gods plan 
pray it pan out soon  


let me hold you a second
case my time 
already gone
& let me hold you a second 
too long 
curse parking lots
curse goodbyes
curse these hands of mine
that reach into ribcage 
to pull a handful of dry golden petal
eaten up by the wind-
all balance,
for all my transgression
reach in & give back a rib 
bring me sunflowers 
& their heavy heads in early Autumn
pops & I crawl along
God put me under his arm 
it's my heavy head
scanning the ground 
for help in any form
& even here in the first cold air 
new dahlias take sharp stance
in the summer having passed me by 
learn to regret medicine
that the body rejects
curled up in a field
lined up with the rest
digress from whats left
carry on shallow breath
in the summer having passed me by
young chicory
holds a gentle blue 
chew petal for mercy 
pray for a calm winter
thumbing through dated texts
any forgotten tricks
that may lend us hope 
all I've got left in my books
let the dogs run wild
tearing up hillside
knocking down tall grasses
the ambivalent curators 
of my countable hours 
god smile on me
when the dogs run wild 
when the dogs run wild
mortal men know envy
when the dogs run wild
lance here with me
when the dogs run wild 
God Plan clearly


Some days it seem like everything against you 
Even god
Sometimes she show us what we need by taking away what we got 
Let me see suffering as triumph
Let me be the ram for Isaac 
Let me hear true the stories small flowers tell 
& give heart to know what they mean 


Give me an orange night
to walk back to the marsh
lay down in a patch of crownvetch & wild grasses
talk to my old friend


Give me an orange night
With a ferris wheel
& the promises of Autumn 


All the secrets wild plants know
All the ways I deafen my ears 
All the resistance soil gives our attempts