you peel away
the layers of an onion
the dried skin
flaking to
the ground
separating the folds
down to the off-white flesh
to the heart of it
watching you in exploration
as you uncover
each brittle layer
to watch you open
to watch you reveal

the winter solstice
is still days away
it gets dark so early
this time of year
i light the wood stove
before dusk
summer teases us
days stretch
on and on
and we fall asleep to
crickets and humidity
now the nights are long
they are full of
animal urges
and cravings
i imagine us
two naked bodies
intertwined on the floor
giving way to our
primordial needs
our flesh
illuminated only by the
flickering flame of the
wood stove

the reflection of the sky
in a pool on a barren
field.
is it possible to hold both?
the sun sets in one
and seems to rise
in the other.
this is perspective;
choosing to
turn murky water
into a looking glass,
a portal.

last night i dreamt about V_____.
what does that mean,
to dream
about an ex? I awoke
wondering where she
is, how she is doing.
the dream was weird,
in it we just drank
tea. the last time we met,
before our lives
drifted apart,
she drank black coffee
and i drank tea.
the coffee was so strong that,
with every sip she made a sort 
face, a wrinkling of her nose,
a look of repulsion.
but it was too late,
she wouldn’t add milk or cream
or sugar. she hated showing
weakness of any kind.
that’s all i ever wanted to show,
i wanted to expose
all that was within me,
to lay it out
on the table, raw.
that was so long ago. 
now i drink my coffee black 
and as strong as possible.
i drink it for hours until i’m almost 
sick.
i don’t even think of adding
milk, or cream, or sugar anymore. 

to see that from
within;
to give craving
title and place. 
lines upon flesh
drawn in earth
cyclical markings.
rich, carbon
rubbings
blurring borders
with past
and present.
marks indicating space
and time,
linear and non,
tell of longing.
repetitive
and endless
like breath
connected,
like breath redirecting
awareness to the moment.
the gesture of holding
addiction close,
of cradling the self unforgiven, 
to re-examine frailty,
to reconsider weakness. 
repetition 
gives form to longing, 
it reveals craving.
presence,
an embodied body,
lines mimicking breath. 
carbons presence,
its lack of presence;
the extension of my being,
from innermost
to finger tips.
onto linen,
to surface external,
to give form
to the unformed,
a portrait of the unsaid.
farther, still,
longing to dust;
to residue,
momentary existence,
held
and held again.
and held again.  

brother can you
hear me

we used to
toil in the fields

side by side
soil under nails

brother can you
hear me

how much
have we aged

perhaps it has
been a million years

brother they
cut me

labor gave me
broken hands

have you seen
my spirit

the seasons changed
the sun shifted

mother is wet
rains beat her raw

brother now what
of love and loss

rich soil deep
within calloused hands

brother where is
the full sun

how do we
return from this

how do we hold
both of these worlds

brother i was not well
this is strange

i want the earth
tangled within me

to strip bare
and return to it