2 Fragments from Texas

Wheat & Tares

Suppertime at Congress Bridge

Anticipation is
a long file of fidgeting
watchers waiting for
the concrete-clinging
humans to dissipate.
It is a mamma bat
willing away dirty orange
clouds, chewing dry air
as she tunes her call
to the beating
of moth wings.

Facade of the Mission Espada ChapelMission Espada Facade

My eye, being single, will
never picture the mission new.
The builders must have stacked
the stones already smoke-stained
and weather-beaten—plaster
laid porous and patchy
even before three centuries’
of hail and sand made
their offerings.
They did this to teach
each passing era’s children
how beauty is a perilous
grafted thing.
I bear you my testimony,
as a special witness,
it was always old.


Poet’s Note

The first image is of the Congress Bridge in Austin, Texas, where a large colony of bats resides during the summer.  Crowds gather every night hoping to watch the colony fly out and off in search…

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5 Fragments from New York City

Wheat & Tares

MoMA Prelude
Urgently, I text my mother
from near Times Square.
I tell her I just ate
a falafel burger!
In Kentucky, she reads
my text and grins.
I know this because
she introduced me to falafels.

The Starry Night to Naked Eyes
From five paces away
I see rolling waves
of dreamy blue.
Gentle suns encircled
by curling breeze—
brushed flourishes
like cupcake frosting.

My Birth through Photographs
From a distance, I see
lots of nudes, walls filled
with snapshots in the raw—
probably one of those
in-your-face feminist exhibits.

Up close, I see I’m right.
But I also see fetuses
halfway to born—walls
papered with graphic birthing
portraits of mothers mid-
contraction. Breathing
before everything I’ve ever
wanted to say about life
in poetry, I feel won over.

The Starry Night through Glasses
From five steps back, I see
chipped lines of confrontation,
glinting starbursts contained
by abrasive…

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The Owl and the Judas

Wheat & Tares

1. Scape-Owl
Today, I saw an owl fly… well, flung
in the midst of heaven,
shock-eyed, wings wrenched back.
Fleeing or expelled from its branch,
wisdom’s icon burst into view,
glaring, tumbling, glaring, tumbling,
till it shuddered, crumpling on
the short grass.
Looking back up the owl’s descent
path, I beheld a vengeful god,
backed by her mother god agape.
I grinned.

judas-nbc-rock-opera2. Rock Opera Judas
Decades prior, in a similar way,
those who didn’t love a show
banned it. Said my mother,
“The brethren said, ‘This
musical is not of God.
Do not watch it.’”
The first time we watched it,
I grinned.
My chubby thighs apostatized,
moshing between the arm rests
of my chair. Onstage,
Judas lashed the heavens
with his rock falsetto,
singing, dancing my dubiety—
religion as a disco ball.
Yet audibly piercing
his thundering metal aria,
my mother sigh-laughed softly.

3. The Fidgety Elect
Sometimes…

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