Suddenly the house is cold and empty,
Quiet as stone, and the mountain road
Strung out like a constellation of stars
Before us has disappeared in the earth
Like a memory of light, a dead serpent,
And the fabled garden of ignorance.

Inside and out, everything is hard
And sharper than a needle, a silence
That goes deeper than it should, ice
In every vein, heart stilled and afraid.
This is no place to live, nowhere in
The midst of plenty, a desert of want.


Into Nothing

Windblown body, blood and bone
Blasted and breeze-borne like grains of dead sand.
Losing love drop by drop, evaporating


The New Age

It’s here: the age of monsters, a brain of dwarf.
History’s back to a time without man.
Steel-hosed giants swing and shuffle and snout
through dust that their half-tracks flatten.

You want to talk about law to armor plate?
Better shut up — get down and walk on your eyes.
What you called good has a face like shame:
heart, and conscience, and words, and promises.

It’s be better to call everything off —
learn to forget your pride that you’re a man.
Be tricky, get wise — maybe a pack of lizards
or a herd of sheep will have room and let you in.

Laugh at us, who have fallen in the streets
and already every will shall have willed in vain.
It’s here: the age of monsters, a brain of dwarf.
History’s back to a time without man.


— Translated from Italian by Forrest Read

Ray, David, ed. From the Hungarian Revolution: A Collection of Poems. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1966. Print.


Lupus in fabula

Rough, red, tooth and eye
Both ragged, raging, hot breath
Like the dead heart magically,
Manically pulsing out an end of
Reason, shame, love and life.
The last day of standing, last
Of giant shoulders, and the
Triumph of witless, soulless
Dwarfs and their wolf, their
Fat, ignorant and angry dog
Of the day of the dead, their
Final card and our losing hand.


For All

There was a dream of love that fell asleep
When the doors were flung open to lying,
Tongue-lolling beasts intent on devouring
The heart of the world itself when all the
Fruits are gone, digging deep in her veins
Like a wild and mad, murderous needle.
A brand new day born falling into night,
Under a dark moon dead in a black sky.
This is how it feels, like a happy marriage
Suddenly marred by violence, a spouse
Gone over the brink into babbling, blind
Stabbing, bruises and beatings, the signs
Were there but it’s much too late now.
Everything is out of control, all is lost, fire
In every open window and smoke thick
As tar numbing and dumbing every sense.
We know how to recover, perseverance,
Resistance, losses, rebuilding, the ashes
Of the Earth still fruitful enough to flower.
But we live in shrill and constant fear
Not knowing how long, how hard, and
Whether there will be fruit enough for all.



Love like fallen leaves
Life like a shadow
Some nights are long
Lost before they begin
No love or life in them
Just fallen leaves
And shadows


Despite (for Amy G.)

Despite the sunrise, the moon peacefully adrift,
And the matching slow swell of the deep ocean,
All of life is sometimes reduced to the little rituals
Of ends and darkness — burning, breaking, loss
In words and the gestures of a dance as old worlds
Long gone before this little one’s birthstone began.
Our lists are circular as the strings of mementos
Hung ’round our necks, every end returning to start,
Bell tolling like a sentinel at daybreak and nightfall.
Despite all this, despite even death, life swells,
Is warm and green and gold, and keeps its quiet promise.



Waking to the bright light of a new day
After a long night broken by a lost heart
Under a tree that danced with sunshine
I was stunned by waking and the quiet
Of musical spheres as the sweet scent
Of a single golden fruit beckoned to me
I reached out and she came away easy
And free as a wild fox in a forest glade


Hold Back

Evolved to fear and hate everything
Hidden in the dark, lying in wait —
Awake in the night, no moon to break
The seamless shadow that surround us,
We are too easily let loose like cannibal
Wolves by any pretender to the pack.
With only ourselves to devour, endless
Hunger spells our end in whole or part.


Save Me

Looking back to being born in the night
Of still, warm air and too shallow water,
It’s no longer you that I miss, no longer
Your beauty that stirs me, no longer our
Story I want to tell or our past recapture.

I miss the self I left lost in the moments
We scattered like dust motes in a wind
That was always blowing between us,
The self I chose to leave behind with the
Fading memory of a girl high on a wall.

Your heart can break and die and fall to
Pieces like bloody shards of empty glass;
The dark can last a hundred solid years,
Dull as sand and yet like sleight of hand,
Someone new may suddenly dawn for you

And all the rest of your days may be borne

By a weightless river in a full new heart.