Forward Poems 2016

Showing 1 to 20 of 45 poems.

[Born from the need to counteract the threat.]

During the early years of the Cold War my father, in his capacity as an R.A.F. officer, was involved in that aspect of bomber-command which dealt with maintaining the Airborne Nuclear Deterrent, as it was then. The following takes what I’ve gleaned of his role over those years and represents it here as a work […]


My mother lays the table with chopsticks & ceramic spoons, expects you to fail at dinner. To the Chinese, you and I are chopsticks: lovers with the same anatomies. My mother tells you that chopsticks in Cantonese sounds like the swift arrival of sons. My mother tongue rejoices in its dumbness before you as expletives detonate: [two women] [two men] […]

1. Of those from the ships

Ptolemaeus the king of Egypt was so eager to collect a library, that he ordered the books of everyone who sailed there to be brought to him. The books were then copied into new manuscripts. He gave the new copy to the owners… but he put the original copy in the library with the inscription […]


Today the turquoise view swoops faster, swirls like lime juice in a cold glass, the bay flashes, tumescent, a noon-time joy, steep to the side. The early moon a pale slice in blue. Scent of manure and hay blow, sheep wink, coastline trees like brown twiggy hair blowing sideways. My David’s a pebble of strength […]

Altar Call

The first time the man left her he walked down the aisle,
his face blank with hopelessness or with hope.

And death demands a labor

When it rains in Boston, from each street rises the smell of sea. So do the faces of the dead. For my father, I will someday write: On this day endeth this man, who did all he could to craft the most intricate fears, this man whose waking dreams were of breaking the small bones […]

Angel Hill

Someone must be looking after the headstones. It might be you with your easel and brushes And your big sheets and charcoal for drawing Snowdrop cumulus and lichen lettering. Someone must be looking after the railings And closing the rusty gate behind her.


I feel ashamed, finally, Of our magnificent paved roads, Our bridges slung with steel, Our vivid glass, our tantalizing lights, Everything enhanced, rehearsed, A trick. I’ve turned old. I ache most To be confronted by the real, By the cold, the pitiless, the bleak. By the red fox crossing a field After snow, by the […]

At Lullington Church/To My Daughter

In my kingdom it is winter forever. The snow falls & there is no time nor day – no distinction between things, no compare, no flaw to taint our rudimentary clay. The falcon has flown away with history, the bullfinch sheathed in ice & snow, the bare branch shall never know its May, nor husband teach […]


Listen to me                               little water I called you up            believing something would arise                         in me believing I could make         […]

Bridled Vows

I will be faithful to you, I do vow,
but not until the seas have all run dry
et cetera.

Dancing Bear

Children bring me coins to watch him balançoire, tombé – they imagine he has a forest inside, they close their eyes to see him foraging on a high cliff above a burnished lake – belly to the wet earth but inside is just a savage who loves only his claws, his wild mouth, tears at […]

Day, with Hawk

for K.M. Grant Here among witch-hazels I miss the peregrine we met just once. Like the fire from bare twigs that twists a floral kiss on winter’s neck, He stunned me so I’m hanging on to language by its clichés, pushed to singer-songwrite fingernails down a tumbling slate precipice. I would call Him chestnut-stippled, light […]

dinosaurs in the hood

let’s make a movie called Dinosaurs in the Hood. Jurassic Park meets Friday meets The Pursuit of Happyness. there should be a scene where a little black boy is playing with a toy dinosaur on the bus, then looks out the window & sees the T. rex, because there has to be a T. rex. […]

From ‘Salt’

He cleared snow from the path and laid down salt.
He was conscious of oxygen, then: the word, also the way
his breath came back at him as mist

Ghazal of Guyana

Do you see? The bones of stars are falling, crashing to the earth like trees, like greyed spears again I find myself amidst a frieze of bodies lost in our commune of ritual sweat a hurricane is spinning Saharan winds through the constellation of islands they whisper my name from the muddy rows of cane, […]

Girl to Snake

We’re not supposed to parley, Ropey Joe. I’m meant to close my eyes and shut the door. But you’re a slender fellow, Ropey Joe, ____________________  thin enough to slip beneath the door and spill your wicked do-si-do _________ in curlicues and hoops across the floor. I’ll be here. And I’m all ears – there are […]