Fox Cemetery (2021) –– Draft 3

The place was, unfortunately cinematic. 

Sat on a stumpy, sharp

Old hill that made the

Low, ancient mountain

Look like Everest in my viewfinder.


It was an old mountain,

Older than organs and legs,

Than the God or People 

This burying ground 

Was dedicated to.

I could never film there. 


The beauty was too

Artificial, too

Intentionally and politically placed

Into the broad, epic valley.

The cemetery pointed the old Dutch pharaohs

Toward their heaven.


Toward the rising sun

Which peaked over

The mountain as I

Set up my camera

And checked focus

My ass faced the dead,

And I tried to imagine this place

Before death.


But everything dies

Even the mountain

Even the unreadable gravestones.

Even God, who came over

On a ship and got drowned at Jamestown.


Muddy Creek (1787) –– Draft 3

The stale stench of smoke

Hangs on the air

Like the Christ’s thin, ghostly shroud.

There is no fire visible

To the eye. 

Only the feeling of it 

In your bones as you recall

Like a flash,

Your morning in

The hazy dawn

Denuding the crust

Of the land newly won with your hands,

And your fist, and your guns,

And the meandering diction of your brother.


You feel the fire, again, 

In the spider thin bones of your hands

As the ax whops into the space between

Your shoulder blades.

And you go down hard like an Oak.


Face in the stinking mud.

Leather sock on your shoulder. 

Your head is pulled back by two hands.

Hands you shook a year ago.

His hand

The man’s hand brings

The flint blade to your hairline

And skins it like a potato. 


He felt it, then,

In his bones

As he bled out into the muddy creek.

With the hazy, dirty, meandering fall wind

Around his exposed skull.

With the young man holding the

Rag of hair in his hand

And looking proud and angry and sad. 

He felt it then

That he had made some mistake

But knew not where the path had forked

To bring him here.


English Mountain (1787)

You wake up into a

Foreign sunrise where even

The morning star is misaligned. 

Much easier than a Dutch winter;

The frost has just turned to dew.


You spend these days shaving

Fields and forests from the land. 


In the beginning, 

You could scarcely see the

Sun for the thick, tall trees. 

But now, as you start your race

Against the sun,

You look up and see the piercing eye

Peak up over the unnamed mountain. 


As you dig and pull

A bit of prose comes

To your illiterate head.


I’ve seen the future before,

When all my children will find

This land natural and pure. 


Your hoe whacks down

Into the bleeding clay.

You start the

Next line in the dirt.


You pull the ho back

To reveal the worms and grubs

Boiling under the greasy grass.