Letter to the Kurds


To Kurdish people of undisclosed lands

that were yours by right of blood, the kind

that flows and the kind that spills out.

I write as someone who matters nothing;

those are the people who will tell you the truth.

Liars will tell you the opportunity wasn’t there.

You had no idea liberty took so long,

not when you glimpsed it riding in

on the foaming Gulf, and screaming

over the skies of dusty Kuwait.

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Late Summer Garden (Redux)

I’ve been working on editing a lot of my poems recently, and I found this to be one of the most satisfying revisions I’ve done. You can read the original here, which I posted awhile back. Sometimes I find editing to be even more rewarding than new writing. The real thing is sometimes hiding in what we thought we were trying to say, and I enjoy finding that real thing.


Late Summer Garden


The garden gone unwatered in summer

was like the long ash unraveling

the unsmoked cigarette between my lips,

stiff until the tubers give way and crumble

at my slightest awareness.

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Studies in Aluminum IV

This is part of a series I’m working on that looks at the history of aluminum, from its discovery as a metal to its mass production. The poems are connected loosely by their shared themes, but don’t have to be read in any order.

This poem is in imitation of the Shijing, or Classics of Poetry, a collection of Chinese poetry from the 11th to the 7th centuries BC. It’s divided up into sections based on elements of Confucianism. It’s subject is a large aluminum company in China, Shandong Weiqiao Aluminum & Power.


Aluminum and Power




The industrial park of Shandong Weiqiao

holds up the heavens with columns of concrete.

White clouds unspool from its slender chimneys

like silk upon the spinning wheel of Earth.


The industrial park of Shandong Weiqiao

holds up the heavens with columns of concrete.

There are no frogs to be found hopping

in the muddy lake of red tailing.


The industrial park of Shandong Weiqiao

is south of Huang He. From the yellow earth

springs green wheat and maize, blue sorghum

and pearl millet, and gray aluminum.

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