Sunday, July 26, 2009


I got a piece of really great news the other day: I was asked permission for "Fistful," a poem I published in Ninth Letter a few years back, to be re-printed in the latest forthcoming edition of Janet Burroway's Imaginative Writing. It's both flattering and humbling. Mainly, it reminds me that I need to get busy writing.

I thought I'd put the poem up, in case anyone's curious.


"The dead can be very useful sometimes."
-Clint Eastwood, A Fistful of Dollars

Sometimes, it's all about how you wear your poncho,
or the layering of dust on your boots.

or how you sit a bucking mule
while five men scoff from a high-barred gate.

Where words unhinge from speaking mouths,
it's useful to be the man with no name
or the dark-eyed woman, clamped in a locket that laments its own opening.

Engineer the corpses,
and the dead are only sleeping,
secrets ever-burning on their cold parched lips.

All the Winchesters, all the Remingtons,
all the six guns unholstered in this border town
are not enough to kill the dead;
their stories hide in the sheepskin vests
of the nameless living.