Her Savage Orange Shape

It isn’t your face that always inspires me;
it’s the oceans I imagine your soul sailing
when your heart storms in passion.

It isn’t your shape
walking in a short skirt;
it’s your back
fitting with my front.
I wake up unrested
yet happy next to you.

You’re more than a muse
that makes me scratch the itch
a poet gets when I bubble think love.

Your blue eyes open
the nimbus canopy
in the imagined love land.
Bird songs and jazz guitar chords
pulse the wind
and trees play their brush tops
and snare the autumn gusts.

I curl my pen to carve out
our home in that land.
Strong shouldered walls
standing firm in the jazz wind.
Our night sky runs
savage orange
before the close of day.

You turned into fire when I kissed you.
My denial kisses me back now,
puckers its lips,
and blows on the candle
I write this poem by.
The flames still consume me
when I open my mouth
with your name.


Copyright 2010

There’s No Rider Here

The hay shreds fall slant
like snow on the dirt
of the barn.
The wind rustles broken saddles
kicking its feet in the

He darkly fits his words around the reins.
Big fists sweat verbs:
spur. ride. whip.
Who is dark horse
without this?

His boots bounce
on her flanks.
The planks underneath
bend under damp and midnight.
Her back hits his thighs;
his legs blush black.
Who is dark horse
without this?

The fire between moments;
the smoke and ash erupts
as they both jump together.
Who is dark horse
without this?

Copyright 2010

How Trees Became Spiders: A Summary

A green-thumbed thinker,
my father sprouted joy
by talking about the petal numbers, the seed shapes and the leaf patterns.

A green-thumbed thinker,
his books grew by the Laz-E-Boy
and on the shelves. They ripened when I reached for them
and fell into the holes I inherited.

For years, our conversations
only budded in my head. The leaves soon turned.

The words evolved
then crawled under and over, every sharp letter,
on the boy webbed in the corners, often cut down to shatter.

My mother had wrapped herself
in a study schedule and arms of gossamer men:
a divorced student, counseling the dying,
but denying her little fly was rotting.

Her nights caught her on the couch
she was breathing and tangled with closed eyes.
In my bed, the quite pills kept me awake with loud, gnashing fangs.

After rolling in sticky sleep,
the mornings with a stove-fan dawn
made the tangles shine into the shape of a family.

His neatly folded, tent napkins,
and country clubs were not made for tumble-over boys.
Under the table, my hands would creep into guitar chords on my trouser legs.

His four star, diamond parade–
her origins. Barb’s purse had thick strings.
She only cut him from the twine when he reached for me.

My second wife:
her first strings felt like warm palms
blanketing my cold-flushed cheeks in my first, single winter.

My soft Melissa,
as strong as a fly could walk on,
covered our homes with alphabetical, book shelves,
spread-sheet shopping lists,
and scheduled sex.

In our mornings,
I fell loosely out of bed,
into the cramped study,
spinning songs,
while her eight eyes saw past that room,
weaving a plan without me.

When she asked me to leave her nest
my original corners, still frosted in brittle silk
found me stuck in my mother’s house with a dying mind.

My heart-cage shaking
and hinging its door over the spanning shadows,
my footsteps echo its swinging rhythm,
walking on bitten and bleeding soles.

Copyright 2009

The Bender

There was a young strummer in the summer suburbs

My strings spoke under the night
the moon talked with my mouth at school.

two kids talk close in class
in day time’s adolescent lisp.


caesura for
the song I heard between the stars.

The red-shift brimmed as the sun
fell orange on the sky.

The slow, fire-notes hummed until they

My act
a red, diamond-throated string bends
where your words pulled me
on the phone audition.

“I love the way you play”.
Your act: a jest
I hadn’t heard you laughing over the notes.

The night-rain, the silent moon, your light less windows
pull back the curtain.

Even with the wet applause,
I didn’t get the punch-line.
Just a hook cruelly bent.

An encore before the blues.

*Musical term for “pause”.

Copyright 2009


The sky spreads warm marmalade
and fractures red.
We scoop the orange with glow-wood
while we watch you lift from the dark pond.

Maybe Pop and I could throw
our fragile boxes,
packed with old daggers,
in the water this time.

Your wings slap the sky too soon.
We sit fading by the embers,
and can’t thaw the frost
biting between us.

Copyright 2009


Heaven dreams with gold-brick roads,
chill will not grip our feet.
The auger light shines on
in beauty; without greed’s reach.

Heaven bends the mystics backs;
the panting footsteps;
The hungry ghosts grab
the breaths.
They cover the storm warnings
with lies about lyres and clouds.

Heaven weeps honey
through the knot holes of trees;
My feet are welded as I climb.
Every building crumbles without
their shoulders.

*Inspired by Yeats’ “Second Coming”.
Copyright 2009


The leaves seethe amber:

dripping crimson,

flaming orange,

and rusting golds.

The evening flushes green;

its third-eye brushes–

hushing umber twilight.

The color dries;

the sapphire sheens

expanding purple

into a violet wire-sky.

A Pawn

Dead at 33

deep dreams hidden:

books of pressed leaves–

what a night to cut the wire

and break the ring.

hot motor brain

thoughts burn away

writhing in demon urine:

“Help me/Kill me”.

He swallowed the white bullets;

wrapped in cream-green wombs.

the yellow tabs where he signed: toe tags.

Copyright 2009

Village Life (part 2)

The deep woods fold
in our crease of sleep.
we relax the arms
that hold up the world.

Her muted trumpets
blow fire-notes.
The sun is left
to walk alone
before we wake.

Copyright 2009 Garrett J. Cummins


The rain reminds me:
“You cupped fireflies

The drops use dimes,
to edge the lamp-light:
reflecting echoes.

She shines at me–
blink blink blink
her soul walks
in a old pair of jeans.
I picked her a poem
of blooming, white fire.

I am raised
on the flames.

Copyright 2009