Falling Back

Because The New York Times didn’t know about my poem:

Fall Back


The moon hangs motionless,

not sliding or ascending,

patient in place between faces,

shiny as change left on the bar.

We’re lost in stop action

a tick past last call, the second

bottoms up this over-served

autumn night.

We could sleep through the do over,

do nothing and lose the given minutes.

Instead, turned out of juke joints

in a hung-over hour, we watch the sky

where unchanging stars

are burnished by an endless race

of small clouds washed in moonlight.

We make it home in no time.


Even this long night

the world does not repeat itself

but plays in variation

like Elgar’s themes. Chords

progress, tempos change,

major turns minor, diminishes.

Night’s second verse

sounds the first, improvises

on the same old song.

Dawn’s pale ascent

comes coda on a blue note.

What happens adds a beat,

struck and struck and struck again, a stone

up hilltop rolls down and is pushed back.

This is a second chance to sing refrains

Night is not darker or a symbol

of darkness but a dark, eternal symbol.

In these late moments, awake,

asleep, dreams sharp as moonlight

cast in blackness come chorus,

repeat like an added hour.

Cabbage Rabbit

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