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Poetry by Michael Welch


The mornings are not what they seem.
They need a spot of rain.
What passed as husband & wife never dreamed
of consequence waiting for the rain.
Raising their hands to speak like poets
standing in line at the bank hoping for the rain.
Life was too untidy for crumbling wheat fields,
curtains soiled by dust and time, throwing stones
at twisted bones, a testament to the power of gravity
tugging at the rain, when the mountains formed man
from the dust of the streets dampened by the sea
expecting too much rain. Who among the deaf
cannot hear the pounding of the rain
where blind men blush to touch the sea?
I was once a man like me, falling in the rain.
Execution by personal opinion, blaming all the rain.
No one uses the word obsolescence anymore
lost inside the rain. To spell destruction
for crumbs of praise as the wind falls on its back
and loses its breath spitting at the rain.
To move as humanly as possible, praying for some rain,
because you can't walk on thawed water,
a pocketful of watches ticking in the rain.
Fairness is never part of the plan dying in the rain.
Tomorrow the sun will forget the dead rotting in the rain.
For every one who reaches the top, another one dies.
I think about that every time I take the elevator,
climbing to the rain. When your head hits a bullet
you need to slow down spinning in the rain.
Clutching the walls of the witness stand
accustomed to the ruin, I draw a spot of rain.
Do unto others as you would have to feed them
bucketsful of rain, only to move as humanly as possible
wading through the rain, as graceful movements
enter our heads dancing in the rain.
I know the wind steeps like tea to fan the flames of sleep.
A soft wind into a hard night blows into the rain.
There are more risks with a storm, blow as she once blew.
Am I the only one with both his boots, taking aim
footloose in the fields playing in the rain?
Anyone got a light? I hate November.
I spot a drop of rain. Where are the stars
my big brown eyes? There's a village beyond the thirst.
Smelling the leaves I crawl to the water
drowning in my rain.


Like a breeze too cold to move
the freedom of a solitary life begins
and the moon whispers her chronic reap.
Advance slowly to little faces looking at me
watching an old woman ruthlessly rid her face of words
as I fluff her tortured pillows.
Grandma is very shattered who loves her son,
who gave him life and crippled his bird with wings.
"You always dance more slowly without legs."
Is tenderness aware of mad, sleeping off the sunrise?
Something is tilting.Black tape across my eyes in this picture,
maybe life isn't definable for our viewing pleasure.
I might have wished for lesser gods
withering toward 5 o'clock sadly.
Forget time, where is the harvest, the suckling cry of autumn?
Family secrets, those terrible things that make life interesting,
doing things by halves like mismatched socks
that feeling of drying on a winter clothesline
the freedom of choice overwhelms me at times
and I sanction her irregular verbs.
Better to stub a cigarette out on remember?
A strong sense of something vague, of genetics & other errands.
Where is a hurricane when you really need one?
Spin the bottle of mercy, her voice on every wind.
Fall is coming, behave yourself.


Her anger awaits life behind lace curtains
as she puts her forehead against him
raking her nails across green hills
disguised for slaughter
to suffer fresh flowers in the morning,
choosing her sense of whom
in case of accidental overdose
mocking the skull of man as life spills on the floor
revealing the ceiling to the presence of stone
unbuttoned windows and a carriage for three.
Remember thou keep holy nothing
but Halloween eyes on comfortable streets
where the wind once blew.
After all, what is more changing than the sky
loud and mussed for a pretty dead bird?
Remember nothing but the rage
as you wind your watch for falling words.


Getting out of bed
every morning uninvited,
excluded by the green of bells,
cursing tough stains
that would have horrified my mother
whose smoke-damaged eyes
were nailed to the cross,
the ripping of fine paper trees
from a bloodthirsty wind
without a name.
As the universe obeys
a collection of pinned insects,
another pot of water boils
dragging soup bones through the sky,
and nothing seems as slaughtered
as hope when a man falls
slower than a wrecking ball
to thirst no more as cattle.
You always miss
what you no longer have.
Tender child, sleep well.


The certainty of denial awaits me,
a collection of water disguised as rain
yielding an edible grain
that chains the mouth to the skull,
a nice patch of triangular lips coated with vowels,
the belief that eating a sweet swings the hammer,
old viscera as the full moon pours another beer.
If you look away, the sadness will shut you to pieces
where wandering eyes reveal the wind.
So I wipe my face on the heels of her feet
as the sun fades to a slow boil
and keep my promise, like a prairie, so easily shared,
staring at the ring on the hand carrying me to bed
where decree has changed linen
and an ambulance of new features awaits me
in a plain brown envelope
leasing her approval
like the first throw of any number
changing the lock on a deck of cards
dealing out the emission of time
awaiting eloquence
since light comes in words
and we never act


To die in the dreams
of a thousand dancers
as mischief anchors your step.
The mornings were not invented
to fence her beauty
as she looks down at my shoulder,
making sewing sounds
while I read the patterns
pinned to my face.
I am the rag in the hand of the matador
and the inventor of shadows beneath her fruit
as I gaze out her window
and watch strangers
steal numbers from her curb.
I crumble like a cake under a candle,
choking on bus stops, pure as winter air,
alive as the grave,
the whom of October around my neck,
when the sound of grinding invites you for tea,
running from loneliness and pseudonyms,
covered with drywall dust,
like broken train whistles
and four-letter words.


To be stroked with the flat of the hand
that cradles the violin and robs the fields of wheat
the smell of agriculture, the groaning
of the hills as they fall,
rocks moving ever slowly down the street --
everything I have abandoned hangs on your wall.
I rise as your dust as you fall down the stairs
red words playing scrape marks on the floor
that little voice out of focus splashed upon me
the last time I crashed to shore
screaming through the view of half a hat
selling footprints to the snow
cursing the flow of time, breaking rocks into sand
to clutter a glimpse of biography.
I break before you in the same gust of wind
who dampened her sights on the sea
impersonating a stone.


What you cannot touch
usually begins in a small town
hiding behind fingers
silently slamming cupboard doors
wiping life on a mirror
to rob a man of his verbs
pondering the carefully-placed truth
in pen and ink beyond your screaming eye
as a window stretched tight
across the curtains breaks
to carry your seeds among the things
that dance through the wind
as if swirling skies could change your luck
even in the face of twice
inflicting time upon your eyes
the red matter of days
the waving of hands, reversing dimes
toward each aloof and absolute knowledge
stumbling through ancestry
with a hurried gift of a hull
and you realize it's not about touching
as you answer with the tongue
of a worn-out shoe.


To dream of apple seeds
on pretty hills arranged for rice
at the gate of her meadow,
a bottle for her eyes,
mounting steeples for the texture of soil
to cover your limbs
with a display of minerals in her hand
and cloth on her womb,
the stars of forgotten skies
burn her hand in a loss of light
as snakes rattle,
killing each other for centuries
over a piece of a woman's sweat,
digging my fingers through her bath
to squander the bounty of hunger.


The night is nothing
but the shadows of stars
hanging from different directions
like torn curtains
rustling the scrutiny of a thousand words
geographically distant
when silence speaks a new obituary,
an old barn of a man lost in his stare
twisting into dark brooding bones,
the root of discarded meals
for whom the dogs growl
when you dare to be what they are not,
when you realize there is no truth,
only metaphor, and true humility
only comes with hunger
and they have already eaten.

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