• Owen Bullock



a face tells everything: beauty, trials
expectations, bitterness, longing, passion,
emptiness, anger—masks seem preferable
except they don’t crack like seed coverings

and fall away, they’re more apt
to be pulled off in rage, now and
then they are unveiled as to a confidante
the wearer surrenders fear, struggle

deep down we want someone
to see the surface as it is
to step out, unafraid
summer or not

and allow tragedy to scar the face,
no concealment, but people run a mile
to the battlements of schedules
the preoccupation of sales

leave the human alone and perhaps
that’s what the human needs
just as I come back to you, Emily
on a Wednesday in September, 2009


today is a gala day
I don’t have to do anything to prove myself
‘I am enough’, ‘less is more’, ‘stay by this’—
whatever teaching leads me to rest

I think you found all that, Emily
there’s nothing to share but the
wonderful nothing; I raised my glass last night
and felt free, I wanted more but waited

till the desire passed and fell;
I rarely think of a partner now
family, students and friends are my world
and they visit little

it’s just me, studying
the rate at which leaves unfurl …
birds come, the rose I pruned
months ago is budding on the fence


I come back to you because
you were such a good listener
and you were speaking to everybody at once
like a queen with nine kingdoms


I need the sea to rid me of this
poetry; I am a masterpiece
this landscape is a masterpiece
layers of rolling hills and rain making holes

in the sea, seagulls cradling sky
sparrows walking ahead of me
to misty rooves and would-be
          sharp knives of the mind
(what men aspire to) and elegant words

what are rhymes but echoed memories,
sounds—why not phhat thwatt
which echo on the microphone
words are heirlooms: rammakin and flummery


life can be easy
but we’re told of struggles and hardship
(sometimes without judgment)
and think we know what the future holds

the present slides water through our hands
building the waterfall, the wind sends
a dance through our hair, waking the firmament
the sun sings songs through our bones

casts shadows around us—
our bodies grow, bloom
until perspective beats the child
and we become drab victims

of the idea of time, which is nothing—
spare me a spark to warm myself on
lend me a coat because my fear
has removed what I wore


I can love you by not going to see
you with confused feeling