ECW Press, 1990

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[Smoking Mirror] is certainly a poetry of a magnitude and import similar to, say, Don Domanski’s or Louise Gluck’s…. Very accomplished… and elegant to read aloud.” ~ Phil Hall, Books in Canada

Sample Poems from Smoking Mirror


When you approach this mirror it throws you back to yourself like a refusal. When you approach this mirror reflection and fear gather like armies: banners and dust and blood and arrows. If you can see anything in it, it threatens you by its establishment of distance you cannot overcome, but always, somehow, recognize, as if it had been traversed when you were in some other form, a red-tail or sidewinder, an arrow flying from Mixcoatl’s bow perhaps. You know both more about it, and much, much less than you’ll ever need. You wonder how you could have gotten over there to become who you are, and wonder, in fact, if you’re really standing here, on the edge of the Lake of the Moon, looking west, into the cardinal direction, knowing that behind you Quetzalcoatl is turning to flame. It’s an image which vanishes with a celerity that makes you blink, like the hearts of the teomicqui. Perhaps you waver on the edge of consciousness, cascade over the lip of the temple into the future that speaks another language. You are always joining the wound of the image in your perpendicular fall, and I, now, am your rebound of swallowed, lost light.

Awaited, You Are Always Everywhere

Coyolxuaqui, goddess of silver fire, the night becomes you, and begins here: words of the threshold. The body is a pilgrimage through it, a river that reads us out. Out of the flowing darkness, stars are drawn. Out of the body, blood. And out of the life, the journey. The fume of frangipani marks the fluid air with air’s own invisible movement. The darkness hesitates, and never becomes complete. It welcomes us and despises us because we are not really strong enough to live in its embrace. Your heart is an hibiscus whose shed radiance it absorbs. Often though, I think I myself am the darkness I travel through, a fish in a smoking mirror. And this, this is the moon door, on the other side of which we are in a room, breathing the dark, urgently awaiting our own arrival.