Two Poems for Two Voices for My Dad

Brent Kite

Place the Stories Stop

                                    (for two voices)


there was that

you that came before

you came after




a word unheard at birth

saying before saying

snow all over is earth

earth is snow all over




breath graze

the field sunstruck


this sunlight seems



and summer runs in reverse


i thought

i am a popcorn too long in the oil

then i thought no

i is a shell holding splitting




it already happened

i’m sorry you

drifted so

alone fisher




great blank



i’m sorry i


                  to ask


putting one foot in front

of the other



to breathe

to thread

to fill


and empty

i want to find you

more than a warning


what happens when we put our hands down

where do you stand when you’ve run out of




flicker into focus some glowing plain, it could be flat, no telling

i am what i see and now i see stars, the falling face of fathers

seed inside the grain, folded fields forming, filling, falling

rise and scatter, between the watermarks, in America

river under rippled moon spangled wonder

what does it look like to love without holding



like this and this and this


who is it speaking please


Night call from outer space

voice comes on the line


don’t answer the phone we’re

alone here we whisper alone

to find yourself alone

inside a face voice comes over the wire


fucking junction box shooting sparks out of

fifty grey rooms some of them burning there

are three of us here pop back

into the mystery


are you there

are you here thought i saw something

move i was driving sky was

black field was purple road was

orange there were agents

like flies in the field


That was the secret winter

That was the time before telling

Hearing the numbers repeated

Zero and one it was only

A test human voice comes

Over the air are you sure


watch me burn

watch me slide and

wave unweave

the tree to its



maybe i’m hooked

at about that time you stopped

what’s an honest way to say

are you called

are you cold here’s a

light at the back makes my

face unfocus find oneself

unknown deeper into the

snow sky static between

channels air seems empty

miss you miss you all

not ready for nothing

watch me take a picture

watch me smile and wave

saw men torn in half

was told that was normal

never knew not fear

know now not

something kind in your eyes

can’t pretend to feel

more than i do what do i

carried sadness someone

pick up the phone the lines

smudge the lines run

rain bleed on the river

just one step to step

outside i’d like not to wake up

too sad too late it’s

started no time make a word

shape sound place memorial

patchwork for the frozen


falling word


here in silence stop





lost in water burned in fire

drift alight on the mountain



To Ashes

(for two voices)


“That’s what misery is,

 Nothing to have at heart.

 It is to have or nothing.”

                  --Wallace Stevens


Then we’re at the airport

Then we catch a plane


crack to feel the pain of things

what lies in an ending


i’m cold

at once and everwhere




somewhere below

the moon



find a form

to fix

the fluttering


fluttering still

short of breath

what was i


saying in a deeper breath

you were stranger than i thought

waited so

late to see you

won’t do it again


ten sixteen thirteen


we were moving held up

my hand shadow something

in the bush moving

step by step alone land lined

mined trapped there maybe

eleven twelve

we saw each other frame

froze burned click

of a rifle don’t


don’t leave me coughing numbers




no room

to return


going back



every one



so i found them

so i left them


ghost mind

clings to bushes


eighteen nineteen twenty


i guess we were a private people

kind of chilly maybe

made us cold



as far and as loud as we can



echo states too dire

to be taken





no dust

in the gate of compassion





we never got out of the

mall even outside was

inside and closed


time was

i was all soft surface


no one came to find me

so far inside


i think it’s time

i don’t want it to be time

but i think it’s time

leaking all over the house


won’t know until

we’ve landed


maybe i’m only

talking to echo

                  (i miss you ixxy

                   eminent being

                   and ashes

                   you knew

                   what it was

                   to die)


opened my mouth

and my face was empty
















unbeginning and ashes




the world,






monkey in a frozen




writing to say that i’m

here and not here and

now it’s dark early


and that so often i failed to meet fully

the promise and challenge of love


                  lost and lost and losing

                  voice and coming to you

                  direct from the Celluloid Ballroom


rickety signal

collapse just a

way of saying


                                      singing at last


Must’ve been some kind of idiot.