Distant Woodsman




the savage ravaging chainsaw

eating through still morning air

swooping unseen down from somewhere

clawing its way from deep inside the forest

to me, here, listening intensely

to all its echoed misdirections;

I could never hope to find where it starts;

can’t hear the birds

can’t hear the dry Fall twigs snap beneath my feet

can hear that metal ripper in my chest

tearing its way out into the frost-charged air




as I move carefully forward

betting against the sunset to find

the muscle-rippled holder of the chainsaw

it stops suddenly in mid-rrrring

starts again 

moving on to yet another splintering hope





listen hard

hear me coming

I’m ready to take your place

or at least be cut down


Ap 73

After the set of abstract dances I wanted a piece with a clear narrative line. The Dances tell an interior story, I guess, but they deal with introspective pretensions & unresolved, unresolvable moping around. 

Woodsman on the other hand is, at least, the fragment of a story with poetic overtones 🙂 Even now I like sonics of this piece the way the RRR is underscored by the opening lines, ‘r’ resonates all through the first long verse. My use of language and sonics is deliberate: ‘metal ripper’ is nicely echoed by ‘muscle-rippled;’  ‘twigs snap’ bounced by ‘splintering hope.’

There was a real moment when I heard a chainsaw in the forest. Not an unusual sound on the east coast, mind you, but it is one of those noises that doesn’t mix well with its surroundings. Aggressive, insistent  & somehow very masculine. So what is being heard isn’t merely the saw but the the cultural push to be a manly man. 

A push that drowns out anything else – a noise that says this us how to be a man, a man can’t act certain ways – if he does ‘real’ manliness drowns out everything, even logic. A ‘real man uses women, it’s his right. A ‘real’ man doesn’t question where this push started, he just follows it. In the end I’m willing to follow but the woodsman is going to have to accept me on my terms.

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.