Von Losberg’s perspective is down-to-earth yet metaphysical. The following poems are from a forthcoming publication of his works.





the house clings to its

architecture the way

a drowning man clings to a

distant memory—beyond

all reason or the limits

of its tensile strength,

beyond the rudiments

of its machinery; the logic

of its fiction, nails

and screws, the principles

of balance and the figures

of its personal geometry

all serve no conscious

end, no matter what the

wind cries, what the

weather wreaks.




i am not a house.  these are not

my windows, not my doors, not my

ceilings, walls or floors.  nothing

that grows upon me grows upon me.

weather does not ride my spine,

does not cascade into my gutters.

no, not the walk, the drive strip,

terrace, port or shutters is

me or anything that i own

nor is the redgold sky-sheen that

reflects, nor are the settling creakings

or its wringing groans; the birds

do not nest in my nest; the squirrels

do not scrabble through my home.

nothing of it carries forward

into the abyss that transpires;

some thing else inspires, some thing

else, though hiding.






the foundation,

rigid figure

dug out of the ground

of its own desire,

guards an empty space,

though set upon defensible


all illusion

has its place, this one

under the house,

with earth and stone

and all the deeper,

all the real immutables.

even now there is a liquid warfare

going on, guerilla seepage

into the basement through concrete,

insidious as ideas wearing away the rock

of reason or the walls of disbelief.

the basement ceiling sweats and sags;

the floor puddles, unable to rest.

finally, a wound appears, a crack,

its lips turning to chalk, crumbling

wetly, decaying like flesh, water

starting like slow thin blood:

welling from stone, the patient

desire of nature will not end.




Snow settles in about the eaves;

the house protests the white, the chill,

the onslaught of this season with so much undone,

so many windows still shut tight, so many rooms left

dark, so many flights unchecked.

the shutters slap at the wind.

shingles shudder though still nailed in place.

the house remembers the smell of fresh earth newly turned,

the subtle dust of new concrete, the pitch of raw pine,

paint, paste, plaster, sun and light.

it can’t remember the day the air turned hard,

the day the wind grew teeth, the day the putty

and the paint began to line, to crack, to peel.

winter rings like a bell in its ears,

pealing away illusion.  there is nothing left to feel

but darkening of the sky and shortening of day.

somewhere in the house a door slams for the last time,

solid, ineluctable as night.




in the middle of the night

the house would ponder the

ineffable—if it could

for the gurgling in its boiler

hungry for coal, for the rattle

in its windows telling a tale

all too old the way loose

teeth tell it.

sideways slipping

the roofbeams sag; the gutters warp;

the weather wrings the house to its

foundation like a worn-out rag.

cars, people, clouds scud;

seasons whistle by.

all sense—

the pregnancy of meaning in

the luminescence of each twilight—

slips past, drifting on the wind—

skywriting—wispy glyphs

whipped steadily west.


memory, that could inform, lies

tucked into a  bed riddled with


in the dawn, in the

twilight, stories go untold;

arguments linger, diaphanous

and drift into darkness; idea

migrates, avian in extreme,

beyond meaning, beyond

architecture, ignorant of design.




no house


the house you see

is not the house

the house thinks it

projects; no, nor

the house dissected

when the house,

mired in leisure,

impassioned in despair,

wields the lancet of

language, deft and dreaded.

no, but some thing else

emerges that resembles

neither dream nor notion—

what it is—how to say

it—uncontrolled, unwitting

miss the mark.  the windows

do not see it, nor the doors

open onto what transpires.

the wainscoting, wallpaper,

semi-gloss trim conspire

skin-deep impression only.  at

the edges all is tidy, tacked

down, spruce, but at the

center is a hovel of straw,

a shack of sticks, and a

wind, like the breath

of a wolf, always howling.


Les Von Losberg

About this entry