Eric Magrane is the editor of Spiral Orb, an experiment in permaculture poetics.


Contributor Notes

Eric Magrane

Eric Magrane

All the Houses of the Past Have Burnt Down


for Travis




last week & almost twenty years ago

we drove up the coast


a feeling somewhere between the world opening up

and a grey sky—


            there is grey in the road

            that is the grey of time


the feeling is that we are outside of time

while being completely within it:


is the memory of a place the same as the place itself?



Dear Travis,

Everything is closer together it seems. Sometimes rainy, sometimes just grey, a grey we’re not used to these days while we live in the desert.



there is looking back & looking forward

but I like to think we can look at time from all directions


walking around the shell of the house

I pointed out where the dining room was,


where I sat one Thanksgiving, then the staircase

& the rooms above.


what is left still smells like ash.

it is cold but holds fire.


that person—that vulnerability—

was life going to be something else


or was it always going to be just like this—



The town was everything and nothing like I remembered. Sleepy, nostalgic salt air. To be honest, it felt depressed, depressing. We arrived in the dark and walked, slept listening to the water. Had breakfast, stopped into a store and talked to someone who knew D. & S. when they lived here.



I don’t know where “I” begins and ends.

I don’t know how to answer your questions.


Who I was and who I am is the same.


The center of the universe

must be everywhere at once.


The windows are all gone.


There is nothing left dividing inside from outside.





White-Throated Swifts at Cliff Palace


in evening as the light shifts

swifts angle in & swoosh


            into the crevice & disappear up


they disappear into rock

they disappear into centuries


                                    do they into smoke

                                    do they into layers


of soot & time

on the ceiling of rock





               It’s been snowing for two days
we’ve got a couple feet.
               All the corpses in coffins
unburied, waiting to rot.
               It’s been raining here, so muddy
I can’t get my van out of the driveway.
               We have a way of keeping
               spirits from leaving their bodies.
               Not as much snow here on the coast,
freezing rain, sheets of ice.
                               At the cemetery,
                               Birds arrive.