Saturday, June 15, 2019

LOVE IS ALL YOU GET

All you need is love—
which is good, because after
all, love is all you were

going to get, anyway.
Devotion is contagious
(as are smiles and laughter);

it replicates without being told
until it's everywhere
like the spores of a mold.

And hope floats
only on its own notion
(if you ever looked over

the edge, you'd see nothing
but little hope boats
all the way down).

But the same way in which those
positive emotions
just love to build stuff,

there are oceans of other ones
(indifference, doubt,
isolation, for example)

which love 
just as much, to come
hollow it all out.

Friday, June 14, 2019

LOCUS

Funny—any sunny Friday
afternoon in Chicago,
I'm still able to feel far-off
and murky as the Sargasso.

I can walk by restaurants
chumming with people
clinking bright beverages
on outdoor patios, trying to

find myself in that scenario—
surrounded by mirth,
buoyed by coworkers—
instead of locating

the only sea on earth
which no lands border,
churning circles alone
in the north Atlantic

with algae and muck
welling up from its
center—but no luck;
My focus is garbage,

my rudder stays stuck
on its opacity trick.
Okay, maybe that actually
isn't so funny.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A POEM A DAY

It's like you've got
an open-ended 
apprenticeship 
with Sisyphus;
steady work 
designing stasis—
lifting and dusting 
under air pockets, 
dropping rocks 
precisely where they 
were already, and
parting the waters 
for a nanosecond 
with one frothy swab
of an index finger.
It doesn't pay, but it
makes you feel
busy—and trust me 
when I say this: 
maintaining any feeling 
is a full-time job.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

IN SPITE

Somehow,
in spite of everything—
everything
is always reconciling.

In spite
of what you did,
than didn't
do right after that

taupe skies lighten, then
clear before sunset,
proceeded by a harvest moon's
copacetic light.

In spite of those things
you said that night
and all the times
you failed to be there

in the morning, there's still
the smell of lilacs waiting,
a sparrow's simple song, rolling
dew-bright sod galore.

In spite of your entire
personal history, every
flash flood and furious blizzard
ravaging your background

a holiday weekend
keeps nosing back around,
like the wet snout of
some mute little animal

who's decided
it needs you, regardless
of how stony or
deadpan you act.

No matter which closet,
which attic you've chosen
to sit in with two index
fingers jammed in your ears

the three-day forecast
still seeps in there
from a portable radio
on the neighbors' back patio

and damned if it doesn't
still sound pleasant—or
at the very least, terribly
unremarkable.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN

Hearing a sentence like this
hurts. But I think
by a large margin, the worse
sensation is the seeing
that which we never saw
coming—leaving
again just as suddenly, taking
with it every color,
every outline, every tint or
semblance of the picture
without even giving us
so much as the chance to
scribble a few bullet points
concerning its most
threadbare general description
in the vainest hope of
remembering it for next time.


Monday, June 10, 2019

THE ORDEAL

I can't look around this
deteriorated world anymore,
with its overabundance of
chintzy floral patterns.

Even at their best,
these prints tend to look
pointless—but the ordeal
is much worse

when they're faded.
Take the bedraggled
poinsettias on your
dishtowels, for instance,

or the mauve roses
in their mauve rows
on those two dusty
armchairs they

found in your attic;
or the discolored daisies
in a picture I'm not
so sure I want languishing

here in my memory
much longer—of your
hand-me-down backless
hospital gown.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

INQUIRY

One by one
the burly sun
hauls in
each derelict morning.

Hours
and hours later—
pure darkness
and a little moonlight

take their
turns interrogating
the wearied
deadpan sky:

Just like that—
a whole day—
stolen.

Or perhaps—
gone missing—
by sheer coincidence.