Friday, May 24, 2019

SECURITY SYSTEM

As an anxious first-time 
homeowner, it really 
eases my mind 

to surround myself 
at all times 
with a few modern conveniences   

which don't exactly work.
It feels high-end when 
I jiggle the handle—I tend to think

duct tape 
is pretty punk rock, and
that Gothic look 

of safety pins 
also smacks of a certain rebelliousness. 
Dead strikers, fickle 

circuits, flattened tires 
propped on bricks—
all perform beautifully

their manifest function
of making me feel like 
less of a jerk.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

THOUGHTS ON A PLANE

Sometimes the sheer
presence of vertical
surfaces around here
closes in around me like
some kind of nightmare.

I vastly prefer
the austere look
of the cleared horizontal—
the sheen of morning light
on a completely clean
coffee table, the seat
of a backless desk chair
with no one with no job
perched on it working.

Peculiar, I know. But
I have my reasons.
These things
calm me down, do not
hide, conceal nothing.
Quiet and attendant,
they always
hold me motionless,
bear noble gravity, and
don't ask questions.

But it's not just the silence
or the cleanliness—I swear,
the orientation of these objects'
planes in space
matters tremendously;

for even a blank wall,
the spotless glare
of a window, the silence
of doors, each concealing
some latent adventure—
all those things seem
to loudly shout
that I'm at the precarious
start of something,

but a clean marble
counter, an empty
kitchen table, a bare rug
which stretches
and sleeps on the polished
hardwood floor—
all suggest without a whisper
that I'm finally here
at the end.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

ZENO'S PARADISE

Since when is fifty-percent
is an F? According to
Zeno, it's the best
you can get. A song
which stalls half-done
is better than one
which never ends. A sun
shining tall at noon
already proclaims the day
a success. And if
no race can ever be won,
once it's half-run, why not pat
yourself on the back, grab
half a banana, and move on.
The only real caveat
to all this, I guess, is
you've got to keep stacking
those failures up:
fifty-percent, then
fifty-percent of what's left,
then fifty-percent of the
fifty-or-so percents
that come next.
I confess, I don't quite
get it myself, and you
may never fully
comprehend it either.
But again: it looks like
we don't have to.
At least not entirely.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

X AND Y

These days, it seems like
everything that matters
is actually two things
at the same time.
They say the universe
has two information
states, that it takes two
to tango, and there's
two sides to every story;
but if you look closer
it's even there
in the little things: two
home teams, two
cola companies warring,
two roads diverging
through a wood some-
where, two separate blood
pressure numbers
to remember.

Our systems were built
to process one answer,
but how do we solve
now, for both x and y?
What if, hard as we
try, we can only crack
half of this binary
code while alive?
Do we then die
as we've been living:
crushed by the
shameful weight
of these unattainable
bounties? And
isn't even that kind
of once-and-for-all
an impossible mix
of definitive
and unsatisfying?

Monday, May 20, 2019

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

It can only be
our oldest cruelest faith
which has kept us so poor
in imagination
and yet so rich
in the circumstantial evidence
of pure analogy,
in its association of fine leather
and soft lace
with naughtiness,
of pieces of silver
and men kissing men
and purification in the name
of some higher order
with a bloodthirsty old pirate
playing his best game
of double-cross,
with the gleaming green eyes
of her legendary sexual deception,
with all of old Europe
as a plague pit teeming
with every odd bit
of skeleton you could name.

Friday, May 17, 2019

I DO THE POLICE IN DIFFERENT VOICES

Look at me
talk to you
without even
having to

tap a clammy
tongue against
the backs
of my teeth—hot stuff

and heavy
too if you
ask me: it's like
language

is a time machine
built out of
a DeLorean—
and then

some skinny
poem climbs inside
that loud suit
of armor—and drives.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

LITTLE TRICK

There are days
I desperately wish to disappear
to transcend the bustling rooms
of the possible
the stodgy furniture of what already is
to become instead
as a huge doorway swinging
open onto nowhere and nothing
an inconspicuous field
a desolate street at midday
a park after dusk
a perfectly empty alley
then I remember—
I live in the city
where there's no such things
as any of those
and just like that
I begin to feel small
and somewhat invisible
and I'm pacified.