Saturday, October 31, 2015

HALLOWEEN NIGHT

Outside the wind snarls—
I could bury you
I could bury you
I could bury you if I wanted to.

On top of
which—it wasn't me who
said any of that. It was 
you.

ITSY BITSY

After hatching—borne to ourselves
on the breath 
of some dateless dawn,

we are certain
of no facts, excepting those that
we are

wet—and we 
must be, at least,
here to bear witness.

And so—
at first light, 
we begin crawling. 

ever so 
gingerly, at first—upward, determined 
to capture nothing short of

our essence!—from a kaleido-
scope of new raw and beautiful
perspectives.

And each timid time,
climbing just
a little bit higher 

so that, from each new dizzying increment, 
we notice something a little bit wider, 
a little bit greater, and a little less specific about us—

something wild and uncharted,
and yet, 
still familiar; because always

attaching back, 
lattice-
like, to the preceding picture.

Until—at long last,
we come to a certain precipice
the view from which we can no longer comprehend—

that of a dot 
on a dot 
on a blip

on a spiral—with huge amounts 
of black-slathered 
black! all around it.

But when we try—
to step back
to get a better view of this strange image,

we suddenly slip
on something wet
that we'd temporarily forgotten about

and tumble all
the way back
to begin again—only this time,

we tell ourselves
from the outset—
it's personal.

Friday, October 30, 2015

GENUINE AROUSAL

Though inevitable—a kind of white-
hot silver
shock

still runs

stock
sudden
and invariably

down
every tongue-
tied spine—whenever,

bursting-
forth sopping
from the venerable
but swollen-out belly of huge No,

little red
yes—egresses;

dizzy
rawboned
noisily gasping the new free air
until,

at last—
its own
trembling hot
abdomen is full.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

BREAKFAST TABLE DIALECTIC

Who knows? you'll shrug, gesturing—
the extent to which those 
stiff and still wan yellow
shafts of early light—
 
which seem to channel forever 
down from the creased mouths 
and distended 
cheeks of antediluvian clouds, 
without ever seeking ground—

bestow anything? 
or were, for that matter—
themselves bestowed in the first place?

But who? she'll answer—if ever last
left standing here, 
alone on this hot screaming rock and
in the face of annihilation,

would dare remain mired
in the valley 
of his or her own stubborn perspicacity
and still insist on penning and pinning 
his own clever lyrics to 

that vast soundless music 
out the window there—

which has sustained not only your mother,
but her mother,
and her mothers' mother, 
and her mother's mother's mother too, 
and so-on, and so-on, and so-
and so, on—

But—What is god, mom!
other than 
our ultimate 
concern in that moment?

Exactly!—what God is, 
young man,
IS your ultimate concern,
every second.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

CITY PSALM

Looming—near and distant
and wreathed in plumes 
of anxious Carl Sandburg fog,

ancient cathedral spires still festoon and designate
the otherwise-obscure skyline
of a conscious but still-slumbering Chicago;

inspiring no huge or otherworldly feelings now,
apart from, perhaps, 
the dim comfort—of familiar forms 

and exploitable structure. For here
and there in the gloom, they seem to form, adroitly, 
certain patterns—beacons

in a labyrinthine prison, wherein still manage 
to move each morning
the hopes and fears of its uncalled-upon millions;

fears 
of remaining always
lost amid its arcane passageways—

hopes 
of yet discovering, 
through the tyranny of such a maze, their freedom.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

ACT V

Gazing deeply
into the well of memory—
we invariably see

nothing—
but nonetheless
gain everything

from our pains
in the effort—
of looking.

THE MYSTERY WRITER

This morning 
I am turning—

and reading over
all the leaves;

old,
wet spider-
brown pages,
scattered everywhere

but empty—
and taciturn
save for whenever 
a quick piss of wind sends them rumbling.

What? 
or—is this?
Poetry? I wonder. 

Who?
is this?
A poet? They whisper.

And I shiver 
a moment then, and turn aside
with a cheap sneeze, before 
unbending to leave

with a gait more 
open than before—cold, 
damp, but lighter, because divested 
by these wordless exchanges, borne 
inward on some clever
mere air—of the stale knowledge

that my testimony will remain
inadmissible, not
because 

a warrant here
has yet to be granted,

but because none 
had ever been
needed.

Monday, October 26, 2015

MIDWESTERNER

Oh—but what then, of the 
plain wind? sings
only a very 

particular kind of bard—which runs, he laments,
only and ever clearer,
only like itself,

and only and always 
as fast as it can? 

What does 
it?
ride like—I wonder;

threshing and tumbling autumn somersaults over
the corncolored 
nape of America—un-
disrupted, 

neatly 
covering my entire bare-
headed view of the blue planet, and

inspiring hayseed 
after hayseed—to one-by-one 
go tramping off 

to sew 
his golden self-
similar similes

without ever whispering—a single suggestion?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

WAX WINGS (AFTER SAM COOKE)

Wait a minute. Hit
Rewind—and let's all try

listening back—
to one another

a little more deliberately.
For starters—

did the mytho-
logical voice

of that
soul man just ask—

with alacrity?
For someone, or 

something, called
Cupid—

to come
fix everything?

Friday, October 23, 2015

STRUCTURE AND SURPRISE

If—the facts 
are all 

plot—and
the plot, simply details,

and if 
words are just hollow magic

tricks to make the wind more
reliable and appear more 
solid than it really is,

and—what if?
even our bravest 

intentions
to be totally 
literary—only

are shards?
of some shattered shared
soul of a soundless-in-vast-perpetuity universe,

which moves forever 
toward frozen oblivion,
without ever really changing shape—

Then what?—what's left? in the 
landscape, I wonder,
to survey.

I see—only

epiphany!—crumbling 
architecture, yes,
but some 
pretty 

cool gargoyles leftover.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

STROLLERS

Walking Lucy muddy mornings
in the park and noticing 
often

the familiar slight chaos—of
this

or that 
little fat 
pink child writhing away, 

lavish but 
livid in the plush redundant safety of its blueish 
gray droplet-shaped confines—
I think:

How?—can my soul
possibly
be

any lighter—
let alone weightier?
than these which walk with it;
when indeed, each seems to have sprung,

so slapdash
and indiscriminately
forth—from one and the very 
same mighty godhead's splitting headache?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

THE FUTURE GOVERNOR OF PURGATORY

Simply gazing upward on any of those kinder
and woozy autumn mornings
from her stroller and knowing a thing
called "sky" lie above her

but nevertheless seeing only
"clouds," arrayed crisply
and dark in their vast
rolling panoplies—this act already

comprised a certain way
for the small child
to own, within her abridged little body,
a very uncertain feeling.

A feeling that
she would later
come to feel intimately, though
never know directly—of two things

which can occupy distinctly
the very same space
at the very same time—
but for very different reasons.

Surely enough,
various pairs
of steely words would rush
to fill in and help illustrate the big feeling later.

Heaven and Hell,
Progress and History (of each
of the battles
won by her country),

Science and Fiction—
and the absurd
amount of friction
between Sci-fi and Fantasy

(not to mention, along the way,
the very annoying disparity of meaning
between certain wily pairs
like—"discrete" and "discreetly").

And—not too long after,
some subtler and more curious notions
began to inhabit her senses
and reveal to her their strange power;

there was, for instance,
the fantastic influence
of the traffic
upon the weather,

of the wealthy
upon the poor
and the poor-in-spirit
upon the healthy;

then—the smell
of cold rain
but the wild
sight of fire,

and both held together simultaneously
by the thin astringent vinegar-y,
or else
by the corpulent warm oily

sensation of blood—
which always came rushing wherever
(she noted very cautiously
whenever speaking publicly)

the soul
seemed to drip—neither
with any great hate

nor with very
much love—
from the body.

Monday, October 19, 2015

RECEPTION

Mostly, old dark faces
loitering—disarmed

beyond the bright corners
of the dance floor;

each finding it easier—for now,
to imagine

itself out there
than to picture—either

its last breath—or
the nothing waltzing after.

ON WAKING

My body, face
down—

in a
riverbed somewhere.

My mind,
without hesitating—

crossing
the dead fissure,

as if—
by some miracle,

still
filled with water.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

REACTOR

Your heart 
is a furious old red 
giant drifting—

unfathomably 
congested 

with curiosity 
and confusion

and fusing them
into—pure white 
astonishment.


Friday, October 16, 2015

NO SUCH THINGS AS SYNONYMS

Gazing into the wild 
and perilous mystery—of nightweather 
booming outside 
your windowpane

and wondering—
how even the most
ungovernable rains
could be brought down so easily

by the weakest
and the
least well-understood
of forces—

consider now 
the meek poet brooding;

for whom 
there are no certainties! 
Other than those—
of course, regarding which word

at which exact 
particular moment—to pelt you with,
or else miss 
on purpose.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

UNEARTHLY

Hark!—the familiar tin-
tinnabulation 

of hungry 
chattering autumn teeth,

as once again, some fantastic daredevil
vagabond inside you—

so restless 
to uncover nothing less than the wind's 

most wild and rippling
and uncredited sources of motivation—goes

catapulting outwards,
clamoring—Contact! and then rocketing

hardy 
and heedless through incautious weathers—

over drenched morning hills, beyond weird
desiccated evenings

and their leafy shadows 
of all those poor souls withering

so slight 
behind the constrictive poverty of their windowsills.

And not chattering
out of nerves—

for not at all nervous
to get places,

but—quite anxious 
to find them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

RESPECT FOR THE MECHANISM

As long—
and just about 

as surely—
as the pale rocky 
world has been turning,

we too 
have kept busy—wandering about
in widening ellipses

and diligently screwing
our flush flaming 
lush funny faces 

up toward 
Heaven—until we're dizzy.

Hell-
bent!—not on discerning 

whether or not
there's really any such thing
as either of those places—let alone

whether we require 
a place 
for either of those things moving forward—

but rather,
on repeating—

and thereby trying
to memorize the feeling—
of looking.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

FALL SWEEPS

Once—and a very long time ago it was, 
from the deepening deadend of
darkness increasing

as the frail and penniless finale of another
copperbrown October 
went creeping

toward its 
inevitable bottomless
blackkettle November—there came, at last, 

an Executive Decision.

This!—is how we'll all 
stay warm this winter:
First—their morale plummets.

Then—we broadcast it. Then, after

that—ratings skyrocket. 

And over 
and again, more 
and more frequent,

and faster, still-
faster, until—well, that's
about it. That's the entire digest.

Research suggests
it'll just sort of 
work on its own from there,

flared the greasiest 
pair of thin 
nostrils in attendance that evening,

in a very similar way 
as the heat 
that gets generated—whenever 

we meet
and rub with glee—the palms of our greenish 
hands together.

Monday, October 12, 2015

MANTLE

Good morning, American mothers and fathers—and gain way! For here,
with a sweet contradictory swiftness,
comes the height width and weight of my entire 
ungainly generation. Waking and stretching 
the skinny tapered length of our souls before dressing

in our superhero cowls and then marching quickly cross-country—
toward Cape Canaveral and Orlando, toward
Palo Alto and Cupertino, toward
Los Alamos and University of Chicago and so-on—for our
catholic calisthenics and continuing Adult-Kindergarten classes each morning;

with bright McIntoch, with Red Delicious, and with Jonathan apples 
in-hand for each of our dried plum- and potato-skinned teachers,
and with even brighter bulges of those red ripe circles 
asleep in our cheeks—one for safe-keeping and the other 
for lunch—and then rolling up our capes and shirtsleeves before resuming

the great plot of our scholarly mission. Namely: to dream!
To reinvent! To justify! To forget! And then, to a certain 
inevitable extent, re-remember! That—we alone 
comprise the world's only current, complete, living, and bounded set 
of sweet-faced and innocent and swell-tempered beginners!

And then, after class, we always come boomeranging back home again;
understanding less than before, clamoring for snacks, and burning 
to ask lots of questions—although we only ever hear ourselves
give the answers. Heck, we're not even sure we exist yet! Which just makes it 
all the more instructive—that we are the God you'll be praying to someday.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

KETOGENESIS

Think quickly—
which language

did your breath speak—
back 

when there 
was passion on it?

Did it stink? 
And what color 

was that like? 
And whenever 

it did speak—in whirls 
of cheap 

dime store grammar—did those 
exuberant philosophies

always have
to rhyme?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

LIFE AND DEATH

Dearest my little 
tough ruddy beagle—struggling, as you lie
sleeping, to scamper unprotected

through whichever autumn bright blazes 
of tangled trails, so tight on both sides 
with rectangles of huge alien architecture—

and snarling, unquenchable, 
and fang-foaming, 
and all red-eyed

after whatever manner of indiscernible 
and patently uncatchable prey 
which must lay before you; 

difficult!—as it seems
to dream 
as you're doing,

of such urgent 
and such blood-colored things
without the use of a language;

it is precisely
because of this
that I desperately wish! 

I could tell you:
how it's
unarguably—tougher!

to be your ragged old father—
having just returned home 
after spending the better part of an hour talking—so hard

and at cross-purposes
to the saturnine and half-asleep face—of his 
petite blonde barber.

Friday, October 9, 2015

ILLUMINATION

Sometimes after rain thunders 
down and then ceases—
you go gliding a little

faster over 
fresh decalcified re-
hydrated sidewalks—exhilarated,

if a little bit dizzy,
with the big feeling you might be 
upside down;

and it's you—whose actually swimming
under this cool black nightwater,
instead of those

moonpolished puddles up there—
each of them blueflecked 
starry and distorting 

as they sail past—
the reflections 
of those two 

quacking jumping 
splashing sopping killer 
whales of tennis shoes.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

WITH RESPECT TO THE DOG

Every morning!—their dumb milky 
ape masks of sleep rolling perilously 
over, as if it's worth it 

to sniff off each other something 
regarding—which particular?
language does the weather speak today.

LIFTING OUGHT FROM IS

Oh
rats. God 

is not—dead 
after all;

he's just fast-
asleep—

in the back
alley—behind every beautiful

Baroque church 
and squat taco 

shack and 
rundown old Park 

District 
gymnasium on planet earth—simultaneously

at-peace
and plum stinking

exhausted-
looking—from overtraining.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

MODERN DANCE FOR SOLO NON-MORNING PERSON

Slowly, 
the Ecologist—

invoking all God's 
medicine—

reaches 
for the almond milk.

COWARD

A caterpillar—no longer
itself

dreaming—black

and white
impossible dreams—of watercolor

flight—
in quaking chrysalis.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

OUTLINE

First—
let us imagine 

your ghost—
but at noon. 

Displaced though it
may be
from its main gig—is not this old blighted sheet 

finally free? as gossamer—to reach and to touch,
with weightless impressions of fingers,
all the enticing brightness it sees

without corrupting 
so much as a living atom of stuff
with the corporeal pressure of intention?

Less than a whisper,
more a great legend,
a true hero—a non-thing that influences no one;

enveloped in its stainless mission 
to wander
forever 

lost—
and safe 
in perpetuity

and flapping not 
after such hot and cold running things
as riches

or the heavy 
opaque trappings 
of pure poverty—hoping only perhaps for a little more 

purity of spirit, if we
can even call it that at this point, but
you get the idea.

Second—

instead of—why didn't I
think of that?

How would it be
if you just sat

down—and thought 
of it now?

Monday, October 5, 2015

APHORISMS

Each painterly dusk, I again go
swirling past bunches of 
autumnal and warmly-
lit supermarket windows—

each flush with its very
own several little 

bottlegreen baskets of
chrysanthemum
plants—each, in turn, with its various 
stiff little branches reaching 

to grow 
stiffer—and each of those

branches—plush with it's own black-
licorice leaves curling
thicker and yet-thicker 
in the slow creeping cold.

And each leaf now defining its own unique plane,
angled this way or that—contributing 

to a quickening feeling of such 
immense depth! Until—
yes, it becomes positively too dense
to distinguish! And it's only

then that I begin to see—
each prodigious leaf

on each 
branch on each
plant in each window
has come—somehow

weaving its way 
up my chilly spine to my 
mind, where it might finally
alight and thus

show me—how it's still 
possible

to grow up
but never—grow old.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

MOMENTARY MUSCULAR FAILURE

I promised myself
then—and I promise
again here

upon this very formally
white
page—now stained

with hours
and hours of unique-
ly concentric coffee
cup ring flowers—and invisibly

ablaze
with the shapes
and the imprints of
such letters

as could only comprise
words
in illustrious
richly explosive new combinations

to write—
not
so much fast

but very
very hard—and furious; and of course
and always
always

al-
ways

concerning—first,
those littlest things
that don't seem to matter.

For it seems
to me—from this exhausted
point of vantage

that man-
kind
is

bereft
not—of satisfying
or great

or happy endings—but rather,
of proper

and decent
kinds

of those
things altogether.

Friday, October 2, 2015

HERALD

The moon was huge
and frowning

down
upon the hollow land

across which I threaded—
spiderlike

mourning ghostwhite 
flecks of my-

self 
blowing by

on the 
cold lunar wind.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

ADVICE FROM HERMAN MELVILLE

It's probably
best—
to arrest them

first
and fore-
most with

the One
big zinc-galvanized and blameless-
white

paint-coated
stainless-
steel metaphor

as absolutely fast
as your famine-nettled
fingers are able—and then

to practice the tremendous discipline
of just sitting back
to watch as they all—and I mean

the whole damned crew,
and the audience,
and everything—simply pass over it,

over and
over and
over again,

until eventually!—they
become
magnetized;

causing every single little last
gold-
and/or silver-spangled

coin—to come
ravenously sailing
out from their pockets

and slap itself hard
and fast—
to the mainmast.