Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ORWELL MISSED THE POINT

There in the fire-pale
sapphire eyes

of some sloppy younger kin's
digital photos online,

you can see
perfectly quick—why

doublethink
must exist.

Not that two
plus two equals five;

that trick's too obvious. It's
a much weirder glitch,

perpetrated by this
slick algorithmic arrangement

of dovetailed generations
who still share the same space

but no longer
the same geography.

In this far-less everlasting
new infinity of capacity,

two things really are
true at once. For instance—

to those kids, staring
up down in Texas,

there's actually
no such things as lone stars,

but you, here? Turns out, no matter
which books you look in,

you still only own
those old few; and likewise, wherever

you choose to gaze
up in this big city, you can see

there's really
properly—only

such lonely things
as those.

Monday, November 28, 2016

THE SNOW GLOBE

Sometimes, my gift is just
the stark purity of reassurance—that no, 
you're not alone;

that yes, it's okay—that all of those ways
you suppose you've invented
to torment yourself

are actually shared, are culturally
predestined. That, in fact, all of the omnipotent 
possessors who came before you 

have clutched the very same 
small world in their hands 
and offhandedly declared,

oh well, to hell with any such 
hard-earned and 
terminal serenity—

before bathing their dominion
in the antiseptic chaos 
of another controlled calamity.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

CORNER OF REINDEER LN. & MULHOLLAND DR.

Crossing this balding and broad-
shouldered city alone in early winter—

still tasting faintly those bitter endnotes
of a very aggressive autumn

which still linger like burnt toast on the
thin morning air—and knowing

it's still just a little too soon
for those peppermint-soothing

diversions of fiber-optic barber-
pole holiday fare—this is the moment

when there's really no forest
toward which this street's column-collated

trees can aspire; when the strange projections
of daily life, caught between such frivolous

and complex preoccupations, feels like they
might as well be broadcast from Mars.

Suddenly, summer was a laughable theory.
Everything is cold and small and concrete—and yet,

still a little soft, too roomy, and strangely light
for its size—like a movie set

that's all held together with spit
and little bits of insulation, with

gaffers' black tape, union electricians' chewing gum
and craft services' leftover peanut butter, where

everything's only temporary, all is
just for show—intended by the higher-ups

and executive producers, only to give
the casual impression—not of a cast and crew

fused in commercial cooperation,
but of an entire civilization

all having agreed—that this distracted nexus
between the past and the future tense

will be believable, was
wanted, and is doable.

Monday, November 21, 2016

INTERDEPENDENCE OF LIVING THINGS

As if inspired by
talk—of those
locked and edgeless oceans,

swimming imaginary
inside the
factually tangible

hearts of so many
frozen, disavowed
former planets—

just by one glance
in her small dog's
bottomless black eye, she

swears she would
bet a million dollars—
it contains a wet

secret or two
that could (depending) either
rend or sire,

either drown
or inspire
countless trillion billions

of future civilizations,
all those competing gravities
of their fleeting

generational theories,
all of their valiant
hopeless pretensions toward forging

any artifice that tries to last,
and the one mundane thing
common to all creatures

which grants them
any validation for having
lasted this long at all—

that simple
comfort of feeling—you're being
looked-after.

Friday, November 18, 2016

WICHITA VORTEX SUTRA

Outside, a murdering rain
and lashing wind—threaten
to disturb the last remaining

fig leaf of our tacit
and fragile
national dignity;

but meanwhile,
somewhere in Kansas,

emerges alone
from a dim leaky basement

some fretful punchy
spawn of Ginsberg

who cannot be distracted
from his or her gleefully
impossible mission—

not to ride out this storm,
but instead, to ride
inside it more deeply;

to understand both
its forces
and counter-forces,

to willingly become
both the end-product
and the engine—and then finally,

to speak, if only
to coax out of silence,
the dry and complacent tongues

of all those survivors
still locked-up
in their shelters.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

SUPERFLUOUS

All the lonely insignificant supermen
marooned on
the planet must

feel, each time
earth's chromeyellow sun
stumbles down, flickers

of the sheer power-
lessness inherent
to such a cosmic and

ungodly bravery.
Where are all those 
good helpless 

bright-eyed and light-brimming 
old flames 
of ours? they must wonder.

We can no longer 
see them. Why won't they
wave? 

But what good? would
all the flints
and the wicks

and the matchsticks
in the universe be, any-
way—when

there's no
day
to save.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I AM THE TYRANNY OF EVIL MEN

The tale's as
old as time, because
in the

grand scheme—
no sin
is original.

No imagination has ever
considered whether—it was locked
inside Beauty

or the Beast;
just like, no pair of eyes
ever stopped to notice

that the young man
strung-up on a
Jerusalem lawn

was actually
the one
who needed—us,

each mind
suspiciously failing
to realize simultaneously

that there's only one
perfect and
bottomless love—a wellspring

from which all other
ideas are dredged-up
and diluted.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

INTERNAL COMBUSTION

One day—from earth, it was observed
that the indisputably wrong thing had happened.

A gleaming incandescent star,

the mysterious diamond they'd all wished
upon—exploded.

The showers of shrapnel were savage,
and toxic, and horrible;

and the subsequent darkness was total.

But then—the day after,
by the weird chilly light emitted

from some kind
of hack, forgotten back-up generator,

each survivor rose to wrote a poem.

And though no one felt an iota better,
everyone felt this

at last, simultaneously. And that, it turned out,
was the whole miracle—

the only and most certain epistolary angel,

the obscure, unsolicited message,
born in the blazing hearts of billions,

the spark of conscious imagination—finally
perched and glowing with intention,

at home at last atop the withered wick of the soul.

Monday, November 14, 2016

KIDDO

Riding home
in our parents' cars together,

sometimes
the silence would feel impenetrable.

But now—in ours,
it more just feels unanimous

and terrific.
It's like how, back then—

some kinds of beauty
were deemed too true to be useful:

steely, indomitable,
and about as expensive

as a mono-
chromatic necklace of pearls;

whereas
many now are simply too good

to be true: like
that invaluable, polysyllabic jewel

which presently,
I'll give you—and which contains

too many facets
of fierce, simple elegance

to ever resemble
your regular name.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

GENERAL ELECTION

All over America
in November, the dead
leaves fall incessant—

expressing there
upon the bare land,
a quiet, even pressure

so generic
and
so mutual—that

no one man
or woman living
could ever dare—to realize

how utterly
all other men
and women feel it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

VERSES (AFTER WHITMAN)

When, in the incongruously broad
brimming Wednesday
morning daylight,

dozens or hundreds or
thousands or more
of disparate pairs

of the puffy solicitous
eyes you'll encounter
might start to beleaguer—

Is it possible the song 
that America is singing 
is wrong? 

What good are so many verses
which don't rhyme 
and lack a chorus?

Can it be that the whole world
is such a less kind place
than it was yesterday?—

may these few short lines exist here
so that you never squander
a moment before responding:

such a deficit
of energy is
impossible.

Mildness on earth will never
lessen, for I alone
shall make up the difference.

Day after day,
as before
I'll keep singing,

articulating, albeit with a
melancholy tongue,
the great mystery

of—how it can be
that even melancholia
is a warm feeling,

since—to be truly
sad, or angry,
or afraid

posits, at its
center, an illimitable
relation to all others.

Monday, November 7, 2016

KINTSUGI

Little by little, all of our 
small supple hours 
will go leaping 

and whirling cocksure 
into heaps, which are, at first 
gently shaped into silent 

resilient days—but then
become compacted and glazed 
by the stiffening hands of discipline

into ruthlessly strong and 
stubborn vessels called decades—
until eventually,

even the slightest changes 
in temperature, moisture 
and atmospheric pressure

act as needles 
to breach their integrity, causing
every splendid old one of them 

to crumble 
into an indefensible waste 
of clipped shards and pieces.

But curiously, it's not the opposite, 
but the inverse 
of Time—a thing called Endurance,

which soldiers on quiet 
and selfless in the dark,
soothing each jagged corner

with its golden balm of tolerance
and gluing the fractures
back together in more resilient combinations.

But Endurance also bears its own signature,
an ultimatum—that any product 
born of such a reconciliation

shall never again posit the desire 
to be flawless; nor can it ever again 
aspire to resemble 

the same design
for which it was 
formerly celebrated—since it knows

the only vessels strong enough 
to withstand ongoing ravages, 
are those which bear the most proudly 

the thick cracks 
and fissures
of each former surrender.

Friday, November 4, 2016

CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE

I pledge my allegiance to
metaphor

and so freely touch to cross
my heart

when I swear—
that my only religion

is art
and its functional

intersection with commerce.
I don't desire

the tearing
down of churches; much better

to use them—for
killer

loft apartments, un-
conventional live music

venues, free
parking, electrical infrastructure

and elemental
protection for local farmers

markets' continued operation
in winter.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

DETAILS, DETAILS

Incredulously, life's stupid
little particulars

refuse to refine; legions of cells
don't distill themselves,

reduce to savory sauces, fine
wine, concentrated

juices. Instead,
they mindlessly multiply,

calcify and pile-
up incessantly.

But what's kind of nice is—
those hard white ugly stubborn knots,

where all events
get fused to your biased

remembrances of them,
eventually combine

to make
a spine—

a sturdy column
of rocks and mortar,

whose steady bands
of nervy pipes then start

to shunt fluids,
and, over time,

grow—winding thickly
through all that is you,

to support and to nourish
and eventually—

to animate,
reshaping into the finest

art—everything
which first shaped it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

MISE EN SCÉNE

Street after street, on increasingly
swollen porches,
glowing clusters

of figures
jockey
for position—beckon you

with incongruously
mock-mirthful
grins,

not to admit them
as harmless aspects
of experience,

but to lie-
down your own
wintry substance entirely—

to die and come
back again—exactly
as them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

LOOKIT, A DOGGIE

Old wisest friend,
although daily
we saunter together 

down these shabby cotton-
brown sidewalks, past 
the most

woebegone of stroller-
bound children,
I still can't 

help but laugh a bit,
since you never quite 
seem to realize

it's you—who invariably 
precipitates, in each one of 
these little novices,

the earth-shattering realization 
of that certain 
prelapsarian premise—

that man,
with the sheer pacifying 
power of words 

alone, can 
control his 
whole universe.