Friday, June 30, 2017

POEM FOR ANY JUNE 30

On the slippery lip of another spectacular
downtown plaza
fountain, misty,
wrecked with calcium—

wet, spindly finches
and fat,
grimy pigeons
with bulging chests and distended necks

preen and quaver—
but never flinch,
because they
and cannot bring themselves

to resent
these important men
who insist on
crisscrossing them—

sanguine
in their heavy,
requisite blazers,
gesturing and cogitating,

with only
their impeccable
sunglasses—to keep them
cool.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

CONCURRENCE

Under the commodious shade
of a poplar, the wind
purring

indiscriminate through its
summer carapace
of leaves,

thought I could see, in broad daylight—Orion?
and The Big Dipper?
faithfully

sketched in the furtive
freckles of a tiger
lily.

The blossom, common among its
sisters, was a pure grimace
of confession—

unblinking, staring straight and 
conscientiously skyward,
it delivered,

maternally—yet very matter-of-factly 
(like an old, matronly
administrator would):

well, how did you think all these
different things around here
discovered

the one place where they all fit together? 
Whether we choose to admit it 
or not makes no difference;

the fact is we're always, 
always, always, always—
living in a neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

PERFECT SPHERE

Listen carefully—
whenever people say:
it's a slippery slope,
they're not really thinking.

Because obviously,
we've all been stuck
to this surface
for a while now.

And there aren't any
gradations, either.

There isn't any
center. and there

certainly never was
any middleground.

There was ever only
occasional
floozy curves
and maybe a few
interesting indentations

simultaneously vying
for our inter-
mittent attention.

And, of course,
there were
things—

even now,
things
are still real,

and we would do well
to continue to attend
to each of them

because
they (the things)
need us
in order to exist—

But personally, I no longer
think I prefer
one to another;

I don't go after things, either.
Not anymore.
I only move casually toward them

(even the things
that are invisible—like the way
ocean waves still waggle
at the moon
in broad daylight)

content to relate to them
a little
and let them carry me
where they will.

That way,
no one thing
will feel totally hopeless;

instead, it's like there's a little
barely serviceable
hope—everywhere I go.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

FULCRUM POINT

Every morning, or maybe
even more often, for the last dozen 
years—it's 
been like this. But I'm not 
crazy; he is.

Hey Dan, it's 
me, he says; 
your humble ubiquitous 
plastic black 
men's pocket comb

Why not write
a nice little image poem 
about me 
in a profoundly 
casual tone? Can you believe it?

I mean—he's not exactly
one in a million; 
it's more like 
literally (probably) one 
of ten billion clones

which lurk 
like hideous spiders
inside every junk drawer 
and travel bag 
in the world, 

which hover, all
dead and distorted,
inside all of those 
weird alien blue 
jars the barbershops use,

and which sulk 
forgotten in bathroom cabinets 
(you know, those deceptive, 
untrustworthy kinds, 
on the other side of the mirror?)

Forget it, I've always
told him, it's way too difficult
to even so much as squeeze you in
to whatever
thing I'm working on; face it,

you're full of dead skin 
and hair fuzz, and not at all 
moral, like the good old 
soap is—or virtuous 
like the upstanding toothbrush.

But it must be 
his response, that inevitable bristle 
of silence, which, lately 
is forcing me to admit
that what he really represents is

one of the most workable 
means to an end 
that exists 
in my entire universe,
And that, pretty much all the time, 

I totally find 
that damn mind-
numbing 
ubiquity of his, more than 
slightly—reassuring. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

DEDICATION

There—in the place
where the freshest light
goes streaking

through still-
living oak trees'
spangled branches

and gleams
on polished stratagems
of pink marble—

where the quick ripple
of bright flags' far-off waving
corresponds neatly

with the faint sounds
of chains and ropes pinging
off slick poles of brushed aluminum—

where the plain pretty
alternation
of gullies and ridges

made by erstwhile
busy gophers
under wrought-iron fences,

the ones
far away from those
shabbier plots

in the
shadier knolls,
where the lawnmowers

can't go,
and from which crowds
of red and white lilies

reach nearly horizontally
on their thick spindly stalks,
greedy for sun—

that is the place
where I know I
shall come

to believe in
life after death;
that is—

to finally believe
in their life. After mine
is done.

Friday, June 23, 2017

CABLE MAN!

Just as things
are looking their blackest,
domestically-

speaking, a huge-booted
superhero—
called Javier,

originally from
Seattle or somewhere—
breezes in

to assail the grim scene
with alacrity, charm
and the trademark civility 

you'd expect 
of his beneficent 
alien technocrat guild.

At once, he rolls 
his uniformed sleeves,
thrusts his hips

and cocks his
already quite tilted
and overloaded

utility belt
just a little
bit more

(this alone doesn't
fix anything, of course,
but it helps

you feel
as if you're
being taken care of).

Truthfully, he rarely uses
a single
cabalistic implement

from inside the thing
(his mere presence
ordinarily quells the emergency).

Truth is, that belt
isn't even
very pretty,

but damn it,
it's part
of the outfit—so he wears it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

COMMON CROW POEM

Through endless fields of fire-
blue ozone, weightless but

oppressively cloudless, she alone
goes slowly wheeling,

dragging a ragged black cloak on
secret invisible breezes—

breezes which she seems to carry
and keep underneath her,

even in this stilted dead
center of summer; while two

opportunistic eyeballs,
sharp pebbles of obsidian,

scan the heather
which rustles and sighs

beneath a few drooping deciduous
mid-western treetops.

She—the one uniquely
American scavenger,

she never rests—but neither
does she work.

She doesn't pray,
but she does not hunt;

when she spies
a good meal, she laughs

and she coughs,
both at once—

making known
to all of us down below,

the peculiar nature of this
shared paradox—

the grim intransigence
of our own good luck.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

LOGICIAN GENERAL'S WARNING

Caution—occasional words 
may swell 

and veil 
those facts which 

first 
propelled them. 

And none 
have been experimentally 

tested 
and proven 

to describe 
the distinct 

absence 
of a miracle.

And in fact, 
any answers uttered

in excess 
of yes 

or no
could be 

asking 
for trouble.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

MNEMONIC

You don't have to know what it means,
or even
how to make it.

Just think of poetry—as
something
which,

one day
you suddenly
happen

to wake up
and find yourself
in the middle

of having been
more or less doing
for decades already.

Actually—less
like speaking

and more
like
singing—that is,

singing in your sleep:
without that syntactic
net of guarantees—

in rhythms
with no history

and in tunes
without fates,

and on an instrument
felicitous
only, perhaps

here and there, to
an embittered
old sphinx

or occasional
impenetrable
Delphic oracle;

and each
as valuable only
as much it can be

unattended,
and of course,
apropos

of no intention
you could name,
not even—and maybe

especially—
upon waking.

Monday, June 19, 2017

CULTIVATED

Listen; once you finally get tired
of looking-

up the word misery 
in the rhyming dictionary,

I have a better idea
to help ease the tension

between longing to seem
vaguely similar

while also appearing so
strikingly individual.

All you have to do from
now on, is always make

sure to carry your very
correctness with you—

as if it were a cherished
trinket on some

shimmering necklace.
Futility!—they'll whisper

whenever they see you
out at parties;

such a costly and un-
touchable point of view!

Friday, June 16, 2017

OMNIA VINCIT AMOR

The way I figure it—the conquerors
had it backwards

all along—true love
has never

made anything happen.
Love does not

do work,
it takes credit.

It's the frozen
lustrous moon; not the

incandescent sun.
Love doesn't

permit or divulge; in practice
the real thing

is more like
a withholding of apathy,

of prejudice,
of revenge.

Only,
lazier than that—it's

never cleared
a forest

of formidable oak trees;
it's more like

the little wind
that likes to go out

gossiping in the
brambly coppices after.

It isn't industrious, it's
the bliss-

fully
indiscriminate consumer.

You
and I (and everyone)

can feel it sometimes
sloshing around

inside us; but
it can't make

us feel any fuller,
it utterly refuses

to conquer, And it's certainly
never ever

made—a Subaru
a Subaru.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

TAKE YOUR TIME

For a huge minute, the
sweet,

red rain-
dappled cheeks

of a June
strawberry—they don't

exactly
move, but they do

still manage
to let it speak clearly:

Please—
feel free

to invent!
any and

whichever
dance steps you'd

like;
the music

won't be
changing.

Monday, June 12, 2017

TOMB OF THE EMPEROR

A lot
of our thoughts
are so
tiny—and they each

individually
weigh next
to nothing;
but the

thing is:
when they come,
they come
in droves.

Initially,
they're taken
so lightly—
they drift around

like flurries;
we don't
expect them
to stick.

And so, we simply
throw any
old coat
of shabby insensitivity

on top of
the depreciated
cores of our
feelings

before
venturing out—
inevitably
sinking, lost

and deep
in the vast
and inarguable
mythologies we created—

stark naked
by the time they
finally
locate our corpses;

though mercifully—
we're
covered in
thick snow,

right up
to our ponderous and
erstwhile
enterprising crowns.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

EXPO

Hi, my name is
Mr. Write— 

Objective: 
live like a child

who's scared 
to die. Skill-sets include:

bleaching the stains of hope 
from the bones of reality, 

churning the truth 
into honesty and faith,

praising everything 
that is and happens 

just for being and 
for happening.

Fun fact about me: I've never read 
an entire newspaper.

Former employment:
a symptom of someone 

else's fever, desperate 
for answers

when there so plainly
weren't any. 

Where I see 
myself in five years: as objectively

as you might 
see another.

In ten:
speaking to the dead 

on behalf 
of the dumb. 

You cannot possibly 
underpay me.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

OUTBURST

Somehow, each morning 
through gunmetal 

clouds of my own
not-yet-knowing

which rage 
like mad over 

the tops of
of my shoulders, 

the clean 
hot electric

light 
of a thought 

will flash its effulgent 
and pliant pith 

setting
something deep in me 

rumbling sympathetically—
until eventually 

raining down 
hectic drivel 

in wet 
jazzy patterns—

when my mouth tries 
to mention it.

Friday, June 2, 2017

LAST DAY

At precisely twelve o'clock—there's a rush,
a sudden
sunblinding gushing

and a couple of
intrepid but
grubby and ill-equipped grownups must

once again go wading—
in undulant rivers of shimmering
children.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

CENTER OF GRAVITY

Dreamt I picked up a lone,
cool, round stone
from a rocky, bone-
white beach up
north somewhere—

held it firm
in my leathery palm,
felt its heft,
made it warm—

for a moment,
it was special. It was mine.
I had selected it
to the exclusion of its brothers
for some
very important reason.

Then, I waded out a bit,
and I dropped it
with a plunk in the
shallow, translucent tide,

and, before it had even finished
settling to the slate gray bottom,
I already could no longer
tell it apart
from an unfazed million others.

And, feeling neither
sad nor dis-
contented about this,
I shrugged (the tiny, imperceptible
shrug of a titan)
and moved on

down the strand. It was
such a mild feeling. Not strange;
smooth, but not boring—it just felt
easy to forget
and just let
go of having
inconsequentially changed
everything forever.