Tuesday, August 14, 2018

ELEMENTAL, AS IT WERE

Experience may be haunted
with the ghosts of inclination,

but the literal is (really)
the strangest caprice of all.

After all,
I'm not a crow,

I am not
some bumbling bee

I am rooms and spires
filled with old spores;

I am blue mold,
hungry and stubborn.

I might have been outlawed
but I am also sheriff

and game warden
of this space on the page.

Right now, I'm all of the
dark feelings you could mention

which stand for themselves
and don't require poems

to get attention.
Nothing in these lines

is levitating. Even the most
fantastic books

don't just magically
fly off the shelves.

The most prolific words
describe lack,

a crying need
for help.

I am long past giving
up

writing
about myself.

Monday, August 13, 2018

CATHEDRAL TUNES

Everywhere I look,
every small thing has got
a piece of the whole
infinity in it,

every translucent amber window
oozes doleful music—

then there's
the awed hush of limestone
and the shadows
of low-bowing arches

unspooling into garden hedges
to darken wild thoughts—

until I'm so weary
and oppressed, I can barely

believe I don't
believe it

when, high above
and far
away, the bells toll—no, no, no, no

and in the
spaces between, I hear what
impossible sounds like.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

HIERARCHY OF A SATURDAY AFTERNOON

At the edge of the
park, swollen
pigeons bully finches

away from the provident spoils—
six monolithic
hewed husks of hard sourdough,

until the gargantuan Ford Explorer
toiling past
with the windows down

shatters at last the holy war
with its peace
accord—of reggaeton bass.

Friday, August 10, 2018

GOOD AFTERNOON

Slow and sure,
but without
determination

a low lump
of cloud
obscures Trump Tower.

CATHOLIC WITH A LOWERCASE C

congregated
on a moldy pear core

forsaken
in the alley—

a hundred flies, or
maybe more—

lord, hear our
rotten prayer

for a scrap
of their rapport.



CONSTITUTION

That uniform sky,
that distant blister

for a raw sore planet
you're supposedly under—is it

gray?
Or is it silver?

Does the rain have a point?
Or does each drop

have the perfect caliber?
Depends.

How many grounds
in your coffee cup this morning?

How much like a circus
does the word "fickle" still sound?

And what is the current
starting lineup?

of those slippery ticklish
bacteria in your guts

which have never seen the sun
in their fugitive lives?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

IT DIDN'T HAPPEN

Day after day,
I'm ashamed

of that
most derelict of affluences
I call—my austerity.

With care, I turn
on the old boombox
and a little
Frigidaire window unit,

then leave the apartment
to go out for fresh air;

I log on the the pubic
library's free WiFi—
and just sit there;

do any of you know
what I'm
talking about here?

If so, maybe we could get together
and compare
the delicate grain of our
solemn wooden innocence

or else x-rays
of our lungs, so black
with the tar of
the unsure.

You know what they say:
pictures, or it didn't happen.

What good is our privacy
if it cannot be demonstrated?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

NIRVANA

Blue blades
of sprats

arrayed neck- 
to-neck 

in neat gold-
plated beds—

do you even 
miss your heads? 

I don't think
I would.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

FUTURE IMPERFECT

Granted, life without a sabbath
is an unbroken
series of weekdays

a melody
decomposed
into—just notes;

but inchoate ears
hear old music
in new and fictive ways

and immature voices
proclaim old truths
in new and fantastic tenses.

It makes their under-
ripe throats feel soothed
to proclaim

not that which is,
or will come—but that
which ought to be;

theirs is an impervious god
who must
never be addressed

but instead
is—sometimes
listened to.

Monday, August 6, 2018

WATER WORKS

After the dawn, moon-
white foaming, the lake mist
rolls in—
to power-scrub the skyscrapers

and cleanse the roiled
attitudes of
a million forsaken weekenders.

And soon, gently quickening
through the new
monochrome downtown—here
a mint green

rain boot—there,
the jocular nonchalance
of a miniature pink umbrella,

lifting soiled tensions,
sweetening
the savory
tang of wet asphalt,

making, in the vague
mind of the multitude, a Monday
morning possible.

Friday, August 3, 2018

USELESS

That blue
with the perfect baked
white that
curdles through it

can't you just
see it?

couldn't you just
about take a
mouthful?

It's a cute yellow
breakfast plate
sun. baby

it's a
real eggs
and bacon kind
of sky.

How about
that? seven grains—
all at once

what'll they think of next?
soak
it in. sop it
up.

Buzz buzz—another
espresso
from the bar

buzz buzz
a small puffed-
up stinger scar

its owner, remember
died immediately
upon the impact.

Last night's aggravations
somehow now
both—bittersweet
and untasteable.

HUBBLE'S LAW

1.

On the
plus side, all the old
wishing stars

are still up there.
it's just that—
at this

very moment,
they've never been
farther.


2.

Far from
being useless,

thoughts and prayers
do exactly
what they're

supposed to do—magically
keeping the weak
and the wounded

at arm's length.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

PIONEER

Dreamed I lived out
in a bucolic village
on the fringe of a bigger
and even
more bucolic village—
inside of a still-
larger and much
prettier one—which functioned
as some sort of an ad-
hoc spacecraft.

My concerns, though, were still
quite provincial—coffee, walk
the dog, grip her leash a little
harder rounding the corner
apartment with the
two keyed-up corgis, feel
the rough old nylon
chafing my skin, causing
me to wonder how each
of your freckles is doing—are they
still migrating? and where
in the universe yours
and my fingerprints might
be mirrored in the geography of
a galactic super-cluster. And then

look down again and realize
that, in this particular universe, I don't
have a dog, you do; and I have
that exotic new-world
disease—which causes me
to stay indoors half-asleep
all day in front of a muted TV
or laptop computer,
putting all I remember
of a dream I had
on mock-paper.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

POMP + CIRCUMSTANCE

Dazzling august mid-
morning sun—

boiling the sweet cream 
skin under-

neath—all that 
baggy funeral black.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

FIGURES

Pissed off and in-
transigent, my shoulders are stiff

as a pair
of antediluvian boulders,

the coffee
in the little blue

cup is scabbing over,
the room has turned a blank

gray, and even
the nonsense words are refusing

to come
together over me.

But the moment I relent
and delete

everything I've written,
the sun swaggers

out, its inarticulate light
pouring down to bury me

alive—in the most
inexplicable

thing of all: a warm
feeling.

Monday, July 30, 2018

ANIMATION

Ground mists
of Olympic
National forest

and bright spume of Puget
Sound seafoam
and the thick piebald clouds

housing an over-
polluted mid-
western freight town—are one,

are all present
here in the
sound of the voice that's speaking,

are all simultaneous-
ly something
and nothing,

are all really only
made from electricity
and a few numbers—and are all,

like us, simply longing
to prove to the west wind
they exist.

And this breath—which is nothing
but the animation of a feeling, exists
in relation to none of them.

But still
the oneness persists, the oneness
resists, is pushed west

by that same wind;
the very same oneness
which was

when the first lone globule
started speaking,
and which now, at the ending

still is. Because there can never
be an end
to a thing—that's one thing.

Friday, July 27, 2018

IRRITATION

This is not
an idea

or even a feeling,
but only just

a thought—that smallest speck
of dirt

around which
the great pearl of all

personhood is built:
no matter

what, I will
never be enough.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

EXPOSITION

Muggy out
of focus
dim July mornings—

urge to write
lines about
one's inner life rises—

poems come out
long—
and badly.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

SONG LYRICS TRANSCRIPTION

I'm a sick and indentured
entertainer, always

coughing blank paper
and spewing

about freedom—vapor
into more vapor.

The hit song of the season's
called Out of Control,

and its really dumb
chorus goes—later, baby, later;

but if I'm not a musician
without any instruments, then

maybe—I
don't want to be one.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

THE GREAT I AM

Frozen in shadow
on the row of sharp flatscreens

which borders the outdoor seating,
the right fielder—

a lone, somber,
perfectly pitched-

forward alphabet letter—
manifesting perfectly

the very first word
known to the world;

while in the sunlit foreground,
we—the sea

of floundering artless spectators,
transfixed

in our unspeakable
wishing to be known

as right fielders, and only
right fielders—

each do our despondent best
never to speak it.

Monday, July 23, 2018

WORRIED SICK

The scariest thing about
pale floating ghosts—those hollow mute phantoms
of old malignant religions

is their tacit admonition
for not stopping to contemplate
the difficult questions,

for always touching, but never really meeting
or summoning
the ground,

for always being too afraid to scream
in your own voice,
for never loving

the rare and precious
dark parts of your body—that no one else living
ever gets to see.

Friday, July 20, 2018

KEY CHANGE

Like an abhorrent larva, I crawl 
and I climb—

blind, toward modulation; 
a feeling with no corners, not known,

only felt after.
Does anybody even know 

that I'm up here
on the roof of this house now?

I don't have to prove it;
I know I'll soon love

everything inside it
(the hard carbon and cold calcium,

the warm blood and soft spit)
only barely—

that way
there'll always be enough left 

over for my
next move.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

ACCORDING TO PLAN

Sunbleached and drooping,
the whispering ancient
treetops insist—earth's air grows

heavier with vapor
nearer to where
the truth is;

even the brash
light racing
from a cataclysmic old star

will center the still
and nurture the starving—until,
one day, under their prodigious shade,

insect travelers—tired,
myriad-eyed,
from far reaches of outer space—

alight and find
temporary safety—in the jaws
of a shaded lily.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

DEEP THOUGHT

The exact moment I try
to get relaxed—sitting cross-
legged in this
wide open glen

I sense—the tickle
of the expeditious green bottle fly

who, upon landing—spits,
rubs his stick-
hands together methodically,

then whips-
out a serviceable,
practiced proboscis—and commences
vacuuming

every dingy
apartment he finds

in the poor tenement
cracks of my
derelict shin skin.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

GOD IS MY JUDGE

I guess most people still think
a boy can never
be named for a flower.

I guess. But I
am not some lion tamer—I am a meat-eater
who's also a gardener.

I guess most people still think that art
and science and religion
can all reconcile, can meet in the middle.

I guess. But I tried hard once
to make them curve toward one another
through lenses of words—and they didn't.

And I guess most people
still think that this is some sort of
glamorous process.

I guess. But it's not. For instance,
the voice in this poem—is the voice come
from nowhere. Sure, with a cup-

shaped fist, it seems
to reach up and pluck
from thin air, all sorts of

humid invisible fruit—
and yes, it then willingly
hands this to you; but still

it says nothing
about whether
it's edible—or forbidden.

Monday, July 16, 2018

HUNT

Somewhere, outside

each fluorescing ER—you might spy

pink zinnias.


Friday, July 13, 2018

SIDEWALK SALE

Under the drowsy eye
of noon sun,

gleaming
gold and complex aquamarine
planets—of eccentric green
bottle flies

describe
the near-perfect
outlines of cylinders—pirouetted around

an abstract center,
the action-paint splatter

of forest-
green and titanium-
white bird shit.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

AMITY

Cedar wood—gets to

smelling good, after the dogs

come and piss on it.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

GONE WITHOUT THE WIND

Just like that—some grimy cookies 
and cream-colored pigeons 
are gobbling down the sidewalk shade, 

leaving droppings in their wake 
like greasy clues 
to secret undiscovered neighborhood 

places—storm drains stuffed 
with leaves and cigarette 
packs and old beetle shells, 

erased bus stops, and the smelled 
tang of dog shit and some 
nearby dead rat—all linking 

like keys to locks, with these
nauseous and 
depressing spells; how dare we care

for one another? Does every book 
need a cover? How do I say I don't care
in a way that still matters?

Then, something warmish 
and sudden: a flap. The littlest 
ripple, and they are gone—with 

or without the wind—on wings 
they could only have 
stolen from me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

DAY TO DAY

Faint,
amorphous, and

far away
as abstract concepts—the clouds

have nothing
important

to say
about my affairs.

Monday, July 9, 2018

REMAIN

The terra cotta
pot—which underlies

and engenders the flowers—
does not

challenge; it does not
object, but

applies its
clay-dull concentration

to the task—
breathing in,

then exhaling, bulging
outward again—

it touches
the bare earth

at all times,
no matter what—leaving

absolutely
no space in between

(it is an expert at that).
It knows

it is
a miracle—a revelation

to grow
and to change

and to stay
and to leave—but

it is a discipline
to remain

content
to play the same bit part

in every
consecutive moment.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

GUTTER

Jocund, the noble

goldfinch—takes his Sunday baths

where he can get them.

Friday, July 6, 2018

GIRL, YOU'LL BE A WOMAN SOON

Violent,
but achingly
sweet-
ly, a changeling's
eye-

teeth
breach the quivering
red flesh
of their
first nectarine.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

GENERATIONS

Going out
my front door each morning,
I bow

to you, slight
callow sapling—who meekly haunts
the cusp

of a tainted
stump—and whose obdurate shade,
when my bones

are loam, may fall
toward the shoulder of my great-
grandson.

Monday, July 2, 2018

SHELL

You do not have to
make up your mind, because I've

made mine up for you.
Like a stubborn old mollusk—who's

been dredged up
from the stony dark ocean bottom

and disabused
of all hope and ambition

because he's never
seen the starlight—this is

my only gift, my greatest
lasting favor:

I swear not to wonder
where I am going? I'll just pose

the question: where did I come from? 
Everyone walks around knowing

so very little, but they pretend like
that's a lot.

My body is closed; I will not
debate that. Perfectly,

I'll maintain this ebony silence.
I'm not your

salvation. I am not your hell.
I don't exist

to make the feeling of existence
any easier to take.

I simply exist
to make the feeling of existence

a little less hard
to illustrate.

Friday, June 29, 2018

NEW

These days
after long rains—fecund smells

on the humid breeze,
and between

the sagging trees dart
yellow finches—wings beating

a few
soft ripples

across the face—of the
parking lot lake.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

TETHER YOUR HOPES

Say a little prayer
that—

furious, the feral cat
keeps

napping
in those daffodils.

INCIDENTAL

Brisk chains of eighth notes

chiming down the treble staff—brown finches

on the power line.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

SCHOOL'S OUT!

Still-vibrating
with the smoldering
residual energy

of a brash profusion
of high
summer night fireworks—a plangent constellation

of residual translucent
rainbow-

colored
gummy bears—now stains

the blue-
black
void of playground asphalt—

attracting
rats.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

REFLECTION

Little sun-
silver mirrors

hung—all along
the out-
stretched length

of this
waxy palm

leaf—what do you
have
to teach?

Monday, June 25, 2018

NONESSENTIAL GOODS

In the cool of the
evening,
after the last day

of the
yard sale, God walks

the back
garden patio,
ringed round

with nascent
venereal blossoms

and hailed by ancient star-
burst candy-
colored flowers—

and gazes out
and down

with dismay
at all
the stuff that didn't sell.

Friday, June 22, 2018

CHICAGO BUT NOT BY CARL SANDBURG

Hog butcher, wheat stacker,
freight handler—doesn't matter

how far
you've fallen,
what sort of miserable

scoundrel you are,
there's always a weathered neighborhood
stoop around here somewhere—

that's warped
and sunken just low-
down enough to suit your posture—

with lots of peeling paint
designs, to hallucinate

their
disappointed faces in—
and a nice red white and silver

Pabst can
for the butts and ashes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

INCUMBENT

After repeated
late season
bouts of raging

rains and
antagonistic sun-
shining—

vacant
lot-kingdoms
of toppled old stone

are veined—
with such thick
moss, sweet

grass, and
opportunistic clover—
as to

reanimate
the king
of butterflies.

Monday, June 18, 2018

HELLSTRIP

How fierce-
ly! the blood-mawed
streak of tiger

lillies—stands guard
at the tree-
shaded verge's perimeter;

each, a lithe formidable
snarl of angles merging—
and perfect-

ly sharpened—
to frighten
witless goslings

from wandering
thickly
out into traffic.

Friday, June 15, 2018

OMPHALOS

Gazing down long
at an empty home-
made mauve mug,
its enameled clay speckled

like so many nameless
galaxies smudged across
the Hubble Deep Field,
its shadow-

black mouth, like
god's, not talking but still
piercing my
guts with pure significance—

all those lofted
thoughts of yours,
where have they
brought you?

fierce-postured, on a low stoop
of warped rotting
wood in the morning, contemplating another
cup of coffee.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

NOCTURNE

Her
love, the lone faraway

dusk bird's
meager keening—reasonable

to parse,
not to figure.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

MOTIVATION

A fresh airy silence,
stirring the stale gunmetal
vault of my memory

and stirring
in the gentle breeze—
old black holes

and new
spring leaves—
I feel a burning need

to move
with the mystery
of each of these

swirling—ringing
the edge
of the pool of my knowledge

just like
the fire burning deep
in the woods which surround it requires

each precious little infinity
of empty
space between its blazing arms.

Monday, June 11, 2018

SLEEP MASK

Black as pure thought,
and just
as uninteresting,
that silent interval—once it's passed

so irreversible—
between the deep and
generous inhale

and its shallow
exhalation, proves it's
far too dangerous

to use these
time-bomb imaginations we've got.

But neither
do we dare speak—even to the pitch dark,
of that most secret wish
to be rid of them,

afraid to take things any further,
and seeking instead for the
mushed and damp middle-ground

of sleep's calm shore, as if
groping in the dark
for the redundant explanation:

if that release into the silence
is really so total,

then why is the darkness
still always haunted

by those faint apprehensions
of the light?

Friday, June 8, 2018

AT ALL

Polished silvery
mirror of mid-
June

afternoon—the cool translucent

rain
drops
falling

so ginger-
ly down     
on the—irreducible

fact that I am

down
here under-
neath them.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

PERSISTENCE ECONOMY

Wild-haired, the
greasy American

red-bellied woodpecker

pounds his
rapacious thick

face silly for bark beetles,

might think
he's really

fucking up that oak tree—

but only
barely.





Tuesday, June 5, 2018

END OF THE UNIVERSE IN REVERSE

Spontaneously, families
un-estrange,

don't speak,
can't fight. Like it

or not, everyone grows
closer, looks

cutely blue-
tinted—and everywhere

the idea grows simpler;
letters get wetter

and the math
a lot drier—all around,

the blue-
colored

birds land, dropping
huge mice,

which belly-
flop back into the hot water.

Nothing's
right. Nothing's

the matter;
time's liquefied

so nothing
is really sudden, but

nonetheless, in less
than an instant,

the little bit of
everything

that's left—just
goes white.

ANAEROBIC EXERCISE

If I'm

the torturer, who is the tortured?—Now write

the last line.

Monday, June 4, 2018

OPPRESSIVE

A few steps back
from the stale Milwaukee stop—

the severe
-ly dressed old woman,

in subtle defiance of the
crook in her back,

fords that sheer
abyss that exists between

12:59 and 1 pm—gazing up at
those succoring pictures

in the huge bold posters
(which waggle a little

from the air conditioner)
hung high on the

inside of the
Burger King's windows.

Friday, June 1, 2018

DOUBLE FUGUE

Crisp and busy

city morning—many quick long legs

commute right past



the gold-flecked starling

fastidious pecking—sidewalk cracks

for fresh black ants.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

MOVEMENT II.

Undulating vision
of "Moonlight" 

Sonata
ancient dark cliffs

of such
exquisite grief—

why must your
perfect country

heedlessly
keep rolling? past

its last and
sheerest rock face.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

SLICK

how the
ostentatious rustle

of overhead sun-
bleached silver leaves—

like thick rain somehow
thoroughly falling

on a calm and cloud-
less cobalt day—buffers so lovely

the dark
trill of me weeping—

like a
lost and a terribly

private child—sequestered
in the

middle of this
public street.

Friday, May 25, 2018

MEDITATION

Near enough to the
clamor
and hiss of civilization

to throb a little
with the rumbling
of each passing train, there's always

an ocean—
weathering
the occasional rain,

warm and
thin, which sooner or later is
sure to be falling

faint across its gray
waves
of headstones.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

SCHERZO

Nonchalant neighbor-
hood coffee

shop menu board—
lattes cost five dollars,

crescent rolls aren't even
listed—and you

squint and bite
your lip a bit and don't so much

hear it but
feel this strange hollow

bell tolling twelve noon twelve noon twelve 
noon in the

pit of your
stomach or soul—and just for a little

distraction, you wish
you could

tell this
to Frank O'hara.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A SHOT IN THE DARK

Sometimes I wonder
what—need
would look like

if you could
step back
and look at it sketched—

entire,
and bounded, and
all at once
across a single sheet of paper;

because all
it ever
sounds like is—
the strain of one line

necessarily inheriting
the
tune of another.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

LOVE LETTER

Dear X, I can't stress
enough that I'm

no longer the same
person I used to be.

For one thing, I get off
to bed much earlier.

For another,
all night, the best I can do
is lie

flat awake and wonder
about you—
while the thunder

booms its consecutive
far-off
black mushroom
cloud epiphanies; only they're

speaking all at once, and their words
are so loud, and too close together,
and spouted far

too quickly
for me to catch many
of the nitty-gritty details.

But one
thing about this still strikes me
as being
more or less interchangeable:

my apprehension
of the falling rain,

might be
the same place
where the rain is falling.

I don't mean:
maybe internally,
I am actually the same
person I used to be;

I mean:
maybe it is—sincerely

raining
here, inside me.

Monday, May 21, 2018

AGENCY

When it says it's late
May but the cold morning mist off
the lake is so strong

and stiff—that it engulfs
every lonesome limestone tenement
tower on the horizon,

somebody somewhere
must have done something wrong.

A lone prisoner, perhaps
a scrawny and
dismal bespectacled man

in threadbare vestments,
who's breakfasting
out there in that distant dim shade

penitently on day-
old coffee and some green
thumbnail of a banana

by a filmy and barred window
that overlooks an endless
maze of alleyways—where,

apart from the low-swooping
gunmetal gray seagulls,

the few birds his failing
ears can still hear aren't singing

spontaneous songs—but blind-
ly rehearsing the day's
designated canticle.

Friday, May 18, 2018

EVERYWHERE

The bad news is
the situation
has escalated.

God himself
came down
among us—and he whispers

and walks
around town
in plainclothes now.

But don't worry; you
don't have to drop
what you're clutching

and put your filthy
red hands in
the air—any two-

bit scientist can
tell you: they're both always
already in there.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

ASYLUM

In the damp shade
of this overgrown off-
ramp triangle, thick clots of woodchips

brace a few stubborn hostas, wild
asters, and lots
of Leinenkugel bottles.

Nobody's clapped
their hands around
this place for a while;

all the fairies
look faint
and ugly,

like paperwhite moths
in that singular over-
wrought moment before dawn:

they exist—but just
so achingly
on the edge of almost

that it hardly seems like
a secret worth telling, let alone anything
magical.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

COLLAPSE

Go on. Say
the red tulips

melting in
the partial sun—

are not some
luscious alien

lollipops whose
days are numbered.

The reality
of the

situation then—
must be

unbearably lonely,
since there's

always only
one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

HUNGER

That little child
curled up and
asleep inside me—
who likes
to pick all the stiff
weeds from the curbsides,
the ones with stringy yellow
and purple-ish brambly flowers,
and then
pedal like crazy
back toward his mother,
who's sauntering
with that pretty listlessness of hers
down the same big road
at a comfortable
but gratifying distance behind—
is starting
to get heavy.

Monday, May 14, 2018

POEM OF WORMS

Wrong, wrong, wrong—caws
the cold
wet crow, swooping

slow
and broad-

winged
and low across the meadow—

complex situations
might arise

due to
simple unpredictable
changes in the weather.

Motion is the only purpose;
let this swift black
arrow of action

belie
the slipperiness
of its swift black purpose.

In the soup-
thick fog of morning, the truth

colludes
with opportunity,

reality
looks uncouth,

the signification is mine
for the taking,

and no kinds
of food—

are any
better or worse than others.

Friday, May 11, 2018

WAITING FOR EGGS

The tapwater 
in the black Teflon 
pot on the stove 
is about to reach 
a rolling boil;

irrepressible 
physical changes—more 
than just 
around the corner

(assuming 
we keep to the proper order),

certain processes under-
taken 

can't be meaningfully 
interrupted.

Time yet, to ponder 
the past, 
the future—while the proteins denature
and harden

(stiff kernels 
of a dozen birds that had neither).

Something is wrong. Somebody
blundered.

The purpose of time, 
isn't just

so that everything 
doesn't happen all at once;

it's also to ensure that nothing 
can ever go meaning-

fully 
back to the way it was.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

GRAY MATTER

This container
I've made—has few items
inside it

and every day
the inventory
procedure is the same.

Like fog
off the lake, the same
palpable blankness

moves inside
to slowly fill my heart—
each morning

I manage
to wend my
way again to the shore

where I stand,
declare I love it here—meaning
I would like it

to be true—
the surface stares,
unblinking,

unmoved,
gray. No such fact
of the matter

is entertained.
This universe
which owns everything

also
owes everything
nothing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

TURNING

Everywhere
along the fringes, secret
heart-
shaped leaves

unalarmed
and spinning white
sunlight
into blood sugar—

say what it is you
want to, poets—please
refresh
the language!

Monday, May 7, 2018

ALLEGRO MODERATO

Above the treetops, two tuckpointers—
brick-faced, in brave white
overalls and stained khaki
ball caps,

practicing their
careful avian acrobatics
on the skinny fourth
floor scaffolding—

start dropping
indecorous-sounding exchanges
in quick, clipped Ukrainian—but still,
it's quite easy

and a small pleasure
for me, sauntering underneath
and gawking—to feel sure they're
only joking.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

IDLE

Creamwhite, the
magnolias—

drooping...sleeping...dream

of me—pink
gazing,

writing this fluff.

Friday, May 4, 2018

ENDS OF THE EARTH

Having reached this clear over-
head but
mysterious spot, you stop, stand 
still and watch

strange boomerang birds—cutting
ribbons of cloud from the low-
hanging sky;

you exhale 
again,
and you feel 
the white wind 

begin to carry 
what might be
your last breath away—how far? 

This is a decent question, but it isn't 
the best one. 

Is this what you really
want? chides 
the breeze, To be 
free?—in that case, don't you see 

how you'll always 
be irrevocably 
bound to something?

You don't want to 
hear this; you insist you're not 
stuck—and neither
are you lost,

you've just gone
somewhere new 

and decided
not to move. 

There's a huge difference 
between the two;

no response
of course—but just look 

who 
you're arguing with.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

WEAK AS WATER

That's enough talk about
perfect concentration.

Too much hard truth
exists here already—

correct arguments, accruing
across the noisy centuries

like arid mountainous dunes
of sandy white scruples

all collected in one or two
preposterously heavy

reference books
that cannot leave the library.

But luckily,
poetry—is nothing like that.

Poetry is vague and weak
as water;

it flutters and oozes,
and the more it gets used, the more it diffuses.

So listen, don't talk,
and just try to picture

yourself nude—all alone
in the middle of the wide open ocean,

the only such place where
so much hugeness—combined with

all that nothing—actually makes a human feel
calmer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

BODE

Dauntless black
crow, I studied
you for ages

every day clinging
to these
powerlines by the cement wall

which constantly
sway and moan
with the incessant rush of traffic

from a rude-
ly adjacent John F.
Kennedy Expressway.

Passing by this
same old way
today, it feels like it's been years

since I first came to suspect
what each
of your subtle

and practiced compensatory
movements was for—the littlest
flick, the large and slow

flap, the long and thick
shudder, like some brazenly deliberate 
challenge to the invisible—and yet,

I can still
only wish I understood—what each
movement meant.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

CALLING IN SICK

Because every direction I turn in
this morning, the quickening
green of virginal spring

is trilling
in through my nose and welling
up to my eyeballs

making my skin itchy—like sticky supple
tendrils, all brushing my bare forearms
with fresh pricks of envy.

And gradually, my head's gotten
so completely fogged over with jealously
mingled with the dullest ache of apprehension

likely from gazing too hard
at that slick bluehooded
tough gang of grackles diving

fast over the next hill in front of me—probably
after a fresh gaggle of young lady-
bugs.

TOLERANCE

Freedom

is a
backpack—

the heavier

the
better.

Monday, April 30, 2018

PEACE ACCORDS

Someone
who comes from somewhere
else just declared—

the emperor
isn't
divine anymore. Yet,

his dumb
little three-
letter name is still stuck

on the back
of every shattered citizen's
creased and useless currency—

which
is just as well, since god
is a lot

like a piece of paper
money—if you think he's really there,
he's there;

if you think
he's not—he isn't.
But good luck

not-believing
in even
the tiniest thing—

in the overstuffed
and crumbling
dominion

hence-
forth to be
known as—Everyone Else Does.

Friday, April 27, 2018

INTOLERANCE

After a while, I can't resist. So,
sheepish, I slink 
over, lift the cloche 
of reality, 

anxious to behold 
"pure theory."
Glancing around quick
I pick-

up this formidable word,
give it 
a squeeze, guiltily 
I feel its heft, 

inspect 
its girth—and find, 
with dumb-
founded fingers, that it isn't

the iron-
hard and heavy
thing I'd always 
imagined. 

It's just this thin 
and rutted alligator 
skin, conserving (having 
come this 

far, I pierce it 
with a pinky finger) 
some crumbly in-
consequential fuzz

wrapping, in turn—nothing 
but a tender 
and pitiable 
lack of imagination. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

INVOCATION

Dizzying—to look to horizons
and watch the brightest
eye itself gazing,

enthralled across
the still-
bald treetops—down

to alight
upon billions of
desperate mentalities

where, deeply inside
the seed of each, a private spark
might be awakened

to leap and catch
fire, realizing a billion 
different guises—each new shape

of licking flame, a tendril,
a nascent
arm extending,

as if in the purest
gesture of giving—offering-
up to the others

somehow—different pieces
of the same
one light.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

HALLOWS

Night, wet
hoary moss
and mold grow blueblack

silent—fatally
covering the old;

morning, thick
with sun-
blanched mist—the stuff

new souls
are made of.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE

Darling
you're so

ego-
centric, it ought to be

a breeze
not to think—
of all

the fat slimy
stone-
blind and
goal-haunted insects

writhing away—
underneath
your

perfect spring day.

Monday, April 23, 2018

OMEN

Clot-like, the old day's
overripe fire
spreads across
the deep pink water;

faraway, the oozing clouds
look lavender (though this
is quite impossible)—isn't there something?
You're supposed to remember.

Ghostly music
plays off
somewhere—a fantasy theme
blurred at each note's edges

by the increasing-
ly slow movement
of time—isn't there?
Something you're supposed to remember.

A lone seagull, high up crescent
of wheeling silver,
stabs in sharp relief against
the conjured scene

might be willfully mis-
taken to be
a dove—if not
for the distinct lack

of olive leaf—
might even
be taken
to be a raven—if not

for the
mostly just irritating
screeches it delivers:
Isn't there something you're supposed to remember?

Saturday, April 21, 2018

SUPER MARIO

Those borderless flowing Saturday
mornings, slowly drowning
my capacity to imagine

a faraway
world where eggs
and milk are hard to get.

Touch another star, why don't they?
Like he can;
just

shut up
and eat that
fire flower, or whatever.

Again and again, I bust my head
against bricks, see if
I can

snort up the dust, call it
a balanced
breakfast.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

PROBABLY

Even though it 
doesn't exist, there is still
this certain word
whose terrible weight is immeasurable—

it sits there on the page, like the derelict 
tufts of half-fermented leaves 
and stray cigarette 
packs, obscuring every storm drain,

it looks from far away 
like a languid ribbon of rising smoke—pretty
but useless 
in a windless sky, 

it sounds
like the unsought hysteric 
tack of hard rain 
against every midnight-blue windowsill,

not the sound 
of any one specific music—but rather, 
of all music put together's
bleary echo.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

FURLOUGH POEM

Almost contemptible,
if not so
preposterous—how that

gray squirrel (rival
mammal) wire
tail thrumming,

turning dizzy figure
eight
patterns in the park—routinely makes me

feel so green-
eyed in-
sufficient!

not for
working so much
less hard that he does

for liberties—like
work breaks,
monster lunches;

for not
more often capitalizing
on such

easy and abundant day-to-
day opportunities—to abuse
more legal stimulants.

Monday, April 16, 2018

GNOSIS

The galloping heart

is a crazy horse—it'll

have to be put down.

Friday, April 13, 2018

REUNITED

At last—
it is evening.

And Cause and Effect,
wearied

from the rat-
race

of counteracting all day, can
finally go strolling

together,
hand-in-hand—agreeably talking

shit
about everything.

Even the splashiest
sunsets

don't impress them—like:
why can't

the dumb 
clouds come 

in creamy peach colors 
all the time?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

SOMEHOW

Every night,
real as you like—an impossibly
round chunk of
white rock goes on hanging

completely uncontested
in the edgeless sky—
invisibly
bound, but free

of charge—
and clear
(for now)

of advertisements.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

RITE OF SPRING

How is it, Chicago—the sheer resonant beauty
sponsored by your early
April afternoons

must always be composed of
so many smaller and
unbeautiful pieces?

Or had we better ask
the trash-mad seagulls?—
boomeranging hard just now

about the bloated clouds,
seemingly hitting
all the wrong keys at once—as if charged

yet again this season
with the inglorious task—of
just making sure

this wheezy old organ
still works.

Monday, April 9, 2018

YIELD

Even the scrawny
disenfranchised 
flocks careening past

all seem to slow-up 
and cease their incessant 
honking for a moment—

acceding to this
puerile April
her quiet, cool quiescence

as a quite 
unhinged and lion-
headed 

March keeps 
raving 
in her girlish face.

Friday, April 6, 2018

PARISH

Sometimes I wish I was
a whole congregation;
then I'd have much
better excuses—like

this pied blue profusion
of fat waxy pigeons, messily
ranging the neighborhood:

one minute riding
high upon the majestic
voice of the April wind,

the next low-bowed, pecking
and scratching at every
crack in the asphalt
for a tidbit of breakfast—

never potent,
not concentrated enough
to wonder

whether anything
at all
is going to turn out fine;

knowing nothing
of god—only of vanishing
opportunity.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

SUSPICIOUS

Around
noon, these stiller

days, I
see you lying

dubious
on the ground—

my nearest
enemy,

my dear
equanimous shadow.

Silent, ponderous, you
invite me:

sit right down, stretch out
the immediate

until it becomes
the indefinite.

Every breath, unspeakably
useless,

all alarms—
pure sound.

All my love—now
sticky,

contracts down
into—pity and attachment.

Every move
I no longer make

is practice;
every itch

I refuse to
scratch is

a preparation—
for death.

Monday, April 2, 2018

FEELINGS

Sometimes, it's like I can
hear myself hearing
myself talking, and

all of a
sudden, I get this weird
hunch—prefab

and
storebought—words
are just shirts

and pants
for my thoughts—which, in
turn, must just

be so many
torsos fingers toes
arms legs crotches and butts—

all bumpy
and wrinkled and ashy
and ugly and what-

not—and not one of them
autonomous; each one
nothing but

a nervous
quivering slave, a soft
fleshy pink

robot—pressed tough
and eternally
into the electrically

controlled
neuro-muscular
service of—guess what?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

MENTAL JOGGING

If the secret
answer to every riddle
is time,

I'd take a pass
on action,
and just as soon sit and wait

around
for the
gift of pure vision—I'd coolly 

bear that slow, inevitable
oxidation of
bones and fickle muscle tissue

while imagination swirls
and rises, flooding past
un-grasped,

while shredded crowds of hours
rush down, dissolve, and leech out
the bottom of the noumenal

world like raindrops
soaking through parched clumps
of graveyard dirt—I'd willingly bear it

for the time to sit
and write a poem, or not to,
but whose

last perfect line
typed
on the page when I do

will typically go—
"as always, I remained pretty
noncommittal."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

PORTRAIT POSE

More unsure than 
ever in the shifting 
orange-ish evening light—

and framed by drifting 
chalk moon sky and glistening 
gritty parking lot—I totter

and resort, like a 
jerk, to the only 
game I'm sure I can master:

to gaze yet again 
upon her cagily—
as if she were ever

a piece of my 
chintzy property, as if 
she could still yet be

some practicable 
magic eye poster—now 
and then, a person 

emerging; but more often 
popping—pure 
personality. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

IDIOT PROOF

I believe
I understand everything

now, in its
raw elemental simplicity.

I've seen
the ocean—it really is

quite wide,
sometimes

churning,
salty, and bluegray;

And I know—
within each

one tiny seed!
is contained

the second apple
tree—

seriously
pretty

redundant,
isn't it?

Monday, March 26, 2018

THE LAST MOMENTS OF SOCRATES

A flat calm—both
floors
and buoys

like a dead
sea—but fuck
such sheer

dullness of uni-
formity—
no catches,

I guess: everyone
must die
his own death

(one
entrance, many
exits) and

anything left
behind—
wasn't yours.

DUH

Money is
no object;

money
is the subject.

Friday, March 23, 2018

INDEMNITY POEM

Leave it
to the white-
haired philosophers out there—

to hold out hope
for some ennobling soul

to come
flittering
along on wings of gold—

and lightly
reimburse the body.

God damn his finicky
black guts—the true poet
must

simply despise his
entire anatomy.

Cramped and manacled
by hunger and
weakness and lust, he must

make his living thus:
he works

with fiendish purpose
to correct one
deformity—such that, dependably, another

one—will
go funny.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

HAIL

Brazen
citizen of the world,
your flag

must be the sun—
everyday

salutation,
hymn-
less allegiance,

guiding
light and purpose—
regardless

of how
proud high

or limp
on its
ever-inconspicuous

pole it
gets hung.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

OPPRESSION

Somehow, that profound darkness
which crushes in upon our silent
lonely tin can houses

after we turn all
the lightbulbs off—

so heavy and dense
with the done day's
glut of nontransferable memories,

so much more difficult to breathe,
and far more deterring to grope our way
down long halls toward
our toilets in—

looks exactly the same
as that impish, stealthy,
superfluous kind

which first compelled us
to absent-mindedly

give their white
switches a flick
in the first place.

Monday, March 19, 2018

DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH

Figuring—the truth
must really
be still

and simple—and
the soul
must be nothing

if not a rarer kind
of air—I finally
decided

to stop
fleeing death
completely,

not realizing—life,
seconds after
the aspiration,

would still
feel compelled—to keep
fleeing me.

Friday, March 16, 2018

CHALK

I've existed here
so long,

I feel I'm no longer subordinate
meat

and bone;
I'm a burnt coal

a hunk
of old
recalcitrant fossil—coming off

in my own hands. Coming off
desperate

for the symbols,
frenzied
for the right words

to press and scrawl and
decorate
this primitive space. But

every time
I etch a "yes"—crumbling

a little,
stepping back

to observe, it
always looks a lot

more like—"not yet."

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

DECISION FATIGUE

By now, I should have learned
this: how every sorely
needed spring precipitates

a necessary fall. Exhausted
in thought, piss-poor
in action, the weight of all

time seems to gather
and pool at the center
of each obsidian pupil

and disobedient black
hole ear canal—expressing itself finally
in formless light, colorless sound.

The pathways, overgrown
with it now and dissappearing
as the plot slowly thickens,

curdled with stiffness of
wind, clotted with silence
of still floodwater,

crippled by inertia; surely, the obstacle
becomes the way—but also
vice versa.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

THE LAST CRUSADE

The old priest never told me—
try to feel this
not as words,

but rocks—
not the bare facts
but the hard ones,

and not the ones
out there anchoring
the land, either

but like that one pithy hard
pit in the dark
fortress of your stomach:

Ambivalence—exists.
Incertitude, perplexity,
insignificance—runneth over.

Bewilderment
covers the earth.
And your resolve

your young
tender confidence
composure, dedication—these things

are like His skin:
when pummeled with stones, each
bruises easily.

Forget about salvation,
what you seek
is protection. What you need

is a barrier.
Body and soul?
No—the true analogy

fits together
much more like: clothing
and body.

Monday, March 12, 2018

EVENSONG

Icicles gleaming
translucent
bluewhite

under
the rooftop
LED lights—

like
martyrs'
holy fingers—

like left-
over
star parts.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

ENJOY YOUR MEMORY

Little
smile—you
flash

for
just an instant—
but I'll

continue—
to regard my
having

seen
you—for a
long while.

Friday, March 9, 2018

HAND IN HAND

I know how the stories go,
mythic recurrences,
biblical endeavors—

me, stoic. resolute
in my impermanence.
I am that city.

You—are that river,
hither and thithering, undecided
forever.

I desire commerce. trade.
I cannot move. Yet I yearn to
bend forward.

you—senselessly, you facilitate. yet,
you seek nothing but return
to the father.

Take any given late-
winter afternoon
on these scrupulous historical records:

the sun and wind playing
on metal, on bricks,
and across the chittering water

both necessarily make their music,
both play a plainchant,
monophonic, but overlapping

both existing, sacred and gently,
in the spaces between letters
in the name of the other

both standing there
on the beguiling fringe wilderness
of one another,

side by side, a pair moving
through history for all time—but never going
together.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

CITY OF NEIGHBORHOODS

Despite near-
constant quibbling
and torpedoing of birds,

amid sirens,
rants of nearby buzzsaws
and rap
of distant hammers,

the fat pink man is asleep on the stoop—

slumped
with old joy,

stinking
a bit,

a warped chest of crumbs,
pulsing

constellation,
divining proof:

simplicity—
subsists.

Adulteration and
virginity
can yet—coexist.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

WALKING PAST MIKE'S FURNITURE STORE AT NIGHT,

its lavish tall bay windows
swimming
with moonlight,

sends a pale sliver
of relief
to an overcharged heart

just glancing over left
shoulder to notice—row after row
after row after

row—of ingenious affordable
snow-
white home appliances

all in the dark,
and each
one—turned off.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

EQUANIMITY

Sailing. 
Seasick

heaving
on the slick

deck of some
swollen

little vessel—
groaning nauseous

gripping
the seat. Pathetic, but this

is somehow
vast-

ly preferable
to what's underneath.

Anxious—
doesn't really 

do the feeling
justice. Any minute 

now I 
might be—hurled

blindly 
from the warped ship

into a freezing midnight 
sea.

Monday, March 5, 2018

NOTHING BUT

You—are a perfect
public
restroom;

one by
one people
come to you

they need you more
than they really
choose you

they fill you
up and (if you're
lucky) empty you.

Weird thing mostly
is how—
what's left

in your guts
in your soul
in your middle

still keeps refilling—though
somehow just
a little

emptier
each
time.

Friday, March 2, 2018

EXEGESIS

Full moon,
gleaming milk-
white—

glistening cold
hard-
boiled egg
protein-white!
Must be—

past
your dinner time.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

IMPROMPTU FOR MARCH 1

Swooping down
fast

and
thick as cold fog

on a trash-clogged
mudbrown juniper,

the industrious finches

perch—
a minute

here a minute
there—furiously

rehearsing their choirs

ad hoc
between cloudbursts.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

BEHOLD

My love for this place
is less like a thing
and more like
a thing's container.
It's colored
a nice benign lavender—

safer than either of its
primary urges
but, proportionally,
shaded much more
to the blue side
than the crimson.

Which is to say,
it's not a space
that burns, or insists,
or requires. It prefers to stay
a little far away;
to keep cool,

to wear its sunglasses,
to just hang-
out—and twinkle.
But not like the moon
or a diamond
would do, either.

It's more plasmic
than that, silently fluid-
but-viscous. This
weird oozing cool
thing that I've somehow
grabbed a hold of for a minute,

this thing has
no edges, not so much
as a corner. It can't
be held or folded or turned
over. And it never will be
finished.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

FIGHTING WORDS

If only.
something's missing.

If only.
something's wrong.

If only if only'd
if-only those if onlies!—then,

in order
to be astonished

you'd just have to be
available.

Monday, February 26, 2018

PLENITUDES

Blue or gray—each day, rise
and stretch
and meander

after coffee and
milk come together.
Do no do

what's new. Be
boring. Say
nothing

to onlookers
about this thing you've
been busy building.

Cherish the memorized lines
and the creases;
flirt with every

curve
in these naive
bodily props of inspiration,

your divine-
ly oracular theory
of sets—there is

just so much there, and
believe it:
you've got nothing

but time.
Remember, you are not here
to abuse the numbers,

yet, discord—is the spark
from which
the pure bonfires

of new thought start,
by which
the smooth and the

cornerless light
of awareness increases.
You must only continue

to rise
and stretch
and meander,

no matter
where you're going;
you can advance

just by counting—forge ahead,
simply
by walking there.

Friday, February 23, 2018

IDEA MAN

What if
this whole body of
mine is

just the hands—which are cupped
for dear life
around some matchstick;

protectors of some flagrant—yet
winnowing technology,
humble means

to the end
of that old outrage—thought,
irresistible, beguiling, the source impossible to detect.

Glamorous, that impossible glimmer,
but so-what. It's not
heroic. It's never enough

to create something
from nothing; the real magic
trick—is finding

some tolerably hideous way
of keeping the thing
going.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

HOUR GLASS

Figure it—all thought
and everyone,
adrift and slipping

inside this sloped
and beguiling container;
a thing,
an object in the actual world

which holds
and measures out an abstraction—
a sense
quite apart from it.

Picture it—apprehension
with a certain pace
and a definite
direction.

Patience (quintessence
of dust, province of actors)
grows headless;

it has no face,
is becoming the slightest,
the emptiest,
the least recognizable faculty
on earth.

A patient, meanwhile—
is still one
who suffers.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WILL

I.

There's just
no living

in this
present tense. I am

of the earth,
and of the earth with the breath

of its silty
wind, I'll sing,

each passing second proving—
reality was

but an art-
ful delusion.


II.

Timelessness.
Dreamless
sleep. Non-
arrival. Boredom.

—these lapses

you cannot have;
I'm taking them
with me.


III.

Bury me—
in any body

of water

which hasn't
already—

got a name.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

GEOLOGIC

As time turns
uncountable, plates
pull apart. We
are now living

on opposite shores.
I no longer
see you,

but I still see
your light, still make
out its red-
shifting; so I

know, when it's
dark—you're right
there.

Monday, February 19, 2018

MISSING WORDS FROM "STORMY WEATHER"

When
all you can think is

even the rain
is trying to rain—

stormy weather.

When
dead relatives of yours
keep popping up on Facebook,

portend the disconcerting sense
that, somewhere
far off

against your
will, you're
being prayed for—

stormy weather.

Black and white, moving
picture: someone

whom you never loved,
were never born to—

in the future—
they're a spinster.

Emotional fermata, E minor trill—
keeps raining all the time.

All the time.

Swell.

Forever.

Friday, February 16, 2018

ECCLESIASTIC

Look—even
the hale sacred
sun goes a little

pale sometimes—
appears to tumble

backwards—
drowses late
and far away

in silver
blankets of clouds.

Even if it's working—
somehow
don't waste

your whole life—
working.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

MORAL WITHOUT FABLE

True Love doesn't try
to do too much.
True love knows life's too short for that;
it's never trying be clever.

True Love never says never.
It has no problem rhyming
"ever" with "ever." Over and
over—it does that sort of thing all the time.

And True Love isn't just patient and kind;
True Love is a goddamn sucker
and an enabler; it'll wait in parking lots
and dark kitchens forever.

Even if it saw something,
True Love would never say anything.
It knows better. True Love is
too cool—it's all-like: "whatever."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

FEBRUARY 14

Afternoon sky
everyplace now—pink smoke,
not black;

me asleep anyhow—
things
looking up.

TO DO LIST

1. Try to get sick
of gazing

at the indiscriminate sun-
light—draping

sharp cornered walls of pink morning
brick.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

YOU'RE WELCOME

What if?—beauty,
truth, for
example—were no
crown and scepter,

did not appear marvelous
as crystal bracelets
or clank and rattle
like necklaces either,

weren't even the precious
jewels set in-
side them—but rather
are themselves only

facets—two levels, different angled
planes—in the face of
one worshipful 
but hideous old stone

known as Good—
which sits
like the squat, sharp
skull of a little kid

on a simple wood stand
in a small empty
room, on a thin
blood-red carpet;

and after you
enter and praise it,
and you've knelt
low and kissed it—you're welcome

to ask it—one pure-
ly
hypothetical
question.

Monday, February 12, 2018

LON LON MILK

Empty vessel, proud
rare container, glistening capturer

of all that which
countably itches and wriggles

and of many mercurial
mass nouns, which can't—

inviting us tongueless
to fill it with our coldest

whitest thoughts—daring us
to cover

and squirrel away
pure universal

energy somewhere
personal, somehow

for later,
capped tight, and quiet

in curved glass—blessed
and sacred are you

for holding back, for giving us
just a little space,

for entreating, with neither
any menace

nor urgency, to act—but not necessarily
until we grow tired

and sick
of our main quests—or really

ever, unless
we feel like it.

Friday, February 9, 2018

HISTORY OF POETRY

This is just how it was: numbers—
it was always only numbers—

little ones first, flailing and falling
in larger and larger numbers, 

through holes in older fatter uglier
numbers; landing on piles 

of broken spines of smaller 
fallen leftover numbers. A contradiction

perhaps, but that was just how it was:
it was the rhythms of their falling—

over time coinciding,over time over-
 lapping over time cracking open,

hollowing out, creating space
for the declining rhythms of their rising.

That was just how it was;
and so, now this is just how it is—

an accumulation of vanishing,
a great contraction,

a thing that shrinks and compacts
as it's stacking; it's all just

so much nothing—but nothing was
ever so satisfying. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

INTERLUDE

Consider.—
My mind is a tree.
It will live longer than me.

My heart is an ordinary
but particular bird,
searching
the four directions.

How could a thing be concerned?
in the face of such

transience: the sure
oak—the quick cardinal,
paused in its

snowy morning limbs.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

BELIEF IN BELIEF (IS STILL A BELIEF)

Some days,
I believe
in love

and in the truth
so much—that I can't resist

turning them into these
cheap little gift
shop knickknacks

and taking them with me
everywhere I go—

I carry them both
around in my pocket,
the words feel smooth

like tumbler-polished pastel
talisman rocks.

When I'm feeling fidgety, I
can reach in to fondle,
click and rub them together,

shuffle and rearrange their orientations
to each other in the dark

and it relaxes me;
while I'm pumping gas, waiting
in line at the bank,

debating calling, dialing, pacing—
hoping you don't pick up.

Other days, though, it's heavier. Love
feels like
just another goal,

and the truth gets so thick-
ly narcissistic, that I think

it's likely that all of my depth
has just fallen out of my pocket
though the holes made by hope,

and if I'm not careful, all my
sincerity'll go next.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

WATCH THIS

Like the rainbow
down a

fish's tail, the broken light
keeps playing

on the surface
of the lake—

the lake
which keeps playing

on late-night TV—and I wish
I knew

more about this
subject.

Monday, February 5, 2018

ABANDONED

Snowy vacant
parking lot—black crow's dreadful

pecking
at a dead rat's pelt—very

unself-
consciously.

Friday, February 2, 2018

HAIKU (FIRE)

Deep winter evening—
 
two sticks rubbed together—in 

the kitchen writing.

HELL

Black snail—lurches
under

staggering
weight of his shell,

softest little secrets—needing
the worst protections.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

NUDE

Watercolor
moon—

slight
magic, real magic.

FORCED CONFESSION

Dark times—when you find yourself 
admiring

the abysmal cold—

pale neat vampire,

ruthlessly good
at draining

every last 

cloud from sight

and crushing 

the irksome snowbanks down a little.

COMPLEMENT

Hail thee, itinerant alley-
cat softly licking,
a little matted,

still full
of grace, still fat—

absent
(there are abundant milkwhite
adjectives like that)
but not

agonized—
I see you.

I, too, am
like that—

absent not
agonized

(though this
licking thing, for me
is a coarser feeling exercise),

royally tonguing holy
sores wet with vulgarity,
these repetitious attempts

to recognize—does that look like 
the kind of 
nipple you can drink from?

to figure—was that a 
shrug, or was it
a shiver? 

to decide—do you run 
out to pick some up, or 
get it delivered next-day?

to discover—what's the very best way? 
never to have to rule
out any possibility.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

3

3 finches—is normally about where
I loose count, on my way
toward another conjectured infinity.

Strange: stability of 2s, so wrecked; each balanced
couple in the juniper branches put to death-
by-addition—of a flawless, self-sufficient 1.

Yet, how much more perfect?—all of the deepest
and most far-flung mysteries of the universe, must have
begun like this: manyness, oddness, indivisibility.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

V OF GEESE

You go.
I don't. 

You fly. 
I stay

here and watch—
like vague

twin subjects, 
converging upon 

one perfect
vanishing object—or maybe

the reverse: one ideal vision
of winter

now fraught with
two very dissonant consequences.


Monday, January 29, 2018

HAIKU (CAFFEINE)

Mad inks bomb bloodstreams,

keys all flood their locks—each edge

supercompensates.

Friday, January 26, 2018

MUSE

Little black orphan
left-hand mitten, pinned optimistic
to a bald branch—

feed my irresponsible hunger
for more easy selfsame
accidents of the imagination—

foist this reckless pressure
to create, then junk,
then surrender—

turn in that freezing rancid
wind, stimulate
then arrest in me another

unoriginal wonder: where is your
partner? you're so 
pointless without one.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

WATER TOWER EMERITUS

In the wintery distance, almost completely
obscured by the sand-
colored steppes of ivyless brick 

notched impressively, here and there,
with gaudier bullets
of gunsteel and glass—

a dogged shambles of a sentinel, 
the city's last 
tired and cantankerous protector

can yet be glimpsed
grieving 
that old world cataclysm.

Still new this 
sense of 
plain vanity, he hovers evenings

in his cloistered limbo—tearless 
and tilting
just a little bit, as if preparing slowly

to turn and go,
but 

still arrow-
headed, deadpan, pitch 
black—with resolve.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

SITUATION

I don't understand, but
after all this time spent
talking about it, I can just bet
how the sharp electric wavering
of your own belief in what you're saying
must continue to elude and to shock you;

I can picture, between the clouds
and mud inside you, how it must arc and fork, how it
curves in hot to kiss and hug, then
cuts cold and turns sharp as rude slag,
to stab your throat, dooming your capacity
to even change the subject.

In the midst of the torrent, whenever
the dog turns a little circle, or a distant siren wail
passes, I'm hit with fiercer and hotter
bolts of pure sympathy. I know this: not only
do I hate all of it, but I also desperately want to
hate it all for you.

I wish I could just resent
the force of friction itself—the aftermath
of its intrusion

so plain
in the purple-pink streaks
which decorate your milky neck

when, at last, it swings and curves open
to lay its wrecked head on another
dumb and uncomprehending shoulder.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

EGALITARIAN

I see your wheels
turning up there—proud hawk, or maybe
eagle, even—I'm not
sure. But I don't
have time to keep looking up, I'm swamped
down here as it is—where I work
as the night janitor
in this jumbled jail of earth and evening trees.

Where there's pipes and paths
that need constant clearing, more
and more cells to clean; where
love's labor needs an awful
lot more work (words are like plungers
and solvent and grease, they
won't tend to things which are already free);
where I only have to think
of unstopping sinks and won't be seduced
or distracted or made
dizzy by your majesty.

The evening sky
is clear, your movements are crisp circles,
my actions are furtive
and dark (and they must be); they don't
involve soaring free or flapping
away or getting too far ahead of myself or
anything like that, I won't
let them, I can't. So sure, go ahead—the kingdom
and the power and the glory
are yours, I'm not interested. I really don't
envy you them
anymore.

Monday, January 22, 2018

HAIKU (UNFAMILIAR MAPS)

Chessboard, kept blank, at

crowded table's center—much

more provocative.

Friday, January 19, 2018

ULTIMATE FANTASY

Hair swept
up and
back in a
dizzying cloud,

breasts newly freed, now
swinging limply

apart overhead
in the mouth-
watering lowlight

that's draping the Egyptian
cotton-sheeted bed,
and—

what happens next,

you'll take your time
honing, 

spend your nights
cleaning, protecting, and sharpening—
for use
as a weapon 

against the frittered
away to flat-
lining remainder of your life.

*

Implausibly—no time
really feels like
the first time
you experienced this.

And the last time 
you do,
from some
bed you don't own,

it'll only make sense to you

that once
you did, and now 
don't, and soon 
won't—but still do
your best

to enjoy lying 
back and 
reenacting the sen-
sation

of picturing yourself 
knowing
just how to
imagine having felt and acted

in that old dream-
purchased bed

from time
to time, when the

mood strikes, or else never
does again.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

BY DEFINITION

a house
is not a home,

just like—a magnificent monument
is still a poor

substitute
for a gravestone,

just like—this little
actual poem

must not be a legitimate thing,
because things

that are real
aren't possible anymore.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

CRUSHING

Little by little,
the past

keeps accreting,

squeezing
and shrinking—

perfecting the future.

A black speck of sand
blown by

destitute wind—

concludes upon a fallow hill.
Gradually

a mountain is fashioned,

force arrows
pulverizing

dust to a diamond.

Possibilities—
and all eye-

brows—narrow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

FOR INSTANCE—

Compared to the pitiless pits of space
that reign after,
knotted

and exhausted
and opaque with the traces—
the silences

weakly abiding
before words are spoken—
are innocent and noble;

perfect riddles
to be
solved only by ordinary time,

virginal vistas: fresh breeze and
seascape panorama,
small and soft pools, clear—but quavering,

alien, uninhabitable—
because
doomed

to last only
in those dampest
delicate folds of our memory.

Monday, January 15, 2018

CHARACTER

A colored jumble of scratches—fixed
fast to my refrigerator
still menaces me daily
with its jagged uncertainties.

A shape without a form, the blue shadow
of no object,
some monochrome poem, a hungry ghost: gnawing
teeth and a brittle
whirlwind—a portrait of the artist
as a dead man.

Still, when I was small
like the hand
that drew this, I bet I
was blue, too.

But back then—solitude
felt huge.
Loneliness flowed cool. Alienation
was new.

Crude moods loomed,
thick and inarticulate,
less rich and complex;

but at least words like alien
only referred
to what I meant.

Friday, January 12, 2018

BAGGY POEM

I know there's a place
where there isn't any war

but there isn't any warmth
and nothing's for dinner. 

Everything is deep blue—
do you really want to go there?

It's so clear; you can see 
it all—which is more 

than a little
like not seeing at all. Once upon

you, it refuses to remember 
what you really wanted—

you don't care
you cannot argue

can't feel your shape-
less tongue to name things

out of the gray—that's where most of
them come from;

into the blue 
is the place they return to.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

SINCE YOU MENTIONED IT,

how many colors could
possible be

out there in this world
of wind—

of it fire and its
feathers,

its seeds
and its flowers—what animation,

what valor
left to be dreamed?

and is it really
the dullards

or their governors
who say

have it your way—
the world is ugly

and the people
still confusing

what's true
with what is beautiful,

still arguing back and
forth until black-

and blue in the
face—which

anyway, are just two more
shades of gray.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

THRUM NATION

Sure as the imperious sunlit sky
obscures vast astronomical networks,

this waking life is
merely
obfuscating my illimitable dreaming. sure
let's have another loud

mournful celebration—sure, of the death
of the night, of the life of the world we could
still walk around dead in. sure.

I'm humming, I'm joking, I'm not
humming, I'm scrolling, tearing,
                             improvising through pages—people,
years, projects, dollars. millions of
billions of them out there, but who's counting,
just listen—
even the word "billions" sounds like the coins

getting yanked out of some digital
slot machines' mouths
and hitting the ground sure—just
make up your mind or don't I
don't care just let me make up mine...

in the even audible spaces between breathing, I hear
a kind of existential silence
emanating from all these smart devices.
                                          all trash
compacted news, rude
teenage poltergeists of photographs, clever
ticker tape commentary—

it doesn't matter where. sure,
                          everywhere
the white space tingles. the black
pulses thrash and hum.

Gradually—nothing
has begun 
to crease and to fold and compound itself

out of thin air. out of existence. in a minute 
suffocating it’s own capacity to happen.

Friday, January 5, 2018

APPROACHING 0

As winter's cruel late 
afternoon light 
floods each poorly curtained window, 

fills and 
somehow
dims the kitchen—a gradual void 

of value, 
pace, and direction 

leaves you 
with not even your 
own distinct shadow.

Darkness.
This must be how planets come together. 
This is your cue 

to simplify feeling, 
consolidate meaning,
and wrap your core up tight in their patinas.

You have layers now. You're still you—but
encrusted.

Gradually you are moved 
to boil water,

to light imaginary cosmic cigarettes 
straight off the finicky gas burner,

to start practicing 
smaller 
smaller, 
ever-smaller

reorientations toward perfection.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

CAPABILITY

So deep in the grip of it, Bewilderment
suddenly wrenches the corners
of slack Inexperience

into a dopey smiling curl—
a cute little ligature
used to tie nonsequiturs together

which Authority
leaps to misconstrue
as devious, collusive, up to no good—

failing to notice, this self-
righeous Batman—is about to slap Robin
Hood.