Sunday, December 9, 2018

DEGREES OF DIFFICULTY

If you want to know the difference
between poetry and prose,
you've simply got to spend

the better half of an afternoon
skidding through the silver-strewn
park playing ice hockey—then go home

and, as the frosted rose
sky fades to puce through the
block windows, just try to resume

that same game
down in the semi-finished
basement—with your socks on.

Friday, December 7, 2018

SLANT-RHYMING QUATRAINS

Seemingly unable to speak
the right mantra, to see
the edge of sky inside
for the top of the ceiling;

yet there must still be
some silent intelligence—
drooling and rummaging
around the hackneyed

and shopworn attic shelves
inside me, about which these
cleaner and more articulate
selves—can say nothing.



Thursday, December 6, 2018

EMBLEM POEM FOR WHICH YOU HAD TO BE THERE

It's too late, I've already decided
I'm not going to write this
poem about it. I'm telling you:

it was nothing. A paltry commodity,
hardly suitable as an article
of deep contemplation—just something

ubiquitous, easy to miss
as a mustard seed buried
in halfway-decent soil—like one

of six dozen flathead screws
holding great grandma's baby
grand piano together—

like one little pretty pink
earlobe of a seashell,
on one of those endless glossy

Thomas Kincade shores
on which there's millions;
even now, I can't even explain

how it managed to worm its
way into this sentence. There was
no reason to keep it—it wasn't

a memento, there's nothing in it
which suggested my favorite
corporate logo in its shape,

no connection to some
old girlfriend's
light-thirsty birthstone,

no talisman of those
couch-surfing, "No School
Special" good old days.

It's just something
I almost stumbled over
earlier this morning while walking,

head down, furiously toeing
the slick razor's edge of the
overly-urbanized avenue,

trying to picture
my hypothetical reaction
to sudden loss

of cabin pressure, and
rather too aggressively
trying

to get the hell out of
my own
way a little faster.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

COPENHAGEN INTERPRETATION

Could there ever be
a singular idea
that peers securely from behind
two or more sets of eyes—at one time?

Is it "like" something
to be one wisp, one arbitrary gleaming
velocity arrow—in a silverwhite cloud
of arctic herring?

Do the stars
have inner lives?

I wonder—those silent nuclear processes
going on inside them

just seem so much bigger
and more
difficult than ours.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

THE ONE THING I CAN NEVER FIND INSIDE

Oh sweet and
brilliantly

soft brush of eagle's

wings, oh warm,
light

breath of dawn, please!

back-off my
neck, I'm trying

to sleep.

Monday, December 3, 2018

HOW CAN I EVEN GO ON?

Please help me, I think
I must be suffering
from Man's Disease—

I keep saying "God knows"
when all I really mean
is that I don't,

and I can't seem
to express any of that
supposedly unbounded love for

immediate family; they're perpetually
having to settle—for this small
soundless fealty.

Friday, November 30, 2018

ALARM CLOCK

Every morning, I hear that
damn siren singing—with its inane
refrain repeating the lyric 

about existence
being a guarantee—of nothing
more or less than itself;

with its singsong-y melody rising
only to fall a little more tragically
due to the specific gravity

that comes from measuring
the density of a pound of love
suspended in a pound of duty;

its thick counterpoint of doubt
and certainty weaving the texture
of a certain wine dark area rug,

the one I've been drifting on—
the one I soon begin to see dimly
as the one I must

eventually abandon ship
and whip the soles
of my cold and disbelieving feet at

to discover once and for all
whether they'll stick there
or fall right through

and sink at last
into that ocean—of unabridged
sleep beneath.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

I wonder—after we're pierced all over
with with the stupefying fingers
of proximate winter,
sterling bells ringing sharp as needles,

snow and ice fierce and extravagantly
silent as diamond
necklaces draping the blue neck napes
of the noblest pagan goddesses—

what on earth is there left
to feel?

Famous-sounding words like these
were never iterated
concerning noisy inchling birds in spring

or the stubbly bushes clinging
to the lurid face of autumn

and those stagnant summer
gutter puddles, all steeped burnt umber
with fermented dogwood leaves

would certainly make pretty unappealing
greeting card illustrations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

JEERS

Cheers—
to that most
magnificent glacier,

somehow
equally
aimless and dignified—

the imperceptible
pace at which our
styles changed,

so we could
always
wear the same size.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

GRAND SCHEME

Outside the range
of salvation
army bells' stilted ringing,

the lows
approaching
record-setting—after dark,

you
and me
slowly stripping

in front of
our deadpan beds, feeling
pretty average.

Monday, November 26, 2018

FLOOR PLAN

Listen: somewhere off the hall,
a cramped bathroom 
faucet seems to be mumbling, 

an angel-
white radiator is crawling 
in a heap in the corner, weeping softly, 

a brusque fridge compressor 
is taking a grand pause—before 
launching into the adjacent movement;

true, maybe that's not 
the movement you signed up for. 
But that's the one you

could afford. That's the sound 
of everyone around you 
making of their inner lives, a song.

And look: you too 
are doing it. 
In your case, of course

it's just a tiny little song,
most well suited 
to a tiny little room—

but at least
it's got lots of wonderful pictures
of wide-open spaces 

someone in your 
family must have visited once
on its tiny little walls.

Friday, November 23, 2018

UNTESTED

Maybe I'm the secret
omnipotent king

of all the sunlight
resounds into
sight with its
triumphal song;

so benevolent!
and secure

and carefree—I've never once thought
to try
forbidding it to
do anything.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

LUX AETERNA

That precious
brittleness
of a little 

white gash—can never 
hope to appease
the vast 

pestilence of black; 
that's why—it's
unceasingly  

encouraging 
to the observer—how 
redundant the stars are.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

PROTEST POEM FOR GENERAL PURPOSES

This poem
is like the air:

it's just
what was there—

when the first word
drew its next breath

and exhaled
the subsequent one

in consequence—and so
on, inexorably

for a
finite lifetime—unexceptional,

incorruptible—
and fair.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A STICKY NOTE

to write a fresh simple poem
using the leftover ring
of the coffee mug

on this
nicked up but otherwise stark wooden table
as its edgeless center

I jotted this morning
after the second cup
with hasty

notes toward indelibility
of seeming infinity plus
its remainder

a good reminder
of pure luck and a good
frame to focus

on how loss works.
Some telescopically deep
task for an image—now

how in the whole of hell
is this rumpled old secretary:
my afternoon self

supposed to go
about tidying up after
a boss like that?

Friday, November 16, 2018

NEXT LEVEL

Lost forever—in the dark
water temple, guzzling midsummer
droughts by the dram

and cordless phone riffing
the most spectacularly
ineffectual songs

while clad in those magically
discolored vestments—bet you
never thought

for a second: this kind
of a puzzle
may never come again.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

PERSONAL TRUTH

There's a silver heaven out there
just for you;
that's the one
you're going to.

No one else
is in there—swearing
and taking up two seats
on the bus and

fucking with your stuff;
it's just
for you. Pinky-
promise you: no one,

no more
worries, ‘cause
nobody else. Absolutely
no one—whosoever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

PROCESS OF ELIMINATION

Rest assured, somewhere in the middle
of your poem—the search for perfection
will consume itself completely

and leave whatever burnt up
lump of your-
self that's left inside

feeling perfect-
ly insatiable
at the same time. Even though

this radical new rhythm,
which you can neither imagine
nor define, keeps ringing true;

either the impossibility of the sound
stops you dead—or else
the realness of it

keeps leading you on. As it must.
Until, finally you approach
the end of the last line,

still lacking in the love
you were desperate to find,
though all curiosity

has been extinguished
and each open end
has been punctuated.

But the lingering question
what was it all for?—blazes forth
brighter than it ever has before,

since now, it can only be answered:
whatever is left 
that it isn't.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

FAIT ACCOMPLI

Lately, the increasing-
ly lowering ceiling
of clouds

has pressured me
into something like
a lotus position,

having bequeathed its
most immoderate gift: time
to consider

how best to construct
one's life, beside
the sturdiest dam

of grief
one can find—without so much
as a thread

of hope
for recompense.
So I figure,

as long as I'm living
out of my mind—that means I
can't die. However,

to be still, to lie
supine—even with
all the bombs going

off all around—that's
not exactly
an unshakable feeling;

that's more like
me—unmistakably
moldering away.

Monday, November 12, 2018

THE SIMPLEST THING IN THE WORLD

The simplest thing in the world,
is the hardest

thing in the world—
flip your old ballcap

upside-down
and catch a little sunlight,

instead of only
blocking it out;

notice the plaintive
shuffling of your feet—against

the unstoppable stillness
of the ground;

look up—past the place
where pointed rooftops reach,

but don't ever touch 
the obdurate clouds—and feel

certain
(without having

to parse it in a sentence) that
help—is all around.

Friday, November 9, 2018

DON'T LISTEN TO THE WIND

Of course—
your soul

is a brimming bowl
of pure fruit juice;

just remember—a lemon
is a fruit too,
and so

is every
single
little green bean—

and so's a goddamn tomato.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

POLITICAL POEM

What is a man?
but a woman—on a stick

that's been
dipped in something.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

UNPROTECTED

Instead of a poem, maybe today 
I do a nice sort of swerve

so as not to hit this 
impetuous kid—

gray eyes on the 
gray street 

and pink cheeks
to illuminate 

a painted-on doll's frown—
which begs, I think

to brag 
of the secret 

splinters buried in their palms—
an obscure result

of too much casual
raising high the roof beams.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

EXPERIENCE IS UNAVOIDABLE

To think—this whole mess, it
might have happened just like 
Virginia Woolf said: time passes. 

Many many suns
traveling their predictable matter-
of fact paths—though each one 

is its own immeasurable dream 
blinding bright as 
untarnishing silver—

eventually blur, run 
together, are forgotten.
It's a mercy 

we are no longer 
astounded by Copernican theory, 
even a little disappointed 

to finally behold 
the Rhodes Colossus—and the 
many alternate possibilities 

which must invisibly ride along-
side every sunrise, 
are necessarily discarded 

if we're to ever to get 
the day started—except (perhaps) 
for the one exquisite fantasy

in which—neither we 
nor the sun
ever bothered.

Monday, November 5, 2018

WANTS NOT MET, NEEDS NOT NEGLECTED

Soon
we'll be dead—we aren't

right now;
we are

solitary—we're all
connected;

the irregular sounds—
of rain

on my
windowpane—exhilarating!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

ITCH

Something keeps tickling me.
Something unhelpful, vestigial, no
longer living,

but nevertheless
beguiling, being so perfectly
preserved in time's mellow amber:

this frail ancient
wisp of me that never
stopped loving her. But it's

not so much the artifact
and how its becalming beauty is all
bound-up in its hopelessness

as the accompanying
sense in which—all life on earth, right
up to this moment,

might have unfolded
purely as a reaction—to the littlest
inopportune encounter.

Friday, November 2, 2018

OVERTURES

Dark dead of morning,
and already—before the bus brakes
squealing F#

and the trains peeling-
off in high C—there's the distant
rhythms of many

hungry engines, the heavy rattle
of a battery
of big trucks coming,

the uniform clandestine
clomp of filthy
work boots hustling—to get

the dissonant
language of the
streets all picked-up

quickly—before the heart-
beat in the
womb is detected,

before the ghoulish
neighborhood priest
and the squeaky-

clean politician
can hear it
and get started.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

INTEREST COMPOUNDED DAILY

Wearied as young
debutantes
leaving the grand ball,

all the trees—from
the smallest red dogwood,
to the shapeliest

catalpa—heave sighs
and shed their extravagantly
crumpled vintage coats,

draping the fall sidewalks
in such preposterous
and superabundant fortunes

of pure gold,
of sturdiest
rust and tart persimmon—

that the lowliest woman
and most distracted man
no longer know where

to look, or how
to feel poor—while just
enjoying the simple.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

GROWN-UP PROBLEMS

Back—in that place
before the aftertaste
plotted its daring dislocation
from the taste,

before the sun hung
hemoglobin-red
at the end of an anniversary
date's unsympathetic tether;

back in the old apartment,
the one with the stucco
walls, the one above the Starbucks;

back before the utterance's disintegration
into its inexorable silent answer
and Paul Simon's (incongruous)
hit song about the sound of that;

there in the secret lookout place
where you'd hide, bare-kneed, still,
and breathless, behind the orange drapes,

to watch them as they first envisioned
the impressive dam they'd build
against the fat muddy middle
finger-shaped river of their grief—

that's the only
place where you could travel
to catch—and tenderly

caress—that gently curving little c,
that very first malignant letter
of their current condition.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

PRETTY SUNSET POEM

Red—is not even
a thing.
And yet,

there it is—in the world;
defensible murder,
at five

in the evening—
the heroically
crumple-

edged face—of that
slowly
asphyxiating man.

Monday, October 29, 2018

UNDER COMPULSION

Looking out at immortal
dawn, it's dis-
quietingly easy—to imagine

the countless lives
which must be
buckling

under the weight of its bracing
horizon line—
above which,

cast in autumn
air's fierce clarity,
cut countless

genuine arrows;
but those
migratory animals

must never
leave home either, if
they don't care

a bit
what state they're
in—or which.

Friday, October 26, 2018

FACING WHAT'S THERE

Most perfect thing I do
all day—fling
open every gray
curtain in the morning, smoothly
avoiding any
picking and choosing.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

LAUDS

Cold light on wood, on texture
of blank paper, rough as the mountain
tops of an old gray monk's finger tips.

Black coffee, slow two-stepping itself
too cool to drink
in its antiseptic white ceramic.

Seconds ticking—the distance inside each
one of those foggy mountains, crags in
complete shadow, can't see the summit.

Just two or three
sentences, no more—and nothing was ever
the same after that.

Could just eat.
But then—will only have broken
a fast

and still not received what
is needed—or badly
wants to be.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

FULL STOP

I think I can picture
those bees down there, drowsy
with cold, hovering in those costly
sunny patches still remaining;

and across the street, there's
the chilly flutter
of the yellowing trees
and the drably colored

menial birds, arrowing back
and forth underneath,
suspicious of stasis,
manic for breadcrumbs.

High in a windowed tower,
in which no one living
still believes in Jesus,
a short sort of prayer

just barely finishes
coming together—far less
believable, and more oblique
in its way of asking

than either of us really
deserves or cares for. There's a sense
of relief just after
distant church bells

finish tolling noon—this time
of year, at least
for me, it's only just
now a new morning.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

ASTIGMATA

I've only just now
come fully alive—having

found myself stumbling alone
in this hazardous land.

And I feel—not amazed, but
amazed I understand.

Dark angels, hawklike
haunting street corners

seem to want to meet
and shake hands.

Don't you see? I tell them,
it’s not—having a problem;

it's having a problem—no
one else has.

Monday, October 22, 2018

UNAMAZING GRACE

I hope this is how that same melody
happens to us every morning
as we continue

to grow, impossibly: older but stronger
and more and more sure
of the notes that are still missing;

like we cannot possibly still be
asleep—our inclination feels so much closer
to wakefulness;

like we cannot forget
what a joy it can be—just to recall a merely
copacetic dream,

to be carried piggyback
all the way home, or that the biggest adventures
always happen on the inside;

like every belief—fragile, icy
silver, as the faraway stars, starts off
so small

way out somewhere dark—
and inevitably explodes
in a splendid bedlam of wind chimes,

like the ones ringing out just now
in the tree
of pure mind

outside
the dirty living room
windows—of our eyes.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

SHORT SONG

Fine but indiscriminate
night mist rising,
moistening these lowered lids

of deep black sky,
as if to dye them—somehow even
deeper black.

Friday, October 19, 2018

PISSING WITH THE DOOR OPEN

Separate harbors,
only one light source;

peculiar movers,
always that

same flawless
singular stillness—

now, exactly
how many beholders

do you dare
imagine there are?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

POSTURE

I'm not sure
there's a lone cool pine
out there

who doesn't hold gracefully
true—from the
top of its ornamental

emerald crown, to
the tip of its fiercest
primeval root—

just what I mean
when I
say—it ain't easy

looking so outwardly
fine all the time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

NOWHERE TO HIDE

     I am lonely, lonely.
     I was born to be lonely,
     I am best so!
     -William Carlos Williams 
 
                   ***

Since I no longer remember 
being created, I eventually decide
I must always have 

been here already—a shambles 
and alone 
and content as such

to be: less 
than I might be, more than 
I wasand I suppose it's high time 

to make for myself a nest 
of this useless 
old beggar's hat. 

I try my best to sit back 
and pine 
at my new writing desk 

over some perfect-
ly inscrutable
personal experience—

but almost immediately, I begin 
to feel 
stirring within me 

the faintest thump, a pang 
of something wider,
a feeling buried deeper 

than hunger;
the redoubtable 
little kick of new life—not mine, 

the whispered beginning 
of a brand new line,
a strangely 

consonant pain: the desires 
and strife—of all of my 
neighbors.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

NO LOIS LANE

Remember how
Clark Kent would always
change his clothes instantly
and publicly—say,

in a revolving door,
in the back of a yellow
cab stuck in traffic, etc?
Well, I do it differently—

by slowly
and morosely drinking
cup after cup
of hot black coffee.

I do this all alone
in a skinny strange apartment somewhere;
there no Lois Lane,
no primary colors.

And when I do it, I go slowly;
it takes me several hours.
But eventually (and I mean,
like half the time, maybe),

Superman emerges.
I only know this
transformation has taken place because
he—feels free

enough to leave
the house for a while,
boldly forgetting
that all walks are circles;

he also believes
he's super strong, as if
he could conceivably change—what is
already the case.

Monday, October 15, 2018

NECESSARY HALO

Give this poem
a break—just like

you: it had to wake
up in the morning,

find pants, and
piss—while still so

foggy in the mind—
of its beholder.

Friday, October 12, 2018

HUNGRY GHOSTS

Sobering to remember: that same
bright carafe of starlight, as it
tilts and starts to pour

a softer and sweeter slow amber
from its bewitching procession
of lower and lower angles

also makes
the shadows grow—
longer and thinner, somehow

increasingly ravenous and unstable
the more of geometry's logic
they devour;

but then, once the whole pitcher
is empty—less enigmatic, and more
realistic.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

WIND CHIME

After the rain storm,
some curious bird—likely still hidden

beneath the pulpy
hood of a

neighboring porch—
is singing

such an impressive melody!—
I immediately

begin making-
believe—I created it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

DUDE THE OBSCURE

The trick I perform best
goes like this—

the list of things I don't believe
grows ever longer,

while the words I use
keep shrinking down.

Some nights, my performance dress
is a bodysuit which consists of

the shredded pages
of a homemade thesaurus;

other nights, a DIY tux
made of dollar bills and ticker tape.

And the tight rope lines
I stumble over,

while sideshows of scientists
blow on their slide whistles

and cavalcades of doctors
and lawyers beat drums,

keep wobbling dramatically back
and forth between

the perilously careful
and the trivially absurd:

I don't know;
but I'm sure.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

COOL POEM

Feeling both 
divided and fully- 
realized by the Autumn wind

gusting neither 
warmly
nor cold across my rough-haired limbs—

I first become small 
and afraid 
and thin as the under-fed 

mouse on the garden path—and then,
bold as the high speck of red-
shouldered hawk slowly whirling 

and finally—unruffled
as that nameless twinge of tender 
firmness in the same wind 

that allows the latent purposes 
of both of those things 
to be right.

Monday, October 8, 2018

IMPASSIBLE

Pain is a strange flower
whose truth
is its color—

its fierce petals
are languages—always
and already

unfurled before us
in sheer space—but only
picked up

in time—and never
purely in terms of themselves
discussed.

Friday, October 5, 2018

ALLELUIA ALLELUIA ALLELUIA

Slotted spoon—
unbeknownst
to you,

all those savage wounds!
lend themselves
so decorously

to—some much more specific
definition
of sufficiency.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

THE SEERSUCKER SUIT

This is
his high gloss
quarter inch

american flag lapel pin—
a smart

sort of poem,
thirteen skinny lines—laid out

precise,
in the upper left
corner of a milkwhite page, so they

say it right—but don't
leave room to
explain anything.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

LUCY

Stooping as usual,
to ruffle your fugitive

salt-pepper-turmeric
summertime coat—

I start to think (as I often do): 
Lucy, I suppose

if I'm lucky,
I'll outlive you

by a pretty huge
and consequential stretch—but then,

the sure drift
of those soft hairs

down their invisible cross-
breezes reminds me—it's not really

like that; I'm not some puzzle.
And you're not

a little piece of me
liable to go missing.

The truth is—I am a tall
and a lukewarm tap-

water glass. And you're a small
ornery ice cube;

and after you've finished
imbuing me

with your best attributes—
I shall continue

to bear the full weight of you
as we sweat here together

on the surface of this huge table,
awaiting evacuation:

down the hatch—of whatever
parched throat

flippantly motions
to swallow us both.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

RADAR LOVE

To the man on the street in front of
my house, idling

in a white Chevy
Silverado—revving it

a few times
while

listening to Golden Earring—
I want to shout

a few things
from the sidewalk:

science
is observation!

art is just
a specific arrangement!

information is only
estranged experience!

the next Buddha—will be
all the people!

But what good would it do?
The only things

he'd be able
to home in on

would be—the ends
of my sentences,

the raising and lowering
of my hands

and my eyebrows
in narrow and offbeat patterns

before their inevitable return
to stasis—as if

the goal of all sound
was just: the location

of our own bodies
in endless

waves of blind ocean;
as if

the goal of all our music
was silence.

Monday, October 1, 2018

INGATHERING

The blushing russet cheek
of harvest time nearing, the main street bakery
loosely maintains its outdoor seating—like an idea yielding,
dusty and dimmed as the all-day afternoon light
diffused through its incorporeal uniform of clouds,
and searching for shelter,

perching on an interior
limb of a largely abandoned mind. Only the fatted
white crowned sparrows
and maybe a few gaunt finches still hop, a little
manic, around the entrenched feet
of cheap imitation wrought-iron, willing to eat anything.

Friday, September 28, 2018

UPON CLOSER INSPECTION

Like morning's light,
the singing of the muses
is surprisingly astute
and unromantic—ranging

from the thin swivel
of coffee steam
and unshorn texture
of good book paper

to the mangy treetops and pink
shingles and ivy-
laden brick edifices
just outside the window—

then, like the translucent
morning glory folding, all
receding through interior
hallways of the mind—

doors behind doors
behind doors behind
doors—until deep
in the dark operating theater

and undivided by shadow
from what they once were
and whatever else they could,
with the dawn of a new sun, become

my eye pierces nothing
but—nets of things, tangled in
undogmatic rays—or is it
the other way around?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

THE BENEFACTORS

In the gold and
ruby orchestra hall,

a small solo
violin—henna

tattoos and the
whole thing—

adroitly melting
all the calcium

off the opulent
walls—of their arteries.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

EXCERPT

Every morning,
before things begin,
invariably, to get their
own ideas—this workable

excerpt, this gloss of an unshaven
face reflects upward

on a perfectly circle-cropped
veneer of black coffee.
I gaze back down
at the hole in the mug carefully,

without reservations, abiding in
the unrealistic shape

and feel ever so slightly
unnerved
by my confidence—that there's
really nothing

unusual
to worry about anymore.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

OR SO IT WOULD SEEM

It's inevitable. Every time
I try to
do a New Thing, I 
wind up
remembering some Old Thing—

cold grapes, perhaps
to chill the mouth and mind—first,
so-arranged on a plastic-
wrapped disposable 
plate by some invisible hand,

then—warm, caterpillar-
yellow, on the vine 
across the alley from mom's 
girlhood backyard, brown hens in noon
sun carousing nearby;

thus, I transcend 
space and time. But only 
in a way that's useless and benign: only 
inadvertently, only in reverse
and backwards.

Monday, September 24, 2018

THE ALARM

Huge and hot and
engorged
as the sun is—

so showy
in its own violent ruination,
it is also

fiercely and
completely silent.
Can you just imagine

consuming your own raging actuality
in such a spectacular quarantine
as that?

No fate
could be worse, no vanity lonelier,
no lamentation more pathetic—to have

not even the forlorn moan
of the solar wind
to soundtrack your misery, not even

the terra firma 
of embarrassment to fall
back on—really nothing

you can do after that
but get out of bed
and put a clean-ish t-shirt on.

Friday, September 21, 2018

DEMANDING COMPLACENCY

Less than an hour
after the Farmers'
Market is over—gaunt finches

inhabit the park—
without prestige
or heed, they hack

the beige dirt
and scour each
stiff patch of matted clover

which swells cheerily
around the pre-
fab path,

at once both
systematic
and desperate—for just one grain

of our collective stab
at self-
satisfaction.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

EVERYBODY STALFOS

You think
you're scared now—just wait

til the grimacing silver-
hooded

moon disappears—and I'm
still here,

undetectably
feeding these dewy blank

fields—
from beneath.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SAPPED

Huge resolute spears
of leaves—that grew over
where we walked

together—are shriveling now
and liable
to drop from these

palpitating branches.
Next year, I struggle
to wonder—

what weird
new shapes? they could
possibly bear.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

PARTY'S OVER

Oblique strategist, it’s apparent now,
the whole point of what you are
was never very sharp.

At the eleventh hour, made flat
and dizzy by the increasing slipperiness 
of sound and image, 

you stumble stoned from the mise en scène
and approach at last—the solidity
of things, 

the imperishability of one certain object: 
with your whole soul, you grasp
the handle, crank the handle, and see—

how patiently the white porcelain 
bowl—newly pregnant with her gleaming
water—always gazes back.

Monday, September 17, 2018

NOPLACE

When cool nights arrive, I'm
finally free

of the self-
assured afternoon's harsh

loneliness
and gloom—together we sigh

and crouch,
hang out high and munch

peanuts, and slink
like cowards

across the blue-
and-yellow-checkered couch—

for now,
I share this shitty apartment

with the irresolute
halfmoon—

and if I'm lucky at all,
when morning

comes, I
still do.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

IN THE TIME OF THE RESISTANCE

Stubborn old
rain puddle—abetted
by these 

untamed weeds, it never
seems to leave—many days later,
gaunt autumn bees 

still pause
and nose around the rust-
sweet water.

Friday, September 14, 2018

THE UNREASONABLE WILL

Autumn blossoms—
blithe mum

and nimble
morning glory—

speak a crisp "yes, hi"
to No; anything

goes—nothing
abides.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

ELLIE UNCOMBED, WITH INSIGHT

Even solid gold
hair appears
messy with unknowing

when she sleeps,
without caring—

not so much dreaming
as floating
just below

or above
an idea—you
and I

likely
would have discarded.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I NEED THE CHANGE I FEAR THE MOST

The birds, the sparse
park grass, those meager
city tress—

all possess
the mentality—to teach

not of other things, but
only (finally)
of themselves—

without words
or lessons;
no translators, zero traitors

hiding from stinging bees
in the zinnias, or hanging
dead from the catalpa branches.

Why can I not seem
to do that?

Why shouldn't
the music
of this very

rhythm? rattle
swiftly on without me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

THE SLIDING SCALE

Heaven's
sake, I would like
to have said

to my old
friend the raven,
before he took off
for the upper
peninsula—

these forehead demarcations
are growing
both

keener—and somehow
ever
ghostlier, don't
you think? Its as if

the farther apart
a hard-hammered wish seems
to have been beaten
from its antecedent,

the finer and neater
are the filaments needed
to connect them,

and that's all;
until

the distance
between—

the ridiculous despair
which haunts
a dislocated

brain such as
this one—and its
favorite

quiet spot
at the neighborhood
coffee shop

is never
very great.

Monday, September 10, 2018

LOOSE

Whenever—and to the absolute
extent that it
can

the sun's speedy
dissipated
light will touch everything;

not only
is that
the truth—it lands nice

and flat—upon what
the truth
is.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018

VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER

Small consolation
for the dark
horses—born of a billion

furnaces' hysterical burning

and after taking
so many
strange alternative

years to finally arrive here,

the tardy afternoon
light can still
plausibly appear to fall

so cold—

and impersonal—
against the back neighbors'
brick wall.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

REALISM IS THE DIVIDEND

The Real, in these hands—
divided by several
floozy ideals

from that intangible
pink and cream
palace of somewhere—

always yields
(in black
and white ciphers)

the same petite quotient
and its
hideous remainder

which seems
to keep on
divising forever

and repeating
the equation, like the
purr of a mantra:

words
over
the sounds of those words 

might
help you to live a less 
frangible life.

Thus, I become
emperor
of leftover numbers;

here,
I have complete
and unlimited power—

to stand back
and let—the next thing
occur.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

THEORY OF HISTORY

Think about it:
even the lonely executioner—who,

with all his
might, must press—and split
some kid in half;

then sift around the slag
until he finds

the soft white music,
the subcutaneous stuff, the
timeless kind;

then, taking his guileless
knife by its handle,
cleanly trim and toss it—

must sometimes find,
washing his face and hands
a long half an hour later,

he cannot keep his lips
from whistling—
having

instinctively
picked-up from somewhere,

some moribund self-

indulgent tune.

Friday, August 31, 2018

A STRETCH

Maybe
Einstein, sleeping
back in the
last century, dreamed me

in 2018,
abandoned—out here,
where the
woods meet the city.

Though they seemed perfect-
ly detached
and helpful, each of his small metal
ovals of thought

over time, formed these
linked chains of facts,
which now constrain my head,
holding me back

from bowing low
to drink
at the moss-shielded fountain
form which

nonsense is gushing,
in endless flourishes
of formlessness
and lazy adherence to relativity

which moisten and
glisten across these
terrible rings of metal—
giving me the shivers

and keeping me
from sleep,
despite the deep
night riding

in on the the cool starry wind—
and accelerating
out into the strangely
ill-defined distance.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

OUT OF ORDER

Maybe, a heart
doesn't break—it falls in mid-flight 
and punches 
another small hole 
out of midnight;

pure darkness 
falters, and the temperature 
inside our sleeping 
skulls goes 
up a little;

the next day—there's a new crow 
on the power line 
coughing and razzing 
slightly shorter
bluegray snakes
of traffic 
in dull rain.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

NATURAL CALM

If you really need
an authentic sleep

and really need it
fast—try counting

not blessings or sheep, but
the billions

and billions
of other people's

exquisite
crepe paper eye lids—

which, by now,
have already crumpled closed—

so peaceably,
and tasteful

as a runner-up rose—for the

very last time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

THE STAKES ONLY GET HIGHER

Would dancing
ourselves to death
be a pleasure

it it were under-
taken purely
by instinct?

Better
come back
to the

same old oak
tree in the park—
where we

once swung
and laughed
easy, picnic-

lunching,
with sticky red
jam around

our mouths—
and ask
those same

bees again
at the brisk end
of September.

Monday, August 27, 2018

LEISURE-READING TOLSTOY

Take a good look
at this
ad hoc bird's nest—see it's
just scraps

of the little things
nestled neatly
inside the big abstract one
they create.

Here's a large cavity
which seems to resemble
an ancient fish's
skeletal signature,

impressionistically
swimming beneath
the verminous John F.
Kennedy overpass,

all the vomit, piss, and
diarrhea—neatly organized
into a new form
of orgasm.

And right over here
is another
small pocket
stitched out of how it's

still possible—
to eat M&Ms
while you
read War and Peace

and discreetly
check the Cubs score
from the anti-gun rally
(just try not to

think about
how much larger
and louder
that other crowd is,

or abstraction
might crumble
back into
garbage again.)

Friday, August 24, 2018

THE POEM OF THE MIND

Gradually, I will learn
to set aside blackbirds,

one by one, shut each
obsidian eye,

leave every bead
of humid dawn water

hanging suspended
in redolent cedar branches,

let the moon and the sun
collide and trade places

allow those tiger lilies to go on
purring in the dark—locked

away, one inside each of my
four heart chamber drawers.

The poem of the mind
is pure steady light;

no snow-
storms, zero love affairs.

The one undying gaze—which beholds
the source of the situation,

looks without urgency, sees
without interest.

Still, though—even about that, I have
to wonder.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A HAIKU TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

Here is a fresh poem—
it's pure and spontaneous
as a late May snow

only—
way more complicated.

PARABLE OF THE TWO FICTIONS

Day after day,
season
after season—hour
after hour,

that same familiar
changeling, her intelligence,
would bid her—
look, think, remember.

Remembering things 
brings them back to life;

The early and eager-
to-bloom glories of today 

may simply be 
the dream of last night.

But wait, she thought,
last night, the moon
that hung up in the sky
was bright

yellow, three
dimensional—and full
with all our collective
memories of morning;

another invisible
thing made visible.

Meanwhile, the one which was still
reflected in her eye
was full—of black and white
photos of flowers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

AFTER FACT AND REASON

Eventually,
it must be alright.
It's got to be

possible—
to call it a night, 
to lift up

and kiss
each majestic peak
of these blisters,

to tan
for ten to twenty
in front of the television,

to give
each bulbous blue
moon of a brain lobe

an honest-
to-goodness
epsom salt soak.

At last, it must be
the right thing
because it's

the same thing,
the real thing,
the honest thing.

A little light
music—or perhaps
no sound

would be more
appropriate—
to accompany

empty feeling drifting,
knots of gray
wet rope untying.

God knows—
even J.S. Bach,
for all his leaping,

kept falling
back on
the same dozen notes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

SONG OF THE INDEPENDENT SURVEYOR

In the wild west 
known as
plain ordinary Tuesday, 

the myriad 
looks coming at me—from the mirrors 
and the glazed windows of closed 

shops—are all shady.
If even this gray rain 
is not just the gray rain, 

then surely 
there must be something 
that I could symbolize.

I keep joking
like pacing wet tennis shoe
laps around 

the dark formidable 
landmass 
of what I knew,

until I've got a few more 
of the landmarks
sorted out—the blank silent looks

are a meditation, a prayer 
for less dependence 
on supplication;

the laughter 
is a chattering river—cutting deep
enduring canyons.

Monday, August 20, 2018

DANTE'S LUNCHEONETTE

Beatrice!—the white
dress,

red cherries
printed on it—coolly

palming egg
salad.

Friday, August 17, 2018

REFRACTIONS OF THE HONEYMOON

Isn't it odd—the first six
or seven colors were
given to us

there in the ooze puddling
underneath Grandpa
Joe’s red F-150—

the rest, we have been left
on our own ever
since to dream about

through dilated mind's eyes
gauging candlestick strangers on
Edward Hopper nights

to pick-up piecemeal from the street-
side markets of Florence
and France

to taste in the igneous curry sauce
the boss's wife coaxed us
into trying

or, to listen for, driving home
from the two-bedroomburial place
of a memory

dewy and alone, in the midst of
static night, after all the stations
have signed off—or died out.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

THE VOICE OF REASON

Over time, many odd
choices
and opinions
coalesce into one chorus

transforming
raw advice—
into the pure voice
of reason:

abandon your virtues;
when all chained
together, even
they constrain you.

Don't push this
load, pull it—slowly,
as old
Issa's young snail would,

take the levelest
possible road
to the
top of the tallest mountain.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

WILL

August is a bloated apathetic animal—
having killed
and blood-let and feasted and
sucked

on the meat
of a tender young June
and a huge July's utters
and fat tangles of rib marrow.

Moist dust from the scuttle
clings to the air, subtly
darkening the sun.

Weary now, even of the
sheen of cherries
and the insistent musk of a
honey dew melon,

it lies still, breathes
shallow,
sleeps, dreaming—in circles
of a dimly

apprehended tomorrow:
the cool prevalence
of inevitable
September—and its plums.

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!