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—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.