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.