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.