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.