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.