Friday, January 18, 2019

LETTERS FROM A STOIC

Even
though it's
freezing cold, the look

on my face
in the window
of your home—is blank

as a page,
on which
has been written, over

and over again:
it's good to be alone 
it's good to 

be alone it's good 
to be alone it's 
good to be alone—now please won't

you let me
come back
in already.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

ARGUING WITH MAGRITTE

First of all, there's really no such thing
as the temporal significance of anything;
everything's just an accident, a downstream
coincidence of Gregorian circumstance.

And speaking of accidents—images
are not really treacherous; they just get weird-
ly slippery after a while. Let's take her
for example, slowly tripping

up the stairs from a pea-yellow
bedroom in the basement, mumbling
something like happy 
anniversary from the bathroom

an electric toothbrush buzzing in her mouth;
me in the kitchen, probably reciprocating,
me definitely
having some coffee ready.

Now, let's cut to—the sun
eventually lying down, bloody
and exhausted, to warm the earth
somewhat differently for a while.

Suddenly, nourishment is nothing
like what it looks like.
There's so much less to it
than we thought a little bit ago. Now,

it's basically the ambient temperature
on the surface of our skin
which shows us—invisibly
but substantially—how.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

THE SAUSAGE GRINDER

Some days,
it's alright—you
are light,

literally made
of invisible star parts;

but even
then, of course, there's
those hours

slightly less
factitious
in nature—you're a transparent case

full
of mismatched leftovers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

FORGERY

Lumpy coffee
cup—made of clay
and grape

paint and enamel—from the
outside,
you look fake;

but on the inside, just
incredible—vacant, but like
nebulae are vacant,

like time
would look, all
looped and piled up—

like the expression
on the face
of the interstellar water

as it regards, by way
of reflection: an ape
standing straight

up in the morning,
stretching, walking, then
plunking down again—to hammer the bones

of a lyric
poem out
on a smartphone.

Monday, January 14, 2019

FICTIVE MUSIC

     "That music is intensest which proclaims
     The near, the clear, and vaunts the clearest bloom,
     And of all the vigils musing the obscure,
     That apprehends the most which sees and names"

     -Wallace Stevens 

Lying awake
at night, in a room with
no window

just thinking—somewhere
else, the bright
moon is showing

off her halo;
somewhere, the shadows
below tip their

black hats, or else
genuflect—somewhere,
the silence is not nearly

this shallow,
somewhere
or other, it must be still

snowing—
that deep and dream-
silent kind

of snow, those
feathery little piano
arpeggios—falling clean

and clinging,
to the surface of a glass
and steel city

with a much
more beautiful
name—than Chicago.

Friday, January 11, 2019

THE SHAPE OF YOUR CONTAINER

Before you believe what
you're told—
feel your feet

against the ground,
listen far
left, then

right to the sounds,
raise your eyes
and look

for the sky—and realize, you're
being gently
held.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

BAD BREATH

If I wasn't so tired and quiet
and conspicuous-
feeling—all goose pimples
and rumpled underwear,

I might stand and shout
out the chilly bay window—
take it all back!
at the exacting light,


which, with its usual knife-
edged insensitivity,
is presently quizzing
all the neighboring


brick walls, needling
the street beneath, and
splitting the precious hairs of these
blunt stone hours


into cheap and hurried-
feeling moments—like this, each
one a little too sharp for my
taste in the morning.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

LESSER OF TWO EVILS

Pursuant to the new year, a rude
cigarette lying
out on the sidewalk still burning,

its curled gossamer
floss of smoke, the cherry
on top, so elemental

yet conclusive
as the profligate
ribbon on a gift—which

you've done so little
to deserve,
it unnerves you to accept

such an absolute
surge of dry lust, a sudden kindling
of entitlement 

to be—someplace warmer
than this is, at least. And a third
cup of coffee.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

INVOCATION

God save the thin woman
in the longest parka imaginable

bisecting the lowly
wind outside my window;

that spectacularly inflated
little royal fountain

of a Pomeranian-Shih-tzu
gurgling along beside her

likely requires
someone truly special

to clean the interminable
gunk from the

corners of its eyes—
if not the matted

shit from its
jubilant coat—routinely,

without somehow
growing too humble

to keep scheduling
public demonstrations.

Monday, January 7, 2019

LIFE MANUAL

Here you go, son;
here's your very own
loaded gun—

now remember, an eyeball
never stops seeing
what it looks at,
even with its heavy lid blinked;

so be sure to be
careful with
where you choose to point it—

and by careful, I mean steady;
and by steady,
I mean absolutely
certain that you're right;

and by certain, I mean
convinced;

and by right, I mean not
too unhappy.

Friday, January 4, 2019

GETTY ADDRESS

No wonder a few hundred
years—or a thousand
are still
not enough to learn from:

how did she look
when she first heard the news
horse-powered from the border
a few weeks too late?

what was his first thought
when that cold rain which fell earlier
suddenly caught
the light of a blue moon?

History has no
people in it.
Only pictures—and, of course

words—doing things,
following certain
orders.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

CONSIGNED TO THE DUSTBIN

As a puppet is free
because he cannot look up
to see the strings,

as a seer voraciously rereads
and memorizes page 35
in order to predict 36

in a huge holy book
whose conclusion already exists
somewhere around 500—so too

every night, in our dreams
so many unwritten poems
gleam on the knife edges of the horizon

while our shuttered eyes are powerless
to read them. Yet
silent, incorporeal, ghosts move to visit

each of these dark cities
off in the distance,
populated with divorcees and fugitives

and orphan children—
whose histories are long epics,
the lines of which will change slightly

with each new generation, because
they must be sung
in order to be remembered.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

POST-MERIDIAN MAN

Mornings, the guy is basically toothless
and quiet: all black
coffee and no talking, thank you.

By afternoon, though, he's
so through
with contemplating that sermon of serene sky,

and, much like the light in the windows
gradually twisting pallid, then chilly,
and finally cruel, his mouth too starts twisting

toward the shape of the new vulgarian's—one
who's so ruthlessly "past all that"
and who is presently

howling out-loud at the neon heaven glow of
internet television—or else
hunching over to hellishly

wolf down helpless sprats,
all uniformly slashed, preemptively
decapitated, and buried

two tons-deep beneath
the brutish crust of some ancient stone-
ground mustard.