Thursday, February 28, 2019

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

It's a profound moment when
that first morning dawns, in which
everything we once loved is

still dead—and yet, there suddenly
exists simultaneously the impossible
feeling that, one day, it might not be;

that soon, a new season will reanimate
even our even the most hopeless-
ly insubordinate of subjects;

that right now, we are only living
in the breath before the first rusty
note of a new song is sung;

and that, for now, we might
just be content—
to sip coffee inside
draped in lamplight

and to gaze out the window
and witness, with no small
satisfaction—the exhilarating
stillness of objects.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

COMMUTER'S BLUES

Though the journey
is unspeakably long,
every morning
he seems to arrive here

all of a sudden—
as if he were running
from a brushfire closing
in from behind—

to a place that isn't exactly
a remote cave inside
some auspicious
Tibetan mountain;

where not a smudged and
excellent water lily—but
rather, the mass-
produced print of one,

hung behind the single-
serve coffee maker—
marks the location,
instantiates the routine ceremony

of the cut-
off and the dying.
Outside, there's always
the squeal of brakes,

the hoary moan of commuter
trains arriving
exactly on time—
each one, an ardent

horn playing taps 
purely by reflex,
but in some eerily off-
putting minor key.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

LAW OF CONSERVATION

Consider the possibility—
most words don't really
want to be written.

They must be
yanked up here
forcibly, one at a time—like

some monstrously
ugly green pike—
to struggle and flop

across the asphyxiating surface
of our silence's little
cup-shaped boats

from a river which,
on paper, doesn't exist.
Out here, I am a nameless

worker, just like
all the others, toiling alone
in my hollowed-out silence.

Nobody not from that universe
is even listening to this, no one
here watching, or daring

to stop me—damming
up the desert
in order to fish.

Monday, February 25, 2019

MAN FROM ANOTHER PLACE

Here he comes now, the world-
famously untroubled
hot air balloon pilot—

old-time goggles
made of leather, big white
scarf, the whole nine yards—

back down here, one supposes,
for a quick spell on the
drab crowded planet

to do a little
laundry, buy some
eggs, check the mail, et cetera.

Here's to survival, to never hearing
anyone; here's to the most successful-
ly lonely man in existence, I salute

silently to the Hollywood vanity mirror
recently installed in the bathroom—
while somebody else, who must be

somewhere far away from here
is calling, nearly yelling—good morning! 
you handsome devil.

Friday, February 22, 2019

MEET JOE BLACK

I'd like to come back 
as a stream 

of hot 
coffee—neatly falling 

into a spotless concavity 
of tall white china;

I want everything around me 
to seem invisible 

just for a moment, 
while I glitter 

more reassuringly 
than crystalline 

wine in gold goblets;
for once, I might know 

what it would feel like 
to carry you

over the threshold 
into a new home, in which 

you are always
smart and cozy 

and happy 
and successful—and I

am simply 
brilliant.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

FASTER IT'S ALRIGHT

Little Honda
flying through open
country at some hellish speed,

seeing the blurry steeples poking
small harmless wounds
through the mist in the distance;

I am not on my knees
listening to those
bells ring. I am one last

flickering laugh, I outlast
the flight of mourning
doves;

this engine is
the chorus of
a thousand boy bands singing,

that glint of light
on the road ahead, all that's good
and left

of someone they all
once knew
and loved.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

SWEET NOTHING

In your eyes,
I see—the perfect
slender beach

where you must
be lying
currently—alone,

starving,
stranded—and nowhere
near me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

SUSPICION

On those clearest
cold mornings, there's always
somebody else's
shadow in here with me,

drinking coffee in a perfectly
chintzy Ikea chair 
and gazing out the window at
freshly fallen snow

while I write
by curving
lines of light
those weapons of the enemy;

about a million
miles away from Never Land, I
nonetheless feel
the warm dark's absence,

but I feel this
as a presence. As if—
together, we are neither
body nor mind, but

a third thing.
Separately, of course, we
could never be
described.

Monday, February 18, 2019

NO BONES

don't cross me,
I'm bisexual
and spineless—like the fierce tiger

lily is bisexual,
like the venus
fly trap is spineless—nonetheless

flexed
and ready somehow always,
fixed in the very

same graveyard-
jungle of shade
where I was made

to stay—deep,
quiet, and strange-
ly well protected.

Friday, February 15, 2019

THE OVEREXAMINED LIFE

My mind is a tree, grown slowly
heavy with its
own maturity; its sole

and noble
purpose is—the invention of luscious
redolent fruit;

fruit so huge-
and exquisitely
pregnant with ingenious seeds—that its

only goal
could possibly be
a tree.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

TRAIN OF THOUGHT

Every afternoon,
after a long morning walking
around, thinking about

all the cherished people
and things I'm too afraid to allow
myself to think about now,

I walk back into this house to find
pure sound lying
all over the floor again—

radios spilling over
with their mixture of lean tunes
and marbled static,

blaring furnaces, hissing
water heaters, and sinister fridge compressors
whispering—not to mention

the incessant hollow drip-dropping
of so many ticker-tape
timers, unnerving alarms, chirpy alerts;

every day, I come home to all this
and I swear
I barely even notice it—let alone

consider
approaching anything
differently tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

MEMO

In the park
right now, simple
white snow

is caked up nice
and thick and capably—on a fat
spruce tree's bluish branches;

and that's about
all I know—after I
finally stand up

and look down
at the pale dead thing
splayed on the kitchen table

to consider—just what the
hell it is I
haven't been writing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

HUMAN BEING HUMAN DOING HUMAN GOING

I know I know I know.
I know I still need those same
infantile changes—

the warm
and soft and
wet sort of premonitions—which I fear the most.

But I am not worried
I am not worried
I am not worried—I lie

all night, while I
sleep and
dream of being

born-
again, so buoyant-
and easily—somewhere cool cool cool,

cock-crowing, off
on that pale last star glimmering
in the tender aurora of a new morning

as—the insouciant future
of this miserably
persistent family.

Monday, February 11, 2019

COMPULSORY POEM

Annoying little
pebble in my shoe—
this too

is a kind of nirvana,
born from some
forced and self-

conscious point of view—the way
the hugeness of
what's old gets

slowly—
infiltrated
by the new.

Friday, February 8, 2019

CLOSED BOOK

The story opens this way: my brain—a sleepy
old river town, inundated late last year
by weeks of cold

and sharp pointed rain—
which is still, to this day, flooded
with your memory.

The residents there have just had
to get used to the trench foot, the detours
and the closed stores

the bowed walls of yellow
tubular sandbags—the Sunday dinners
coming from tin cans.

All their backyard victory gardens
are, of course, still under there somewhere
and surely aren't ruined forever, but

nobody's holding their
breath at the moment, because—it's exhausting
enough just having to paddle

around everywhere in these makeshift vessels
on the opaque surface
of the way things were before.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE

So it's dreary out
in the contorted pocket

of the pinball machine
city where you

lurk in the morning—still you can
smell it: the cigarettes

and burnt french
toast sticks—clinging to the grimy air,

wordlessly infiltrating
a dead-pigeon situation:

to careen around, lost in the
maze of creation

is never a waste of time;
it's more—lying

down and staying
put where you are

that could
really cost you bigtime.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

ALMOST

Almost midway
to March again—soon, the
days are breaking faster

while the tightfisted
nights are still
greedy enough with cold

to keep the wounds
from festering—the wounds
which lie

deep in the winter-rough
hollows of our hearts, which
themselves of course

are breaking—at more
or less the same rate
as before.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

REPUDIATION

This frozen far-
flung constellation

of February
breadcrumb flurries:

right here—is the entire
universe

to all
the midwest finches,

who were, perhaps
a little

too damaged—
or else just

too self-
centered—to withdraw.

Monday, February 4, 2019

GETTING UP TO PEE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

The bankrupt country
of my body,
having survived another long war
of sleep,

in slow to recall
its crumbling navies—across the veins
of dark salty water

and into harbors, where
all the citizens stand, sleepy and stuff
but dutifully
attendant on the shore.

But upon their arrival,
an august parade
is always quick to follow—joyous
and manic, it careens along
the corridors of

the warm dark kitchen—and over
the bathroom's
cold tile floor, to the place
where the fireworks are traditionally scheduled.

Friday, February 1, 2019

POSITIVE CAPABILITY

You tell me—
it's never been colder,
that your malaise

and despair
are climbing higher
and higher, like

pillars of icy fire
consuming the bare tree trunks
in this small municipal park

where once, little children's
cleanhanded voices
would ricochet—like crickets

over that pungent grass
which now lies frozen
in absolute darkness,

obliterated by winter's
onslaught of avalanches.
But listen,

and look—here
and there, at least
there are still finches,

round as planets
and living
in the few stony bushes

which ring its perimeter—
notice
how warm!

they can manage
to keep, just by
cheering one another

on in their
piquant hopping—dare-
devilish and constantly

switching—from branch
to steely,
obdurate branch.