Saturday, August 17, 2019

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

the lights are still
on somewhere—
There is nothing

at their center—
Nothing
at the boundary

Friday, August 16, 2019

QUIXOTIC

Astonishing how
the impetuous morning glories—
their fluted violet
petals near-translucent
in the onrushing
light of the dawning world,
their young tendrils heroically
messy and untamable—
are still so eager
to drape their spry substance
around the perfectly
ordinary: wrought iron fences,
long rows of tall black,
machined en masse
for the purpose of keeping
one particular stripe
of life in each neighborhood
separate and abstractly
protected from the others.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

THE CATCH

It's all the floating daily irritations
which blind you
to the beauty you may somehow yet be
making from their shavings

for the sake of a beholder
whose tastes and purpose
your nervous system was never
built to imagine—what is a pearl anyway

but thankless work
done in secret around oversensitivity;
a little tenderness over time grows
too unwieldy for the oyster.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

Most days I don't see
anyone—

just dogs
halls doors lawns.

This
seems fine.

These silent creatures
and I, we get along

famously
as all the creeping things in Eden.

Then again, if I
were Adam

this paradise
wouldn't have lasted long

as I'd have balked
at the prospect of sacrificing

one iota
of its staid perfection.

I would never consent
to the theft

of an inch;
not one ounce,

not a minute—
let alone

the indispensable
symmetry of my rib cage

for the sake of
conversation.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

THE DRY SPELL REBELLION

Too early for autumn, so I had to
convince myself I saw
above the street this morning

a whole fleet, an army,
an air force of brown pointed
leaves going AWOL,

madly abandoning its
camp in a tree—but (as if refusing
both surrender and retreat)

exploding up instead of falling,
then executing a quick barrel rolled
burst along the horizontal,

breaking for freedom
with all of its might—like a scrappy
half-starved young colony

of sparrows, who would rather
their poor overtaxed
hearts give out from the fight

than stay put and continue
to exist in my mind's stultifying
grip of persecution.

Monday, August 12, 2019

STEP ZERO

Before the first thing,
morning itself

searches 
for a body—wet chocolate

or warm
milk in color;

torso, cagey
gnarl of limbs,

any weird
protuberances dangling—

preposterous illusion
of indelibility,

of familiarity:
always the same

incentivizing
degree of unrecognizable.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

DIAGRAM YOUR LIFE

Forget about
arriving (somewhere
you have

heard this);
what's important
is the journey.

I'm curious
what all the paths would
say about that:

striding
versus striving—how quickly
muddied,

how complex
the physics of
simplicity gets.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

DOG DAYS

Like the first time it
weightlessly
darkens your mind

that you've almost been
at the same
task for too long,

so the rainlessness
gradually bakes
its cracks and imperfections

into mid-August.
From park to mangy parkway,
nothing fresh

is happening—
just the slow bleaching
and rusting of status quos 

which typify hard-won
and wistfully
lackadaisical midlife.

Dog days,
we call them—the shaggy
glaucomic old hunters

nosing already for
that twinge
of September,

that shiver—a portent
without any
prompt from memory:

death will return here
as beauty's young
heiress, not it's mother.

Friday, August 9, 2019

THAT ONE ANNOYING POEM IN YOUR NEWSFEED

I know. Right now,
as you read this,
or listen—so many things

you're not seeing, will not have
heard this morning.
For every thrush that's

chirping—which rain forest?
Every last night's gauzy
dream—whose murder?

Authorities maintain:
every siren in the distance,
every gallant black

batman-looking
helicopter on the scene—is hope
and significance,

provides solace and
explication, bakes another brick
into a biblical tower.

But as far
as our starved and poverty-
stricken insight is concerned:

silence is the mortar.
Traffic conditions matter.
The weather

affects construction schedules.
Not always, but
some days might start

with the premise:
What if there weren't any 
small questions? 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

PERFECT MIRACLE

We aren't true
believers, but still in our
hands, the calendar
is transformed into

a rosary; one at a time,
we allow its worn beads
to slip through our warm and
penitent fingers,

intently repeating
the same sentences
in the same orders—
entreating the universe

conjuring, from breath and air
pressure alone, the one and only
truly perfect miracle:
the stamina

with which to sustain
the illusion,
a frail human notion
that sequence alone

constitutes movement,
as if anything about
daily inward reflection's
procedure were volitional,

as if the verb
we even deserve
to have used here
were allowing

as if
we were the ones
letting
days go by.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

WEDNESDAYS

Certain days, when I feel
stuck, disempowered—
when there's

a creature in
the corner of the
room I can't acknowledge—

I'll sit down and look at
the word written-out:
W-E-D-N-E-S DAY

while allowing my
mind to pronounce
it as: Wenz / day.

The simple simultaneity
of the discrepancy
is such a relief; as if a thing

which is two things,
is all you need to triangulate
the size of your life—

to walk the uncharted
perimeter of its shape;
to peer in one misty

window—then another;
listening both places for
the better music,

but hearing
the exact same thing,
whether it's

this little baby getting
sung-to—or that little one,
gently wept-over.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

LOOKING FOR HOME

Almost (but not quite) like
a Renaissance painter
who has masterfully hidden his
face somewhere

in every Last
Supper or
Agony in the Garden,
Sometimes I think there is

a little lost dog inside
everything I write—
perhaps a scrappy black-
and-white terrier named Richard

who goes searching all night
for that one signature
door frame he knows, combing row
after row of my odd

bumpy prose like
cold cobblestones
in the alleys of a hamlet called
Hyrule Castle Town

long after the market bazaars
have closed down and his owner—
a plump moon-
faced woman, whose name

might even be Mamayu Yan
has returned home alone
to weep and pace worried
infinity symbols

around the stark wood interior
one of my many
flimsily-built medieval
slums of a stanza.

Monday, August 5, 2019

HOW TO WIN THE POEM

Work with regularity
and weightiness a while

to form the mallet
of your timing,

to whack-a-mole
those rising bubblelike

holes in all your feelings.
Sometimes you'll see them

because they gleam
with rhyme—

others because
it makes you furious

to the point of near
blindness when they won't.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

5 6 7 8

Between the counts
of one and two,
something furious must
go missing;

between two and three persists 
a distraction, an Instagram picture: 
an idyllic waterfall—with Sisyphus 
photoshopped down at the bottom;

three will only hook-up with four 
the way a pale green door fits 
with its frame—thin ribbons of empty 
space all around it, 

a rectangle of light 
escaping from an off-limits interior 
too reminiscent of the house you 
grew up in to bear. 

For the choreographer—
whose idea of truth 
fits inside the cramped beauty of space
like lace

slippers inside a white 
workaday box,
whose escape from the real is 
the regimentation of the possible—

such profligate ciphers
must leave
not enough, or else too many
rooms for error.

Friday, August 2, 2019

JEALOUS GUY

There are certain disadvantages
to not believing in god

I remind myself grasping
and embracing are

not the same thing
but at some point one

turns into the other
for instance those people

who think they
were John Lennon in a past life

but still a charm
that works like a charm

in the wilderness that exists
out past the garden footpath

must be the the end
of the whole discussion

the sunflower
a bewildering eclipse overhead

the staggered majesty of
Douglas fir mountains

what are these
but swirls of light and matter

forms of that madness
which does no harm?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

FISH ARE JUMPING, COTTON IS HIGH

In the dream, it is never raining.
The bees have plenty of time to talk.
The cotton is high, but the corn
is green and neat, and, though it nods,

it isn't listening. Above tree crowns,
the sky has become its own flag:
proud blue and rippling with starlings.
Beneath, huge fish—all exhilarated,

all silver—bullet their glistening
bodies upstream to spawn.
But then, something happens;
something dawns, or someone speaks—

in the gravel bed, an idea has dropped
and broken open; the honey turns
sweet and begins to get heavy.
The bees, those once-lithe teachers,

are drowsy. Clouds gather at far corners
like rumors: those salmon are running
toward suicide—and yet, soon every
reluctant student will wake and return.

LOVE POEM FOR THE WHOLE WORLD

You and me—
in such perfect sync

we never even
think of each other.