Tuesday, November 30, 2021

SALT

A poem worth its salt 
instructs

because it doesn't. 
Its words are false 
culprits 

whose vices 
are all too real.

Recall how a meal
is coerced 
to taste less bitter

when a brackish tang 
makes neutral 
seem sweet;

by such oblique action, 
each line teaches 

not what, 
but how—

and how much—
to feel.


Monday, November 29, 2021

PERDITION

One of late fall's cruelest tricks—
the repeating patterns 
of symmetrical bramble 

where abundance 
and plenty 
and multiplicity once stood.

No more ears 
of colored kernels on 
the corn stalks, 

no moss 
among the farmhouse bricks.
And elsewhere, across 

every deserted city park, 
warped baseball diamond, 
desiccated front lawn,

stems, trunks, vines, stalks—
all blossoming 
with the colorless 

fruit of autumn's sameness, 
all in illustrious bloom
with our loss.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

FOR EXAMPLE

Our days are pervaded 
with so much sweetness 

that often, it's counter-
productive to notice. 

Ever realize 
how it's alright 

that you don't know 
what the birds are saying?

You are not living 
at the end of time;

tomorrow will arrive.
There is nothing 

you can do—
or need to.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

FEAR NOT

Tedious  
though it is, 

stasis 
has its upside—

which is (of course)
that no downside 
exists.

In heaven, for instance,
what "is" 
is less precious, 

doesn't mean as much— 
and perhaps 
that means more
 
than we're willing
to admit.

*

And God said, 
fear not;
to me you are more valuable 

than a whole flock 
of sparrows.

And some who were assembled there 
tried hard not to wonder, 

how many birds really count 
as a flock?

And a few others 
started pulling bows back 
with arrows.

And the rest sort of toed the ground,
or else turned aside 
and coughed.

*

What is a soul?—
but our sense
of denial,

famously bitter
and let out 
on the prowl.

The look on its face says, 
I'm adamant
I'm elsewhere.

Nothing that happened here
ever mattered 
anyhow.


Monday, November 22, 2021

*FOOTNOTE TO FROST

Nothing gold can 
stay, he wrote,

but nothing 
turned precious 
overnight, either.

Treasure is so 
because, first,
it's been lost;

and that need 
burns worst which 
takes longest 

to arrive.
Like diamond 
from coal, 

the obstruction 
tends the goal—

the mind 
must be squeezed 
til it caves 

into a soul.


Friday, November 19, 2021

STANDS TO REASON

It's frightening, isn't it?— 
to find ourselves 
so groundlessly romantic, 

so swept up in the strange 
and the dangerous 
side of sanguine. 

I mean, how conceited—
how reckless 
can you get?

To sit there and wait 
for just the right bird
to perch in your soul 

and sing her unending 
song without words?
Forget about 

the thing with feathers—
perhaps hope 
is that open road

piercing the horizon,
but coincidence
was finding 

some time on your hands,
a tank full of gas,
and no map.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

BLACK BOX

Some days, 
I'm content
that my head remains 

a black box.
Instead I wish
my chest
 
was made 
out of glass—

then, you'd
so clearly 
be able to see, 

in my heart, 
how I'm always 

trying to do 
my best.

No matter 
what else;

even when 
it might be killing me;

even when I smile
and insist 
"this is fine,"

you would see 
that I believe it, 

even though you
know I'm 
lying.