Saturday, March 28, 2020


Once I told you I just wanted
what everyone else
was afraid to—to be both
narrow and deep,

slender and bold,
less a shape than the path a solitary
arrow takes—a straight line
with an admirable slope.

But it's been such a long time since
I've taken up space,
and now I'm sure nothing is left
of that inclination—

even though so much of its math
will always remain
in the sound of my voice wavering
on the phone. Tonight

I wish I could just stand back up
and ride those waveforms
into the glow,
the bright ranks of code,

the strings of positive numbers
I still have memorized—and hope
are still written
all over your face.

Friday, March 27, 2020


With so much out of reach
now, I reach for simplicity

Don't want to say any 
more than I need to 

Don't need to be Tolkien 
to imagine all is not lost

Now is not the time to weave 
a complicated plot

Now is the time to ration 
all the skillful means I've got 

Only the melody 
ought to get a solo 

Only a splash 
of Scotch for these rocks 

Only the sharp keys 
of small words to pick 

the padlocks 
on the big thoughts.

Thursday, March 26, 2020


When we cannot kiss
but we can choose
to walk about and listen

when we can talk
and sing about
the extent of the doubt
and mistrust we must be oozing

when it seems like there is
no room left
for the size of the thoughts
we must keep holding in

but there are still open windows,
mellow sun, cool rain,
wind blowing

who needs touch,
as long as there is still feeling?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020


When early light streams
through the trees, spangles
cold sidewalks, forging fresh steam;

when robins, sparrows,
church bells, all singing the hour
carry much farther
on the still, silken air;

when the mulish dogs pull
their stiff sleepy masters faster
and farther across empty intersections

in which no meek child
is being tugged by the arm
or herded by green-yellow guards
to the yards of their prisons

and no overdressed-yet-
disheveled men and women
are rushing to catch up
with insensate trains and busses—

all of this may yet be welcomed
as one chooses to greet
a special occasion

replete with ripping
arrangements of blossoms,
cool thin mimosas, gossamer strains
of traditional song:

all the carefully curated trappings
of some universal day
of easeful celebration—instead

of what we encounter today—
the habitual triggers
of daily anxiety,
dread, and suspicion.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


Whether pierced by sun
or stabbed by shadow, no piece
of this place is ever ruined
completely. Shredded
to ribbons and spread around—
either like shrapnel or
parade confetti—no city
or town is deserted; no tree-
lined street is not
the province of its robins;
no block devoid of
squirrels practicing
balance on the power lines;
no empty neighborhood
park baseball diamond
not using obsolescence
to prime extra green.
No part of these bodies
will be unmade so easy;
no promise of the peace to
come could be more lovely.

Monday, March 23, 2020


Unnaturally stunted and
silent city—what can I say?
Where can I go? All of your shops
and offices are closed, and the
noisy nonchalant spirit of your millions
has been frozen, distilled down
to a hard bullion of wearied tenacity.
Like a few others, I still find myself
out this morning amid your repeating
patches of snow, grass, concrete,
and shadow—I have been listening
for the music of my own voice;
but without the din, I don't expect
to find it. It felt almost natural:
the impersonal patterns of motion,
the generous friction of this close-
quartered existence, the obnoxious
excitement of your traffic—
the concatenation of car horns
and police sirens, truck belches
and train groans—I'd like all of this
commotion to speak for me
again this morning, the way it
has so often—but it won't, I know it.
So I take a cue from you, inanimate
fortress. I hunker down and make do.
I cash a little hope in for resilience
and try my best own it—for a bit,
I'm going to have to do this alone.

Sunday, March 22, 2020


Suffering is
a neverending clench—
is just enough-

when it comes true
that you
can do nothing—
what else
really can you?