Tuesday, August 11, 2020

HOW TO RAISE KIDS

First, you admonish them 

for having filthy hands, 
for crawling on their bellies, 
and never wearing shoes.

Then—after they learn to stand up, 

to clean up 
and suit up,
and say they believe you—

then, you sell them sanitizers, 
autonomous cars, 
and mink oil polishes—

all with no doubt 
as to the cleanliness 
of your conscience. 


Monday, August 10, 2020

GIVEN

Let us not, in the red face 
of the heat 
and our struggles, 

say nothing at all 
in the service 
of reverence;

let us instead quest
for the generousness  
to admit—

that beauty 
should exist 
far beyond its utility

in the hideous way 
our pangs are made manifest; 
this 

is what they
would have meant
by grace.



Friday, August 7, 2020

BAPTISMAL

Long ago—
perhaps 
the first time 

we were carried 
kicking inside—we should 
have realized

this cannot be right. 
That the truth 
was a sin,

and the sin 
is was truth.
That our bodies

were all weight 
and fat heat 
and fierce light.

While hell, 
on the contrary, 
felt like cold 

chrism 
and listless rooms.
Like asthmatic organ tunes,

and that cruel 
and repetitious symmetry 
of hymns.



Thursday, August 6, 2020

WHAT THE TREE TOLD ME

Roots deep 
in hell,

branch tips 
scraping heaven;

trembling 
with the littlest wind, 

stiff in the pose
of perpetual giving;

impossible
to kill,

but willing enough
to die 

again—
that is what it will take,

as season blunders 
into season,

if you ever expect 
to keep living.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

ENDURE

Day after day, 
rainstorm after rainstorm, 
afternoon 
after humid bluegray afternoon—

the avocado in the kitchen
(tough green, in memory, as 
the skin of an alligator) 
has been growing imperceptibly 
softer; 

but the large pit 
ensconced away at its center is 
hard as ever
and poison to eat. 

Take note of this, I think
to my own aggrieved species—
keep your composure;

there is nothing we can do 
in time 
but yield 
to one another,

but never 
will they take 
our dark heart—that small enraged oval 
that none would dare conquer,

that is the part
which is ours.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

CONGRATULATIONS

We did not want
to be the raindrops 

falling 
on the plain—

same color
as the background,

so amorphous,
too mundane.

So we made our lives
complex

as the snowflakes—
delicate latticeworks

built around 
dirt specks; 

and now, none 
is like another—

just like 
every other.


Monday, August 3, 2020

STRAY

Little drifter, 
you've been a stray
a long time—

why not keep still, 
trust the gravity
in laughter, 

curl up 
on my scale 
and see what you weigh?

You've made oceans
of byways; why not 
spend the night? 

It is not true 
that you don't know 
what you want;

what you want 
is to know 
what it is you require,

to ripen into love 
with this thought,
or that one—doesn't matter;

what you need
is to grow 
a heart pain can poison

before you can fertilize
that heart's 
desire.