Friday, March 5, 2021

THE HISTORY OF AN IDEA

Before you were born, 
there were whispers—
there'll be whispers long 

after you're gone. Unreal things 
have a being all their own. 
But still you cannot yield.

Charioteers and chariots, 
fantastic winged horses, 
the real face of Plato—

are all, perhaps this 
very minute, wheeling fantastic
arcs across heaven.

You'll laugh, you'll sing, 
you'll write poems, 
but you know 

you can never yield 
every last part to this 
gorgeous nonsense. 

Each time you remember 
what doesn't exist 
you dip a little in your flight.

The turbulence
is not emotional. You agree
the horses of the gods are noble.

But until you plunge 
headfirst into the sea,
your disciplined heart

can never yield. 
And that's how you know
you aren't free. 


Thursday, March 4, 2021

DOG STARE

When I have based myself, 
hideous and low, 

I have come to believe 
there's no word 
of unlove which she knows 
how to say.

But the thing I fear 
most is the sight 
of those eyes 
which lend me no humanity,

which shine 
not as mirrors, but as
flecks 
of fire shining;

their sheen 
is the brightness 
which clarifies 
without explanation—

the brilliance of 
reflecting nothing.



Wednesday, March 3, 2021

RENDEZVOUS

After all this time I've been 
waiting for you,

there must be something 
I forgot to do, but 
I cannot remember. 

Now, the birds say 
the season is new; 

finally 
the one long night is melting,

and the light 
has a temperate, 
compassionate weight.

Even on the darkened 
side of the street, that filthy 
clot of ice 

is dissipating—but I hate to see 
how it leaves 
in its wake 

a lot of debris 
from the previous December.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

WHEN THE CITY IS CALM

When the city is calm, 
so is the truth.
And when the truth 

is apple-faced, 
snowsuited 
toddlers in the park,

crocus tips 
poked through dark frost-
stubbled mud, 

gutters thick with meltwater 
glinting in the sun—
the meaning 

is that word 
whose pronunciation is begun
in the act of observation

and ends in the
eyeless mind's access 
to perfection—dying winter 

on the page, as it is 
on the planet. This truth 
is the nature 

of composure itself: 
the situation plain, as it 
has to be.


Monday, March 1, 2021

PYRRHIC

Come 
March 1, 

among the weathered brown 
branch crooks 

caper browner-
still sparrows—

all beady black 
sun-eyed,

gum-
feathered, 

and spit-
firing 

their short hard sharp strong
tense lop-

sided 
victory songs.



Friday, February 26, 2021

SPOILS

Consider 
the grimness 
of the situation—

no word ever
wants 
to be written. 

Every hellish 
minute at your 
computer 

is a clammy net 
thrust into 
roiling waters,

each sentence, 
a pitiful 
pittance of wealth—

a haul of 
foul scraps, and two 
wriggling fish 

who'd much sooner 
take their grim 
chance in the depths 

than suffocate here
in the name of 
a hunger 

you just could 
no longer 
keep to yourself. 



Thursday, February 25, 2021

HOLDING BACK

Wise men say: 
only fools—and so on 
and so forth. 

Wise men also say:
time only flows where the 
entropy grows. 

But the hardest part 
of holding back
is knowing 

we cannot speak away 
that numbness 
which disobeys the lungs.

*

Prove you were here, 
they say. 

Sign your full name 
to this statement.

And date it.

*

All the words come 
with such blinding halos 

we cannot make out
the context in the background.

But where talking  
cannot solve the problem

who are we, 
the blind, to insist

that listening 
should perform that trick?