Tuesday, June 2, 2020

IGNORANCE

To put the matter 
delicately, 

this world we inhabit 
is an out of work actor

that can itself 
no longer afford 

the price of the bliss
in which it has been living.

We are guilt-
stricken tenants 

who insist
we've tried everything—

talking in circles 
darting our eyes—

still this terrible 
hunger persists.

When the churches 
were still open, 

they used to tell us
we're being tested; 

now it's as if 
we're being bitten 

and tasted—eaten alive
from the inside.


Monday, June 1, 2020

MISCONCEPTION

Somehow, the flames 
when viewed 
on a screen

look even 
more listless, but 
even more reliable;

they seem both 
frenetic 
and discretionary 

at the same time. 
It's as if 
we're remembering

that suffering 
wasn't invented; 
it had to be invited.

We might well 
have been thinking—
If only our bodies 

were as plastic as fire! 
if only our minds
were that pliable.



Friday, May 29, 2020

MEMORY BOX

To think—I am now sitting 
thoughtless
in the same kitchen 

in which I 
will have been standing 
then 

after I have deciphered 
my very next words.

*

These strange loops 
and chickenscratch x's 

may take on a prescient significance 
as imperceptibly 

as a snail 
secreting its shell. 

*

After the frame 
is in place, 

it's so difficult 
to remember 

It hasn't always been like this.

How do we expect to compete 
with the nostalgic stillframed past? 

Looking back, 
even every failure and deficiency 

was just so easy,
so precious,

so perfect.



Thursday, May 28, 2020

DOING EXISTENTIALISM

It's hard to resist.
Watching the news 

makes us go stiff—
makes us feel serious 

in the way 
stark poems 

or a Bartók quartet
used to.

Serious—
but not sober, 

like a sublime encounter 
with the terrifying existential 

power of the ocean;
the post hoc rationalization 

that nothing 
is personal, 

nothing is 
goal-directed,

nothing
is shocking

shocks us—
shocks us just 

hard enough 
to get off.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

EQUIVOCATION

Are we not
appeased

by the flutters of melody
coming from the 
parks and gardens—

by those peeling-
open faces 
of the peonies, 

the savvy darts of spiderwort
foxglove, lily of the valley, 

by the broad flat open 
palms of red hibiscus 

rippling in the spree 
of late May light 
and breeze—

are we not so
completely relieved

and reassured 
by all of these

that we've 
utterly forgotten 
why it is we need

such a repeated
and urgent
reassurance?


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

THE WORK IS STRANGER

I used to think, 
along with most: we were simply 
playing our roles.

We were dynamic characters 
surviving hardships 
and changing for the better.

Lately I have come to suspect 
the work is stranger 
and less glamorous than that—

we are living in the time 
after the movie has ended; 
that moment 

when, up through the field 
of uniform black,
the credits come scrolling.

Suddenly, we are not sure 
which one of these strange collections 
of symbols we were,

and the audience all have different ideas   
concerning when it's appropriate 
to get up and go.



Friday, May 22, 2020

FEELS

If I'm being honest 
it feels like 
the end game 

has already passed us
but time is still 
of the essence. 

It feels like 
I've never been more 
self absorbed 

or less attentive.
Like, if I'm not 
at least trying

to control 
my own thoughts
I will probably be seen

as more than a little 
gauche—so 
in lieu of meditation

I've been practicing 
my penmanship 
in reverse: 

first I write lost
followed by is 
and then all


Later on
I take a picture 
where I'm standing outside 

listening to traffic 
and feeling conspicuous—
it sounds less 

like applause 
than I had expected 
and more like 

the murmuring 
of an internet church—
how many followers do you have?