Friday, September 23, 2022

THE SLIGHTNESS

For most of your life, 
you think you're hip 
to what you're listening to—

then, one day, 
it isn't 
the music, 

but the silence 
that falls at the end 
of it all 

which inflicts on you
the goosebumps of something 
to confront: 

that absence 
which feels so 
audaciously exposed 

but which has, 
in fact, been adroitly 
composed by 

the full blast 
of all that has 
not come to pass—

by the slightness
of every last 
moment in your life 

when you didn't know 
what you could do 
or say next

playing back at 
full volume,
all at once.



Thursday, September 22, 2022

AVAILABILITY BIAS

Ever notice—
the implications 
of certain things persist,

while the purport 
of others is considerably 
diminished?

With each new 
dead-ringer for Earth 
they discover, 

public interest 
in "the scientific" 

grows less 
and less certain; 

or you can't forget 
the favorite actor 

of the juvenile bastard  
who last 
broke your heart,

but you couldn't name 
the eye color 

of the woman who 
named you and 
fed you for years.

But of course, this is 
just the only way 

for significance 
to persist, and yet still 
remain endurable:

if you do not 
support it, it just 
disappears.


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

LOOSE ENDS

Look around 
the park grounds 
near the end 
of any September—

the pale leaves 
all look similar 

and utterly 
replaceable 

once they've fallen 
from their 
homes in the limbs;

they cannot wonder 
how they got here, 
and there is no answer 
to the question "what for?"

But what about you—
the pale, foolish person

who's still holding on 
to the arms 
that once sustained him—

do you still think 
you'll use your hunger 
before your 
hunger uses you?

Is that separation 
looming, after which 
you won't 
exist? And if so, 

aren't there probably 
one or two 

things around here which 
you still need 
to do? 


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

UNPROVEN

Somewhere 
on Earth, in a garden 
near a path, 

the freckles 
which spangle the inside- 
petals of a lily 

might correspond 
exactly 

to the positions 
of stars in a 
distant galaxy 

observed  
before dawn
on the half-frozen ocean 

by a desperate crew
of Atlantic explorers 

as a celestial highway 
guiding them home.

Even more 
impressively, though

no one now living 
will ever make 
the discovery,

and this hallowed, 
symmetrical code 
of the universe 

will shrivel 
and die 

when the first 
cold wind blows.



Monday, September 19, 2022

SECRETS

In the soup-
thick fog 
of early morning, 

the "next right thing"
might collide
with opportunity;

a cool, wet crow 
might swoop down
from a lamppost 

to make a poem 
of the worms 
she extracts 

without care
from the sopping 
ground below;

motions might 
well be the cause 
of themselves

and consequence 
might be their 
only purpose. 

In a world 
where reality 
looks so uncouth, 

signification 
might be ripe 
for the taking,

and there's 
nothing wrong 
with stealing it all

when nothing 
outside of ourselves 
belongs.



Friday, September 16, 2022

WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO KEATS,

sometimes this 
is how it goes: 

although 
you do not need 
to know, 

you look again 
at the clock 
on the wall 

to confirm 
that it wears the same face 
of disfigurement 

and genuine 
torment it wore 
just before; or, 

perhaps because 
you can't resist 

you triple-
check the distance 

between 
derelict here and 
unrealized there 

and find 
that its path appears 
just as perilous, 

uncivilized, 
and austere as both 
places put together.

And that's 
when it hits you 
right between the eyes 

that the truth 
of each moment 

is so savage 
and entire 

that even if it 
throttles you 
to near-exhilaration, 

you could never 
mistake it for beautiful—

not even by the poetry-
in-motion 
of a long shot.




Thursday, September 15, 2022

NEW PHASE

A touch blander, perhaps, 
than the Christians' slender 
gilded crosses, 

but I tend to feel best 
that mix of agony 
and grandeur 

when I'm biting my lip 
and passing beneath 

the yellowing branches 
of a primeval tulip poplar

in the barely-there 
newness 
of midwestern autumn—

feeling so small, 
and yet heavy 
for my size, 

and always so 
piecemeal-divided by 

the fractal shadows cast 
across my body
on the underside 

of this tall, 
stoic being that's so 
willing to die—

at least 
for a little while—

in order to outlive 
and outgrow 
us all.