Thursday, July 22, 2021

SOUNDS OF ONE HAND CLAPPING

Never mind 
the trees 
that fall 

in forests 
when no one's around—

what I'd like to know now is: 
does silence come 
from somewhere? 

If not from our hands,
from the future, 
perhaps 

as it abandons 
the past—

or when the silverblue 
dragonfly darts 
and then hovers 

as if coming 
into a room, and then 
forgetting why it entered?

Or could this universe 
of reticence 

imply something 
more sinister—

a weaponized quiet 
from the mouths 
of prize roses 

which ring the dry fountain 
at the city park center 

and whose only ambition 
under the sun 

is to put all these flurries 
of action 
to shame, and then 

sit there in perfect 
judgement?



Wednesday, July 21, 2021

STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS BEFORE

It's no good denying
I am jealous
of the refresh button—

that circle with the arrow
in the corner
of the screen

bidding knowledge
to begin again

like it's nothing
whenever pressed. I think

I'd give at least
50%
of my life

never to have to realize
I'm thinking

the same thought
twice.

*

Moods
are like seasons
which always come again;

they start at 0
and must wend their way
up to 1

before starting over.
No wonder,

although you can
get ever higher,
to get there

you always seem to have come
this way before.

*

In the computer
of awareness,

each intention
is a microchip,

every instant,
a transistor

embedded within it—
whose purpose

is not 
to record the event

but produce
a yes/no

to the question of 
coincidence.



Tuesday, July 20, 2021

PASTICHE

Strange to say, 
but the mind 
was made 

to follow, 
not to lead—

its Alice in gingham,
raked along 
by the breeze,  

not the rabbit 
who torpedoes 
fleet

and naked 
through the field.

And we say "strange" 
as if surprised, 

as if mind itself
had been first 
to suggest this, 

but the fact is that 
mind is clever 
just 

as a child is—
it can teach us 
new dance steps

when it watches
then burlesques,

and it speaks to us 
only in the most faultless 
sentences

to which it listens,
then repeats.




Monday, July 19, 2021

DELIVERANCE

Grace is not always
just spiritual grease—the
industrial-grade stuff

made for oiling hidden machinery
and lubing-up
stopped locks.

Sometimes, it's conveyed
as a stream of cool water
through the eucalyptus trees,

or a clean shaft
of light falling
exactly where you are,

but which leaves you—
when it leaves you
(as it must leave you,

much as it just left
the feet of your neighbor
who lives one debacle over)—

standing somewhere other
than the place
where you were.



Friday, July 16, 2021

IN PLACE

Does this make any sense? 

Walking past, 
you will sometimes

give the mind 
what it thinks 
it must want—

not the raving 
half-starved sparrows 
warring on the lawn, 

distant 
yet immediate—

but 
the intermittent tones
of a marvelous wind chime:

each chilly crystalline whole note 
teeming 

even as it dies away—



Thursday, July 15, 2021

TRUE NORTH

Face it—all children may come 
into this world beautiful, 

but none 
has been born 

whose nose points 
true north;

any such pose 
she is later able to hold 

must be 
made ugly,

must be molded 
into place—

like the creased flesh 
around its pit—

by a long-standing 
habit. 

*

Say, where can a guy
buy a can 
of beer around here? 

Or a bun on its own? 
Or two chicken eggs 
for his breakfast?

New points of view 
are sold this way too—

like it or not, 
it's cost prohibitive 
to purchase one; 

they always seem 
to come 
plastic-

ring-
shackled 
in six packs. 

*

This can't be all there is

because no thing 
happens last!—

If this were your 
last thought, 

how long 
would you want 

to hold onto it
before you 

forgot? 



Wednesday, July 14, 2021

MINUS THE DYNAMITE

Recall 
the last time you 
felt the warm weight

of a nickel 
in your hand 

and honestly 
thought you might 
purchase something with it.

Imagine being presented
with a granny smith apple
as a Christmas present

by someone 
who really meant it.

The short poem is like that.
It's an angel—
not a real one 

(the kind a desperate 
person may need
to believe in),

but one of those 
white plaster quarter-size 
statues of one:

not so great to look at—
and minus the dynamite 
singing voice—

but at least 
it can neither vanish 

nor inspire
any hate.