Monday, November 30, 2020

POETRY

From the white 
obvious sky, 
the white obvious wind 

blowing all 
the big feelings out of me; 
blowing me 
to a cold smolder.

When the 
tips of us numb 
a little, they move easier—

harder to cease 
than it is 
to continue.

It must have been 
an hour now—unspecified 
and serene.

Right now, 
I'd put treasure down; 
I mean,
I'd wager dollars—

there's nobody out there
saying my name.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

CASHABLE

Spate of birds 
in a white sky—

dark curling signs.
An endorsement 

on the slip 
of the universe 

that I might be here 
to verify.




 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

KNELL

In cold wet late 
November, everything says—you too 
must end.

But our bodies, stiff 
and soggy though they are, 
keep on

lurching 
to the mailbox, slouching toward 
the grocery store. 

The grim cadaverous 
limbs of trees, the bloated wreck 
of leaves 

clotting each gutter,
the bleak iron 
fences, the toneless concrete;

the souls of everything here
keep whispering— 
like us, soon, you too shall be

Yet we go about our tedious business; 
we have duties 
to attend. We may be 

frightened, but we, the living 
shall heed no injunction 
from any thing which is dead.


Monday, November 23, 2020

TERRIBLE FATE

With a slap 
of congratulations, 

you are told—
congratulations.

You are 
contestant number  

7.1 billion.
You 

will be upgraded. 
You will be made an 

experimental soldier. 
Your unprecedented 

science-fictional endeavor:
to spend your life's remainder 

hurtling headlong 
into the future—

one second 
per second—and then

look us up 
when you get there.



Friday, November 20, 2020

BEHOLDEN

Hush. Listen. 
Hidden within each 
new pulse of breath 

exists the next 
line to a 
memorized prayer.

You cannot simply 
quit; there are 
no words 

to mince here.
You are not 
a volunteer 

army; 
this is sheer
conscription. 

Every day, every instant, 
it's the same old 
device—

a grizzled drill sergeant 
shrieking
repetitious numbers;

his mission: 
keep the pace of your life 
the same at all times 

without any regard 
whatever 
for its direction.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

PROGRESS

Old as I may be, 
intelligent 
and free, 

I still hold my breath 
over bridges 
and whistle past the cemetery. 

Since I know in my heart,
in my 
innermost soul,

I am still just 
a beginner, a student, a kid 
for whom 

sighing 
doesn't sound all that much 
different than singing—

and whom I just know 
would much rather believe 
than insist 

on the existence 
of what he was taught 
to believe 

by a troll
long ago
about innermost souls.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

INSPIRATIONAL

Feels like I have been sitting here 
a long time, 
laptop on a card table, 
kids out the window squealing
in the park just out of sight.

Feels like I should know by now 
what it is I'm writing, 
which keys 
will waltz the drowsy blinking cursor 
a little farther to the right.

A curled crescent of a dog is snoring 
on the couch behind me, 
and the light is changing color 
as the ember of afternoon disintegrates 
into the cool ash of night.

Perhaps that's why I haven't moved 
in an hour, let the music in the next room finish 
and start over. Perhaps 
the congealed residue of lunch 
will stain its white bowl forever.
And perhaps that's alright.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

UNTENDED

That wanton abundance 
of the previous season,
having given way 

only recently 
to a veteran autumn's
spare skinny elegance, 

all of us 
who feel unloved, 
unknown, unsure, 

and unconsidered
can relax
in a palace of pallid splendor 

made of of colorless leaves
and chimneys' smolders.
As if finally, lost 

on the great lawn of decay—
its withering gardens 
and overripe apples—

we are protected,
flanked by bare bulbous limbs 
on a carpet made of cinders, 

well represented
by nature's squalor—instead
of neglected.


Monday, November 16, 2020

LIKE IT OR NOT

The way we roam 
without burden
around it, as if 

we couldn't be bothered to stay 
and attend.

The way we often stop, 
and sit 
and sip quietly before it, 

so assured 
by the taste of its honey.

The way we gather, 
lean in close to speak 
to one another,

always saying goodnight
no matter how horrible.

Mostly, the way 
we continue to write 

and read 
and warm our cold bodies 
by its light—

all these 
must be our ways 
of praising 

this world
in effigy, as it splendidly 
burns.


Friday, November 13, 2020

INDEMNITY

Once, I know I 
didn't weigh pounds 
but ounces, 

and before that, 
not ounces, but eye-gleams, 
mere appearances, notions.

Just like 
one day, I will cease 
to weigh atoms, 

and instead comprise actions, 
sentiments, burdens.

Which is why, 
in between, I shall 
set down on paper 

that it did not matter 
what I chose 
to believe—

the ardent 
or the flammable, 
the glistening 
or the sepulchral,

the terrorists
or their witnesses, 
the hemoglobin or 
the chlorophyll—

so long 
as I only strove, 
before the 
ink ran out forever, 

to lift and kiss all 
that is furious, as if weightless—
and forgive.


Thursday, November 12, 2020

PRAXIS

Skin, bones, arms, voices—
everything made 
to contain,

in the course of time, 
will break open.

The eyes, by contrast 
will not; they intend, 
they make choices, 

they hold back,
they close.

The hands 
do not, either. 

The hands are always 
for wanting.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

SHORELINE

You, who say you do not
believe in hereafter, 

whose mortal soul genuflects only
before the infinite long 
division remainder—

wherein 
even those who are old 
will grow tender,

even those who are fed 
will grow cold 
and fearful, 

even those who were drowned 
will climb gleaming towers, 

and even those paper-pale ghosts
who don't know 
will finally reconsider.

Simply 
wade out deep enough 
into this moment

and witness 
the equation 
that cannot be solved 

transform, in perpetuity, 
to the only one 
that must be.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

SILENCE

Eyeless. Tongueless.
Skinless. Earless.

The place 
where snow comes from,

the inside 
of O.

The moment you realize
the facts 

are not currency—
the one 

whom you wait for 
will never appear.




Monday, November 9, 2020

DARE

One day, one minute, 
one instant, 
a certain structure, which 

someone somewhere 
once was immensely proud of, 
collapses—

no demolition, no thunder,
no hurricane—just 
collapses. 

Perhaps 
due to humidity-induced
cellular expansion;

perhaps
when a sandpiper's sand-dappled
wing flaps 

three thousand miles 
northwest, on the coast 
of Alaska.

Now, go ahead; 
try to convince the council.
Tell us which words 

from which 
chance encounter we'll remember. 
Tell us 

whose action 
will matter
the most.




Friday, November 6, 2020

DESPERATE TIMES

Is a hole 
that comes out
somewhere 

on the other side 
of the world 
still a hole? After all—

desperate times 
don't call for 
pleasurable symmetries;

desperate times 
call for 
open ledgers.

If a bounty of
ten million- 
year-old bones 

crushed into muck
and siphoned up from deep 
beneath the ground

can still be called 
a treasure,
how come 

what really counts 
when we, the living
talk

is always called 
priceless,
immeasurable?



Thursday, November 5, 2020

LIEBESTOD

Yes, even for you,

who thought 
you could use 
the hunger 

(instead 
of the hunger 
using you)

a consummation 

is looming;
a payoff is in store.

Were there one or two 
things you still 
needed to do? 

Look around—

the leaves 
all feel similar 

after falling 
off their limbs;

they do not wonder how they got there 

or care 
what for.



Wednesday, November 4, 2020

CRACKED

Even in your craziest dreams
most things
still seem sturdy—
the cities    the buildings
the treelines    the streets

You'd never expect 
the sky    the sun to be 
cracked
like an egg in an earthquake 

You'd never see 
a species    a nation 
dissolve all at once in 
villainous acid rain

You might expect 
to lose the respect 
of people you love 

or wind up in bed 
with the ones you 
ordinarily hate 

But curious:
even in your most 
debilitating nightmare

you never expect anything 
or anyone  
to break.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

CASUALTIES

Kaleidoscope 
of tangy leaves—

lying erratic 
in wind-
sighing reams,

wet
and then dried, 
and then wet
and then dried—

the stems
the edges
the hearts of our lives 

should be 
crisp 
and pointed 
and clean

as that original fate 
which has fallen 
on thee.


Monday, November 2, 2020

THE RACE

Alas, I was not the first 
to feel,

in the space 
behind my eyeballs, 

the tension 
of a bitter vs. sour nation 

growing so incontrovertibly 
stronger—

to long for a moment
(or an hour) to hold 

my poor ungainly 
face underwater.