Monday, April 19, 2021

BITTER MEMORY

There are, of course, always
those sensible buildings 

to which 
daily access
is granted millions.

Then, there are
the particular places—
a ramshackle cabin

high in the mountains, say—
whose paths are passable only 
intermittently. 

And last of all, there's 
that one empty palace—

with its gilt towers 
and buttresses frozen
at formidable right angles

and its piercing 
white interiors, all
excruciatingly polished—

which, having glimpsed  
only once, 
you have ever since permitted 

to secretly exist,
but which 
you'd never dare wish 

for one second
to reinhabit.



Friday, April 16, 2021

WISDOM IS THAT KNOWLEDGE WHOSE BURDEN WE NEVER WANTED

Scarcity 
may always be the
archetypal fear;

But the truth is, 
there is far too much 
here to defend.

Time is so ample, 
in some sense it 
never advances;

and the sky, always 
so far away—what 
are the chances 

there won't always be more 
to mistrust 
in those immortals

whose intelligence 
was too lavish 
to be blighted by death 

and yet, too humble
to now seem quite
foolish instead?


Thursday, April 15, 2021

LEARNING TO SPEAK

It's not an intelligence—
it's something that happens 

to your entire body 
all at once;

language 
is the grail itself—

an inexhaustible radiance, 
which, up close, could 
burn all your clothes off.

You forget 
about getting things
a bit mixed up;

you remember only enough 
to know you must walk 

into the furnace of words—
naked 
and nameless,

from the gutter, 
to the galaxy—
but always willingly, 

as if any other 
choice existed. 



Wednesday, April 14, 2021

AMATEUR CARTOGRAPHY

Repellent as it looks 
from this 
location, it would be 

far better 
to stop 

and carve a stiff grid across 
the top of your life

than to not. 
After all—
at some point, 

the coordination 
of pain 

must begin 
to protect against 
the loss,

and let's face it—
and you are going to get lost 
a lot.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

PREPONDERANCES

If what Nature 
just cannot stand is 
a vacuum, 

how come a man 
most abhors 
her redundancies—

earth's messy multiplicities
which breed free
endurance, 

or guaranteed 
survival of the most 
blessedly anonymous, 

or, worst of all,
the sophistication pre-
supposed of the oblique? 

Instead of trusting 
in processes, why is he 
repulsed 

by the repetitions
which console against
chronic incoherence?

Do he fear 
these varieties 
obscure the one angle 

from which he both
views the truth clear—
and survives it? 


Monday, April 12, 2021

TWO CONFLICTING IMPULSES

Like a beaten 
drum, or some hapless planet 
bombarded by comets,

I guess you have 
no choice but 
to abide all the torment,

of this moment, all its tiresome 
insistence and it's chronic 
aggravation;

for the sensation 
you experience is no 
technical problem, 

but rather, a tectonic one:
for durability's sake,
beneath topsides of skin, 

the meat of you really is 
made out of plates—
whose main job is 

less to contain 
than to grind at each other 
continuously.



Friday, April 9, 2021

AT LEAST EVERYONE IS LOST TOGETHER

The choice is—are there 
lots of things 
you'll never understand?

Or is there just the one 
ocean, whose surface is 
continuous? 

Perhaps every person 
you've passed 
is a beacon 

on a boat's mast 
whose port your 
imagination couldn't guess;

maybe every last 
star you can see 

is only there to deepen 
and unify your sense

of the space in-between's 
unknowableness.



Thursday, April 8, 2021

UNKNOWING

A person can certainly learn 
how to fish; 

or they can simply keep returning 
and stammering out in 
the same mystic river. 

Perhaps to make sense 
is to be useful in other contexts, 

whereas nonsense 
never changes, but can always 
be revisited. 

There's a kind of satisfaction 
which exists 
only in this—

like a confident poem, with no 
outside applications.

At least on occasion, 
is there not 
tremendous relief 

in a thought 
which is terse, but which comes
with no substitute? 

For once, 
can we not just enjoy 
our loss? 


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS

          Nothing gold can stay.         
               —Robert Frost


We all knew going into this 
that Eden sank to grief; 

so, clearly, for humanity, 
maturity is inevitable—and it's heavy, 
and it stinks.

But how did the whole 
planet get 
such a short shrift—

with leaf subsiding 
to flowerless leaf, 

and each dawn defeated 
in an hour or less? As if 
that's just how it is 

in the bucolic world? As if, 
even the curliest ivy tresses—
sinless or luxuriant,

green, red, or gold-
tinged—had best keep 

a look out, since 
the charge isn't arrogance, 
but existence, 

and the plug is 
apparently 
always getting pulled? 



Tuesday, April 6, 2021

INFINITE REGRESS

Just when you think
you can't possibly articulate 

your good intentions
any better,

or beta-
test a plausible 
explanation any longer,

or parse 
and reparse the hard
data more often;

that's exactly 
when there's a rupture—

the notion 
of number suddenly 
collapses.

Now, elaboration
is coming so easy

that prolixity cannot 
possibly be the mission;

the quality 
of the conversation 
won't deepen either,

and even compounding 
the interest is 
meaningless 

after your brain 
has prolapsed 
to that place where 

adding 
one more notion
to an ocean of others

no longer 
counts as a 
larger amount.



Monday, April 5, 2021

SPRINGTIME FOR HITLER

So what 
if you cannot be 
precise, thorough-

going, or 
complete 
with your reason;

in the heat of 
the moment 
there is no need. 

After all,
one must not be afraid 
to make a big statement—

then pay strict attention 
to where the 
controversy leads.

Thus, during the 
delicate dawn 
of the season,

it becomes especially 
tempting 
to say 

that eugenics, 
divine intervention, 
phrenology—

even evolution 
by natural selection—
may be the reason 

that flowers 
seem so superior 
to leaves.


Friday, April 2, 2021

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

There is nothing funny 
about perfection,

though the smiles 
which pass by me 
on these blithe sidewalk passengers 

are tracking much more like 
amused than happy. 

And yet, 
there must be something 
rare which is trapped 

in the bright April wind
which makes us 
want to laugh—

and not from the inexorable 
glee of satisfaction,

but as if 
we've all just been 
taken-in 

by some fiendishly clever 
immaculate trick.



Thursday, April 1, 2021

INSOMNIAC

Perhaps 
you're an addict;
this is just your fate.

Or perhaps there's no end 
to the cast-
off names,

to the lists of the wants 
and the fears 
you transcend.

Perhaps suffering 
is just the daily 
allowance you make—

and maybe 
the best way 
to finally get some rest 

is to merge 
with the problem—
forget 

about your strengths;
become one 
with 

the exhaustion 
which is 
keeping you awake. 



Wednesday, March 31, 2021

FATHOMLESS

One of the most 
repeatable memes 
about wisdom
is that of a box 
with no bottom. 
But this may strike 
the keen mind as 
inexact. If space 
has an edge, surely
there must also be 
a limit to facts? 
And if that's the case, 
how come there's 
so much string left 
between the pearls? 
Why should our 
knowledge come 
dispensed in small snacks—
compact poems, sly 
movements, quick 
couplets set to 
aphoristic music—unless 
(perhaps you can 
already guess) because 
accepting the truth 
in full-context 
would stretch you
until you were ruined.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

PURPOSE

Here comes another 
string of 
empty office buildings—

windows 
where their walls should be, 
tamed blue skies 

beyond. Monuments 
to imprecision 

and cell phone 
interference.

Maybe that's 
the reason 
she isn't calling. 

*

Maybe, the reason 
people exist at all

is to palm-off that 
purpose

on the next generation. 

*

Personally,
I practice my self-
importance daily, 

at different speeds 
and in different 
weather conditions.

I have friends. 
But they never visit;

they say I 
never listen.

It's convenient—
subtracting nothing 

from nothingness 

leaves us with just 
existence.



Monday, March 29, 2021

SCRIPTURE

In the beginning, 
this was an 
impersonal world. 

Only, Nobody wanted this; 
infinities 

were truncated,
then screaming 

was invented—
then television 

pundits—then
the separateness

of the spirits.

*

For example, 
the spirit of information 

is that 
being here 

means 
not being there.

Its lack
has no shape;

it can't be
interrupted.

*

Actually, the far 
scarier thought is that 
the dead 

remain dead.
While the living 
go on believing 

their inertia 
is conserved.

When really 
it's momentum—

and only in a forsaken 
(read: isolated) system.



Friday, March 26, 2021

TALKING TO MYSELF

Now that that's over, 
you're talking 
to yourself again—

hesitancy and persistence 
begin to flicker 
into flame,

the untenably succulent 
writhing of 
just-saying.

The half-smile 
of short vowels

and long ones' circumferences
vanishing smooth 

as a brass bell 
struck in dead of winter

and reflecting 
off of every surface, until
your whole 

world becomes legible. 
The handwriting
(or is this the voice)

of god is 
streaming in from 
anyplace.

Is this the revelation 
you were waiting
to savor
 
Or just another tiny
psychotic break?


Thursday, March 25, 2021

EPIPHANY (TIME-LAPSE)

Even if the connection 
is never completed
there in the right-sized room 
of your head,

there may still be moments
when mind and matter 
issue a ceasefire and 
speak to each other.

There, in that most exquisite 
of glooms, all the grubby shards 
of you shimmer 

with a singular rawness which 
knits them together 
as if undefined
by relationships or time,

and are weightless, 
yet so terribly durable 
you find yourself losing all freedom
to refuse.

And the high-speed net effect 
of a truth so dazzling
is a lessening so deft 

that you soon start to long for 
the luscious redemptive 
dark of your erstwhile confusion.



Wednesday, March 24, 2021

EMOTION AS AN OBJECT

Many have asked 
(and how right-
fully so)
 
what good is that 
glistening trove 
of gold 

whose secret and
pitch black cave 
of a room

you alone can 
access when-
ever you choose;

but which, 
impervious to purses 
or pockets or bags,

you're permitted
to stroke 
but never remove?

The true poem 
is just such a 
mystical hoard—

a burden of worth 
which can 
never be sold,

that dire treasure
which only makes you poorer 
to behold. 


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

FORGET WHAT DIDN'T

          Remembering is only a new form 
          of suffering. 
               —Baudelaire 


Surely, there were words 
which prickled 
my skin—

or certain actions 
undertaken

which bleakened my sleep 
and slurred 
my waking. 

But freed from the sway
of the diary page 

and placed, without prejudice,
on a more 
celestial timetable, 

I watched 
every ordeal recede 
to a speckle

of light on 
one wave 
of perpetual ocean.

And once I grew tired  
of watching the pageant, 

I was free to leave the shore—
my memory, a palace 
filled to the brim, 

filled to the turrets 
with the bliss 
of its blankness  

and uncertain 
of anything—save for 
the fact that

what happened 
to me 

had never been 
all that there was
to reality.



Monday, March 22, 2021

TRAP DOOR POEM

What if 
every small moment 
had an even smaller door, 

a pinprick 
leading to all the centuries 
that came before  

and every future, kind 
or malevolent,  
which is still in the haystack? 

No metaphor will do
the trick; it’s you 
who must transform,

you 
who must intuit,

you who must be willing 
to admit—

right here, 
there exists a terrible  
crack in the world;

and this poem 
is you forever failing—

but trying 
like the devil did—to mend it.



Friday, March 19, 2021

THE CASE AGAINST METAPHOR

As the days become longer, 
it grows easy to see 

how everything yearns
to lend part 
to Reality—

as the sky 
becomes gradually less 
and less obscure, 

it reveals not the text 
of the song, but the bird.

As if consciousness 
is slowly taking 
the place of creation,

all of a sudden, 
in some Great War of Facts, 

those half-color daydreams 
and vague quarter-things 
of spring

all burn 
to be expressed.



Thursday, March 18, 2021

NEW LOOK

Little by little, 
the poverty of spring 
has become the new look—

first, a young trend;
then, an everyday 
reality;

and finally, 
a succoring 
and revitalizing affect.

The yellows and reds
deep down 
in mud's brown,

the bare trees standing frightened
as wrecked umbrellas 
in the raw wind.

The sharp and compact 
vocabulary of winter 

no longer speaks
in a patois we understand.

Now, the same bare wind 
sings of a new legend, 
in which 

waiting 
is the next action; 

stillness, after all, is 
still an offensive maneuver;

and silence 
is the sound 

of a crisis 
which has passed.



Wednesday, March 17, 2021

INTERLUDE

It is still difficult to find 
a word for this 

blankness—a pond 
without reflections, 

a guiltless sadness, 
uncaused.

But for now, 
we take solace 

in the grandeur of fact—
in the logic 

that even the lack
of imagination 

must itself 
have been imagined—

if only by one 
who has long since 

departed, some archangel 
of the night, 

that old star, 
once ablaze, 

now dwindled to invisible, 
but still radiant 

and hanging
above the innocent,

who reverently call these   
the long silent days.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

FINAL THOUGHT

It might turn out, reality 
was things 

in their beginnings, 
not at their ends—

fresh from the 
womb as wet 

dew on green grass,
the dumb sense 

of self fast 
asleep in the basement.

This was the planet
before it had a motion.

In a dream, you behold
the very first poets

in their maiden 
somnambulations:

those innocent members 
of the ancient race 

of fathers;
all the different names

they must have had
for god.


Monday, March 15, 2021

CIRCUMLOCUTION

When you're exhausted 
and cowed 
and not touched;

when life is 
too short 
to do too much—

you must 
ride that horse 
of pale hesitation 

past the 
bare gulch of 
familiar fact.

Do not address 
Imagination's largess. 
Start with the small stuff.

For instance, 
never dismiss the 
innocuous sentence.

Its gruff 
abrupt words
may be the last keys 

made to marry 
the locks 
of enormous thoughts

and bear forth 
their inestimable 
endogenous feelings.



Friday, March 12, 2021

DOWNSIDE

When it's 
finally swathed 
in sunlight this mellow, 

the crescendoing world  
feels impervious 
to poetry.

The impenetrable
blues, the crude browns
and yellows,

the fertile, battered 
neighborhood 
outside your window—

this world looks
too much like 
what it already is

to ever submit 
to metaphor's 
impoverished transmutation 

or suffer distillation
to some analogue 
more clever 

by even 
its shrewdest
rhetorician.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

THE MIDDLE

We think 
it'd be nice 
to be 

in the 
thick of things
for once—

instead of 
perpetually off 
to one side, 

always so estranged, 
at the helpless edge 
of contemplation. 

It'd be great 
to entreat
of an intellect fleet,

to look out and see 
everywhere in space 
for a second. But 

this planet of ours—
crudely beautiful, 
metaphorically

enormously
unapologetic—
hem us out cleverly,

haws the point constantly, 
repeats its inventions,
dodges. 

Whatever we get back
must be abstract. 
Today rhymes with...

what? we ask,
and we're told
there will always be 

many more questions 
than there are 
revelations.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

POINT OF DEPARTURE

As if trapped 
under glass, 

this is the moment 
perfectly perceived—

the apartment 
is motionless, 

the mangy dog 
asleep, 

and the light 
through its rooms streaming

deep
but direct.

And only 
the faint whispers 

of tragedy 
from the eaves—

an empty chair's 
heaviness, 

the dress in the photograph 
fading on the wall—

an old failure 
now somewhere 

very far away,
murmuring softly,

cast-off 
from its history.



Tuesday, March 9, 2021

SONNET FOR METEOROLOGICAL SPRING

This morning, the sly sun—
adroitly encroaching 
on those last, hardest, blackest 
strongholds of snow—
into passersby's hearts
must have also stole;
for nearly at once, all began 
to shed their coats,
and most seemed to laugh 
just a little as they did so, as if 
still wont to be tickled by his  
kisses on the breastbone,
despite a cruel winter's 
fanatical toll.


Monday, March 8, 2021

FINAL EXPLICATION

At last, 
you must ask
the beautiful question. 

Open the door and attend 
the adherence 
of the poem. 

Let sheer participation 
take the place 
of understanding. 

Imagine those words—
replacing 
your own. 



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? 




Wednesday, February 24, 2021

MANIFEST DESTINY

Because true ambition 
cannot be grasped 
by the fingers;

from nowhere on earth 
are the stars 
getting closer. 

Only here and there 
a few shiny trailblazers 

still grow richer, 

look younger, 

get laid.

*

Because true darkness 
is when 

nothing gets reflected; 
not even 

ignorance.
Not even shame.


Because true metaphor 
is sadistic as a
Star Trek transporter—

how willingly 
its users will
murder the tenor 

for the sake of driving 
a dangerous vehicle 

breakneck
to its destination. 




Tuesday, February 23, 2021

TROUBLE

Across our tensed cities, 
even the silence

gets oppressive-
ly loud.

Between gusts 
and honks and 

slithering filaments—
there rises, not rebellion,

but the bizarre 
rush of deafness. 

One cannot cup 
one's ears 

to shield them from this
invisible rush—

this turbulent 
lack of so much

which claps close around, 
yet booms far 

from profound.
How quickly

the head becomes 
clabbered, 

tumescent 
as a wet sponge, 

thick as it now is 
with the dumbness.



Monday, February 22, 2021

CONTROL

This is never far 
from the tip 
of my tongue: 

I would do anything 

to keep myself 
from dissolving. 

But perhaps this 
is wrong. 

Perhaps bliss, 
as we know it,
is the feeling 

of being 
tossed—

a warm lozenge, 
pink 
and sweet, 

lost to the gray heart 
of a cool salty sea.

*

Lately, I love 
to catch myself

being in the wrong.
As if 

winding up 
naked in a bad dream 

were proof-
positive: 

any narrative 
which recurs 

is controllable—
can be 

soothing.



Saturday, February 20, 2021

ABSOLUTE

Some don't believe in 
tables and chairs. 
They insist—

objects of solid matter 
are not really there.
It's plain on their pages

the atoms 
are empty;

their electrons, 
just spooky;

and quarks are like actors 
struggling 
to stay in character.

Curiously, such sages
never question
the forces—

nor the fantastic contemporary 
invention of 
their choices.


Friday, February 19, 2021

STILL

1.

You'll never believe 
the dream I just had: 

I cannot remember 
the details—only that

in it, every action's 
relationship to stillness 

was spectacular-
ly exaggerated. 


2.

Let's just say, 
for the sake of 
the argument, 

the universe 
is made of strings 
that vibrate;

the knot 
of my guts 

might still sing 
"so what?" 

when it's 
strung up above 
the toilet.


3.

If space 
is available,
it must also be retractable.

If time is passing always,
there's no place 
for now and then.

(It has taken 
our prolapse-prone 
organs of attention 

how many 
bleak centuries 
to figure that out?)

Yet, I hardly ever 
get excited 

just to know  
I love you still

as much as I do
when I look forward to 

loving you again 
sometime soon.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

FEBRUARY POEM

Even from 
their breakfast tables, 

midwesterners can see—

the errant confetti 
of snowflakes 

and jaunty stripes 
of icicles dangling 

their lambent tips 
past kitchen windows, 

obliterating symmetries 

and betraying opportunity's 
surprise birthday party.

Without getting closer, 
they know 
 
the eccentric 
signature of fresh snow;

no crown, but a sturdy 
coronation blanket;

entropy's indomitable 
evening-out;

the invitation to celebrate 

every as-yet
unanswered question.



Wednesday, February 17, 2021

PAST MASTER

Never pure intrigue. 
Hardly only 

apprehension. 
But always 

this tedious 
mixture of both—

morning by 
evening, 

room 
by room: 

the light stalked
by gloom.

A long 
and ambiguous 

sequence 
of chess moves. 

Gradually, I  
castle toward 

the border
of uncertainty—

or maybe, 
uncertainty hooks 

toward the center 
of me.



Tuesday, February 16, 2021

MACHINE LEARNING

What if—
all in a legitimate
column 

and each, 
necessarily, 
founded ineluctably 

on the dominating 
crown of what 
sat there before—

every 
single 
one 
of 
these 
words 
is 
wrong?

*

Don't you agree? 

Wouldn't that 
be almost 

just too hilarious? 

*

No pressure. 
No pulse. 

No discernible 
difference. 

No sense.
No response.

No follow-up 
attempt.

Whatever was meant 

by self-
ness

and self-
expression, 

the Intelligence 
on the other end 

of the phone can 
only guess.


Monday, February 15, 2021

IN THE TIME REMAINING

Those words 
echo loneliest 

which separate us most 

from what we 
unfailingly 

refer to as 
"the world."

*

To be where the action is

means to stay 
the course; 

that is, there is really 
nowhere 
I am going with this—

the future 
is that harbor 

where the ship cannot 
exist.


Yes 
I would settle 

for a vicarious happiness 

if only 
I could be sure

that yours wasn't 
plausibly 
more than a little

obligatory 

deficient

coerced. 


Friday, February 12, 2021

ZERO

If only nothing 
was missing.

if only 
nothing went wrong.

If only 
this longing 

had edges,
or at least 

corners you could hold, 
or perhaps 

fold in half-
circles,

or tear 
up, or turn 

over—then
you could let 

go of this
urge 

to be 
astonished 

and zero-
in instead on 

those numberless 
petitions

to make yourself,
first 

and foremost, just 
available. 



Thursday, February 11, 2021

GIVING ADVICE

Most of the time, I 
find myself 
slipping away 

from what I'd 
begun to say;

the sentence
has become a 
party favor,

a small fortune teller 
crafted from paper,

a delicate construction 
dredged from the 
pocket of my pants

now flitting 
now unfolding
and flattening 

as the entertainment 
and suspense finally 
mount

to the crescendo 
of one 

of several 
pre-selected points.



Wednesday, February 10, 2021

NEXT LIVES

What exactly 
did we expect "it" and 
"self" have in common? 

asks the inside 
flap of the 
dust jacket, blithely.

Could these 
"selves" we had
have been any more selfish? 

will wonder 
the sarcastic 
investigators of the future—

the way they once probed the limits 
of the cosmic 
for banality,

and long-distance 
collect-called their 
underlying traumas,

and consciously hollered 
(without the faintest 
tang of irony)

into the theretofore tranquil 
"it" 
of dark matter.



Tuesday, February 9, 2021

VIRAL

Once, we are
children. Then, 
we're adults. 

But after those 
growths, some get hit 
with another spurt: 

the pronouns 
no longer fit; they've become 
a virus.

Oh perfect, 
they mutter. No sooner 
had all of these 

proteins 
learned to 
love themselves

than they up 
and turn
around to discover 

that there's 
no such thing as love 
between molecules.

But this doesn't bother them
as much as they
thought, since

they no longer think about
gratification,
and of course, there were

no such things as
selves
to begin with.




Monday, February 8, 2021

FARCE

Having long since 
grown nervous 

concerning 
what truths 

our eyes might 
be expressing 
when we aren't looking,

gradually, 
we have sketched ourselves 
into cartoons—whose 

frantic expressions 
are always 
good for a laugh, 

and whose 
grinning white 
skeletons might 

survive 
their own deaths.


In the end, it was only 
the stillness 
that killed us. 

The only way 
we knew to head 

for home was 
in a hurry; 

on this fury (and not 
on our affections) 
did we depend—

we 
who would readily 
call ourselves "blessed"

to be 
all made up 
of tiny sentences—such as: 

Nobody's perfect. 

Stupidity tries.

This changes nothing.

Truth is, I lied.



Friday, February 5, 2021

EVENNESS

Even the great big 
eye in the sky—

a perfectly targeted 
ad for this moment—

is so fixed 
that it misses 

the rats asleep 
beneath your car hood.

*

Perhaps all this longing
is the distance 

between persons 
and their sought-
after objects

squared—
and divided by 

the breadth 
of counterfactuals.

*

None of us
is hopeless,

no one immortal. 

Between highest 
widest walls, 

there must exist a 
mostly middle.

Really, need I go on?



Thursday, February 4, 2021

OUT OF BONDAGE

Shall we move on? 
Or must we 

keep going—
preemptively 

occupied—
over the 
same ground?

*

When 
god speaks, 

nature 
takes dictation.

And every letter, 
each curled leaf

stem and tendril,
must first be

deciphered, then 
cataloged individually. 

And all 
at the ceremonious pace 

of a glacier—
such that

any creature 
not of the proper likeness

shall perish 
before finishing 

the first commandment's
first sentence.



Wednesday, February 3, 2021

USER ILLUSION

In my dreams, 
there are 
situations 

and then, 
there are feelings—

an old dog's
barking 

takes the shape 
of isolation;

a great distance 
is crossed 

at the speed of 
self-disgust.

No small 
achievements

for which 
no one 
feels responsible.

But later, 
what amalgam?

what system's 
ghost? is left 
to wonder—

which one 
is prophecy,

and which 
a skeptical 

reconsideration 
of the other?



Tuesday, February 2, 2021

APPREHENSION

It seems 
many have come 
from miles around 

to admire 
this very fine 

line, which 
their efforts built—
between 

doing things 
for reasons 

and for 
reasons they won't 

admit. 


After the thought  
has been 

set loose—
that the truth is 
our best 

efforts 
do not 
accumulate—

we suddenly find ourselves 
willing 

to negotiate.

*

Now, I realize
no single moment 

could have ever been 
good enough. 

Now, I know 
no kind 
of "now" 

has ever had 
a beginning.

The apprehension 
is a pleasant 
dream;

the mind 
is a rough 
neighborhood. 



Monday, February 1, 2021

DAY AFTER

Cold lumps 
of virginal milk, 

untold sheets from 
unmade beds,

torpid cumulonimbus 
crowds, which

last evening, jammed
a vanishing sky—

this morning, pack 
the illegible streets and

filibuster 
the ground.


Friday, January 29, 2021

DEVELOPMENTS

A middle-
distance image 

of Earth 
from the Hubble

is now 
the stock background 

on your 
third-best computer.

*

The speaker 
is a device 

(formerly employed
by the speaker) 

now used 
to pass guilt 

through a faultless
bath of chemicals.

*

Just keep 
putting words down, 

one 
after another.

If you're wondering 
whether you'll 

finish 
before you leave here—

don't worry; 
you could never.

If you're 
wondering whether

you'll leave here 
on schedule—

you couldn't 
not do that; 

so far,
it's impossible.



Thursday, January 28, 2021

IDENTITY THEORY

The judges,
rimmed around the outer 
reaches 

of Whatness,
all agree: 

unanswerable questions 
related to How

will receive 

no additional points 
for originality. 

*

Fortunately, 
the way congruity works 
has been 

grossly 
overdetermined—

a blind selfish 
gene 

and an all-seeing 
eye 

will eventually 
combine forces;

the unaccounted-
for moment 

nevertheless arrives 

when "there"
and "here" 

drive distracted—
and collide.


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

LIVING THROUGH

When we're not 
teaching children 
"birds of a feather," 

it's because we're busy
watching television—

or whichever 
events currently 
aggregate as such.

You won't want 
to miss a second

of the 
currently trending
"When Opposites Attack."

*

Listen up. Listen in.

A critical-
mass viral 
load of new pronouns 

can 
in rare instances
be followed 

by the uproarious 
and involuntary 
expectoration of verbs. 

Might as well 
try 

to keep the sun 
from rising 

as dare to dam 
up the loud 

laugh of semantic 
drift.

*

It is difficult, 
but not 

impossible to imagine

never having 
to live

through any of this
again.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

TRICK

Listen. 
You may think 
that the poet—

stuck as he is 
with the rest of us 

in the dark rough 
and curtain-thick folds 
of this rhetoric—

is about 
to make 
his excellent point;

but did you notice
how this sentence—

now scored
with myriad nearly
invisible rips, 

now asway 
with its slow-mounting 
stacks of peaked apexes—

has gradually 
begun to slip, 

like brass handcuffs 
off the slick 

and duplicitously 
bent-back 

wrists of 
the magician?




Monday, January 25, 2021

VULGAR TONGUE

How is it
the faint insinuation  

of resemblance 
is seductive,

but 
the brute fact of sameness—

two self-
similar peas 

trapped in the 
dark of their

literal pod—smells 
to our noses 

more than a little rotten?

*

Do you find these 
kinky similarities 

of language 
troubling

or attractive?—

or have you been sucked 
into the paperback-unstable 

romance 
between them both? 

*

Perhaps rhyme 
is a cup of sugar 

one word 
lends another.

Perhaps it is right 
to attribute 

meaning 
to pattern—

or perhaps 
it's merely pretty

common.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

CONVENTION

Some who have 
come to this 
convention may insist 

on its elegance, but 
others say 
the universe 

is a pretty dismal
place—the lack of its 
oases, not to mention 

vending machines
is distinct,
there's no way to tell 

which of its poorly maintained 
territories you're 
idling through,

no way to reserve 
your place in line
or avoid all the signs stating

"closed for improvements,"
no views from the middle,
no WiFi signal,

all that debris 
where the
exits should be, 

all the waiting,
all the lost travel days, all 
the wasted space.


Friday, January 22, 2021

NOT

If matter 
consists 
of atoms, 

and atoms are built 
from a nest 
of six quarks 

arrayed 
in all possible 
locations in space,

and space 
is made of infini-
tesimal points—

each point, 
a need 
which has been blocked

(that is, neatly pinned-
in on all sides) 
by a lack;

why, then 
all the plaudits? 
It makes a lot of sense

for us 
to persist—does it 
not?


Thursday, January 21, 2021

TAKING ADVANTAGE

The way it works is 
Winter
now gets sold 

in a two-pack, 
along with 
Xmas—

to keep the 
consumers 
from realizing 

they've been 
sentenced again to its 
prison.

*

And the reason is—
we're so apt
to confuse 

the sensation 
of warmth 
with the sentiment.

The sun 
dawns small 

over snow-
coated fields,

and we'll still say—it
"came back."



Wednesday, January 20, 2021

EUREKA

Watching 
bombs fall 
over 

internet connections, 
we turn 

to computers 
and post "nothing at all 
is shocking." 

Yet the fact 
that we are able 

to understand
one another

but still sound 
like ourselves 

comes as no 
small wonder.

*

Which is harder? 
To spot 
the cliché

or explain 
away the jargon? 

They used to say 
a stitch in time—

like a spine—
goes unnoticed 

til the moment 
you pull one.

But eminent Psychologists 
of today 
have suggested 

that old shout 
of Archimedes'

was leveled 
in agony—not 
in epiphany. 

*

Hey there, mister moon. 
How soon is 

too soon, I wonder

to have ended 
up where you'd begun? 



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

TINY ROOMS

Am I merely being 
sarcastic 

when I say I'm self-
critical? 

Never mind. 
Let's all play Twitter 

or 
Emily Dickinson?

It's harder 
than it looks 

to cling 
to spontaneity

to remain caustic 
in gray-scale

and every minute
to beget a little stanza

about how 
money language 

memory love 
family—

even grim death—
can each

fail us 
so thrillingly.




Monday, January 18, 2021

BLACKISH

Put down 
the words

and back 
away slowly.

Whence 
this manic greed 
for assertion?

*

Outside, 
blackish sparrows—

fluttering twig 
to twig in the 
bald lilac bushes

and twittering 
keep keep keep keep

threading their cold-
needled holes 
in-between 

last night's dream
and the 

insignificance  
of today.

*

Repeat a word enough 
times, you think 

(not unhappy),

and it starts to mean 
nothing  

or 
anything you need.



Saturday, January 16, 2021

OH GREAT

God is a circle 
whose circumference 

is nowhere. 

A circle 
which has no edges? No:

a circle which has 
all of the edges. 

*

Even in winter,
there are 
certain blind flowers

whose mouths are wide open,

but still
they aren't talking.

*

Oh great, now I am supposed 
to be jealous 

of a virus—
a virus which

has no self? 
But no: the center 

of the circle 
is everywhere.
this virus 

has all of our selves. 



Friday, January 15, 2021

INFINITE DENSITY

How can it 
be? we 

have no problem picturing 

a vast universe 
in which 

everything is lying 

and gradually 
drifting 

infinitely   far       apart?

Yet, 
whenever somebody 

starts 
to go on about 

the penetrability of bodies;

ornaments 
nested,

smaller 
and smaller, forever 
inside each other;

fundamental particles 
which only exist
when they're

infinitelyclosetogether—

we must 
blink back our anxiety, 

nod, and pretend 
that we 

understand completely
and don't 

have grave doubts. 




Thursday, January 14, 2021

DURABLE GOODS

What the world 
needs now is 

more quantifiable units 
of meaning. 

Happiness 
is cotton candy;
a garnish 

on reality 
which evaporates 
upon contact.

Love 
is a glittering, 
shimmering mirage—a palace,

a look 
to the middle distance 

that keeps 
receding in perfect 
sync 
as we walk.


Lately,
I'm more interested 
in durable goods,

unique handmade products, 
fairly-
traded, BPA-free.

Even as we 
speak, I'm 

entering my zip 
to calculate shipping.



Wednesday, January 13, 2021

BIG QUESTIONS

Progress is 
progress. The answers 
look correct, but

nobody is asking 
the really big questions.

Exactly what sort 
of information 
does love contain? 

Could the nature 
of our relationship 
survive a black hole? 

Can't you somehow 
just picture it—
me, still begging 

your forgiveness 
as the universe rips;

your assent, 
that eerie radiance 

smeared out 
like a sustained pitch 

all along the sensuous
song of a faint
event horizon?



Tuesday, January 12, 2021

HYPOTHETICAL

Only physics
could explain! I might
dramatically insist,

the strange charm 
which plainly
exists between us.

We are two 
synced electrons 
a supercluster away—

she bends, 
and I stretch; 
and she moans 

during sex, 
as I take
a bite of sandwich.

"You've never even met," 
my interlocutor 
would interject,

"this is all 
hypothetical."
But notice, I'd say—

as she perhaps
someplace stamps out
a slim cigarette—

how much 
it helps anyway.


Monday, January 11, 2021

SLEEPING DOGS DON'T LIE

What sort of 
human, however 
ingenuous, could claim 
never to be envious
of that platonic 
circle a dog makes 
when napping? 
Who—if she truly 
valued amity 
over everything—
wouldn't suppose 
a circuit so perfect-
ly completed
to be the pleasantest 
method for 
generating dreams?
What skinflint 
or curmudgeon 
wouldn't trade
in a second 
his most precious asset 
(be it gold 
or maliciousness)
for that dexterous 
capacity for repose 
that's so seamless?


Friday, January 8, 2021

MEETING IN THE AISLE

Not everything 
with two sides 
is political.

Take for example 
the light 

which seems 
to come
from above—

a cult 
to be worshiped

if ever there 
was one,

and a debt 
to amazement 

which could 
never be paid.

"Light is a particle," 
they say. And 
"Light is a wave."

But
it does not matter 
which—

or if
you believe.



Thursday, January 7, 2021

WE THE PEOPLE

Which one 
is more consequential

in the long run—
consciousness

or knowledge? 

We the people 
optimistically believe

to air even 
our slightest 
misgivings 

is eminent-
ly pleasurable. 

*

The glory-
hole newsfeed, 

crisscross-doublefucked
with suspicions,

is such 
a flattering fit 
on the algorithm!

However, the
live-streaming experts 
are quicker

and quicker
to remind:

in an atmosphere 
as noxious
as this one, 

we can hardly expect 
all our growth 

to look benign.



Wednesday, January 6, 2021

THE OBSTACLE

It's a thrill 
we get 

in our bones, 
this self-
loathing.

Not only 
to be part 
of the problem 

and to know it— 

but to rule over 
the revulsion,

to hold 
the solution 
so close

that it chokes, 

to slaughter the fatted 
calf of disgust—
as if feeding 

off the heat 
and the bile
and the friction 

of the swift 
and brutal 
murder 

of momentum.



Tuesday, January 5, 2021

ALTERNATE

To some of us, it's become 
far spookier 
to consider

that haunted houses 
don't exist—

all the shit
we never thought 
we'd outlive,

all the harms
we can't accept 
we've done 

away with. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

APPARITIONS

If you insist 
on believing 
the dead can persist 

in speaking to us, say, 
in the bedroom,
in the shower;

why do you doubt 
all of their precursors—
the mock-ups 
and the models—

prototypes 
which never got the chance 
to exist? 

Why should 
any such distinction 
matter?

After all, 
the money in your purse
has been chattering
for centuries—

calling to you
from a doors-
closing elevator,

stage-whispering 
to your ancestors
in an echo-y church—

but never once 
has the chance 
that these are the 
mere apparitions

of nothing 
talking to no one
been discussed.