Wednesday, August 4, 2021

REMINDERS

1.

I am neither depressed 
nor anxious. 

Depression and anxiety 
merely exist.
Okay—so, I guess

thoughts are just 
having themselves now? 


2.

How is your 
apocalypse going?

In mine, the survivors 
all form a band 

because 
they understand each other 
that much 

better when they
aren't talking.


3.

Life is 
made of particles, 
the physicist says; 

while the novelist 
suggests 
it's more like a premise 

that toys 
with its audience. 

Either way, it's a process 
which has to be observed 

and once it has started,
must not be 
interrupted. 


4.

Does the light 
you can see
at the end of the tunnel 

remind you of the over- 
harsh 
delivery room glare? 

If so, that's 
perfect; there's 
no need to worry.

If this were a dream, 
there would be no 
reminders—

everything there is exactly
as it appears.



Tuesday, August 3, 2021

NOUMENA

It's true that
we're not willing 
to try very hard 

to see things as they really are,

devoid of their color, 
smell, taste, and texture—
that is, 

enduring 
as pure numbers 
and positions—without us.

Yet, how rigorous—

how hard 
and how long we 
are willing to practice

to perfect 
the ridiculous 

art of our own 
indifference 
to the fact.

*

Dear God, 
where's the pizazz 

in doing all this 
math in your head:

derivatives 
of ribs, 

raised to the power of 
sea and soil;

darkness 
divided by light 

(in parentheses) 
times seven?

Unless 
or until

you spread your lips 
and hold forth,

all phenomena will wither 
still deaf
to the truth,

and its magic 
will be spoiled.



Monday, August 2, 2021

BREATHWORK

Inhale
and behold: not before, 
but behind your very eyes, 

the attention 
is collapsing—
as if 

every thread 
of some fabric 
has unraveled, 

as if empty space 
has been yanked 
down a sinkhole,

a pinhole, 
an infinitesimal 
but unfathomably deep 

black hole—
inside which, 
in a lapse 

lost to time, 
all that nothingness 
gets compressed 

and compounded 
until it explodes—
slingshotting 

a new admixture 
of consciousness  
back home 

just in time to notice 
the slight tickle 
in its nose.


Friday, July 30, 2021

HIGHER POWER

On balance, there's nothing 
you loathe more 
than a cheater,

but lately, even you 
have been tempted 
to picture 

the load that you carry as 
someone else's 
metaphor.

I guess it's true after all—
you think 
but don't say, 

as you feel yourself 
blissfully 
drifting off into 

the blank spot
in the hot attic 

of that person's
cobwebbed dark irrelevance—

that acceptance 
doesn't feel nearly as 
solipsistic 

as futility did 
exhausting. 



Thursday, July 29, 2021

THOSE DECISIONS

Because we are told 
this is just 
how it is, 

we do not feel that 
amazed 
to perceive  

that every thing out there
is made of bits;

and bits are, of course, built 
from yeses
and nos;

and yes and no
aren't things, 

they are motives—
notions, caprices, hunches, 
and so on—

which makes sense 
since these 

are the only effects 
that survive death. 

And so grows our faith 
in the power of 
those decisions

which can't be held 
in the hand or touched— 
but only maintained 

by the backward-
looking gaze.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

DOUBLE WONDER

Most of us spend our time 
never noticing

that time isn't ours 
to spend; 

that each moment belongs 
nowhere, 

has no target
to acquire. 

But what 
kind of compound 

slight of hand 
could it take? to realize 

that the feeling 
is only an impulse, 

and an impulse 
is precision-

made
out of nothing.

*

Imagine comprehensible immensity. 

Imagine
the Grand Canyon

filled to the brim 
with religious 
memorabilia—

Christ himself 
would be gobsmacked 
at the sight

of Judas Iscariot—
of all of us—oblivious, 

just walking across 
unharmed.


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

GOOD, BAD, OR INDIFFERENT

Somehow, the obdurate 
weeds explode 

through the cracks 
and the holes
in old parking lot pavements; 

and the thorn bushes thicken 
and sharpen their resolve 

to swarm the perimeter 
of their methane-
choked marshes; 

and the wine-blushing flowers 
blossom in the handmade boxes 

which adorn 
your southern-
exposure window—

but the rains
that plumb

and the winds
that run

and the sun
that comes

are all one
and the same.



Monday, July 26, 2021

ANTICLIMAX

Those who bore witness 
thought the explosion 
would be bigger,

but orders of magnitude 
mean nothing 
to the ones

and zeros
whose

limitless iterations 
are contorted 

into the vestigial shapes 
we, 

when we're   
being good 
audience members, 

are liable to politely 
ignore as mixed
metaphors.


To the prototype infants 

whose wait offstage
for their number to come up
has been eternal, 

a climax seems desirable. 

But the minute 
two bits 
hit each other 

all the mystery is annihilated:

this is not 
my beautiful wife,

sings the singer 
who is not the original
singer,

I am no longer 
my original
self.



Friday, July 23, 2021

OCCAM'S RAZOR

It's simple: prune away 
the near-
limitless causes

and suddenly 
the least conspicuous 
becomes the most plausible.

For instance,
in order to measure 
the harms we've caused

verses those 
we've incurred, 
either 

the good Lord 
took our innocence 

and in return, 
gave us sons 
and daughters;

or else, 
increasingly high-level 
security clearance 

begot 
ever more furious 
computer virus coders;

or lastly—
and by far the least
fathomable of all—

evolutionary 
pressure 

hastened 
the invention 
of numbers.


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.



Tuesday, July 13, 2021

PASSING THOUGHT

Have you noticed—

when you sleep, 
you do not feel old 

or young—
but ageless.

Not ageless 
as in eternal; not pressed 
into the shape 

of the universe.
But ageless 
as in: 

holding no pose
out of habit; 

ageless as in:
uncapturable, 

unfathomable, 
new. 

*

Drifting off—
where is this sea? 

When
was this ancient 
glacial flood? 

What is 
this leviathan 
that rises up 

between you 

and the creature 
you were sure
you were

gravitating to? 

*

Alas, the omnipotent mind 
of the dreamer, 

though even its creations  
may remain
unconvinced, 

never once 
thinks: this can’t be happening.



Monday, July 12, 2021

YIELDING DISEASE

Does it 
trouble you

the way in which 
one thing insufferably 

leads 
to another? 

Watching the horizon
as one cloud 

irrevocably merges 
with a partner—

and just as the evening 
comes bleeding into afternoon—

may be enough 
to set some people off.

Such diagnosed souls 
might feel choked

when there's so little room 
for doubt.

For the born-lonely 
and the hidden, 

this threat of what's 
separate's constant 

convergence
is a poison;

they reason 
that always wanting more 

is clumsy, 
and it's greedy—

wanting less, a prim 
and penitent 

expression 
of their grief.




Friday, July 9, 2021

STRUCTURES

Perhaps every day 
of our lives
is a hall 

in a building 
so tall, clouds obscure 
the top floor.

And every poem 
we encounter  
is a hole in the wall there—

not a vandalism 
or incompleteness, 
or some emblem of disrepair, 

but an aperture, a door 
leading somewhere
we're not authorized to go—

or worse, a once-familiar interior 
which we now fear is haunted 
or condemned—

or worse-still, a one-way exit
emptying us out 
god knows where 

with an abruptness 
the thrill of which
time can't account for

onto a dazzling street 
we surely didn't 
take to get here 

and have never walked
before.


Thursday, July 8, 2021

BRANCH PATTERNS

Curious 
how, no matter 
what happens, 

however unpleasant,
the story line pivots 

and continues 
to unspool in response 
to that action.

But despite 
complex changes 
to rules and directions,

every piece lands
on the same space
eventually: 

it isn't my secrets
which bind me 

back
to that loneliness;
it's the fact that 

my past can't exist 
in this present.



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

INTERFERENCE PATTERN

Now that we live 
in a futuristic present, 
scientists do know 

why
"You say goodbye, 
and I say hello." 

It's only 
an emergent property 
of quantum entanglement. 

Where once, two 
made contact, 
their states remain joined, 

never to ruin, but
forever destined 
to counteract—

like the 
forbearant half 
of a flipped golden coin,

or a marriage 
which has gone bad—
but not worse 

than the incoherent 
roars of traffic 
in the rest of the universe. 


Tuesday, July 6, 2021

STRATAGEM

Some of us simply cannot resist—
to speak a thing passionate-
and repeatedly, we think, 
is the most preferred way 
to feed it's significance.
While others seem to greedily insist 
on capturing the tiniest bits
of random discourse which 
chance to come near them.
But of hunger, of course, this
is the opposite: their plan 
(well-intentioned, inter-
locutors rest assured) 
is first, to ensnare, 
and after—to nourish. 



Friday, July 2, 2021

FLEDGLING


blue jay—you 
say much,

but never 
enough; you may 

as well be 
a poem.






Thursday, July 1, 2021

CROSSING OVER

Because we were lectured
so hard and
so often

on "making something"
of ourselves,

it makes sense 
that feeling our
limbs going phantom 

as our eyes turn
to marbles 

would seem obvious—
but not virtuous, 
since 

virtue is just not a 
virtue attributable 

to the mildest 
among us: the
inanimate objects.

*

Turns out, 
what the martyr values
is focus 
more than balance; 

they see a certain fearsomeness 
in the symmetry 
of being 
too clever by-half.

Remember how once we fought 
about empty vs. perfect
but didn't argue?

Remember when we thought 
we'd jump in 
at the middle 

in order to get a head start  
counting to infinity?



Wednesday, June 30, 2021

MENTALITY

Do not think 
of changing your mind 

regarding 
where we should meet 

or what you want 
to eat

as capricious 
or easy; think of it 

as practice—
greasing the groove

for the one 
indestructible, 

changeless move
to come.

*

Although 
no neuron touches—

but shouts  
only "yes/no!" 
to—its neighbors, 

somehow, 
together, they dream 

of a point man
who speaks for them, 

who listens, posits, 
then explains 
the mechanism

of their uncanny 
existence.

*

My mind is like 
the crowns 
of these trees 

which are proud, 
symmetrical, 

dense with leaves—
but which 
nevertheless allow

the wind 
(feral, inconsiderate

old friend 
that it is)
to holler through 

and rend them 
from their 
sycophantic branches 

any old time 
it pleases.



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR

The truth 
about distance 

may never be 
determined,

but over the course 
of a lifetime, we 
have learned 

that now 
is so much 
more demanding 

than belief 
in the future 
ever was—

how 
our movements tended 
to leave a smudge 

on the juxtaposition
of objects 
we loved—

that we did not know 
until we knew

that here 
was the heaven 
we'd always wanted:

the open sky, 
the cadenced plain, 
the words 

(which were 
never quite part 

of ourselves)
all dissolving,

and all 
of the history 
we’d pursued 

until now
in the frame
of the rearview. 


Monday, June 28, 2021

EQUIVOCATION

To become nothing 
but a blip 

in a system 
filled with circuits 

would seem 
like a step 

in a worsening 
direction. But

how do you think 
your intuitions would flip 

if to become something
was to know it, 

whole and private
from the inside,

and to know a thing
was to cherish it 

for the span 
of just this moment—

which, as with 
all previous 

and subsequent 
moments, also consists

of a circuit 
filled with blips

getting broken 
or switched?


Friday, June 25, 2021

HYPERTEXT

"Don't get any 
big ideas," they say 

as if concepts 
had a shape,

took up space,  

put on weight.

"Don't be so 
hormonal," we snap 

as if phonemes 
could cross 
the synaptic gap; 

as if we weren't 
wordlessly
speaking to ourselves.

*

Perhaps experts 
minted profane words
for sex—

for violence, 
infirmity, and
betrayal next—

not because 
they must be 
discussed, but 

rather, to act
as talismans,

so that we wouldn't have to 
contain them.

*

With the web cache 
of hindsight, 
we can now see

the brilliance 
of the 20th century 
poets 

was to mishmash 
their analogies

and to formulate 
their metaphysics so exquisitely  
backwards: 

plainly, ideas 
are not in things

they only exist 
as the bridges 
between them.



Thursday, June 24, 2021

EVENTUALLY

When you were little, 
you were taught 

that time 
is divisible, 

that someone would be coming 
to pick you up

later. 
Even now 

you can't seem to rule out 
the possibility 

of conditional  
rescue entirely—

after all, 
you do not want to die
frightened; 

you'd rather go 
bitter.


The question 
isn't whether 
or not 

a heart comes 
to be broken—

or even 
when and how—
but rather, 

how 
uniquely? 

How beautifully 
scattered is the 
shattering pattern?

This must be the measure 
by which we earn the right  
to call ourselves

extraordinary 
individuals.



Wednesday, June 23, 2021

STAR PHASES

1.

Each instant, undaunted, 
a new future rises, 

then falls, exhausted 
through the present 

into the hole 
of the past it imagines.


2.

If I'm sure of anything, 
it's that stars don't "align"

without the scrawny perspective 
of the bleary-eyed night-worker.

And if they ever touched? 

That wouldn't just be 
a disaster.

More like 
the industrial 
factory that makes them.


3.

Somehow, what once was broken 
may be briefly reassembled 
at the death of the sun;

eons of discord, suddenly inverted,
could become
a pop song. 

And a pop song 
could be a life 
in its sum—

bursts of transient 
color, sound, 
and temperature; 

so far, you're 
not less—and hardly
any more.



Tuesday, June 22, 2021

COUNTING TO INFINITY

Even in doing 
very little, 

every little life 
must accrue. 

In the space 
of time 

it takes a whale
to blink an eye,

uncountable unseeable 
ecosystems are moved,

great galaxies 
implode

long before their constellations'
names become known,

and you—every step, 
at once takes you farther 

from the home 
where you started

and never any closer 
to the place you meant to go.




Monday, June 21, 2021

LONGEST DAY

After fissures 
of lightning,

and the crack 
of thunder is over,

the first day 
of summer 
pours out all over—

the fresh honest light 
of a morning 

seeking nothing—
like a sentence
only started,

or a promise
not yet broken,

still moving-
ly devoid 

of any meaning 
or utility. 


Friday, June 18, 2021

ALONE

It's the brain, 
locked away in silence
inside of its case, 

that causes the moon 
to appear 

larger 
on the horizon—

in order, perhaps, 
to make itself 
less conspicuous 

to silence's stare,

and its distance, 

and its dark.


It's the way, 
when a body stops

for more than 
one second, 

this slithery sense 
of permanence attaches—

the pit in your 
stomach, say; or 

a neutron star 
far away.

*

I feel so alone. 

Remind me again 
what kind of stuff 

we're all 
made of—

bone meal and 
table sugar,

or stardust 
and wave functions,

or diploid cells, 
cloned

and then cloned
and then 

cloned?




Thursday, June 17, 2021

BEGIN AGAIN

First, the curtains.
Then four taps 
on the arrow of the thermostat.

Let the lagging thoughts stray 
all safe 
to their stops.

In soft light, take the white cup 
down 
from its spot, 

and try to keep your focus 
off that word— 
"habitat."


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

COUNTERPOISE

Perhaps tenderness 
is less of a kiss 

than a small buzz 
on the skin,
that momentary itch 

which displaces 
our heretofore 
uniform composure 

in a distinctively  
pleasurable way.

*

Perhaps, the heat
we encounter

when some 
little kindness
from our recent past 

rubs up against 
some rough patch
in our future 

is the same kind 
of friction we mean

when we try 
to speak about 
loving each other. 

*

Perhaps peace 
isn't rest;
it's a reflex 

when life cleaves,
leaving spaces
between—

it's no coincidence 
that our sheaves 
of opinions, 

persuasions, beliefs
all seem to shrivel 
like leaves

when we're finally 
at our most helpless
in sleep.



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

QUANTUM ULTIMATUMS

Perhaps it's high time we 
re-calibrate 
the instruments.

Perhaps if we began 
with our 
second thoughts—

and then 
worked backwards—

we wouldn't get
the answer

but at least
it'd be 
a start.

*

Just try 
to jazz correctly 

and analyse 
these harmonies 

while you're moonstruck 
by the melody, 

and see 
how far you get.

*

On a silent chess-
board, stuck 
in stalemate,

each object 
screams the same 
obvious thing—

our compulsion 
to grasp
the weight 

and the shape 
of each 
piece's intent

is what keeps 
smudging up 
all of the photographs

with some filthy, 
face-shaped
silhouette.



Monday, June 14, 2021

SEEING THINGS WHOLE

When it comes 
to gleaning the 
difference between 

what happens 
and what is

using only 
the tingling 
fingertips of consciousness

running up 
the spine of this
body you stole—

any less 
than confusion 

is far worse 
than useless;

it's much more instructive  
to wonder 
than to know.



Friday, June 11, 2021

THE HITCH

It used to sound overly 
mystical 
to suggest:

There are no such things as 
separate things; 

there are only untold
relationships—

even between 
what hardly exists 

and that 
which is barely 
noticeable.

But it began
to make sense

when we 
image-enhanced
the spectacle 

of our own 
unkempt apprehensions—

which, unwittingly, 
we seem to have 
all left to dangle

so low 
for so long 

that, sooner or later,
they were bound 
to get tangled.



Thursday, June 10, 2021

MY ATTENTION

The way 
the light strikes 
the exuberant fountain 

and careens 
around in 
galactic filaments, 

deflected, again 
and again,
from its circuit 

by the 
harrowing splendor of 
flickering surfaces.



Wednesday, June 9, 2021

LAST WORDS

Globular notes
from an out-of-sight 

but patently 
nearby wind chime—

dissonant 
and sonorous, 

edgeless 
but intersecting,

fleeting
as they stay—

oozing out 
like quicksilver 

thoughts 
from your brain. 

*

If those were your last words, 
how would you know? 

How long 
would you try 

to hold on to them
before you realized 

how loose this whole 
time they'd been 

fastened 
onto you?


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

LAST DITCH

If we'll never 
be able to 
get things straight, 

maybe we can 
at least 
get them even—

if it isn't 
too late,

make the harm 
that we've suffered 

roughly equal 
to the weight

of the blame 
we have cast

like hot lead 
into bars 

which we clench 
with our hands, 

and then rattle 
and shake

having long ago 
lost our own
furious track 

of whether 
they were forged  
to protect 

something good
or contain 
what went bad.



Monday, June 7, 2021

EXPLANATION

Why do we 
put so much 

faith 
in explanation

even though, 
like the wind 
through the trees, 

we can hear 
others groan
and creak as it rushes,

and we can see
from the looks 

in their faces
how quickly 

it 
dissipates? 

*

At best, our speeches 
trickle out little

prickles 
of heat 
 
like the friction 
gradually 
realized between 

those raggedy actions 
we took 
in the past 

and the reams  
of their consequences, 

which have yet 
to materialize. 



Friday, June 4, 2021

FACE FACTS

What if, 
rather than illuminate, 

there are certain 
types of light 
that distract. 

Perhaps, rather than 
becoming motivated 
to act, 

we simply remain 
too fond 
of the brilliant.

Through dilated pupils
and clouded cataracts,

we turn without 
thinking toward 

the nearest 
warm and effulgent 
thing

and fondly 
call it heaven—forgetting 

that, heretofore, every 
day on the Earth,

the sky was so bright
we couldn't see 
beyond it.



Thursday, June 3, 2021

WHAT WILL THEY THINK OF NEXT

God, being God,
could use magic

but he doesn't. 
The end goal 

is simple; evolution 
is the stratagem.

But this Rube 
Goldberg device 

(by definition)
is elaborate—so 

the instructions 
come slow 

on an old record 
that sounds bad. 

The tragic shows
are also the most riveting, 

according to 
the marketing department. 

But you—all alone now
in your home,

with internet, fear, 
and a phone—

what are you supposed 
to make out of that?



Wednesday, June 2, 2021

POINT-TO-POINT

Again and again, I tend 
to emerge

as a sun 
through fringe clouds,

from a mid-
morning dream

like a cave 
underground 

with a stomach 
that feels enlarged

though I know 
that it's not—

and a head 
which is so thick 

with the banter 
of creatures 

that I can't bear 
to speak, so instead 

I'm just thinking: 
I know what I said 

about rational sense, 
but

could I have been wrong 
after all 

about the straightforward nature
of sensation?


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

LABOR-SAVING DEVICES

As if to 
make up for 
all the strip-mining 

relentlessly, we are 
filling up every crater 

with our
avatars—

more and more 
food porn,

longer and longer 
trains of 
Instagram stories, 

smarter 
and taller and 
hungrier children 

who never can know 
what our names were.

*

Let us create 
a "greater awareness" 

of the connections between 
slavery 

and labor-saving 
devices. 

Progress achieves 
a rhythm of its own 

almost 

by definition.

*

Perhaps our detritus 
is harboring 
hidden energy.

From now on, don't just bury 
your feelings 
in words;

touch here 
and try to match them up 
to each picture.




Friday, May 28, 2021

HEARTBREAK IS INEVITABLE

Little soul, 
you have no control. 

One day, you will need 
to let go,

but you won't. 
(There is such a thing 

as too 
sincere, you know.)





Thursday, May 27, 2021

SORRY TO SAY

Courage isn't bravery, 
but fullness of the heart—
your body's drive to stay alive
compressed into a song.

After years, are you truly 
still so distressed 
to find yourself moved by 
all you can hear? 

Perhaps after all you should 
call yourself lucky 
to wander through life 
on the threshold of tears

because that way, 
you'll always know on which 
side of that verge
you belong.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

THE UNIVERSE IS NOT EXTRAORDINARY

The most instructive thing 
about counting to infinity 

has nothing to do 
with number; 

it's that your indifference 
to the task doesn't matter;

you can 
take it or leave it, 

work backward 
or forward,

attend it with discipline 
or crash like a slacker.

Anyone 
who values anything,

can start anywhere, 
and be dead-center—

and from there, 
it gets even easier:

you either start to calculate, 
or you wait.


Tuesday, May 25, 2021

ALONE

As you know, living breast-
to-breast here 
with the others,

alone doesn't need 
desert conditions 
to  grow.

To explain 
the word cleaves 
its own definition, 

inviting 
great depth as much
as destruction.

Written, it is a tiny seed 
which contains 
a vast ocean—but strangely,

that power is yet doubled 
when it's spoken 
to another.



Monday, May 24, 2021

CONUNDRUM

To be frank, we must 
take some phantasmic 
pleasure in uncertainties.

Each new birth 
is still celebrated 
as a miracle,

even in this increasingly 
poisonous world;

every wedding guest
is still impressed 
by the ice sculpture,

even while the Amazon 
rain forest smolders.

Or perhaps, our reaction 
works more like 
stage magic, since

fascination emerges 
from the same empty cage 

into which the whole 
audience saw dread 
get inserted.



Friday, May 21, 2021

EARLY-ONSET

The dumbfounding sight, 
wavy from across the 
distant blacktop,

of scorched-purple columbine
anywise arrayed 
against the bent wood fences 

says: when true dog days 
descend on your neighborhood 
later this summer, 

this time they 
well might be coming 
to stay.




Thursday, May 20, 2021

REFLECTIONS

Perhaps, this hate 
which you gave 
to others 

was love 
whose two vowels had

collapsed 
and evaporated 

in the friction 
which resulted 
from the 

toil of 
conversation.

*

Perhaps, this anger 
which you once wielded
like a sword 

was patience 
gone sour—

not because 
its presences was 
unwelcome at dinner,

but just
from being left out 

on the counter too long 
afterward.

*

Perhaps, this sadness 
which you cannot seem 
to rinse clean

was joy 
that's now threadbare 

from being stretched  
too aggressively 

for too long around 
too many 

ungainly things. 





Wednesday, May 19, 2021

BYPRODUCT

There are mornings 
when the very first thing 

is the need 
to have an idea.

And then, 
there are evenings 
where the last idea standing

is the desperate 
need to fall 
asleep.

*

I think I need 
to clear my head. 

I'm think I'm becoming
too interested

in the way 
being interested 
generates fumes 

we call "finitude," 
which must then be
exhausted.

*

How is it 
each day 

feels so far away 
from the last

when really there's 
just that thin stream 

of tedious recap 
dreams in-between?


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

THANKS AND PRAISE

If nothing else, 
at least for those 
two or three minutes—

still soggy 
with the pulp of 
last night's of sleep, 

its bellwether 
dreams still 
reverberating—

when the endlessly-
in-rushing space 
of this world 

is crimped back 
to leave a small  
path for the feeling

that there's nothing 
to pray for, since 
I might be anybody.



Monday, May 17, 2021

DOWNSIDE

We call it a virtue—
to seek 
new experiences, 

coveting the novel 
like the wife 
of a neighbor.

But never 
is the horrible 
downside considered—

with each moon's
new waxing, 

what's familiar 
grows larger,

bolder, 
less abstract, 

more aggressive-
ly territorial.

Many tryers 
who value 
the use of their fingers,

or tasters their tongues,
would be 
wiser to wane

or at least 
remain stuck
where they were. 



Friday, May 14, 2021

BEFORE AND AFTER

Let's play a game 
with the charged 
openness of language;

the next phrase 
may destroy you 

or leave you  
alone.

Multiple readings,
polyvalent implications 

comprise their before- 
and-after shots.

Proof is not an answer, 
but pleasure 
arises 

in entertaining both sides 
of the paradox.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

BROADBAND

For obvious reasons, 
it's nice
to believe 

that sleep is not a rehearsal 
for dying, 

nor is it some strange and 
colorless landscape 
into which we all plummet 

once the small aircraft
staffed by our consciousness 

is harrowingly dog-fought 
out of commission. 

Instead, perhaps its 
thick swarms of 
amorphous propagation

function more like training 
for the actual mission—

namely: our melding 
into all that is
presently happening, 

a rejoining with the program 
already in progress, 

which, one day, will require 
a focus so wide, 
an attention so general

that we won't even think 
of its opposite 
as narrow.



Wednesday, May 12, 2021

WORKAROUNDS

Like a musty old
chessboard 

with cloth bits standing-in 
for its long-
lost rooks 

and a couple of quarters
kept in the box 

expressly for use
in place 
of horses—

or, like a 
library book
with a few pages missing

which, mercifully does not 
seem to decrease 

your affinity for characters
or apprehension 
of plot—

so too 
can a heart

still be jury-rigged  
to work 

even after a few 
of its parts were
snatched out.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

FIVE ALARMS

We know it
in our bones when 
something's amiss—

except when those 
five alarms ring
from within. In that case, 

there's no preordained place
from which to receive 
the emergency.

Though we might drip 
with urgency, our ducts 
remain dry; it's as if 

we've tried fighting this 
house fire
from inside.



Monday, May 10, 2021

PUTTING YOUR FOOT DOWN

Why the big to-do 
around putting 
your foot down?

However tenacious you 
make yourself 
out to be, 

you know that
soon you will have to
unstick that boot 

and move it 
to some other 
discrepant position 

(which, by the 
way, is also quite 
temporary).

If you're not 
being careful,
you might even slip

and come loose 
from this capricious 
planet entirely.

So what's with 
the show we 
pretend to intuit 

around these alleged-
ly permanent
displays of our firmness?

When in truth 
we all know from
way back 

in grammar school how
nothing stays put 
without roots.



Friday, May 7, 2021

APPLIED SCIENCE

Sometimes, 
things we know 
cannot be applied;

what's crucial 
is impossible,

like going back in time 
to leave before you arrived.

As if we 
are the ones who've just 
done something wrong,

the solution 
has a habit of breaking 
it off with us—

just when we hoped we might
cling to it most.

All we can do 
to keep ourselves occupied

is tally-up the evidence 
we've snuffed from 
existence, but 

this never seems to run 
down the clock—
and besides,

the total 
is not the same thing
as the sum.



Thursday, May 6, 2021

AQUARIUM

Maybe there's 
a purpose
to each place, 

an end
which pacifies  
all the objections.

Maybe there's 
a bedrock 
somewhere behind your face 

which is free 
of all of the guilt 
of comparison.

Would you rather be 
the fish 
in this aquarium—

forgetting, with each turn, 
the dimensions 
of your prison? 

Would you sigh
with your gills 
spread so wide 

that the patron 
passing by could
see to your inside?

It's possible
what we've built
is all that there is,

but that doesn't mean we 
were designed to 
recognize it.



Wednesday, May 5, 2021

EVERYDAY POEM

Even the sun—dependable, huge, 
tried-and-
true as it comes,

you know, before 
too long, is 
how it will leave you.

And here, all you've done 
is walk 
into the room;

you must 
not have a thing 
to lose.



Tuesday, May 4, 2021

REFINING WHAT'S FINE

From the bluntest 
of blows and the 
most pointless impacts—

asteroids smashed 
into still-
molten planets, 

rocks that bust rocks, 
dashboards crushed 
against foreheads—

instead of destroyed 
in a powderkeg 
of morass,

somehow, your
appreciation grows
even more exact.


Monday, May 3, 2021

FERMATA

At last, when there's 
only a minute 
of daylight remaining,

time finally relaxes
and unclenches, 

expanding in significance 
as the sky 
in turn diminishes;

over far shadowed 
hills, mauve clouds 
in the distance, 

a long low note 
being held
in your head—

the last syllable 
of a goodbye

which doesn't know 
how to finish.








Friday, April 30, 2021

A PROBLEM WHERE THERE IS NONE

Inconvenient 
though may be, 

there is no reality 
behind the scene;

reality is simply 
the scene 
seen rightly.

The room 
where you and I once sat
all night arguing—

tacking up 
tents, drawing 
boundaries on the thing—

might itself 
have been 
infinite.

But then, we'd have 
to imagine,

so too 
would have been
the elephant. 


Thursday, April 29, 2021

YOUR HOME

Your home is not 
a place you can leave; 
your home is that spot 

where you can't stand 
to be, but nevertheless 
can't stop;

it's the position you're in 
and the attention
you command when 

your ship's coming in, 
and it's the face 
that you make 

while their train's 
pulling out—
that grimace of stone

while you wave 
very slow and refuse 
any teardrops, as if 

even the wind should know 
to blow around you 
on the platform,

because you have 
never allowed 
yourself 

to be moved,
and you do not intend 
to start now.




Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A GOLDEN CIRCLE

At some definite
moment, the object 
of going 

converts
to the triumph of 
making it back. 

Attainment depends 
not on our finally 
heading to the laundromat

but that proximate
uncanny moment when it 
feels like we never left.

In the end, 
it doesn't matter 
how noble the errand—

endeavor alone
is a sentence 
to death; 

to leave 
and come home is 
a sacrament.



Tuesday, April 27, 2021

MISSTEP

None of us was built 
to remain 
in control. 

Walking tall 
wherever we go is 
nothing 

but a user illusion.
Really, our legs are 
always working 

on making a smooth recovery 
and another clean getaway 
simultaneously.

It's too bad 
how only the occasional 
stumble, 

brutal knee scrape, or loss
of a tooth 
proves the rule.


Monday, April 26, 2021

IMPROVISATION

Sometimes, memory
works less 
like a history book;

more like 
an instrument 
whose stoppers get stuck—

effortlessly regurgitating 
the repertoire 
is an option 

no longer; you must focus 
your face, blow hard, and 
shake into existence 

whatever notes 
you can manage to make
with no reference. 


Friday, April 23, 2021

LEAVE IT ALONE

Perhaps 
to explain away a feeling 
this exact 

by way of a lifetime 
that's far less so

is to come to 
blunt blows 
with a formidable mustang 

in the vain hope 
of taming it
and riding it home;

whereas
to just name it
and give it some space—

is to meet it 
halfway 

with a carrot.


Thursday, April 22, 2021

POETIC JUSTICE

Actually, there's no 
such thing as 
Justice in a poem; 

and not so much 
the chiseled beauty 
of Truth 

as a homely fiction 
you come to love 
and trust.

Nucleus meets nucleus—
the two of you 
make life;

word by word, 
you give birth 
to yourself.

After, both 
parents stand 
silent behind, 

knowing 
they must hope
for the best.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

DEFINITION OF INSANITY

At this point, 
you've had 
the same shallow thought 

so many times, 
you've about 
lost count; 

no variation 
on the theme 
whatsoever, 

no left turns, 
no new insights
leaking out.

It's a bit like 
that moment 
stuck in a rain storm 

when you're suddenly 
as wet as you're 
ever going to get—

on paper, 
it's clear this exact
well has been tapped;

and yet 
you can't help 
but dig it again,

confident that,
this time, it'll come out
a little deeper. 


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

THE END OF TIME

Maybe all along 
we were 
all wrong about it—

overly 
dramatic,

or else, 
too clever by two- 
over-half.

Maybe it's not all over
(that's too climactic).

Maybe, instead, it's
the 1st of Never 
on the calendar—

at last 
that day has dawned 
which will not ever set.

But we are so used 
to the practice 
of patience—

of just hanging on 
and staying 
strong til tomorrow—

that we're all too contented 
to sit
and to wait

even though it's getting 
awfully late—

or should be, 
anyway.



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.