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.