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.