Wednesday, November 24, 2021

FOR EXAMPLE

Our days are pervaded 
with so much sweetness 

that often, it's counter-
productive to notice. 

Ever realize 
how it's alright 

that you don't know 
what the birds are saying?

You are not living 
at the end of time;

tomorrow will arrive.
There is nothing 

you can do—
or need to.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

FEAR NOT

Tedious  
though it is, 

stasis 
has its upside—

which is (of course)
that no downside 
exists.

In heaven, for instance,
what "is" 
is less precious, 

doesn't mean as much— 
and perhaps 
that means more
 
than we're willing
to admit.

*

And God said, 
fear not;
to me you are more valuable 

than a whole flock 
of sparrows.

And some who were assembled there 
tried hard not to wonder, 

how many birds really count 
as a flock?

And a few others 
started pulling bows back 
with arrows.

And the rest sort of toed the ground,
or else turned aside 
and coughed.

*

What is a soul?—
but our sense
of denial,

famously bitter
and let out 
on the prowl.

The look on its face says, 
I'm adamant
I'm elsewhere.

Nothing that happened here
ever mattered 
anyhow.


Monday, November 22, 2021

*FOOTNOTE TO FROST

Nothing gold can 
stay, he wrote,

but nothing 
turned precious 
overnight, either.

Treasure is so 
because, first,
it's been lost;

and that need 
burns worst which 
takes longest 

to arrive.
Like diamond 
from coal, 

the obstruction 
tends the goal—

the mind 
must be squeezed 
til it caves 

into a soul.


Friday, November 19, 2021

STANDS TO REASON

It's frightening, isn't it?— 
to find ourselves 
so groundlessly romantic, 

so swept up in the strange 
and the dangerous 
side of sanguine. 

I mean, how conceited—
how reckless 
can you get?

To sit there and wait 
for just the right bird
to perch in your soul 

and sing her unending 
song without words?
Forget about 

the thing with feathers—
perhaps hope 
is that open road

piercing the horizon,
but coincidence
was finding 

some time on your hands,
a tank full of gas,
and no map.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

BLACK BOX

Some days, 
I'm content
that my head remains 

a black box.
Instead I wish
my chest
 
was made 
out of glass—

then, you'd
so clearly 
be able to see, 

in my heart, 
how I'm always 

trying to do 
my best.

No matter 
what else;

even when 
it might be killing me;

even when I smile
and insist 
"this is fine,"

you would see 
that I believe it, 

even though you
know I'm 
lying.



Wednesday, November 17, 2021

HEAVEN AND HELL

In heaven,
there's honestly 
so little action,

it's a good night 
when the grandkids bicker; 

it's Christmas when 
businessmen step 
onto ledges;

it's a main event 
when Mars attacks. 

Bitterness 
and abraded edges 

are the hottest incognito 
internet searches.

Transience 
is like ice 

in a delicious glass 
of bourbon 
to us, 

and panic 
is our music—

though you would not want 
to call it that.

 *

Here at the bottom, 

in the dark, 
in the wet

where impressions interbreed 
with postulates—

that is where we sit 
in judgement,

while they 
stand and sway 
from foot to foot 

for reasons 
their conscience won't let 
them suspect,

for want of a pot 
in which 
to piss.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021

INJUNCTION

Ironically, it's usually
the most ageless
of knowledge 

which stubbornly refuses 
to be handed down.

Hence, generations 
have mostly failed 
to notice 

how those of us who acquiesce 
to that stubborn injunction 
to make time 

are always 
the most hungry for it, 
always the first to kill it,

always the most desperate 
to change on a dime.
Whereas 

those of us who are out here 
zealously copy-
and-pasting the past

after years, become satisfied
to dream less,

to wake up in the same place 
a different kind 
of depressed, 

to only entertain 
(but never befriend)

our increasingly 
unambiguous conception  
of lonely.


Monday, November 15, 2021

WHICH EPITOME

In as much as 
you will feel compelled 
to continue 

to run up that hill 
at the end of 
your dreams,

as life within you
and without you 
will spar

and the story
you are trying to tell
will careen—

that's the extent 
to which 
you will lose just about

everything 
you have received 
thus far.

But the one thing
you must try to keep 
is your thanks

that whatever 
remains
after the loses

must be the only stuff 
made to endure:
a soul 

which does not care 
in praise of which epitome 
it sings—

an essence which is made 
of the meat 
of what change is.


Friday, November 12, 2021

SILENCE SPEAKS

Listen: 
just underneath
the clamor 

of the Earth 
as she's heaving 

her second-
to-last breath;

just in-between
our having come this far 
reluctantly

and the chaotic way 
we are cleft 
as we leave—

an absence 
interposes; 

a silence 
that speaks.

There are moments, it says, 
when we can't act 
as we must;

there are endings 
far more everlasting 
than heaven—

yet less abrupt 
than death. 


Thursday, November 11, 2021

BEYOND YOU

You say the rules are simple,
yet the game is
complex—

it's not 
that we don't want to die, 
but that we actually can't. 

These names attached 
feel so clever, so singular; 
each word 

conveys no sense 
of reconstituting 
past.

If now is always now, 
you contend, then the leaving
will not be registered.

Beyond you, ceaselessly,
somewhere, the ocean 
is crashing

but there's no pain
to the impact, 
no ennui in the sighs, 

no bereavement
in the heaving.
So why are you running so fast 

to kill 
hunger pangs 
for an afterlife?

Why are you not trying 
instead 
to copy that?


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

FIDDLE

          There are things that are important beyond 
          all this fiddle.
               -Marianne Moore

The truth is 
that art isn't 
worth all that much.

The laundry is 
far more important 
than poetry; 

a picture's 1000 
word minimum 
is short work for autofill. 

But still, 
there is something 
beyond pleasure 

in the slightest accord 
between violin strings.
It's in the way 

the whole thing shimmers
where its parts 
made no difference, 

or else strained 
in imitation; 
the way a lack 

of explanation 
satisfies our yearning 
for inconsequence.  

A poem has no instructions, 
but once read,
achieves summation—

a baby's cry 
means nothing, but delivers 
consolation.





Tuesday, November 9, 2021

SOMETHING MINOR

The way, 
unbidden, 

old thoughts come 
back around—

only this time, upside-
down 

or a little off-
center—

reminds you a little of 
swarming ghosts 

in a midnight soirĂ©e 
at an old haunted mansion.

When they were alive, 
each of them 

used to know you, 
used to love you, perhaps—

but now that 
is finished. 

And yet, each of them
shows up here,

and they all sing
as one. 

The tune is monotonous; 
the mood gloomy,

but blithe. 
As if each one 

has left something minor 
undone.



Monday, November 8, 2021

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

You 
can feign ignorance 
all that you want, 

but the truth is 
it always happens 
like this: 

there is at first
a burst, 

a bubbling rush 
of enthusiasm—

a flair 
of righteous ardor—

after which 
any giddy thought
of advancement 

fizzles out—
or else burns, 

even beyond the traumatized victim's
ability 
to identify. 

*

Who am I 
to deny the bitter-sweetness

of a tragic complicity 
such as this? 

That the long-sought-after 
if found to be the inverse 
shape of what's gone missing.

Each night, 
it seems impossible 

yet trivially true to me: 
you are not here. 

But where 
is "not here?" 

Anyplace I don't exist. 


Friday, November 5, 2021

ZOMBIE THOUGHTS

Yet again, I look 
at the clock 

just to be sure 
that time has passed.

From somewhere 
or other, I seem
to hear strings 

of words being uttered,
originating elsewhere

before passing 
through purgatory 
and terminating here.

So I close my eyes once more 
against the din 
of recognition 

and imagine 
I'm a sleepwalker 
holding out his fists, 

trudging alone
through the cramped decor 
of his own thoughts—

Ignorant of all 
he is saying 
or doing, 

even after it has happened.


Tag—you're It. 

And what It is
is a mistake—

but who ever heard of 
a mistake 
that has a system;

whose papers were filed 
in the proper order, 

which is bonded, 
insured, 
incorporated, 
etc;

a mistake which is 
a nonzero vector,

with an origin 
all its own

and an arrow 
of direction?


Thursday, November 4, 2021

UNRESOLVED

How many things 
will I have to change 
my mind about 

in order to to become 
a completely 
new person? 

Could a process 
this mysterious 

be undertaken gradually? 
Will I resist it?
Would I have 

had to begin it 
already?

*

Wherever two or more 
are gathered in my name...

Let us call that 
brand of resolve

"focus," 
not "contraction."

Let's also call "pressure"
by it's first name: 

"selection."

*

To have been 
together then.

To one day be 
together again.

Then and again,
in these kerneled 
conversations,

are everything
we care about 

when it comes
to forever.



Wednesday, November 3, 2021

THE RARE AND ELUSIVE COUCH SHARK

Content to fall short
(nothing else 
will do),

satisfied 
with that which is good, 
ordinary 

is a verb to you.
They say—
the also-rans 

rarely make the news.
But you know the also-rans 
are the ones who will watch it,

unembarrassed  
to find themselves 
otherwise unoccupied.

I'd like to inhabit 
the warm flesh of 
your quiet 

(IKEA-blue, 
so soft it's almost edible);
I'd like to steal 

more time—
and fill it up 
with you.




Tuesday, November 2, 2021

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT INFINITY

After all the redundant striations
of heaven are gathered 
together and observed,

whatever feeling 
is conserved must be
the imaginary—i.e. 

only seen by you 
or me. In the universe 
of the majority,

this is what's known 
as one's 
"default position."

*

Throughout the static fullness
of conventional eternity, 

now
is so tiny, 

peculiar, 
reluctant,

intense-
ly exaggerated—

and above all these,  
always so insistent 

on beginning. 

*

The most extraordinary thing 
that ever will be 

has got to be plain old 
symmetry 

around an infinitesimal 
point of rotation.

It's heartbreaking,
isn't it? How 
everything changes 

so finely 
on the premise 

that one thing stays
the same.


Monday, November 1, 2021

BABEL

Morning after morning, 
all the hairs are lined up 
by their lengths 
to be split—

and the domino columns 
are counted 
which are all to be ruined 
in midair.

In rooms 
and in streets, then,
the real progress begins; 
one by one, 

the synonyms are deployed—
replacing each EVERY 
with one lonely ONLY.
The way forward, 

once enacted, cannot be 
destroyed. Evening 
after evening, aren't you
exhausted?