Monday, August 8, 2022


Take your time, sun,
but please arrive
when you might

to baptize the dewdrops 
and stifle 
our yawning.

Nearest star of heaven, 
don't neglect us—
bend down

flutter the skirts 
of your luminescent dress,

and scatter all the light 
we could hope to know 

lend us half an ounce 
of your brilliance 
and your insight

to turn our sadness into 
merely sighing 

and a long, dark night 
into merely 
our lives.

Friday, August 5, 2022


For the space 
of one of those very 
scant flashes 

which manages, somehow, 
to inspire
as it terrifies, 

I can almost understand—
that I just might love 
missing you 

the same way
these huge, ancient 
poplars love lightning: 

and sidelong—and all
of the time.

Thursday, August 4, 2022


Actually, it's almost 
how reliably 

fissures of lightning 
and great groans 
of thunder 

will give way, 
inexorably, to the kindest 
light of summer—

how that fresh, 
honest radiance 
will pour out all over, 

touching and
untroubling every 
corner of the world,

yet always seeking 

like a foolish promise 
newly spoken, 

not yet stale 
refused, or broken;

or a sentence 
begun in such 
exuberant earnest 

but still as-yet

and so still 
so refreshingly 
devoid of any 

meaning, sense, 
or substance.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022


If Yeats 
could've seen the mad 
21st century, 

he'd say: things don't 
fall apart; they 
hang together ruthlessly.

Ritual has raged its way 
from a safe space
to a battleground, 

putrefactive words 
on a sacrificial page 

are left out, each day, 
near the entrance 
to a cave

as blood-dimmed charity 
for this fierce, 
infernal dragon:

a serpent 
bred to torment 
those poor children 

who refuse to praise 
coherence with so-called 
"passionate intensity,"

and whose name, 
legend has it, 
used to be Duty, 

but is now known
in our stories as 
Logical Consistency. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022


After a certain point, 
it might really start  
to bother you 

how one damn thing, 
insufferably, converges 
on another—

how every faultless cloud 
drifting silent 
on the horizon 

inevitably crashes into 
and then merges 
with a partner, 

or how predictably 
the pale somber mood
of the evening 

comes bleeding 
like a bruise into 
carefree afternoon. 

There are those of us 
who feel choked 
when there's so little room 

for doubt; those of us 
who were born 
to be lonely  

find the constant, inevitable 
of what's separate 

to be less 
a small infusion of closeness 
and of hope 

and more 
of a slow 
drip of poison.

Monday, August 1, 2022


Down goes the soft pedal 
on your baby-
grand piano, 

smearing those 
artless and hurried 

in the background, 
outside the practice 
room window, 

floats the revenant 
of the failure 
that haunts you the most

who bids a good
morning to your 
ritualized devotion 

and prays (on your behalf) 
that death 
and transfiguration 

may be differentiated 
by only two 
or three notes.

Friday, July 29, 2022


No one was built 
to remain always 
in control; 

to be constantly walking 
tall, sure, and slow 

is nothing 
but a user-illusion 

performed by a charlatan   
for an audience 
of fools.

In reality, each step is merely 
a redress
of our stumblings 

coincident with an attempt 
at another hasty getaway; 

unfortunately, it's only 
the occasional 
stubbed toe, 

bruised palm, 
skinned-up knee, 

or chipped tooth 
that proves the rule. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022


A house 
is not the same thing 
as a home,

and a monument—
well trafficked,

however extravagant—
never can take the place
of a headstone. 

For similar reasons 
(though our breaths 
would run cold 

if we tried 
to express them),
the right poem 

for this moment
must not be 
an actual thing, 

because once things are real, 
they are no longer 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022


Sometimes, it's just shocking:
the mercurial suddenness 

with which clouds 
attain solidity 
and clement skies darken—

how quickly 
this vast and guileless 
field of possibility 

surrenders to those roving 
and disgruntled 
bands of breezes

and their furiously unanimous 
caucuses of vapor, 

which, in the time it takes 
to read this, 

have closed-in tight, 
caucused, and stiffened

into just the kind 
of elephantine 
and doomed luxury liners

which no one down here 
could ever afford to board. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


Every day, 
whether blue 
or gray, 

all you really have 
to do is 

to rise, stretch, 
and ponder—to labor 
and meander.

Doesn't matter 
what you're doing—

old or new, 
bright or boring—

doesn't matter where 
you're going; there's only 
one way, 

and you cannot help 
but get there.

For life advances 
(with or without 
your best 

or consent) 

just by sheer dint of 
some numbers 
ticking over; 

and the best way
to get ahead 
of where you now stand

is to point 
in that direction

and take 
another step. 

Monday, July 25, 2022


Over the course 
of your many, 
many seasons, 

every stray opinion
and each ham-
fisted choice

may grotesquely coalesce 
to the voice 
of pure reason: 

to abandon all your vices 
is plain enough to do—

but cherish not
your virtues, for even they 
constrain you;

to be rid of these, as any 
load, you need only 
pull it home again 

by taking the levelest 
possible road

to the top 
of the highest mountain.

Friday, July 22, 2022


From skin 
and bones, 

to the arms we use 
to cradle
or embrace—

everything we own
that's made 
to contain, 

eventually will relax, 
unfold, crack,
and break open.

But paradoxically,
our eyes 
may remain 

and live on 
in the volatile brains 
of others, 

since those 
were used most, not to hold
but hold back—

and likewise, 
our hands, 

which were never really built 
to restrain or enclose

so much as (truth be told)
to remain open 
and wanting.


Thursday, July 21, 2022


You'll always recall certain 
summer nights 
on the west side—

when distant echos of confusion
and the sweaty élan
of festival music

would ripple down 
diagonal avenues, searching 
for their exits—

and the humid tree of heaven 
would sag its inky branches 
down so low

that it (almost) got tough 
to see the perpetually-
half moon 

with pollution.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022


On many of these 
shady, long,
well-to-do streets, 

hawthorn trees 
loom proudly,
manicured and safe—

nobody sees (or at least, 
no one chooses to)

how freely those limbs 
offer casual
safe harbor 

to secret upstart colonies 
of clover, goldenrod, 
creeping charlie—

as if, only there,
in the scraggly dimness 
of some focal point's shadow,

could blossom 
the mad love 
of the shy and unsubstantiated—

as if, only when protected 
from the great glare 
of everydayness 

can the legion of unhusbanded 
whom live here   
among us

clearly remember 
what another upstart said once:
that a weed is just 

a flower growing 
not because 
you said so.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022


Maybe there's no need 
to stubbornly progress; 

maybe all 
that distance is

is your longing 
for some certain person 
finally expressed 

as a clean, stoic 

and multiplied by 
the quite humbling 
square root 

of all 
your most trusted 

Maybe nobody—
is entirely hopeless

because no one 
is immortal; 

and between those 
brownish red doors 

which stand, so grim, 
at the beginning
and end of things, 

the rest 
of what exists 
is called (how 

the middle.

Monday, July 18, 2022


It's written in letters 
so huge
that we miss them,

in a sky
we're so keen 

to elbow one another 
and point to

and croon out a name 
like diamond blue
or blood red 

when we know 
deep inside 
that neither of them is true: 

in a world 
that's so conspicuous

it's hard 
to be understood,

it's even harder, through 
all of our striving 
to do so, 

just to be silently 

Friday, July 15, 2022


is a translucent,
gossamer veil

over a gulf
of sheer mystery.

When they put
you down, discreetly,

to endless,
dreamless sleep,

all I could
think was: where
did you go?

And even though I
know quite well—

still, I
do not know.

Thursday, July 14, 2022


At such times 
when the breezes 
are innocent and light 

and the angle 
and length of the shadows 
are just right, 

that's when 
the trees—

which consented 
to embed themselves 
here, it would seem

just safeguard your 
insignificant street—

seem to murmur 
on infinite repeat

their equal-parts sage 
and radical counsel. 

You can just make it out 
through the soft drone 
of leaves:

something about how 
you need 
to move more slowly—

or better yet, freeze 
and keep perfectly still—

if you ever hope to hold onto
(as they do) 
and vouchsafe all the memories 

of every mundane 
and incredible thing

which has ever happened to anyone 
or anything
in the vicinity

and repeat them all back to us
exactly like this—

in the dispassionate way 
that they happened.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022


but finite 
post-dawn water beads—

little silver 
sun mirrors, drawn by the hand 
of indeterminacy 

and hung 
along the length of each 
waxy, green leaf—how is it 

you've come again this morning, 
in your majesty, 
to reveal me? And, 

in these serene—if indistinct—reflections, 
what do you have 
to teach?

Tuesday, July 12, 2022


Feeling small
and shriveled
and useless 

as an apple's
mealy core—
you decide, 

in that moment, 
to capitulate 
and just retire—

to rest, 
out of sight, someplace dark 
for a while—

hoping to shore up 
all the scraps of whatever 
substance might be left 

and condense them
into an eventual 
(if reluctant) reemergence 

at such time as 
you can manage, however slow 
and testilty, 

to admit that, 
while you still don't 
feel great, 

you're now at least 
once again 
reasonably sure 

you feel present 
and accounted for, 
and extant, here and now,

and every bit as necessary
as an apple's 
mealy core.

Monday, July 11, 2022


We like to say: the past 
is all 
in the past, 

and the future is a blank check 
which hasn't yet
been cashed,

yet we see 
how precariously the present 
is stacked 

on a truly rhapsodical 
Rube Goldberg machine
of unassailable contingency.

What could it mean 
to be free 
in this moment—

to bet against fate (as if 
not picking 
from a trick deck)— 

when even the light 
by which we squint to reckon 
with such questions

is doubtless just the latest 
and faintest

of a ancient,
unwitnessed, and cataclysmic 

Friday, July 8, 2022


One by one, 
all the names 
become known, 

are freeze-dried
and packed 
into gelcaps—

nothing on the map
has not been identified,

no play 
on upon the stage 
of color and shadow 

is left arcane 
and uninterpreted. 

With no coaxing at all, 
we recall 
some old verse line:

explanation, explanation 
everywhere, and not a bit 
that's fit to eat—

because now 
we know (although not 
from experience):
the flower 
that splits the rocks 
is poisonous. 

Thursday, July 7, 2022


In those moments 
when you just can't seem
to simmer down;

when you're rigid, too 
excited, or burning 
with anger;

it might be helpful to try
and imagine

that, once, you were 
a mighty glacier—

so huge 
as to border on vague 
and all-pervasive. 

You were the best 
at eating rocks 

and spitting back 
deep and enormous
lake basins,

and although the work 
was pain-
fully slow, 

you would never lose 
your temper; 

rather, you were the continent's
foremost expert 

at remaining abstract 
while dispassion 
took over.

And when your last task 
was finally done, 

you were only 
too glad 
to relax 

and gradually 
assume the new shape 
of your container. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2022


Okay, so it's a fact—
that the ponderous tomes 
of formidable lexicons 

and iron-clad taxonomies 
which fortify 
our libraries 

could never come close
to counterbalancing 
a spoonful

of the density of things 
we have yet 
to understand.

But I'd gladly trade the weight 
of a thousand and one flat 
and perfectly-mapped Earths 

for the bewildering counterintuition 
that the straightest lines 
are spherical

and still wouldn't dare cheapen
one single inexplicable 
flower on my curved path

by stooping 
so low as to call it 
a miracle.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022


What if it turns out, 
the last time you tried to smile, 

you were right, 
to find that guileless mix

of gloom 
and wild anxiety 

leaking out 
like freakish black light 

from behind all the cracks 
between teeth? 

For it seems
we can never really, 

really, really 
be free

in a world 
where even Einstein 

went white-haired 
and died 

believing we would always need, 
at least, these two great

and terrible things:
first, the space 

in which to be it—
and even worse, the time 

it takes 
to feel a need.

Friday, July 1, 2022


High above 
those of us 

still brave enough 
for evening walking, 

tree frogs 
in huge tulip poplars 

their elegies—

for those who forget 
to be kind 
and move fast 

when the world 
proffers torpor, 
humidity, and ease;

and for those of us
left to count 
all that it's costing

in the dank hope 
that life 

will not always be 
this exhausting.

Thursday, June 30, 2022


I do not believe 
there's one tranquil 
maple out there,

or a single 
placid pine,

that doesn't epitomize—
with the top 
of its gently borne 
emerald crown 


from the doggedness 
of its fiercest, most
primeval root—

what people like me 
might mean 

when we say: it's not easy 
to look, outwardly, 
fine all the time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022


As you well know
by now—after many 
years spent 

living tight-lipped, but also
cheek by jowl 

with your glum, rent-
paying neighbors—

alone is not a word 
you can spot-treat 
with hard labor,

and it doesn't 
only grow in those 
desertified conditions.

to dare speak it
out loud to another

is to cleave its delicate 
aura in two,

you suppose
that, if you could
just write it down,

it might become 
a tiny seed 

which is built 
to contain, in its 
shiny black hull,

this vast, opaque, and 
frozen ocean.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022


In the beginning, 
as far as 
we know, everything 

was made 
of numbers:

little ones, like raindrops,
tumbled down 
in total darkness, 

and fell through 
the holes 

in older, fatter, 
slower numbers 

before landing 
on piles 
of the broken spines 

of the numbers 
that fell to the earth
a second earlier.

And over vast time, 
the steady pattern 
of their falling,

overlapping with 
the rhythm

of the piles 
that kept on rising

is exactly 
how the world came 
to be as it is:

a contradictory 

of falling down 
and vanishing;

a heavyweight thing 
that nevertheless shrinks 

and contracts
at the very same rate
that it's stacking; 

an untold, unfurling 
possibility space 

made of just so 
much nothing—

and nothing 
so extraordinary 

could ever be
less satisfying.

Monday, June 27, 2022


We must take 
some vague, sadistic 
pleasure in discrepancy;

for our birth 
is accorded the mantle 
of a miracle, 

while death 
is shunned and suspect, 
despite its equal mystery. 

And all the wedding guests 
are impressed 
by the ice sculpture, 

even as they mill about 
and fret 
about the ice caps,

and sigh into their 
plastic cups, and cluck their
tongues at one another. 

It's as if our expectations 
were the province 
of magicians, 

since the place from which 
our strange assurance 
so winningly emerges 

is often the same 
empty cage 
into which 

the audience 
just watched our dismay
get inserted. 

Friday, June 24, 2022


It's those faintest,
particularly gauzy 
clouds of early morning—

seeming to swath 
last night's 
dreams, still raw,

and steer them out 
beyond the veil 
of recollection—

which imbue 
the drowsy onlooker 
with the quaintest pretension 

that the sky 
which would deign
to dangle at his window 

is the same 
as the one which extends 
to forever;

and that he's never been 
more certain 
of its clean, untroubled color—

and yet, 
less sure 
of the word for it.

Thursday, June 23, 2022


Don't you almost
kind of hate

how, even the toughest,
hardest days 

still have these 
strange sort of
soft spots in them

where something 
like Imagination 

may gently
but persistently press
against their carapaces, 

creating those curious
and supple indentations 

where voluptuous air 
and limber arcs 
of light 

might swirl 
and flood 
into those spaces—

where attention,
eventually, might 
come to have no use 

for the strange 
local dialect 
of circuitous thought—

and where not 
to occasionally 
spontaneously laugh 

at the loss 
and hardship 
from which they were built 

is to give thanks 
and praise 
to the devil?

Wednesday, June 22, 2022


The way, for a 
long time, we choose 
to ignore it, 

to circumvent it 
with our crosses; 

the way we offhand-
reference it 
in every conversation

as if to toss out
to each 
hapless interlocutor

a bite-sized buoy 
on an infinite ocean;

the way, eventually, 
we all finally stop 

and just sit 
before its quiet grandeur

with no need to look
or even speak 
to each other, 

to simply read 
and write 

and warm our bodies 
by its light—

all of these 
must be mutations 
on the way 

we know of
to praise 
this thing called existence 

as it burns 
in splendid effigy 

to an urgent  

Tuesday, June 21, 2022


           —After Lucy

What if this
is all you get? Just 
for one minute: 

a pale twilit sky 
and that clean scarlet 

finally occupying 
the same space
at the same time.

No winged things 
hovering, or brassy 
trumpet blasts;

nothing unbelievable, 
nothing abstract. 
Perhaps this 

is all 
that is meant 
by miraculous—

a sensation 
like air bubbles 
drifting, swimming 

up and down 
inside your body; 
and then, rather suddenly, 

and down in 
all of us.

Monday, June 20, 2022


By now, you'd think 
we would have seen this: 

how each season 
is precipitated 
by its unwelcome antecedent. 

And yet, crawling 
through winter 
or fleeing summer's heat, 

the weight of time 
and rote-ness of regret 
will still pool 

and enter through 
the center of our pupils. 
Our sightlines toward safety 

and comfort and hope 
are soon overgrown 
with the colorless light 

of yesterday nights
and formless sounds 
of foreboding tomorrows, 

as, once again, we curdle 
with another autumn's 
stiff wind, 

or clot 
at the thought of another 
spring's floodwaters.

And so we stand 
at the edge of it always, 
hurtling curses 

and crippled by inertia.
Invariably, someone will say, 
it's the obstacle 

which becomes the way;
but just as often, we know 
by now, 

it all goes down
vice versa. 

Friday, June 17, 2022


If only 
we could stand 
far enough back, 

we might stand a 
ghost's chance 
of almost apprehending

that aspect of our lives 
which we like to call 
the plot 

as naught 
but a brittle yet 
serviceable fossil—

cleaned, mounted, 
after the fact

of getting pickaxed
and spaded 
and gouged from those mountains 

and mountains 
of all of our
unconsidered actions.

Thursday, June 16, 2022


Caution: certain sorts
of words, with repeated use, 
may swell 

and veil the very 
states of affairs 

or facts which first 
compelled them. 

In fact, in the probable event 
that a question 
is asked, 

any answer given 
which seems to be tasked 

with explanatory capacity 
in excess of no 
or yes

is presumed to be suspect
and should be fathomed as such.

And last, in accordance 
with strict jurisprudence, 

it should be disclosed that 
those heretofore used—

as well as a vast multitude 
not contained 
in this sample—

when experimentally tested, 
were proven to fail 

in the imminent event 
of an honest-
to-god miracle.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022


It's like: you've known 
since you were no
older than two

that an unblemished sky 
is azure blue; 

you don't need 
some poem to come
throttle it into you.

But still, you'd peel 
that dog ear back 

sooner than peer through 
the open window, 

because it both 
thrills and 
unnerves you a little—

rather than reignite 
the old fervor—to poke 
at the embers 

of your first 
true discoveries,

just to make 
sure they still 

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Have you noticed
how some words 

like to manifest 
their inverse? 
Like how 

"fine" seems to mean
fifty one percent, 

so doing "fine"
on that test means you've
technically failed it. 

Or how "not bad"  
is when your doctor calls 
to say you're "alright,"

despite the persistence 
of those same few
chronic ailments.

And then there's 
extreme ones, like "holy" 
and "sacred"

which taint with shame 
and isolate 
the things to which they refer;

and while we're on the subject, 
let's not forget 

which, historically speaking, 
got misapplied 
to anything 

which was about 
to become 
very popular. 

Monday, June 13, 2022


Six days out of seven,
I don't really talk 
to anyone;

I haunt halls, ascend 
stairwells, tread 
sidewalks, cross lawns—

and, six days 
out of seven, all of this 
feels fine,

because all of these 
silent spaces 
and I, 

we get along 
as famously as Adam 
back in Eden. 

Then again, 
if I were him, 

wouldn't have gotten 
too far off 
the ground, 

since, six days out 
of seven, if you'd asked me, 
I'd have balked 

at the prospect 
of renouncing just one 
ounce of silent paradise;

it's bad odds 
to even run the risk 
of gambling perfection—

let alone the picture-
perfect symmetry 
of one's rib cage

just for the sake, 
on that stray 
seventh day, 

of a little

Friday, June 10, 2022


Often, when you're
in the same vicinity, 
you will feel the need to speak, 

perfuming the air 
with thoughts 
which are edgeless 

as clouds before sunrise, 
which soon meekly 
fall away.

But once 
in this life, you'll sit quiet 
and close together, 

abandoning briefly 
the glibness of nature, 
and becoming 

the secret 
dream of one another.
But beware—

after this shift, 
you'll no longer abide
the prospect 

of regarding 
each other 
as pieces of meat, 

and you'll never again
indulge in such 
prodigal silence;

from here on in, 
you must agree 
to split it—fifty-fifty.

Thursday, June 9, 2022


If the bible 
was right, 

and the 
very first Idea 
was light—

and everything else
we could look upon 
or stand on,

brush up against
or eat,

slowly but surely 
accreted up from there—

then doesn't it 
stand to reason,

especially after 
having wandered
this far east from Eden,

that the 
very first Ideology 
we reach for 

in our effort 
to brighten 
and cultivate the region

shouldn't be very 
heavy either? 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


Next time it really bugs you 
that you cannot get 
to sleep, perhaps

try to count 
not all your blessings 
or sheep, 

but the hundred billion people 
who have loved 
and lost before you; 

and if that's not enough 
to swiftly do 
the trick, you can 

count up their 
eyelids as well;

watch in your mind 
as they crumple- 
down closed, 

two at a time—
as pretty 
but disconsolate 

as second-
prize roses—
just to make way 

for the acumen of yours,
and the turbulence 
they hold tonight.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022


Sometimes, one forgets
how often 
there is pleasure 

simply in calling 
a thing 
by its name: 

an "explanation,"
or a "problem,"

a "theory," or
a "claim."

Each term displayed 
in its finest
before the mind

like a guest of honor 
seated behind its 
table at a banquet;

then, the facility 
with which one's lips 
will part, 

and teeth 
deflect the tongue; 

and of course, 
that thrilling feeling 
of exquisite vulnerability 

as, all of a sudden, 
one more darling sachet 

of air 
abandons its lung.

Monday, June 6, 2022


So you'd really like to know:
how could those 
illustrious trees—

so splendidly tall,
who pose 
with touched hands

above the middle 
of your street—

seem both 
so old and wise, and yet 
never born at all?

Is it because 
there's simply no other way, 

if you hope to hold 
and keep safe 
and remember every detail,

than to move 
as slow and privately
as physics will abide—

or better yet, 
when the rest of the world 
looks on at you eagerly,

and expects you to grow
(as it will without fail), 

to maybe just sway 
in the noncommittal 
breeze a little, 

but otherwise 
keep perfectly, troublingly

Friday, June 3, 2022


While I'm here, 
when I speak, I will try 
to speak 

for everything—
and traffic jams, 

summer heat
and blood pressure—

in the hope that 
these things, 
likewise, may be

in wearing me—

not like a fine garment 
made for 
special occasions, 

but more like 
an apron 
worn with casual elegance; 

or that billowy smock 
made of faded, 
worn cotton 

kept around 
for its comfort 
on a hanger in the closet 

next to a 
half dozen 
similar others.

Thursday, June 2, 2022


The rust and the rubble 
of tough city life;

the blight 
and the excess
and the savagery of forests—

notice: how these 
sorts of things 
always seem to fascinate; 

it's only your humanity 
that tends to feel 

But the next time 
you're disquieted 

and have no idea 
what to do, 

try taxiing out 
to the middle the street 

when that rare 
and profoundly clear
end-of-the-day breeze is blowing, 

hold both arms 
out to horizons
like wings,

and just try to hang on 
to that solitary feeling 

of not entirely 
disliking yourself 
for trying. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022


We are born
to ourselves 

on the breadth of 
dateless dawns—

viewed from the 
improper angle,

appearing as 
nothing special. 

In the lattice 
that is spacetime, 

it has 
been there all along: 

every opaque moment 
has a diamond 
at its center.

Those who come to see this
are all so rich 

that no one cares
or notices.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022


Those mysterious judges—
all robed and rimmed 
around the outer reaches 

of the palace you know 
when you close your eyes 
as existence—have agreed:

the question
of your identity has been 

Every night, 
a blind, greedy gene 
and an all-seeing eye 

are swimming ever nearer 
in your body, 
playing chicken.

And the place 
where they meet 

and the instant 
they collide 

you'll only know,
looking back 
on your life,

as the moment you stopped 
coming closer
and arrived. 

Friday, May 27, 2022


For as long—and just as 
surely—as the world 
has been turning, 

we too have been cooking-
up our own ways 
of spinning:

wandering out 
from our center
in increasingly wider ellipses

and screwing 
our flushed faces upward
toward heaven—

not to discern 
whether such a thing 

but rather, to repeat 
the pageantry 
of our looking 

in the hope we might 
someday internalize 
the feeling. 

Thursday, May 26, 2022


I do not want to
tell your life story; 
I could take or leave 

convincing you of things 
or clearing up residual 
hurt or confusion.

My aim is to take 
just one minute 
of your day 

and make it 
a little bit sweeter 
to have wasted: 

that peck 
on the cheek, say, 
or that drag off his cigarette—

the pensive tone of the patio music, 
or the best word for that purplest 
last bit of sunset. 

Let cohesion 
and closure sell you 
long-term relationships; 

the succor 
of hiatus 
is the only kind I solicit. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022


From the grubby 
alien ruins 

of another 
stalled-out new construction 

bursts the ceaseless 
and obdurately 
sunny song 

of some two dozen 
unseen sparrows. 

To us passing commuters, 
their elation 
sounds absrud, 

but their sureness 
proves a slender gift—

the blessing 
and curse of such
groundless motivation:

things could always 
get a little worse.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


Most vacations are 
such ordeals, they're 
hardly worth the trip; 

let's face it: one bad meal, 
and Edens turn 
to nightmares, 

and wanderlust 
dies hard when it's 
mired in logistics.

And yet, somehow, 
the most excruciating 
trip I've ever taken

was the time I tried 
to stay in the
exact same position, 

forcing that old 
groove down 
as deep as I possibly could

while the rest 
of the world, 
despite my objections, 

continued to move.

Monday, May 23, 2022


As days grow long 
and warmer, it becomes 
easier to see 

how everything burns 
to take part 
in reality. 

As the sky of spring gradually 
grows less 
and less obscure, 

it reveals, perhaps
not the text of the song, 
but its birds. 

It's as if mere consciousness 
has taken the baton 
from creation, 

as all our vague 
and half-sure intimations 

suddenly flush with color 
and yearn 
to be expressed.

Friday, May 20, 2022


Possibly because a poet's 
always there
to witness,

invariably, this
mid-morning caucus
of grackles 

will swoop down 
from the humid sky 
in irridescent ripples,

then spread their 
long tails, puff their 
black bodies, 

and all at once begin
to castigate him
from the park lawn:

there's a song 
even more 
uncongenial than ours, 

which, for obvious 
reasons, you have 
long-since given up on;

but the pull 
to be complete is ever
too sweet to resist,

and so—
before you even 

you will
feel the need
to finish it.

Thursday, May 19, 2022


You can count it 
and take it 

and save it 
all you want, but 

will never quite 
add up to anything;

its hands
cannot satisfy—

its fabric,
is not flattering.

In fact, it's basically 
a spool 
of super-sheer organza

which you'll cut-up 
and drape

and make your tasteless 
clothes from—

then parade in
up and down your skinny 
life, like it's a catwalk—

you look great;

that it fits right;

it conceals 
one single 

inch of all 
you're wrong about.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


For the millionth time, 
the hungry, lupine 
fog of Lake Michigan

roves inland, 
like some insatiable, 
blank horde of ghosts, 

where it climbs up
and bites off the tops
of our towers, 

making the whole 
bloodless landscape 
of work—

strange monoliths
of commerce, strange pride
in its permenance—

look not merely
but manmade 

and self-

Tuesday, May 17, 2022


How many drafts 
does it take 
for a poem 

to wither 
into abiding truth? 

How many differing 
slight iterations 

before its bright, pliant lines 
start to stiffen 
and darken? 

How long before 
all of its slick words 
start to dry

and its stark, solid images 
soften up enough

such that any future reader, 
no matter how doubtful 
or artistically-uninclined, 

could read the instructions 
and easily reproduce them?

I have lost count 
of the nights it has taken 

for the full moon 
to change 

from bloodless—
to dovewhite 

in the lowest-pitched hope
that, in the mind of a person 
I don't even know yet, 

it may hang everlastingly 
in the heart 
of their cosmos 

and never start 
to wane.

Monday, May 16, 2022


The truly secuctive thing 
about Spring 

is the way she doesn't choose 
to dazzle anything 

One day—abruptly, 
like a fist 
which is opening—

on the bright-kite breeze
surfs the balmy smell 
of lilacs 

already relieved 
to find themselves

not to mention
every speckled starling 

who immediately begins,
when he lands 
in the green, 

to contribute his insights
to the raw mind of nature.

It's as if, 
all at once, dolor 

begins holding 
its breath

as the distance 
that exists beween heaven 
and earth 

from the width—

to the depth 
of one leaf.

Friday, May 13, 2022


on any paricularly 
warm day in May, 

lurking in the shade 
makes me feel 
so much braver—

as if 
this great rolling 
penumbra of shadows

cast off by rooftops, 
tall fences,
and branches 

had lept forth expressly 
to anoint my forehead 
as it passes.

if every last thing 
the light touches 

with its inquisitive 
fingers and 
unblemished eyes

is the kingly dominion 
of some fierce, 
noble lion,

then everything it doesn't 
might as well 
be mine.

Thursday, May 12, 2022


They insist—
any line,
and each sovereign part,

and every act 
of speech 
is virgin;

no such thing 
as repetition—

And that this 
isn't tyranny, 

but rather, 

an unerring religion 
for the already-chosen

who succeed 
by teaching the truth 
they've been taught.

But it's nothing for me 
to prove 
a truth wrong:

first, I say 
maybe—and then,
maybe not. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


With our notions 
of the truth 
so incessantly evolving, 

it's nice to know 
always exists. 

Often, guys like me 
try to use lots 
of huge words 

to reproduce 
complex and 
beautiful pictures;

we conjure them 
deliberately, then 
present them to others 

and call them 
couth tokens of our 
unsmoothed emotions.

But here once again, 
the truth 
has eluded us: 

it's always been 
those one or two 
elementary sketches—

so facile 
and innocent, which we 
never gave to anyone—

there lay our world 
at its most serene 
and authentic; 

there shone the clarity 
which always was our 
greatest gift. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


How convenient 
of the dirt 

to keep its big 
mouth shut,

settling cleanly 
what words could not.

That compulsory 

which is 
heaped upon the dead

is exactly the kind 
I want.

Monday, May 9, 2022


Would it make any sense 
to study 
only one insect—

a lone, discrete bee, say—
instead of a swarm? 

Why, then, are we taught 
even as children 

not to imagine ourselves 
as superheros or jets 

but instead, as the men and women 
who design, draw, 
and build them?

Today, when I looked 
from a second story window, 

I didn't think 
of the boundaries 
of The Possible; 

I thought of its rhetoric 
and the physics of flight. 

It's ironic: all this talk 
of frontiers 
and horizons 

keeping nonconformists 
stuck on the fence,

with the vastest 
extents of their 
ungovernable spirits

now the province 
of someone else's 
educated guess.

Friday, May 6, 2022


When we first wake, 
if we're fortunate,

we are granted, perhaps,
one minute

when all the world is mist
and dimmest light
and innocence;

when our calcified grief 
over things 
we have done 

is mistaken, 
in our stupor, for 
the heavy pall of sleep 

and the fathomless morning 
spread out before us 

is a sweet, unblemished 

that's been carrying on 
flawlessly for ages 
without us—

and as soon as we can
pull ourselves 
together enough to think 

of a purposive way 
to insert ourselves into it, 

that's when 
we notice: the minute
is gone.

Thursday, May 5, 2022


A little too
self-consciously, I wonder 
what happens

when the sparrows 
in these branches finally run 
out of melody.

Do they pass mundane 
remarks about 
the weather in its place, 

or complain 
about the poverty 
of life in a hawthorn tree? 

Do they bring tedious 
meetings to order 

to dissect the long memos 
which strictly outline 
their routines? 

And if so, would we 
harried and anxious 
passersby still find these 

conversations to be 
sonorous and pleasing 

because we feel,
in some inaccessible
recess of our breasts,

that we've
more or less had the same 
ones before ourselves? 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022


The ways we know to love 
are myopic 
and feeble—

they keep us as limp 
and afraid 
of what's above 

as a blind and
silent earthworm. 

And the time we have left 
to change 
our design 

is abrupt 
and compulsive 
as a supple brown bird—

but impatient, 

but cursed

with a penchant 
for finesse 

but the rash guts 
of a carnivore.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022


The split-second 
when you wake from a long, 
grisly nightmare, 

or the breath 
you take just after 
averting some disaster—

that's when you feel sure
you are lucky 
to be alive. 

But gradually, as your 
pulse slows to normal, 
you realize 

that isn't quite right;
you soon see, as if through
a transparent prism

in which many disparate
and invisible images 
meet at one point and come into focus:

how this world 
you comprehend so well
and elucidate as precious 

really was made for—
and built—
out of them.

All the drowned and the poisoned, 
all the swallowed 
and the spent;

it's the lifeless
who endure
as pure information—

as our words, and our colors, 
and our shapes,
and our numbers,

as the premise of our theories 
and the climax 
of our stories—

and, secure as you feel 
in the continuance 
you've been given, 

you know they're
as "forever" could get 

in the hands of the still-

Monday, May 2, 2022


It's a fact: you cannot, 
at present, fathom
or conjecture

in which situations, or 
to what degree
you'll matter—

because luck
and significance 
cannot be planned, 

not even 
by the staggering genius 
of the past.

Just as there was 
no way of knowing 
which minnow 

would rise 
to become the bold 
fish of evolution, 

so too, in the membrane-
thin confusion  
of this moment,

there is just about 
as little sense in 
disowning your devotions 

as there would be 
in lowering 
down to your belly 

and wriggling back 
to the ocean.

Friday, April 29, 2022


In some part of the world 
which we never 
knew existed, 

a river must be 
standing still—

its prophet
(this impetuous carrion 
crow, to be specific)

has chosen 
not to fly there, but instead,
just to sit 

on this power line 
suspended over the street
like a knife blade,

pointing down here
with his craggy beak 
and laughing 

at all of our paltry 
to wear black. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022


So you wish, 
more than anything, 
to see inside yourself.

But your soul 
has been shaped by decades 
of obscurity and remoteness,

by its desire for tight junctions, 
and its fetishes 
for rigor.

In fact, it compels you too 
to be desolate 
and stiff, 

bidding you to insist 
on silence 
in the library, 

and coercing you to stick 
to reading 
classic Russian literature. 

The only way 
for you to get 
a sense of its dimensions

is to treat it rough, abuse it, 
call it stupid now and then. 
Only then, 

when it swells up, 
reddens, and begins 
to accuse you—

as long as you're quick 
and surreptitious 
and discreet, 

and as long as you can resist
paying heed 
to its admonitions—

can you possibly hope 
to randomly glimpse its 
offended silhouette. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022


Have you ever stopped 
to ponder 
whether the luminescent pearl 

glows from the secret 
which must be
buried at its center 

outward toward 
its edges—or
the other way around? 

Do you wonder if 
the drawer in your 
bedside table 

is for placing 
keepsakes into, verses 
pulling them out?

Then how 
could you think there's 
a bet you can make

on the the place 
where truth ends and our 
willingness begins? 

Certitude is not 
a concept 
we're taught; 

faith can't be asked for—
it's just the lot
we get.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022


I can't describe 
the physics yet, 

but I sense it works 
like this: 

little by little, 
our past 
clock-ticks keep accreting, 

compressing together, 

and ensuring the foregone 
fate of our tomorrows.

Each moment, 
like a speck 
of wasted black sand, 

is blown 
by the destitute 
wind of expectation

to its spent resting place 
on a quiescent hill. 

eventually, a whole
mountain is fashioned,

inside of which, nearly-
unlimited vectors 

of pressure and force 
advance downward 
and pulverize 

some of that dead dust 
from coal 
into diamond.

Sooner or later, though, 
that diamond 
is mined, 

and all possibilities—
not to mention 
all eyes—

turn to the proximate 
prize and 
go narrow.

Monday, April 25, 2022


Forgetful as I 
always am, 

every day that I wake, 
I must make myself 

I repurchase the lessons
which I came to know 

by closing 
my eyes and 
rehearsing them again: 

all the things we did 
and didn't—

the former, like a melody, 
the latter, its strange and
syncopated rhythm—

and all the I swears
and never agains I offered

which you 
had no space for 
and couldn't afford— 

now, a discrepancy 
buried deep in the score, 

like two 
conflicting fingerings 
for the very same chord.

Friday, April 22, 2022


In heaven, 
they say, everything 
is just great. 

Angels play trumpets, 
while both sets 
of grandparents 

wave banners 
that say: congratulations, 
you made it!

It's always 
12 noon there, so 
no one's running late,

and the lawns are green 
and spotless—though you 
never have to rake. 

The coffee there is excellent—
though most folks 
barely sip it, since 

there's no such thing
as craving, and everyone's

Of course, if you want, 
you're still free 
to close your eyes 

and try to imagine 
what it's like 
to be unhappy

though you'll never be 
sure if you've 
done it correctly, 

since you're 
no longer able 
to make a mistake.

Thursday, April 21, 2022


If you're lucky, 
you'll live to see 
even this explanation

begin to embarrass
the frail beauty 
of your questions.

Each minute 
in straight explication 

is a rivet in the instrument 
built to strip-mine 
your delight.

In dreams, you have witnessed
how relinquishing 
their purpose

can cause the disparate edges 
of far-flung
images to adhere;

likewise, participation 
shall assume the privileged 
place of understanding

only when 
you start to hear 
the fine, consistent song

of your own words 
possessing—then replacing 
all of theirs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022


On its night-
time skyline, strange
pulsing apparitions—

be they, at length, 
ancient stars, or some 
arcane technologies—

the same famous 
vicissitudes of nature 

by bestowing their
miracles, then 
taking them away;

while the three million 
overused denizens 
who behold them

are filled with neither 
courage, nor 

but rather, 
that frank, urban kind 
of routine wonder 

whose very weakness 
is its strength.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


Looking up 
for the roughly fourteen 
thousandth time 

at the pocked, 
cockeyed face of a
three-quarter moon 

as it floats there, 
treading the 
infinite waves 

of this goalless, 
ocean of a universe;

I'm confused 
to find that, inside, 
I'm still thrilled 

to believe 
there must still be 

something left 
to parse in me, 

some invisible fragment
still worthy 
of rescue—

even if it looks, 
at best, blotted-out 
or lost 

in its own black 
and most boundless 
of all possible pools: 

the one with no depth, 
no surface, 
no rules.

Monday, April 18, 2022


Is there anything less 
pathetic than 
the goldfish

laconically swimming 
through the weak 
indoor lighting 

which pervades 
the lump of water in its 
sterile, spheroid bowl,

and perpetually turning 
in the same direction: 

from the ocean it intended 
to explore? 

not you,

who so often spent
so many wild nights 

some strange 
and subtle currents
of the water-smooth truth—

only to wake up 
adjacent to drool 

and confused 
to find that you'd detoured 
right back 

to the same prosaic 
corner you'd renounced 
the day before.

Friday, April 15, 2022


In this life, 
there are many
and hospitable buildings—

the kind to which 
daily access is granted 
to billions. 

Then, there are those 
slightly less 
accommodating places: 

a cramped, remote 
fishing hut 
built for one person,

or a cozy 
but dilapidated 
backwoods cabin 

the roads to which 
are passable only 
in the dry season. 

For each of us, 
though, there is, 
at the last,

that one immense, 
distant, and 
solitary castle—

with its fierce, 
gilded towers and its 
halls of frozen marble

all commissioned by our hunger—
which we were proud once
to inhabit 

but, ever since, 
have merely permitted 
to secretly exist 

without the slightest desire 
or intent 
to revisit.

Thursday, April 14, 2022


The hands that survive 
at the ends 
of these arms 

were never 
designed to prepare 
for war—

nor were they made 
to clench 
in censure, or even

to lie open and bare 
in a gesture 
of peace. 

Rather, here are two hands 
that were raised
to turn pages;

to brush back 
and down, with the grain 
of all dog fur;

to depress 
small contingents 
of congenial piano keys. 

These hands were made
to shelter secrets 
neverending—that is,

when they aren't 
employed otherwise,
wiping clean and straightening 

those treasures 
which were made by the 
stubborn hands of others 

and are, therefore, exceptionally 
of preserving.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


The way I'm so 

and perpetually 
in the grip of you, 
it's like

I might as well 
be the chewed 
no. 2 pencil 

you clench 
in a test you're 
attempting to pass: 

one side of me 

all the things 
you want me to; 

the other 
shrinks and 
blushes pink

as it tries
to take them back.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022


All at once, 
in assault from 

comes the shrill, 
punchy call of free-
migrating geese—

ricocheting off 
our asphalt, 
our high shelves of glass, 

and our citywide 
armories of bright- 
angled brick. 

This might be 
what Taps 
would sound like 

were it blared 
at mid-day 
by amnesiac buglers:

the giddy death knell
of this rough-
drafted morning—

of today's 
first, unpolished 
idea of itself.

Monday, April 11, 2022


I've heard it 
so often, I believe 
without blinking:

how all of time 
and space 
have converged 

to make 
just the tiniest 
crescent-shaped edge 

of my brittle 
and milky-white left
pinky finger nail. 

But it makes me 
so nervous, I could chew it 
to shreds

when I apprehend these
minuscule melodies 
in me

without having seized 
on the artistry 
to see 

whose subtle fingers 
may yet swiftly 

and depress 
the right keys 
to release them.

Friday, April 8, 2022


We're now playing 
a roulette game 

with the iffiness 
of language.

This next bit
may devastate—
or else 

sniff you 
a few times and 
leave you alone. 

His verses her 
ill-defined interpretation 

conjures "full-body transformation"
clichéd before-and-
after shots. 

Answers are little 
but combs 
which are hollow 

of the honey 
known as satisfaction

and yet,
pleasure still arises 

in our failure 
to choose 

between either side
of the paradox.

Thursday, April 7, 2022


Some things are so right 
that they just aren't 

some commandments, so innate, 
there's no need 
to hand them down.

Such unique breeds of fact
are twisted up tight 

and borne along inside 
like tiny strands 
of DNA;

they may wait years, 
or even decades

to unfurl their truth 
and replicate 

while you sleep—
and dream 
of a scene, almost deathlike, 

in which even the motes 
of dust are frozen 

in a narrow beam of light 
from a source 
you can't name—

and then wake 
to the littlest nag 
of an ache 

which, you now know,
will one day balloon
to a pain 

so great
that, at long last, it
exonerates your life. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


It may sound slick
and advantageous, 

but I assure you, 
it's a curse to always 
be so right—

might sound like a boon,
but it truly is 
a blight 

to always remain 
so logically congruent 

in the heat of hawkish 

If fact,
you probably don't see
how I can do it 

even in the middle 
of a petulant fight—

like that night 
when I could not help 
but intuit, 

after you'd sworn I'd 
grown callous 
and aloof,

that the opposite 
of distance 

isn't closeness;
it's height.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022


Another fragile 
April sky: thin uniform
of silver—

the kind 
which is both 
luminous and somber,

and nowhere at 
the very same time—

might yet darken 
and descend, cursing 
afternoon with evening,

or crack to wide blue 
and unfurl its 
smiling riches—

on whether one
very certain word

which is, at this moment, 
being whispered 
down here 

by one wounded person 
to the ear 
of another 

has been willfully filled 
with scalpels 
or stitches.

Monday, April 4, 2022


You've been unsure 
for so long, 

it's turned into 
an addiction—

what will you do 
with these things 
that you feel? 

And you've often trembled
in recognition 

of the voice 
you've been using 
to do all this wondering.

But it might be 
time to begin 
to believe in

this story you've 
been weaving—

to come clean and appreciate 
all the little shocks 
of truth 

which are shot through the morass 
of your neverending fiction.
To observe

which silences 
undergird the fabric 
of each word, 

stitching form 
and emptiness together 
into bodies—

better yet, into names 
which compel their 
passing owners 

to stop short
and gape back 

at you, their most 
reluctant speaker, 
as much in surprise 

as in 

Friday, April 1, 2022


After you've been 
on the Earth 
for a while, 

the bitter things 
start to taste better
and better.

Those acrid black coffees 
and astringent 
brown liquors—

which at first 
made you grimace 
and shiver a little—

now taste a lot more 
like the sweet woe 
of knowing 

that, with each passing 
sip, the gnarled 
measuring stick 

with which you tally 
your verve grows more brittle 
and shorter.

By the time you're 85, 
you're burning morning 
toast on purpose,

heaping turmeric 
and dirt on raw 
eggplants for dinner;

such tastes of oblivion 
are more than just 

a daily brush 
with the ghastly truth
is all that keeps you going.

Thursday, March 31, 2022


While they stand out 
like cracks 
in a load-bearing wall, 

those little awkward pauses 
aren't like that 
at all. 

Woven though they are
through the opaque 

of all our 
most tedious,
prefab conversations,

they seem, at best, 
like empty gaps—
but the truth is 

our hesitations 
are much sturdier 
and more integral than that;

picture the rebar 
which runs right 
through the concrete 

reinforcing the walls 
of the rooms
we were born in—

or the mortar 
holding right 
to the mausoleum's bricks 

which houses 
the remains of our 
very last communication—

every wearisome
second of it,
brick after brick,

whether we chose to build it 
or together.