Monday, February 28, 2022


Like astonishing flourishes 
from a costly ball-
point pen, 

black birds 
churn circles 

in a bright 
azure sky.

And yet, somehow, 
we passers by, 
with each routine day—

every drab sepia
hour that transpires—

have grown more 
and more certain
and less and less surprised 

by the squiggles of letters 
which we know
to be familiar 

but which no one 
on Earth (long since 
dead or still living) 

has, as of yet, 
been equipped
to decipher. 

Friday, February 25, 2022


So you say 
all the words 
in the verses of old  

by now have 
grown dull 

and heavy 
as stones—

but can stone
not be cut

and employed 
to build bridges?

And what is a bridge 
but a bond 
which connects 

one faraway thing 
to another 

And what is 

if not 
timeless poetry—
or at least 

our most up-

Thursday, February 24, 2022


Though the rest of you 
may continue 
to grow 

and tired 
and old, 

I'd be willing 
to bet 

that your eyes 
will not.

no matter what 
you have been through—

no matter 
the unconscionable things 
you have thought—

I have watched them 
hold tight to 

their little dots
of truth:

not that life 
is too precious 
a thing 

to ever stop 

but that it's 
and unsteady

and too erratic 
not to shoulder—

and yet 
far too fragile 

to ever
let drop.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022


To the centipede 
crawling along 
on my ceiling 

who just startled 
me out of my 
impotent brooding:

I've decided 
(for the moment) 

to permit you 
to live—

but only for as long 
as you continue 
to remind me 

that I too,
in the past, have 
maintained the ability 

to remain calm 
and silent 

while I'm
inching toward the goal

in an upside-down world 
which is loathe 
to acknowledge 

that in order 
to change 
their circumstance, 

some would 
risk it all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


The fact is, 
only a few types 
of light are illuminating; 

the rest 
are either blinding—

or else,
they distract. 

Far from catalyzing 
our impetus 
to act, 

we're astounded 
to suddenly find ourselves 

and gawking at 
through sentimental cataracts.

And worse, 
before we even know 
what we're doing,

we'll wheel
and point avidly 

at horizons' warmest 
and most effulgent spots

and repeatedly
swear to our children 
there's a heaven,

even though 
we can see it

when their eyes 
close—there's definitely 

Monday, February 21, 2022


Though it's so often viewed 
as pained 
or intractable, 

old age 
is actually swift-
ly accommodating: 

the way 
all the rudeness, 
the impulsivity,

and of course, 
the bitter, 
bilious gall

which leached 
into our youth 
and infected all its vigor, 

whenever they're recalled,
are ardently 

as irrelevant, 
unfit, or just plain 

Friday, February 18, 2022


It's only now, 
looking back, 

that you truly begin
to suspect:

all that time 
you professed to spend
being in the moment—

from the movement of breath 
like the ripples 
on water, 

to the double-edged
fantasy of
having no tomorrow, 

to the collapse 
of all space  
into orderless infinity 

and the man with no head 
who sat smoldering 
at its center—

none of it, 
not even 

the most 
consecrated fragment

was ever 
as instructive 
or precious to you

as the story 
you then felt compelled 
or empowered

to recount 
about it later.

Thursday, February 17, 2022


On any half-
way decent day, 

the clouds 
may look faint 
and far away 

as abstract concepts 
in the head
for which those of us 
toiling for bread
underneath them 

have neither 
the patience, nor 
the occasions. 

But gaze once again 
at their airy nature—

the way their beige 
plumages edge 
over boundaries 

and vanish—
without any interest 
or consequence,

and with nothing 
to say—into infinitudes 
of blue,

and accept
that their silence has
everything to say 

about the perfection 
of the fraction  
of that very same air,

which, up through 
the present, you too 
have been using.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022


To those 
of us 

hurt others 

the far scarier 

is: there's 
no such thing 
as ghosts.

Think of all 
the soulless 

we secretly 
never hoped 
we'd outlive,

all the harms 
we expected 

to dog us 
for years:


quit, done
away with—

Tuesday, February 15, 2022


When I hear the wind howl
past my apartment late 
at night, 

it isn't the loneliness 
or isolation 
I'm afraid of,

but the way it can start 
to feel friendly,
even intimate—

like I know in my mind
this is not 
the same wind

but I feel in my bones 
that it is 
the same kind:

some prototypical melody line, 
mundane yet familiar 
alluring but dissonant,

being sounded in the dark 
with intent 
to beguile me

just an octave apart
on the same pipe-
like instrument.

Monday, February 14, 2022


It was probably the ocean 
that first made the mountains 
come together;

it was probably 
the trees and cold 
breezes in the mountains 

that caused evaporation 
and the rain clouds 
to gather;

and it was probably 
a cloudburst 
that caused the first rain to fall—

which lasted for so many 
days in a row
with no breaks

that it finally made 
the sun's return 
feel like a good thing 

to step outside under—
to lean back against a wall
and just loaf,

maybe smoke a cigarette, 
sip some coffee,
or whatever—

while you think 
some things over, or maybe
let them go.

Friday, February 11, 2022


Even if confronted 
with near-infinite 
time and space,

how could we be expected 
to know ourselves 

and be ourselves 
at once?

Since Earth's adolescence, 
the clerical moon 
has shown us 

only one 
of its faces;

the tiger—whose teeth, 
since the dawn 
of ancient epochs,

have made it 
scoundrel of the jungle—

has never had occasion 
to rend its own mouth;

even the codependent 
arms of the scissors 

may seem to work 
closely together—

sharing the same heat 
and blame 
for destruction—

but they're fated 
never to meet each other, 

let alone 

Thursday, February 10, 2022


It used to 
make me feel 
like a deity 

to smash 
the occasional hairy
brown spider 

down the length 
of my hallway molding—

the way I'd swoop down
from outside 
its ontology, 

as if forcefully teaching 
its whole phylum
a lesson.

But gradually,
it's begun to make me feel
like a casualty

to always be teaching, 
never learning 
from these sessions.

I've thought—could it be 
even more radical still 
to pivot and turn 

on that retributive foot?
To tend, if not 
to the gardens of mercy, 

than at least 
to the flowers 
of nonchalance? 

Can I yet learn to do 
that which
daunts me most

and spurn a god 
who must manifest 
his worth?

And will
learning to do so 
somehow make me 

right here on earth?  

Wednesday, February 9, 2022


More and more often 
the older we get,
the cells in our bodies
have one track minds—

now if only you and I 
could knuckle-down 
on our lodestar, 

could home-in 
and synchronize 
our efforts like that.

It's hard to deny 
the passion and gravity 
synthesized by a little 
blind automaticity, 

or the power unbound
by a secret alliance.

For however small 
and inconsequential, 
however soft 
and quick the Judas kiss, 

when it's multiplied 
by the number  
of accused men found innocent, 

then divided 
by a lifetime, 

the figure that results 
falls nothing short 
of astounding. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022


If ever you dare 
to look 
more closely,

you'll likely see 
that, yes, 
hope floats—

but only 
on its own notion. 

Step to the edge 
of the stern 
and peer over, 

and you're liable 
to notice—

it's nothing 
but identical 
hope boats receding,

little by little,
as the distance grows 
beneath you

all the way down 
to directionless

Monday, February 7, 2022


Funny: at the beginning, 
we think 

we can 
know things

but looking back,
all really learned were 
their names

and their 

and the differences 
between them.


When my life's work
is done
and I cannot finish 
another thought, 

perhaps I'll come back 
as a soft-
ticking wristwatch.

Imagine—all of time 
talking through me 

as I advance my way 
through its 
limitless music:

an incorruptible sentinel, 
perpetually standing 

between you 
and the very next 
thing you have to do. 


Okay. So maybe 
the whole thing was
a lie;

after we die, we don't 
rise up—

but if we're lucky, 
we might 

and fly

undescribed others.

Friday, February 4, 2022


Without question, 
it's a relief 

to close your eyes 
and just see nothing—

briefly, to blockade the lies 
and tragedies 
and griefs.

But after a while, 
does that blackness 
not turn cancerous—

does the heightened bliss 
of ignorance 

not prolapse 
into a hell? 

And after too long,
have you noticed 
the extent to which 

to suddenly unlid them 
and see plainly all
the faults in men—

to penetrate deep 
into their misfortunes
and greet those familiar 
demons again—

provides the most sanctified 
kind of salvation 

your wavering 
soul is yet likely 
to find?

Thursday, February 3, 2022


If we lived our whole lives 
in a lag 
in time—how 

would we even know
the difference? 

Perhaps, for us, each 
passing moment 

of one more primordial 
star in the cosmos 

which has long-since 
given up its ghost 
and exploded; 

perhaps that apex 
toward which we stride—
our one great goal—

has long-since 
gone critical 

but has yet, in our eyes, 
to smolder 
and fade;

perhaps, all along, 
heaven could've been 
the set 

of some garish, lascivious 
70s gameshow:

every chintzy bulb 
could have blown
in its socket 

decades ago—

from our point of view, 
it still looks as though 

it's been ages 
and ages since the slightest 
thing has changed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022


Some say—
in words as consistent 

and natural 
as rain—
the best defense

is to let ourselves get 
used to this;

they wonder innocently to themselves 
in front of cameras 

just how catastrophic
the ordinary could be; 

but most important, 
when they speak, 
they speak softly 

and repeat themselves 

in a sturdy yet moving 
of poetry, 

in order to soak up 
the silence which has broken out

and dilute 
the genuine virulence 
of our doubt.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022


It's as if, even in the hands 
of the strictest 

the days of the calendar 
are transformed
into a rosary—

how we allow 
each worn bead 
to slide through our fingers

in hopeless devotion
to sequence alone—
as, day after day, we repeat 

the same 
yet penitent sentences

in the same sober rooms—
in their same 
sacred orders.