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.