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.