Friday, September 30, 2022


about each moment 

you could even 

tough to list without 

isn't that 

Thursday, September 29, 2022


Felt like, for 
a while there, every day, 
we could rely 

on such cheap 
and plentiful 
wooden reminders: 

one plus one 
is equal to two; 

fair and fowl 
always cancel 
each other. But 

when the desperate 
times hit, the first 
orders we got were 

to ratchet-up 
the abstract, 

restrict access 
to the rational.

Overnight, belts 
grew tighter, skins 
thinner, blood redder; 

while, outside 
in the cold, all the poor 
devils' kids 

had only dry sticks 
to learn basic 
addition with. 

And to make 
matters worse: 

wasn't always 
two sticks; 

for one or two 
minds, starved and 
crammed into a corner,

equalled fire. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022


How can you ever hope 
to get clear 
on what you want

when even the birds 
in the yard
outside your window 

don't seem to know 
what they're after? 
Though their songs 

sound sincere, 
they're naive 
enough to ask for 

more and more worms 
on the lawn 
from a rainstorm 

under neverending 
skies full of bright 
sunny weather.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022


After some years 
disavowing my failures,

I have come to believe 
there is beauty 
in futility— 

mostly because 
it makes the rough going 

If I fail to describe 
the formal 
pleasure of a flower, 

or the zest 
of arcing birds, 

or the secret 
things I've heard 
the treetops whispering

as the feeble end of summer 
fell asleep 
on autumn's shoulder, 

is truth 
not reaped from the lack 
of result?

If I should take on 
the responsibilities of god

and find each moment 
swamped with all 
the labors I most hate,

have I not found 
my own heaven 
in passivity?

At last, won't I 
love the patchy 
worlds I create?

Monday, September 26, 2022


All across most 
of the northern hemisphere, 

dead leaves 
start to fall near the end 
of September, 

exerting, as they land 
on the cooling 
earth around here, 

a certain quiet, 
even pressure, 

a distinct but insinuated 
of that solitude—

of that placid desolation 
and patient 
loneliness ahead—

that no man or woman 
who walks out 
amid the scene 

can realize—
or realistically 

could ever hope 
to bear to—  

how exquisitely 
but tenuously 

all the rest 
just felt it too. 

Friday, September 23, 2022


For most of your life, 
you think you're hip 
to what you're listening to—

then, one day, 
it isn't 
the music, 

but the silence 
that falls at the end 
of it all 

which inflicts on you
the goosebumps of something 
to confront: 

that absence 
which feels so 
audaciously exposed 

but which has, 
in fact, been adroitly 
composed by 

the full blast 
of all that has 
not come to pass—

by the slightness
of every last 
moment in your life 

when you didn't know 
what you could do 
or say next

playing back at 
full volume,
all at once.

Thursday, September 22, 2022


Ever notice—
the implications 
of certain things persist,

while the purport 
of others is considerably 

With each new 
dead-ringer for Earth 
they discover, 

public interest 
in "the scientific" 

grows less 
and less certain; 

or you can't forget 
the favorite actor 

of the juvenile bastard  
who last 
broke your heart,

but you couldn't name 
the eye color 

of the woman who 
named you and 
fed you for years.

But of course, this is 
just the only way 

for significance 
to persist, and yet still 
remain endurable:

if you do not 
support it, it just 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


Look around 
the park grounds 
near the end 
of any September—

the pale leaves 
all look similar 

and utterly 

once they've fallen 
from their 
homes in the limbs;

they cannot wonder 
how they got here, 
and there is no answer 
to the question "what for?"

But what about you—
the pale, foolish person

who's still holding on 
to the arms 
that once sustained him—

do you still think 
you'll use your hunger 
before your 
hunger uses you?

Is that separation 
looming, after which 
you won't 
exist? And if so, 

aren't there probably 
one or two 

things around here which 
you still need 
to do? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


on Earth, in a garden 
near a path, 

the freckles 
which spangle the inside- 
petals of a lily 

might correspond 

to the positions 
of stars in a 
distant galaxy 

before dawn
on the half-frozen ocean 

by a desperate crew
of Atlantic explorers 

as a celestial highway 
guiding them home.

Even more 
impressively, though

no one now living 
will ever make 
the discovery,

and this hallowed, 
symmetrical code 
of the universe 

will shrivel 
and die 

when the first 
cold wind blows.

Monday, September 19, 2022


In the soup-
thick fog 
of early morning, 

the "next right thing"
might collide
with opportunity;

a cool, wet crow 
might swoop down
from a lamppost 

to make a poem 
of the worms 
she extracts 

without care
from the sopping 
ground below;

motions might 
well be the cause 
of themselves

and consequence 
might be their 
only purpose. 

In a world 
where reality 
looks so uncouth, 

might be ripe 
for the taking,

and there's 
nothing wrong 
with stealing it all

when nothing 
outside of ourselves 

Friday, September 16, 2022


sometimes this 
is how it goes: 

you do not need 
to know, 

you look again 
at the clock 
on the wall 

to confirm 
that it wears the same face 
of disfigurement 

and genuine 
torment it wore 
just before; or, 

perhaps because 
you can't resist 

you triple-
check the distance 

derelict here and 
unrealized there 

and find 
that its path appears 
just as perilous, 

and austere as both 
places put together.

And that's 
when it hits you 
right between the eyes 

that the truth 
of each moment 

is so savage 
and entire 

that even if it 
throttles you 
to near-exhilaration, 

you could never 
mistake it for beautiful—

not even by the poetry-
of a long shot.

Thursday, September 15, 2022


A touch blander, perhaps, 
than the Christians' slender 
gilded crosses, 

but I tend to feel best 
that mix of agony 
and grandeur 

when I'm biting my lip 
and passing beneath 

the yellowing branches 
of a primeval tulip poplar

in the barely-there 
of midwestern autumn—

feeling so small, 
and yet heavy 
for my size, 

and always so 
piecemeal-divided by 

the fractal shadows cast 
across my body
on the underside 

of this tall, 
stoic being that's so 
willing to die—

at least 
for a little while—

in order to outlive 
and outgrow 
us all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022


I often stay up late,
and I always 
keep a light on—like some 

pushover dad 
for his prodigal son—

waiting in distress 
for the fleeting return 

of my wanton, 

And the second I catch it 
staggering back:
I'm out there 

over-zealously slitting 
the fat throats 
of calves 

and chainsawing possessions 
and bank accounts in half. 

But no matter how 
gently I bleat 
my appeasements, 

or tickle 
its feet, 

or sprinkle gold leaf 
on every offered appetizer, 

the last thing I see 
at the end 
of the night

is the apathetic light 
from the small, 
glowing cherry 

of the Cuban cigar 
it was happy 
to lift from me 

fading, like the plot 
of a dream, as it 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022


Happiness is 
not what our 
ancestors thought 

the moment 
they first slithered 
up from the dross; 

the abandon, and 
the leeway 
and facility they sought 

could not be 
bought with grit, but demanded 
certainty as the cost. 

Soon, we were free
to the extent 
that we were lost: 

without even 
the savior faire to look 

as we stuck 
each slimy landing—
from rock, 

to rock, to rock. 
To this day, with each random
pivot we manage 

our fish brains still tingle 
and reel with 
the delight 

of having skirted certain 
death and damage—but never 
the same way twice.

Monday, September 12, 2022


Basically without fail,
every single morning, 

through thick gunmetal 
clouds of your own 

which billow 
like mad past the mountains 
of your shoulders, 

that first white-electric hot 
forked tongue 
of insight

leaps forth
to flash its arcane,
pliant pith 

and sets something 
deep in your body; 

and then: every rogue 
wind blast 

and each zigzagging 
torrent of rain blades 
that follows 

are just 
the patterned mess

of words 
that precipitate 

as you bend 
toward a notebook 

and attempt
to express it.

Friday, September 9, 2022


In this particular 
of the narrative, 

just about 
all of the time 
there are days—grave, 

or engrossing, 
or just 
frivolous days—

when no circuits 
are tripped 
by that surge of imperatives, 

and I 
have absolutely 
nothing to say.

Whenever this 
happens, I just sit
for a moment 

and sift through stray 
words I find caught 
beneath my eyelids—

and arrange them 
into reiterative 

too simple, 
too insistent, and too 
true for explanation. 

And whether or not 
the arrangement
is great, I'll share 

what I've made in the dark 
with you anyway—
because just that kind 

of blind exchange,
to me, at least,
 is poetry.

Thursday, September 8, 2022


We were told 
going into this 
that Eden sank to grief,

that going to seed 
is inevitable, since 

evergreen is 
rare as gold—

but still
we like to think 
our ideas will last,

that this human fruition 
will pass 
through maturation  

without its succumbing 
to rot, heaviness, 
and stink

when even the genius 
of dawn 
is arrested

every single morning, 
in thirty minutes 
or less; 

and the charge 
isn't arrogance, 

or even 

but merely an existence 
sailing past its 

Wednesday, September 7, 2022


When I write, it's like 
I can sense 
without seeing 

my shadow 
in here with me—

not helping, but simply 
idly sipping coffee 

in a spare Ikea 
kitchen chair and 
staring our the window

while I sit across 
the table and winnow, 
by curving lines of light, 

the weapons he uses 
to hold me accountable 

and thrust my ego 
flush against the wall. 

I know this because 
I can feel his presence—

but only as 
that warm dark absence 

that prods imaginations 
to attend to concealed things

and which makes, 
through his unreal-
yet-substantive scrim 

this illumination of my 
waking thoughts' 
strangest inversions possible.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022


When I see a new billboard
broadly proclaim

its succoring 
claim: that Beauty 
is everywhere—

part of me can't help 
but think 
it's a shame 

to normalize exhilaration 
simply by naming it. 

Do we not plot to deny 
the uniqueness 

that lives 
(for dirt-cheap) 
inside of ubiquity 

with each sly 
caprice we command 
to creep out 

from beneath every 
creased-up corner 
of the obvious? 

Is it thoughtless 
or insidious 

to universalize 
the sublime? 
They might as well 

try next to advertise 
the sky.

Friday, September 2, 2022


How strange it is
to realize
we're familiar

with the feeling we get
in the tips
of our fingers

just before it
starts to rain.

How comfortably blasé 
as we peer 
from a window

to watch as a few more
ominous clouds 

how normal it is 
for our prim little corner 

of the world 
to go intermittently dark 
and askew;

and how amenable 
we can be 

to disliking 
what we're seeing 

when we deem it coherent
with our poor, 
tortured bodies: 

these consistently abused 
but tenacious lands
within us

which periodically 
get soaked, and then 
dried off a little, 

but will never be offered
the chance 
to start new.

Thursday, September 1, 2022


The poem I just deleted 
before I cobbled this one

was constructed 
like the elegant folds 
of a rose—

complex in all its frailties, 
perfumed with allusions, 

and yet, unmistakably 
simple and direct 

as its scent 
on the wind 
to get.

But now that its rash 
demolition is finished, 

you'll have to agree
that what's left
is much better, 

since, even though 
the substandard 
words here presented

express no sterling 
answers to your 
metaphysical questions, 

the sheer availability 
of extraneous information 

somehow short-circuits 
the demand
for counterfactuals 

and makes our 
sad lots 
feel superior.